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Reviewed by: Ed Lau [03.13.2003]
Edited by: Carl Nelson

Manufactured by: Thermalright
Est. Street Price: $50-55

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Testing Methods

The test machine consists of a AGOIA 1800+ (1.53 GHz) Athlon Xp mounted on a MSI KT3 Ultra-ARU with a single stick of 512MB Samsung PC2700 DDR333 RAM.

For idle test results, the WinXP was left running for 1 hour to attain a 'normal' idle temperature.  Prime95 Torture Test was then run for 2 hours to attain the highest 'stress' temperature possible.

Testing Results

Keep in mind that I live in Vancouver, BC, Canada in my igloo.  Case temperatures are regularly under 20C (sometimes in the mid-teens) even at 100% load.

An 80mm tornado was used in these tests.

Check those numbers.  The SLK-900U absolutely STOMPS the competition with a high speed fan and is the first I've used with a load temperature below 30C.  However, keep in mind that that is with a high speed, 84CFM Vantec Tornado that is louder than any fan I've ever tested here.  With a Thermaltake SmartFan II, it still breaks records at 4800rpm, although that is still louder than I prefer.  At 2300rpm, it's quieter than even the Aeroflow (if just by a bit) and performs almost the same.

What can I say?  The numbers speak for themselves and this is the best solution for any user who wants to overclock like crazy but not get into water or phase change cooling.  Pairing the SLK-900U with a Vantec Tornado will get you the most hardcore air cooler available...and also one of loudest.  If you've never heard a Vantec Tornado, I suggest you try it out before buying one because I know people who have sold them or have them lying around collecting dust because of the constant jet engine noise.

While the SLK-900U is a GREAT heatsink, two things keep it out of the winner's circle when it comes to hardCOREware's award.  If you want quiet, you're better off with a Vantec Aeroflow as it performs almost as well and costs roughly half the price.  At $50 before a fan, the SLK-900U isn't cheap and its performance is only astounding when paired with a high CFM fan like the Tornado.  This is the nature of copper which disapates heat well but only with a high airflow fan.  At low CFM, a copper slug in an aluminum heatsink would be a more appropriate solution.

Also, incompatiblities with many big name Socket A motherboards is a big problem.  In fact, around here, I've hardly seen a new PC built without a A7N8X in it.  Thermalright would have been better off to declare this a P4-only heatsink, in which case I could safely say that it would be in contention as the best since P4s generally are more quiet friendly because they put out less heat and don't require high speed fans.  Granted that it's not EVERY Socket A motherboard but many have the same arrangement of capacitors around the socket.

Make no mistake though.  This is a Ferrari, a truly hardcore heatsink when paired with a high airflow fan...but only for the Intel loyal or the deaf.

Therefore, you probably don't drive one.


  • ridiculously awesome performance with a Tornado
  • on par with the best with a quiet fan
  • great quality
  • mounting system is very secure
  • accomodates 70, 80 and 92mm fans.

  • expensive compared to the Aeroflow, which performs just as well at low speeds
  • incompatible with some AMD motherboards, requiring bending

Final Score: 86%