Intel's HSF for high-end Core 2 Extreme CPUs

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Unlike previous Intel coolers, the fan is easily removed. It is secured via three tension clips.

Fan removed.

Three arms extend from the fan hub, pushing against a notch in the fins to keep it in place. It's a simple but crude way to mount a fan. Ideally, you would not want the fan to touch the heatsink in order to avoid vibration transfer via conduction. The fan is made of rigid, translucent plastic to scatter the light from three blue LEDs. It's amusing to see superfluous LEDs on a piece of hardware with an Intel sticker.

Fan controller switch.

Attached to the fan assembly is a rudimentary fan controller — a simple switch that sets the fan to either high or low speed.The circuitry is exposed, without any window dressing.

The core.

The fins are soldered to a copper core, which had an odd-shaped wick sticking out at the top. Frostytech apparently cut it open, or obtained exclusive photos from Intel revealing a vapor chamber inside:

"The 41mm diameter copper 'thermal chamber' works along a similar principle as a heatpipe, using a working fluid under a vacuum. The low pressure causes the fluid to change states when heat is applied, allowing the vapour to rapidly conduct heat between hot and cold surfaces. A solid metal block by comparison would rely upon the metals conductive properties to move heat from the base and distribute it along the cylindrical walls to which the fins are soldered."

A closer look.

"The Intel FCLGA4-S reference heatsink by comparison has relatively thin copper walls around the hollow chamber... The walls are no more than 0.5-1mm thick, and a sintered metal wick is evidently used to return condensed working fluid back to the hot side. The copper base is surprisingly thin too, about 4mm. The net result is a really lightweight heatsink for its thermal performance capabilities."

This is quite a departure for Intel. Up until recently their idea of improving heatsink efficiency was to put a thin piece of copper in the middle of the base, and now they're using a vapor chamber. Aftermarket heatsinks usually use heatpipes as the main method of heat transfer — the Asetek VapoChill Micro is the only product we've come across that uses anything like a vapor chamber. It featured an enclosed reservoir of gas/liquid connected to three different columns or pipes. It was a mediocre performer.


The heatsink mounted easily on our test platform. It was a fairly snug fit, with very little rotational leeway. The cooler overhung the edge of our motherboard by only 16mm.

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