PcToys NB MAXX Chipset Cooler Review

pctoys-nb-maxx

Introduction

I just reviewed the PcToys VGA MAXX Heatpipe cooler which was basically an anodized blue Zalman HPA-80. Now I look at another PcToys product, the NB MAXX which is an anodized blue Zalman NB32J. I reviewed the Zalman NB32 back in April of 2002 and was pretty pleased with it. This NB MAXX is essentially the same thing except for a few minor changes. This NB MAXX uses Aluminum 6063T5 where as the old NB32 used plain pure aluminum. The aluminum used for the NB MAXX is better because of the heat dissipation properties it has. This NB MAXX also comes with adjustable arms which will allow you to clip the heatsink in rather than epoxy it.

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The NB MAXX comes in a retail box which is yellow and has the PcToys brand on it. The back of the package has basic instructions on how to install the cooler with both the clips and with the epoxy. I like that the instructions are on the back because if you are in the store thinking about buying it the fact that you can see how to install it really good for making a decision.

The NB MAXX comes with the heatsink itself, thermal epoxy, thermal compound, the hardware needed to use the clips, and an installation manual. The manual explains very simply how to install the NB MAXX with either the clips or epoxy.

The heatsink is really cool looking, its anodized blue which is a lot better than the gold color that Zalman uses for this product. The bottom of the heatsink is lapped really well and wouldn’t need any extra. There are 99 fins and each fin is about one inch tall so there is a lot of surface area to dissipate heat. On the bottom of the heatsink there are two grooves that you put the arms of the heatsink into if you are going to attach it that way.

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I installed this heatsink to an Albatron KX400+ Pro motherboard which uses the VIA KT333 chipset. The reason I am installing it to this motherboard is because it is used in a computer which acts as an emulator for my MAME cabinet. The stock heatsink on the motherboard doesn’t make all that much noise but it is noticeable and I want it to be as silent as possible.

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I decided to use the clips rather than the epoxy for a few reasons. I didn’t want to use the epoxy because it smells horrible before it cures and I want to be able to remove the NB MAXX easily if I need to. Not only do I want to be able to remove it easily but I want to use Arctic Silver 3 in-between the heatsink and northbridge. I applied a very thin layer of AS3 to the northbridge and prepared the arms for the clips. All you really have to do is take the screw and put it through the hole on the arm. Take one of the nuts and thread it onto the screw a very little bit and then slide the screw into the groove on the NB MAXX. you will then put the spring on the plastic clip and pop it into the hole for it. After finishing one side so the other and line up the arms to the holes on your motherboard. After you have the arms all lined up with the holes on the motherboard you will need to tighten the screws with a screwdriver. After you have both arms tightened down all you have to do is push the pins into the holes onto the motherboard and your set.


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Test Bed

  • Albatron KX400+ Pro
  • Duron 800
  • 30GB Western Digital 7200RPM
  • 256MB XtremeDDR PC3500
  • ATi Rage 128
  • Generic 300w PSU

I tested both the stock heatsink and NB MAXX to see what kind of difference there was. To test this product I put a probe on the northbridge so that I could get an accurate reading of its temperature. I am only really concerned with the load temperature of the northbridge so I booted up windows and ran Prime95.

As you can see at load the stock heatsink was at 37 degrees Celsius and the NB MAXX heatsink was 35 degrees. I am very impressed that the NB MAXX was able to achieve a lower temperature than the stock heatsink because it doesn’t have a fan blowing over it. The fact that this heatsink is able to cool the northbridge better than the stock heatsink and be completely silent makes this product extremely good. I don’t think there is really much more to say than the fact that this product rocks.

Conclusion

I am very impressed with this product, not only with the look of it but the performance that it offers. I liked the Zalman NB32 which is the predecessor to this product and this NB MAXX is even better. I really like this product because it can either be clipped on or epoxied on which means it can be used with just about every chipset.

This NB MAXX actually out performed the stock heatsink with no fan! Everything is included that you would need and the thing I like about this product the most is the fact that it is anodized blue.

Overall I am going to give this product a 10/10 and award it the OCmodshop Seal of Approval. I would like to thank CoolerGuys for sending me this product to review, head on over and pick one up.

Pros

  • Silent
  • Anodized blue
  • Easy to install
  • Can be epoxied or pinned
  • Thermal compound & adhesive included
  • Instructions included

Cons

  • None
Brandon Turnbull is a technology enthusiast living in southern California. He has written numerous articles and tutorials about PC overclocking and modification.