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Thermalright XP-120 K8/P4 CPU Cooler Review

Former staff writer    -   September 28, 2004


Installation



Before we actually install the XP-120 we must first add two rubbers strips on top of the heatsink where the 120mm fan will sit. This helps keep the fan in place on the heatsink and will also prevent fan vibration for quieter cooling. You can also see the clips that I installed on top of the heatsink, which will aid in keeping the fan securely fastened.



Next, we're going to install the provided socket on our motherboard with the provided screws. Your motherboard may already have a black rention bracket installed and if this is the case, you should remove the old one and replace it with this one. If you do not already have a rention bracket on your motherboard, there is a good chance you don't have a "back plate" on the back of your motherboard. The back plate is simply a piece of metal with screw holes on them so that you can mount the rention bracket to it from the other side.

Once I applied thermal paste to my CPU, I proceeded to install the heatsink on my CPU. The XP-120 was so large and so difficult to install, I had to slide my motherboard out of my case. Even then, I had a very hard time trying to install the massive heatsink. One problem I quickly came across was the capacitors on my motherboard being in the way of the heatpipes on the heatsink. I had to slightly bend all of my capacitors out of the way so the heatsink would clear them. I thought I was home free after that, but that was only the beginning. I had removed my memory from the motherboard so that I could get a screwdriver on the clips to clip them in to the socket. Using your fingers was out of the question, unless you have some very small fingers to get in there. I found that even using a screwdriver it was hard, considering you don't have much room for leverage. After about 10 minutes, I finally got the clips secured on the socket. As I proceeded to install my memory, I found that the heatsink was covering my DIMM slot. I did manage to get the memory installed, but the heatsink was pushing the memory to the side at an awful angle. I could not simply use the other DIMM slot, because this motherboard is picky about the memory configuration and would only see one of the memory sticks.

After the hair pulling installation, one can only hope that the performance of this monster is out of this world!


Compatibility
The XP-120 has a lot of compatibility issues, obviously because of it's massive size. On some motherboards you may have to tilt capacitors to the side, move your memory to another slot, install chipset cooler after the XP-120, and on some boards the XP-120 won't even work at all. Thermalright has compiled a list of motherboards that have problems with the XP-120. Of course this list is probably not all of the boards, because my motherboard wasn't even on the list and I had to tilt my memory and the capacitors. Below is a table that I made using the list at Thermalright. You will see the compatibility issue with each board to the right under "Remark".

Manufacturer
Model
Remark
Abit
AV8 can not use Dimm #1
AV8 Third Eye can not use Dimm #1
KV8 Not Compatible
KV8-Max3 Not Compatible
KV8 Pro Not Compatible
KV8 Pro - 3rd Eye Not Compatible
IC7 Max3 Not Compatible (due to OTES)
IC7-G caps mechanically obstruct pipe slightly, cap tilting necessary, remove and install stock chipset cooler after HSF installed
IC7 caps mechanically obstruct pipe slightly, cap tilting necessary, remove and install stock chipset cooler after HSF installed
Asus
P4C800 caps mechanically obstruct pipe slightly, cap tilting necessary
P4C800 Deluxe caps mechanically obstruct pipe slightly, cap tilting necessary
K8V caps mechanically obstruct pipe slightly, cap tilting necessary
K8V Deluxe caps mechanically obstruct pipe slightly, cap tilting necessary
K8V SE Deluxe caps mechanically obstruct pipe slightly, cap tilting necessary
P4C800-E Deluxe caps mechanically obstruct pipe slightly, cap tilting necessary
P4SDX caps mechanically obstruct pipe very slightly, no cap tilting necessary
P4S800D-E Deluxe caps mechanically obstruct pipe very slightly, no cap tilting necessary
P4S800D caps mechanically obstruct pipe very slightly, no cap tilting necessary
Chaintech
ZNF3-150 ZENITH Not Compatible
DFI
LP Pro875 caps mechanically obstruct pipe slightly, cap tilting necessary
LP Pro875B caps mechanically obstruct pipe very slightly, no cap tilting necessary
LP Pro875B rev. B caps mechanically obstruct pipe very slightly, no cap tilting necessary
875 Infinity caps mechanically obstruct pipe very slightly, no cap tilting necessary
Gigabyte
GA-8IK1100 Not Compatible (Heatpipe loop in contact with PWM coils)
GA-8KNXP Not Compatible
GA-8KNXP (rev 2.0) Not Compatible
GA-8KNXP Ultra Not Compatible
GA-8KNXP Ultra(rev 2.0) Not Compatible
MSI
865PE Neo2-PFISR caps mechanically obstruct pipe slightly, cap tilting necessary
K8N Neo2 Platinum Not Compatible (caps mechanically obstruct pipe.)

* Tilting capacitors may damage motherboards. Users do this at their own risk.



  1. Introduction, About Thermalright, Specifications, Features
  2. In-Depth Look
  3. Installation, Compatibility
  4. Testing & Conclusion
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