Thermalright AX-7 Review
Introduction and Specifications
This content was originally featured on Amdmb.com and has been converted to PC Perspective's website. Some color changes and flaws may appear.Thermalright, the manufacturers of the world famous "SK-6 HSF" are about to launch a whole series of new products, with the aim of taking over all the top spots and in all the different heatsink categories. Their first offering, which will appear shortly at your favorite reseller, is the AX-7.
Radical and innovative design is nothing new for Thermalright and the AX-7 continues the trend set by the SK-6. The one huge difference in the AX-7 is unlike the high performance SK-6, it can be anything you like; extreme performance, high performance, mid-range performance and even quiet!! In this study we’ll attempt to capture the AX-7 in each of its roles.
We’ve had the opportunity of working with the AX-7 for a couple of months in one form or another and the production version, seen here, incorporates all the features one could ask for. (Note: the fan in our photo is the Panaflo 47 CFM Fan producing only 38.2 dBA’s.)
The AX-7 is quite a large heatsink and will use an 80 mm fan of your choice. The base measures 77 (L) x 77 (W) 42 (H) mm, at the top with 80 x 38 mm Delta fan it measures in at 80 (L) x 80 (W) x 38 (H) mm. The weight including the fan is 600 grams.
The Delta fan I received for testing was the infamous FFB0812EHE that produces 80.16 CFM’s at a noise level of 52.5 dBA’s. For testing purposes, we decided to use a number of 80 mm fans, from the loudest to the reasonably quiet; so that you can judge for yourself if the AX-7 is the heatsink for you!!
The next two photos, seen below, will give you an idea of just how radical the design of the AX-7 really is. The heatsink itself is a milled "Aluminum Block" and the heat spreader (bottom) is an 8 mm thick slab of polished copper. The copper heat spreader is soldered to the Aluminum heatsink as only Thermalright can do it; if you’ve seen the SK-6, you know exactly what I mean!!
As you can clearly see, the AX-7 uses a very secure, three pronged clip alleviating any concerns you may have about the weight of the AX-7.
In addition, the use of the three pronged clip, means that there is no need to un-install your motherboard in order to install the AX-7, as is the case with other large heatsinks.
The AX-7 arrives at your door or reseller in a rugged, protective corrugated
box and will include the heatsink, the four rubber standoffs (to lift the fan above the heatsink), and four screws, long enough to attach an 80 x 38 mm or for that matter, an 80 x 25 mm fan.
As mentioned earlier on, the choice of fan is yours to make as the AX-7 does not come packaged with one. You decide if you want high performance and a high noise level or good performance with a quieter noise level.
The non-inclusion of a fan is becoming standard practice with large high quality heatsinks due to the many diverse requirements of end-users; just checkout our forums and you’ll quickly see what I mean. Some people don’t mind a jet engine on top of their heatsinks, while others complain if they can even hear the fan on it!!
Installation, as with all heatsinks, requires care and we recommend you first apply a thin coat of a quality thermal compound like Artic Silver to the core of your CPU rather than use of a thermal pad.
A flathead screwdriver is required for installation, and the AX-7 can be a tight fit on some motherboards, but it will fit the great majority of modern motherboards.
Our photo shows the AX-7 mounted on my Soyo Dragon Plus motherboard and as you can see, I didn’t loose any of my DIMM slots due to the size of the heatsink, the capacitors on the right are very close but don’t touch the heatsink.
You may have noticed the fancy laser cut stainless steel fan grill sitting on top of the fan!! I thought an innovative and radically designed heatsink, such as the Thermalright AX-7 needed that finishing touch it so richly deserved!! While quite practical, in that it allows more air to pass unabated to the heatsink, even more than the standard wire grill, it is expensive. Check out www.zxmods.com for their complete line of laser cut grills.