I thought the Microcool “North Pole” was a decent performer, much better than the stock passive cooling solution ASUS puts on its boards. I think Microcool made the loop adapter mounting assembly much more difficult than it needed to be – a simple wire clip like the Swiftech uses would have been fine. A small point I did like very much was the fact that the actual heatsink was enclosed in an aluminum shroud which maximized the airflow over the fins, which in turn will disperse heat much better. Considering the price, installation, and performance of both the Microcool ($29) and the Swiftech ($39), I simply can’t recommend the Microcool “North Pole”. There is an awful lot to like, but the hook assembly really turned me off to this product. To be fair, if you have a board with mounting holes, the “North Pole is a good performer at a decent price, but if your board uses loops to secure the NB heatsink, I would push you in the direction of the Swiftech MCX-159-R.
I personally liked the Microcool chipsinks. Before getting these I had always cut up VGA ramsinks to cool various spots on my boards. As I said earlier, I think people tend to overlook little things when stressing their system. There is alot more to a good O/C and a healthy system than just a good cooling solution for your CPU, RAM, and GPU. These, while stressed, tend to put stress on other, smaller components that even some enthusiasts tend to overlook. While the Microcool chipsinks may not help you gain more out of your overclock, it does provide a good cooling solution for supporting components, the variety of sizes and shapes allows them to be used on any board, in any situation.
A couple of issues and ideas would be to not use thermal tape, and instead package the chipsinks with a good thermal epoxy. Though a little more expensive, this would prevent them from every losing their adhesive properties and falling off, a problem I had with a few that I was forced to reseat. Also, I was a little disappointed to see that there were only six of the mid-sized chipsinks, these would fit perfectly on the video card’s memory chips, and as the above temperatures show, these would provide a good cooling solution on your video card, unfortunately most video cards now have eight memory chips.
The Legit Bottom Line
In my opinion of the Microcool products is a mixed bag. While I didn’t care for the mounting solutions for the “North Pole” chipset cooler, it performed decently and does have its good points. On the other hand, the variety of sizes and the great design of the chipsinks really impressed me. I highly recommend the chipsinks to the enthusiast or casual computer user.