Thermalright has been a producer of high-quality copper heatsinks for quite a few years. Greater heat generation of the latest processors has resulted in the need for larger, heavier coolers to eliminate this heat. These high-performance cooling chameleons are targeted towards the enthusiast market, who generally upgrade frequently and switch between Intel and Athlon processors. In the past, this customer had to choose between an expensive Intel-only or Athlon-only solution, as Thermalright’s sibling product, the SLK-800. The SLK-800U is a cross-platform solution that can be used in either situation , ensuring extended life in your investment even when upgrading.
This is one heavy hunk o’ metal! This is basically an SLK800 with more flexible mounting hardware, which include additional clips, standoffs and screws. Previous models depended on fastening the product to the plastic ZIF socket, putting a tremendous amount of stress on plastic pieces that sometimes would break off. The new mounting method is much more involved but is also much more secure and stable.
The small brown cardboard box ships double-packed inside another box and snugly surrounded by an ample supply of foam peanuts. Thermalright has included all the little goodies you will need for installation in any situation, all in one little box. In addition to the heatsink itself are 2 sets of differently-sized fan clips, 4 P4 mounting spring-screws, a padded P4 mounting backplate, 2 P4 mounting clips. 2 AMD mounting clips, a baggie of assorted screws, and a small syringe of generic thermal compound. It is puzzling that no instructions are included, considering how complicated the installation is. The instructions can be viewed on Thermalright’s website. The P4 installation is very complicated and instructions are necessary. Intel installation is not as complicated, but instructions would still be nice.
Thermalright’s design has varied little since their first heatsink. Thin copper fins are soldered onto a smaller copper base. The fins’ width flare out as the height increases, making sure motherboard components around the processor have enough clearance. The ridge of each fin is shaped like a stairstep to accommodate different sized fans (60, 70, and 80mm). A black metal shroud adorns with 4 mounting holes surround the base of the sink. This shroud is what the mounting hardware comes in contact with, and has been designed for different mounting options (more on that later).
Thirty-five cooling fins are soldered to the base, and the edges of each fin are folded over onto each other to prevent bending. Each fin houses 6 symmertrical holes, intended for the fan mounting clips. The size fan you choose to crown your copper king determines which set of holes used to fasten it.
The base looks very smooth but one can feel ridges on the base; possibly a result of soldering these fins to the block. Lapping the base to a mirror finish may improve performance. The fins hang over the small base, allowing an extra amount of airflow to reach the CPU components.