Thermalright AXP-140 CPU Heatsink

Jan 16th, 2009 | By

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Thermalright AXP-140 CPU Heatsink

: 01/16/09 – 06:37:31 PM


: Cooling

Page 1 : Index

: Thermalright

Thermalright is notorious for their straight to the point, tower style CPU heatsinks that have a proven track record when it comes to cooling performance, without a pile-up of LEDs. But today, we're taking a look at something less run-of-the-mill, Thermalright's AXP-140.

To anybody who's been in the market for a reliable HTPC CPU cooler that'll fit in a 2U case, I feel your pain. It's near impossible to find a quality heatsink that's less than 3.5′ in height; this is where the AXP-140 steps in. Topping in at around 2.9′, Thermalright has done a great job designing the heatsink for maximum heat dissipation with high volume restrictions.

Page 2 : Packaging

The AXP-140 was shipped in Thermalright's standard packaging, an unobtrusive brown. The only markings are Thermalright on top, and the name of the heatsink on the side.

Once opened up, we receive our first glimpse of the AXP-140, encased in Styrofoam ensuring protection during shipping. The various accessories are in the white box along the top of the package.

Page 3 : AXP-140 Heatsink

The problem with HTPC heatsinks is simply how minimalistic they have to be in order to fit into small server chassis. The AXP-140 seems to turn this on its head, achieving six total heatpipes, and managing to fit in 78 large fins – so the theoretical performance should be good. The six heatpipes should carry heat efficiently, and the 78 fins should disperse the heat effectively. In total, the 78 fins span a distance of 117.3mm, meaning each fin is grossly 1.5mm apart(including fin thickness). When taking fin thickness into count, the actual air space between each fin is about 1.10mm. In a few minutes we'll see if its actual performance shines through or not.

The AXP-140 does not come with Intel's generic mounting pins that so many people seem to despise, instead Thermalright provides you with a retention plate. While some experienced system builders may prefer the added support of the retention plate, the downside to a retention plate is that installation will require motherboard removal. Here are a few more angles of the AXP-140:

Something else important to notice is the roughness of the heatsink's base; I would've expected more of a mirror finish from such an established company. A few sheets of sandpaper and some good elbow grease could make the bottom flat and shinning should you so desire.

Page 4 : Specifications

Specifications taken directly from Thermalright's website.

Since we're talking about HTPCs, it's important to notice that with a 120mm fan on top, the fan increases the total height to 3.6′, too tall for a 2U case (3.5′). So if you were planning on having active cooling in a 2U case with this heatsink, the heatsink and fan exceed your height requirements. Though, since the actual heatsink body is only 2.7′, ambient cooling is still an option for a properly ventilated 2U case.

Page 5 : Package Contents

Along with the heatsink came an unmarked white box full of assorted goodies.

Opening up the box, we find an LGA775 Retention plate, four screws, and a tube of thermal paste. A small wrench, anti-vibration strips, and 120/140mm fan mounters. The AXP-140 does not come with a 140/120mm fan, pictured is the 120mm case fan I included.

Page 6 : Installation

To start off, if you're planning on using this heatsink with active cooling, it would be a good idea to apply the anti-vibration strips first. On the heatsink are small notches for fans to slot into, if a 120mm is being used, place the anti-vibration strips in the first notch, if a 140mm fan is being used, place them on the outermost notch. In this example, I'll be using a 120mm case fan.

Then comes the actual fan, simply place the fan on the anti-vibration strips, and insert the provided fan mounting wires into a set of holes on the side.

Now simply pull the wires up over the heatsink and into the fans screw holes at each corner. This fan mounting method works for both 120mm and 140mm fans.

Then you simply need to mount it on the motherboard – there are plenty of tutorials out there on how to mount a heatsink using a retention plate, so I'll skip right over that, and proceed to testing instead.

Page 7 : Testing & Performance

Below are the system specifications I used for testing, all coolers were paired with Arctic Silver 5. To stress the system, I ran Prime95 until the temperature reached a steady state.

System Specifications

  • CPU: Intel C2D E8400
  • Mobo: MSI P45 Neo2-FR
  • GPU: HIS 4870
  • PSU: Sigma Shark SP-635 Watt
  • 4gb OCZ Platinum 1066Mhz RAM
  • Thermaltake VI1000BWS Midtower
  • Ambient: 23-24C

Coolers Tested

Before I provide the results, realize that this is not HTPC realistic environment – which is what the AXP-140 is designed for. The comparison coolers that the AXP-140 will be pitted against were designed for an ATX chassis – in other words, I'm treating the AXP-140 as a standard CPU heatsink. With that said, let's jump into this!

Well, I'm surprised to say the least, the AXP-140, a heatsink designed exclusively for HTPCs. produced very comparable results to standard heatsinks in a mid-tower environment. I'd be more than comfortable popping this heatsink into a 2U case on ambient. The temperatures are nowhere close to the danger threshold of 70C, and that's with the CPU at 100% for 20 minutes. If all you're going to be doing is streaming Blurays, then ambient should be more than enough to keep your CPU cool.

Page 8 : Conclusion

Not only from the results the AXP-140 produced, but also from its sheer size, the AXP-140 is one of the best HTPC oriented CPU coolers I've seen. Though it won't fit in a 2U case with an attached fan, ambient has shown itself to be more than sufficient when it comes to dissipating the heat, and paired with a 140mm fan in a taller case, you'll have the freedom to overclock your HTPC.

This down draft style 120/140mm fan heatsink won't set any cooling record, but is one of the few well-performing HTPC CPU coolers.



  • Performance
  • 2U Capable
  • Capable of low noise performance


  • Motherboard removal required
  • Fan not included.

Overclockers Online would like to thank Thermalright for making this review possible.

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