Components and Design

The XP-120 heatsink comes packed in a traditional Thermalright cardboard box.  Inside however, the heatsink is securely nestled inside a closed-cell foam insert.  And for the first time (in my experience) a printed Installation Guide is included. 


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In addition to the XP-120 heatsink, the box also contains:

  • K8 retention bracket with screws
  • Mounting wires for fan (2)
  • Foam fan mounting strips (2)
  • Syringe of thermal grease
  • Printed Installation Guide

As we mentioned earlier, the XP-120 does not come with a fan.  For this review, I will be using the recommended 120mm Panaflo L1A (at 12 and 7 VDC) along with a 120mm Delta SHE.  I had hoped to also use a 120mm Papst fan as well but for reasons we will get to in a minute, it would not work.


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The XP-120 incorporates the traditional Thermalright retention wire mounting scheme to hold the fan in place.  However, this time around only one set of wires is included, which have been designed to clip onto the base flange of the fan instead of reaching up over the top flange.


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Having the clips attach to the lower flange eliminates the problem of having various mounting holes in the heatsink body to accommodate fan frames of different thicknesses.  It also makes the upper flange accessible for attaching a wire fan guard (typically not so easy to do on earlier designs).  There is a catch however; fans with solid frame bodies, like the Papst fan, won’t work (unless you grind out an area for clearance). 


The forged copper base is Nickel plated, as are the copper heat pipes and aluminum fins.  The Nickel plating gives the heatsink a beautiful, uniform appearance but more importantly allows all the pieces to be soldered together for maximum heat transfer.  While certainly not polished to a mirror finish, the machined base is smooth and flat.


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The XP-120 base has two spring-steel clips attached for mounting the heatsink into a standard P4 retention frame.  The included K8 retention bracket replaces the stock AMD bracket when mounting the XP-120 onto a K8 platform.


The 26 fins in the center of the XP-120 heatsink extend all the way down to the copper base, where they are soldered on.  An additional 27 wing-fins (10 on one side and 17 on the other) fill out the upper fin area, which provides a large surface area for heat transfer (53 fins total).


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Thermalright XP-120 Heatsink - Cases and Cooling 22

(click to enlarge) 


Even though the overall size of the XP-120 is quite large, thanks to the steeply sloping side profiles, this cooler is able to clear most nearby components and fit many of today’s popular P4 and K8 motherboards.  See the Thermalright website for more detailed motherboard compatibility information.


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Thermalright XP-120 Heatsink - Cases and Cooling 24

(click to enlarge) 


Five heat pipes are used to effectively transport heat out of the copper base directly to the large fin area bellow the fan for maximum heat dissipation.

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