While we’d love to throw lots of extreme overclocking and overvolting numbers into this review, it doesn’t really make a lot of sense to run an HTPC that way. Thermalright is marketing the AXP-140 to the HTPC crowd, and as you can see it is clearly up to the task. With very little airflow through our case the AXP-140 was able to beat out the stock heat sink by 16C with the system under a full load! Keep in mind that the stock cooler is the beefier Q6600 heat sink and you can’t help but be impressed.
The AXP-140 opens up a couple of different ways to keep your system cool. Combined with a dual core 45nm CPU you should have no problem running this heat sink without a fan, or with one below 20 decibels. As an HTPC enthusiast that leans more towards the multimedia aspect as opposed to gaming, the difference in sound is HUGE! Instead of hearing the CPU fan spinning its little heart out when it comes to a quiet scene in a movie, you have a silent computer that keeps you focused on being entertained. That is really the whole point here, giving you peace of mind that your hardware is running cool, as well as giving you peace and quiet.
Compatibility is very good, and any case with 110mm or more top to bottom in the CPU socket area will easily fit the cooler and fan. Thermalright claims that 80% of HTPC cases on the market today are compatible. While our unit did not ship with LGA 1366 mounting hardware, Thermalright should have the hardware available for it very soon.
Of course this level of cooling does not come cheap; the Thermalright AXP-140 retails for $54.99 at the time of this writing and does not include a fan. Fortunately, price is the only downside to the AXP-140. For someone who is annoyed by the whirring inefficient fan in their HTPC the extra money spent on this heat sink may be worth it at even double the price.
In our book, the additional money spent on the AXP-140 is worth it for the silence it brings to our entertainment area. Replacing the loudest fan in our system has brought a new level of comfort to our enjoyment. You may even hear a “thank you” from your significant other for quieting down that noisy computer. It is also worth noting that a cooler running CPU will last longer than one that runs at high heat levels for long periods of time.
Legit Bottom Line: The Thermalright AXP-140 offers tremendous levels of cooling at very low air flow and noise levels. Designed with HTPC’s in mind, the AXP-140 will make sure your focus is on entertainment instead of how loud and annoying a CPU fan can be.