For this review, I will be using an AMD Athlon 64 CPU so I attached the Thermalright K8 retention frame to the existing steel backing plate with two machine screws.  Both the heatsink base and CPU IHS were cleaned with Isopropyl alcohol before applying a tiny amount of Arctic Silver 5 thermal compound.


In addition to the single page Installation Guide that comes with the XP-90c, detailed installation instructions are provided on the Thermalright website.  The basic idea is to hook two of the clips into one side of the retention frame and then push the heatsink down into position and hook the second two clips into the frame holes.  I found that removing the RAM modules and the video card gave me a little extra room to work, which resulted in a successful mount on the first try.


Thermalright XP-90c Heatsink Review - Cases and Cooling 17


The XP-90c can be mounted in either of two positions.  Depending on the layout and component placement of your motherboard, you can mount the heatsink so that the fan deck overhangs the MOSFET voltage regulators behind the CPU socket area or mount it so it blows air down over the RAM modules.  As you can see in the following picture, the XP-90c is high enough to provide clearance for even the very tall Corsair Pro RAM modules.


Thermalright XP-90c Heatsink Review - Cases and Cooling 18     


Once the first two clips are hooked into one side of the retention frame, a fair amount of force is needed to rotate and position the heatsink squarely on top of the CPU so that the remaining two clips can be attached.  Thank goodness for integrated heat spreaders (IHS)!  This procedure could easily crack an exposed XP or mobile core.


Alternately, you can mount the heatsink into the K8 retention frame and then attach the assembly to the motherboard by evenly tightening the two screws a little at a time until the retention frame is securely locked into position.  This is also an easy way to remove the heatsink.


Thermalright XP-90c Heatsink Review - Cases and Cooling 19


Once the heatsink is securely mounted into position, a fan of your choice can be installed on top of the XP-90c using the supplied wire clips.  A 92mm fan is highly recommended as it will give the best cooling with minimal noise and provides added airflow to the motherboard around the CPU socket area.  The two, thin foam rubber strips are intended to go between the edges of the fan frame where it contacts the heatsink.  They provide a little compliance when mounting the fan and are intended to help dampen any fan vibrations.

« PreviousNext »