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Thermalright XP-120 K8/P4 CPU Cooler Review


Testing Method
Arctic Silver 5 thermal compound was applied to the CPU with both of the tested heatsinks and according to the directions located on the Arctic Silver web site. Thermal compound was given 72 hours of use before we started testing. To achieve the "idle temperature" reading, the computer was allowed to set idle for 15 minutes then the reading was taken. To achieve the "load temperature" Prime95 was ran for 25 minutes and then the reading was taken.

Test Setup
  • Shuttle ANS51R Motherboard (Review)
  • AMD Athlon 64 3200+ CPU
  • 1GB Corsair TwinX 1024-3200XL Pro Memory (Review)
  • Powercolor ATI Radeon X800 Pro Video Card (Review)
  • (2) WD 74GB 10,000RPM SATA HDD's
  • Ambient Room Temp: 18.5° - 19.1°c

The XP-120 will be going up against another heavy weight, both in size and performance, the Alpha PAL 8150. The Alpha PAL 8150 is a copper heatsink which uses a bolt type installation that makes for a much easier installation. Let's see how well the heatsinks performed in our tests.


The XP-120 is an excellent performing heatsink, beating the Alpha PAL 8150 by a degree or two. While it does offer some impressive cooling, it can be a major headache to install it. I think Thermalright should have spent more time looking at the compatibility aspect of this cooler. It would seem to me that they could raise the height of the fins so that they easily clear all motherboard capacitors and memory installed in the motherboard. I also prefer the bolt type installation like the Alpha offers because it's faster, easier, and safer. You simply put two screws in and you're done! The XP-120 also has a lot of compatibility issues with motherboard capacitors being in the way of the heatpipes and also the memory.

The XP-120 is an excellent performing heatsink and I would recommend it over almost any heat sink, but not over the Alpha PAL 8150. The Alpha PAL 8150 provided very similar cooling performance but above all else, it's much easier to install!


  • Performance
  • The massive size of the XP-120, may help cool other nearby motherboard components
  • Quiet Cooling



  • Compatibility
  • Installation
  • No fan included

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