The new Thermalright XP-120 heatsink for P4/K8 platforms is capable of delivering excellent performance while maintaining noise levels well below 40 dBA – an outstanding product.

Thermalright is a well-respected name among computer enthusiasts seeking high-performance cooling solutions.   It seems like only a few short years ago I was mounting an SK-6 on my overclocked T-bird.  At the time, high RPM 60mm fans were all the rage and some folks were playing around with fan adapters, which allowed mounting larger 80, 92, even 120mm fans on small heatsinks.  I never much cared for fan adapters, but being able to use a larger fan at lower speeds was a welcome improvement because low speed generally means less noise.


The Thermalright XP-120 heatsink was designed specifically for use with a 120mm fan and incorporates five heat pipes to transfer heat out of the copper base into a large array of aluminum fins.  The XP-120’s universal mount works with both Intel P4 (socket 478) and AMD K8 (socket 754/939/740) platforms.


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Thermalright XP-120 Heatsink


One of the main features of the XP-120 is the ability to provide excellent cooling along with silent performance.  The large wingspan of the XP-120 also provides extra cooling to other components located around the CPU socket area, like the NB, RAM modules and voltage regulators.


Main Features:

  • Ability to directly mount a 120mm fan
  • Five heat pipes to help provide maximum heat dissipation
  • Aluminum fins soldered to copper base
  • Large wingspan provides extra cooling to NB, RAM and voltage regulators
  • Light weight and easy to install



  • Construction: Forged copper base, copper heat pipes, and aluminum fins (all Nickel plated, which allows components to be soldered together)
  • Dimensions: 110L x 125W x 63H (mm)
  • Weight: 370g (without fan)
  • Recommended fan: 120mm Panaflo low speed (FBA12G12L1A)
  • Universal mounting hardware for P4 and K8 platforms

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Heat Pipe Technology


The XP-120 heatsink uses five copper heat pipes to transport heat from the heatsink base up to the large surface area provided by the copper fins.  A heat pipe is a highly efficient conductor of heat.  A properly constructed heat pipe has a very low thermal resistance, which is roughly independent of its length (unlike ordinary metal rods whose thermal resistance increases with length).  Heat pipes are commonly used to transport heat from one location to another.


Heat pipes work on the principle of evaporation and condensation.  A working fluid (frequently distilled water) evaporates inside one end of the heat pipe (the hot-end) absorbing heat in the process.  A partial vacuum inside the heat pipe allows the water to evaporate at low temperatures.  Once formed, the water vapor diffuses from an area of high vapor pressure (where it is being generated) to the other end of the tube where the vapor pressure is lower.


The vaporized fluid then condenses back to liquid (cold-end) and the heat is dissipated into the air from the metal cooling fins.  The working fluid returns to the hot end via capillary action thru an internal wicking structure (sintered metal coating, fine wire mesh, or grooves) so the heat pipe does not have to rely on gravity to recycle the working fluid.


The key to a heat pipe’s high efficiency is the latent heat of vaporization.  One gram of water absorbs 540 calories of heat when it changes state from a liquid to a gas (without any increase in temperature).  It then gives up this same amount of heat when it condenses back into a liquid.  By contrast, adding 540 calories of heat to 100 grams of copper (small heatsink) would raise its temperature 60ºC!

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