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Swiftech MCX462-B
Product : Swiftech MCX462-B Socket A heatsink
Available from : Overclock UK
Price : 45.25 including VAT

Swiftech has gained a good reputation amongst the overclocking community after producing several good heatsinks and waterblocks. Indeed they don't seem to spare much on the heatsink front, producing huge, chunky monsters which perform well. This, the MCX462 is intended for Socket A motherboards and claims to fit all Socket A motherboards. Whilst this fact is debatable what isn't, is the size and weight of this beast. If you believe in "bigger is better" then this unit will not let you down.

Swiftech have gone for a solid copper base which is 3/8 of an inch thick supported by a large number fins, which are cylindrical in shape. However to increase surface area on these fins, they are "ridged" so they look like screws. This is a great way of increasing surface area which results in increased cooling power. Another feature which increases performance levels of the MCX462 is the fact it takes 80mm fans rather than the usual 60mm units. Performance is not the only thing that increases - it is quite easy to source good 80mm fans that make low noise but deliver a high volume of air. A fan isn't supplied as standard with the MCX462.

  

Instead of using a retaining clip the MCX462 uses 4 holes on the circuit board to secure itself on top of the processor. Indeed this does limit the amount of users that can use this heatsink, but the vast majority of socket A motherboards produced does have these 4 holes drilled into it's PCB. However, it's worth checking before hand if you are unsure. The main reason for the use of these feet rather than a retaining clip is due to the weight of the MCX462.

This system does reduce the risk of "crushing" your processor's core by applying too much pressure since the screws are spring loaded and therefore the springs are able to absorb energy instead of the CPU core. Here's the science bit - on that is the fact that ceramics aren't very good under tension, they crack and break. Whereas springs can store quite a large amount of energy in it's coiled up form.

Installation

You are presented with a bag of nuts, bolts and washers along with the heatsink itself. When we first got the MCX462 in, we were a little surprised at the weight of it. You are given a serious lump of metal and this is certainly what you would look for after you've spent nearly 50 on a heatsink. The supplied instruction sheet isn't extremely clear to read, however Swiftech have one on their web site for download.

Installation isn't easy, and it requires you to take your motherboard completely out of the case. This could be extremely annoying for people who want to regularly fiddle around with the CPU, re-apply thermal paste and do various other things. The spring mounted screws are easy enough to assemble however holding the nut in place whilst trying to screw down isn't very easy and our first attempted rendered our Epox motherboard dead due to the pliers shaving off a couple of low-profile capacitors. One slightly dead motherboard in the bin.

  

Next up, our Abit KR7A-133. Thankfully there were no capacitors or resistors near the holes and this time everything went to plan. The spring loaded screws seem to do a good job of not crushing the processor (we didn't use a shim). The MCX462 doesn't come with a thermal pad stuck onto it's base, so we applied some Arctic Silver 3. With regards to the finishing of the base, it's of a fairly high standard. Not quite a mirror finish however more than adequate for the job in hand.

As for the 80mm fan we used, that was a purty Sunon unit. This seems to provide a good balance between high air flow and noise. The unit is rated at around 40 CFM. You can, of course get high powered units that will further enhance the performance of the MCX462 which is a plus point of the MCX462.

Results

After all that we expected some decent set of results from this beast. Our recently commissioned test machine was the bench on which the MCX462 had to perform on. For those that don't remember what our test machine is, the specifications are as follows :

  • AMD Athlon XP 2000+
  • 512Mb PC2700 Kingmax TinyBGA DDR Ram
  • Abit KR7A-133 motherboard (thanks Overclock)
  • Coolermaster ATC 710 case (2 CPU exhausts, 2 intakes)

    All tests were done with the CPU utilization at 100%. We compared it against our current top performer Globalwin's CAK-II 38 (review). As mentioned earlier, we fitted a Sunon 40 CFM unit to the MCX462.




    The MCX462 got a hard ride from our current champ, the Globalwin CAK-II 38, however through sheer size the MCX462 won through. Whilst the performance wasn't spectacular this can be put down to one main reason - our choice of fan. We happen to have a Delta 80mm EHE fan which does 80CFM at 52dB, so we felt that it would be a sin not to try it on.




    The MCX462 is finally showing it's potential when it's coupled to a very powerful fan. With the Delta EHE 80CFM unit it beats the Globalwin CAK-II 38 by 8 degrees - quite an achievement.

    Conclusion

    Swiftech's MCX462 is an interesting piece of metal. You are presented with a high price tag, a large amount of work installing the thing and you have to buy your own 80mm case fan. Doesn't sound too great does it? However for your 50 you get one heck of a heatsink. There is very little you can argue with when presented the performance figures of the MCX462 coupled to a Delta EHE 80mm fan (80 CFM @ 52dB). It completely blows the pants off the Globalwin CAK-II 38 and your ears.

    So the package is great, the only thing you have to do is choose between your sanity or cooling power.

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