Thermalright XP-90 Heatsink Review




This heatsink does require you to buy your own fan. This can be good if you like to customize your sink with different fans, but bad if you don’t want to spend any more money. I chose a quality Panaflo unit rated at 57cfm and 35dB. To mount a fan on this heatsink, you use unique wire spring clips that slide into holes in the sides of the fins. These clips slip over the holes in the housing of the fan that you would normally put screws through.


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Thermalright also threw in thin rubber strips which you place under the fan housing. These should help reduce some noise from vibrations traveling through the fan to the heatsink. When completely mounted, the fan is very snug and secure. I can’t see any situation short of violent shaking that would bring this fan from its mounting. Overall, the unit looks solid, well constructed and well engineering. Aesthetically if you like an industrial look to your parts, you should be happy with this heatsink sitting in your case.


To mount the XP-90 you need to use a proprietary mounting bracket provided as an accessory. The bracket is made of a dense, hardened plastic that is a direct swap for the original that comes with K8 motherboards. Just use the supplied screws. The heatsink mounts with a spring loaded hook system at all four corners of the bracket.

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Just angle the heatsink 45 degrees, attach two of the hooks and then rock the heatsink back to hook in the other two. It is easiest to do this outside of the case but can be done inside if the bracket isn’t too obstructed. One thing to note is that with certain motherboards (such as this Abit AV8) you will find that some of the hooks, and when angling the heatsink you can hit components on the motherboard. This can make your life a bit harder when mounting this heatsink.

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When fully mounted the unit was very solid and there seemed to be a good amount of mounting pressure. I don’t feel there would be any risk in this heatsink falling off while transporting a case, if installed properly. Also, I just wanted to mention that while checking the thermal compound imprint, it dawned on me why Thermalright made the heat pipes go through only part of the heatsink base. The processor only contacts the first 1 ¾” of a roughly 2” base. So the heat pipes only extend through the processor contact area of the base.

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Test System
Testing of the Thermalright XP-90 was conducted on the following system (Note: motherboard is not the one pictured during installation):

  • MSI K8N Neo2 Platinum s939
  • AMD64 3200+ 90nm Winchester
  • PQI Turbo Dual Channel PC3200 @ 2-2-2-10
  • ATI Radeon 9800 Pro 256meg
  • Western Digital 36.7GB WD360DG Raptor Drive
  • Western Digital 160GB 1600BB 2MB Cache
  • Lite-On DVD-RW
  • PC Power and Cooling 510 Deluxe
  • Lian-Li PC6085 Case