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Thermalright SLK-800

Along about the middle of last year Thermalright introduced the SLK-800 heatsink for socket 370/462 motherboards. The result was a resounding success. The SLK-800 found itself perched atop the food chain for aftermarket cooling on those steaming Athlons. Praises were heaped upon it like roses on Miss America. So, it’s been well over six months since it was introduced, why subject us to another review? Well, for two reasons actually. One, some folks have just discovered Motherboard Monitor and realized they could fry two eggs and a slab of bacon on their CPU. Two, just like when shopping for a vehicle, you need to read the reports of how well they hold up after initial manufacture. Besides, with the passage of time, the price of this unit has come down to a very affordable level for the novice.

Those familiar with Thermalright will remember the wildly popular SK-6 and it’s equally popular big brother, the SLK-600. The SLK-800 retains the classic thermalright commitment to quality while improving on an already excellent design. I will touch on a few of the more important details in this article, for an expanded list of specifications and features click on the link in the previous paragraph.

The first, and most obvious, feature is probably the fan retention mechanism. It is a radically different design than you will find on any other heatsink. Rather than use the standard method of securing the fan to the hs via screws that either fasten to the base of the unit or directly through the fins, the 800 utilizes retention wires. While they don’t appear to be very substantial, they are more than up to the task of securing any fan to the top of the structure. Perhaps the most unique part of this innovative concept is the inclusion of multiple holes in the side of the heatsink. These are used to accommodate 60mm, 70mm and 80mm fans. This coupled with the “shelving” of the top of the unit provide a stable format for holding the fan in place. This arrangement allows you to experiment with a variety of fan combinations to achieve the optimum ratio of noise to cooling. This, in my opinion, is the real genius of the SLK-800. Nowhere else can you find this functionality; allowing you to use that fancy new TMD fan or powering up UT2K3 and slapping on the Tornado. There is also no need to purchase one of a myriad of adapters that must be haphazardly attached in order to take advantage of the quiet cooling of the larger fans.

Next, we look at the socket attachment apparatus. This is achieved by means of a 3-lug clip. This is a must considering the design of the unit, which we’ll look at in a minute. The inclusion of a clip that utilizes all three lugs is becoming more of a standard, as it should. While I wouldn’t feel totally comfortable toting around my LAN case with this attached, it does weigh in at 505g (sans fan), for everyday usage and movement you should have no qualms about it becoming dislodged and taking your lugs with it. The clip itself is locked within the heatsink, it can’t be removed. No chance of putting the clip on backwards. As you can see from the photos, the clip is flat black in color. I had heard that there might be a shift to silver but, apparently, this did not occur. That’s fine with me, I prefer the black. I don’t believe aesthetics should be a large concern when you consider this model.

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