Thermalright AXP-100 CPU Air Cooler Review

Thermalright, one of [H]’s long time favorites when it comes to CPU cooling, reaches out today with a cooler designed for smaller ITX and HTPC systems. Full nickel plating, 140mm and 120mm fan compatibility, and a mere 5.8cm height with the fan installed allows a big compatibility footprint in a very small package.

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Thermalright AXP-100

So we already know the AXP-100 is not your typical cooler. It focuses on size first which eschews the tower design in favor of a top down horizontal style. This certainly saves precious real estate and to make sure it doesn’t skimp on performance Thermalright included a load of heat pipes fins and even a little extra. A fan adapter that now only lets you mount a huge 140mm fan but also adjust its position to avoid interfering with video cards. Pretty clever, but how well does it work?

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Package & Specs

Is there any doubt who makes this product when you seen the plain brown box. Of course not! It is the signature style of Thermalright and I like it. It’s what’s on the inside that counts and there is plenty of protection to be had.

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Dimensions: (L) 121.1mm x (W) 105.47mm x (H) 44.15mm

Weight: 360g w/o fan

Material: Nickel-coated copper base, 6 x 6mm heat pipes with aluminum fins

Compatibility:

Intel

  • LGA 2011
  • LGA 1366
  • LGA 1156
  • LGA 1155
  • LGA 775
  • AMD

  • AM2
  • AM3
  • FM1
  • Fan:

  • Size: 100mm x 14mm
  • Speed: 900~2500 RPM
  • Air Flow: 16.0 ~ 44.5 CFM
  • Noise: 22-30 dBA
  • Contents & Flatness

    Plenty of screws and plates and even a little extra as mentioned before. That large adapter on the left side of the image is to mount a 140mm fan if needed. Look a little closer and you’ll see the mounting holes allow you to slide the plate to reposition the fan and avoid anything while using the larger fan. Brilliant.

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    Thermalright loves to polish the base of their cooler and I am not against it. Just beware that a shiny base does not mean flat. It only means shiny. In our case, though, Thermalright delivers both. A shiny base that is also flat. We are off to a good start.

    Photos

    Here are some photos showing off the design of the AXP-100.

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    I also wanted to highlight how small this cooler is. The entire cooler fits inside the footprint of a 140mm fan which is just amazing. Mounting the 140mm fan to the cooler looks a bit silly as it’s dwarfed entirely by the fan but then you quickly remember who makes this cooler and the potential it holds.

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    Lastly, a shot of how much space is taken up by the central hub of the fan. This is the only major drawback of this design. On a 140mm fan the hub/motor housing is much larger than smaller fans and creates a dead spot for air. Thankfully, we can slide the fan side to side to adjust airflow directly over the heat pipes.

    Installation & Contact

    Micro ATX

    I had to start with the larger fan. I mean if this thing can fit with the large fan attached then the sky is the limit. Here we see it fits just barely, but it does fit. You will hear this reoccurring theme often but it bears repeating. We are using this cooler in a manner that it is not designed for. Specifically, the memory in this case is taller than you’ll likely use in an ITX system or HTPC. It uses integrated heat spreaders which cause the RAM to barely make contact with the fan. Any larger and this wouldn’t work but also any smaller and it’s a non-issue.

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    All other areas of the cooler are clear from obstructions. Thermalright did a wonderful job with this cooler ensuring it won’t interfere with motherboard components while packing as much performance as possible.

    ATX

    Moving over to the standard ATX form factor we get a better idea of just how small this cooler is. When we use the smaller fan we have plenty of room on all sides of the cooler as shown in the first picture. In fact, the only real issue for this cooler is taller memory which we spoke about. The width of the cooler is such that it won’t interfere with the RAM as long as you use the smaller fan. Using the larger fan would cause the top of the RAM modules to push against the fan making for a less than ideal fit.

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    When we look underneath the cooler we see again that Thermalright has left enough clearance for motherboard components.

    The AXP-100 makes solid contact with our CPU. Thermalright has long made their mounting kits easy to use which in turn makes getting the best performance equally as easy. This is a point I hope other companies take to heart.

    Now, onto the testing.