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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Conclusion

Looking at the AXP-100 we can see how Thermalright delivered another great product. It performs very well and offers a lot of versatility for users of smaller platforms like ITX and HTPC users. Other areas of excellence include its ease of installation and its compatibility. The AXP-100 manages to fit a lot of performance in a small package without sacrificing too much. When it comes to noise the AXP-100 also makes sure to get the job done. It was so incredibly quiet during our sound tests that I would not hesitate to use it in my own system. As always, the final data point to look at is how much all of this performance will cost. It can be the make or break point for a lot of users, myself included.

Price/Performance

The charts below show the cost you will pay for each degree in temperature reduction the heat sink gives you over the stock cooler. The two areas that influence this chart are cost of the heat sink and its performance. An expensive cooler that gives you superior performance will be rated as average here since its cost hurts its rating. Inversely, a poor performing heat sink that costs next to nothing will be rated as average since its performance will hurt its ratings. We ideally look for low cost and high performance. All prices were gathered by doing a very quick search of the web for each cooler and listing it here sans S/H and tax (these can vary widely from region to region).

As an example, if a cooler outperforms the stock cooler by 10C and costs USD $5.00 it would be listed in our chart as $.50. You would pay fifty cents for each degree of better performance over the box cooler.

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To arrive at a single number difference, we took the value of all four cores from our overclocked tests, averaged them, and then compared them for analysis.

The Bottom Line

For a while now, Thermalright has been offering great coolers at amazing prices. We have the recently reviewed True Spirit 120m for just under $30.00 USD and the massive HR-02 Macho for $40.00 USD as two prime examples. Sadly, that is not the case here. Thermalright is well aware of the lack of quality cooling in the HTPC and ITX form factors and are taking advantage of it. It is well within its right to do so and the AXP-100 is a well performing cooler built for a very specific purpose in a niche market so design and production costs are simply higher.

At $60.00 MSPR, the AXP-100 is a cooler on the expensive side, we will also have to see how street price works out. Currently its availability at larger e-tailers is nonexistent, but we expect stock to be available in the US soon. Users will need to decide just how badly they need this heat sink. Obviously you will know if you have the need for such a product and certainly then some of the cost is justified. We feel Thermalright has a winner on its hands and if the street price comes down to the $40.00 area then Thermalright have an absolute champion and can easily earn the coveted [H] Gold Award. The Thermalright AXP-100 a great small form factor heat sink matched with a great fan that is quiet and manages to fit nearly any configuration you might want to put it in when it comes to HTPC systems. It’s up to you if it’s worth the price.

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