In the HTPC segment, space is always limited. What affects the choice of CPU cooler – it should be as compact as possible, but at the same time provide a sufficient level of cooling performance. Thermalright decided to offer its solution with the updated cooler Thermalright AXP-100RH.
Thermalright AXP-100RH cooler is a further refinement of a very powerful Thermalright AXP-100 cooler, also based on HTPC. Thermalright AXP-100RH cooler is better adapted to the high-power components of the current ASUS ROG Maximus motherboard, so it’s slightly higher. But with a height of 6.5 cm, Thermalright AXP-100RH cooler will still fit easily in most HTPC cases. Most recently, we tested the Silver Arrow ITX-R cooler from Thermalright , which provides a dual heatsink performance level, but is also suitable for mini-ITX motherboards.
Since Thermalright AXP-100RH is designed for vertical airflow, it also cools the components around the CPU socket. However, due to the size of the radiator from the cooler, it is hardly worth expecting a performance at the level of tower models. But, as can be seen from the basic specifications, Thermalright AXP-100RH is one of the most powerful HTPC coolers. Note that Thermalright used six 6-mm heat pipes, the cooler is equipped with a 100-mm fan with a rotation speed of up to 2,500 rpm. The maximum power dissipation is declared at 180 watts. Optionally, larger 120 mm and even some 140 mm fans can be installed (in the case of 120 mm holes). Thermalright AXP-100RH can be installed on various AMD and Intel sockets. A new AM4 socket is also supported.
Compact cooler is cheaper than high-end models, it can be purchased for from 48.99 euros.
Thermalright AXP-100RH comes in a simple cardboard box. On it you can see except that the Thermalright logo and the name of the model. Inside the box, the cooler and accessories are neatly packed in foam.
Together with the cooler are attached mounting accessories, user manual, tube with thermal paste and adapter for the fan. With it, larger fans can be installed on the cooler than the complete TY 100R. As usual, Thermalright chose disposable plastic bags that can not be resealed.
Thermalright AXP-100RH has a small height, which is just fine for narrow cases HTPC. The cooler is compact, but from the first acquaintance leaves an impression of high quality. Thermalright almost everywhere used a nickel plated coating, from cooling fins to heat pipes. Due to the compact dimensions, the cooler is very durable.
Heat pipes describe the arc and connect the base with the radiator, which is located parallel to the socket.
Thermalright AXP-100RH dissipates heat through 40 aluminum fins. They are interrupted only in two places, so that you can climb with a screwdriver to the bridge. Two metal brackets allow the complete fan or adapter to be screwed onto larger fans.
At the ends of the heat pipes there are metal caps with an embossed Thermalright logo. It seems to be a small thing, but it shows the manufacturer’s attention to detail.
The copper base is also nickel plated. Six 6 mm thermal tubes Thermalright soldered to the base of the cooler.
We also compared Thermalright AXP-100RH and the Silver Arrow ITX-R fans. The tower cooler Mini-ITX is equipped with a 120-mm TY 129 fan, in the case of Thermalright AXP-100RH we get the TY 100R with much smaller dimensions. Due to space limitations, the fan is also very flat. The TY 100R is controlled via PWM, a speed range of 900 to 2,500 rpm. That corresponds to an air flow between 27.3 and 75.7 m³ / h.
The fan is not mounted with clamps, but is screwed directly to the radiator. The scope of delivery includes screws for mounting the fan, as well as an adapter for a larger fan up to 2.5 cm thick. If you do not use fans with special rubber corners or patches, vibration will be transferred to the radiator.
Thermalright AXP-100RH is one of the few coolers to which the fan can be screwed before installation. It is enough to arm yourself with a Phillips screwdriver, after which you can get to the cross screws between the radiator fins and the fan impeller blades. Otherwise, the installation of the cooler does not differ from other Thermalright models. First you need to install a metal plate behind the CPU socket, then put the mounting frame on the front side. Finally, the cooler is fixed to the frame with the help of a crosspiece.
The cooler is quite low, it almost dropped to the passive radiator level of the motherboard. The cross allows you to rearrange the cooler by 180 degrees. Rotate Thermalright AXP-100RH by 90 degrees does not work. According to Thermalright, the performance of the cooler does not depend on its orientation.
Thermalright has installed a relatively compact fan in a 100-mm TY 100R format. The small size is compensated by a rather high maximum speed of 2,500 rpm (in our test system we got up to 2.300 rpm). Both the size and the maximum speed affect the results of the noise level. At a speed of 1,000 rpm, the TY 100R fan worked quietly on many large models. Subjectively, the fan was really barely audible – at least in a closed case. In the case of an open case, you could hear the rustling of the bearing, if you bring your ear close. At full speed, Thermalright AXP-100RH showed average results in our tests. Subjectively, the small fan made a rather aggressive noise. It will be interesting to see what kind of performance gain we will get at maximum revs.
In the next test scenario, we will evaluate the performance of a cooler with a standard fan at 1.000 rpm and at maximum speed.
For Thermalright AXP-100RH, we were able to get the result only at maximum speed. At 1.000 rpm, the ASUS utility showed the temperature limit for this speed. On the bar of 80 degrees Celsius the utility could no longer maintain the set temperature and began to increase the fan speed. In any case, at 1.000 rpm, the processor’s temperature exceeds 80 degrees Celsius. As a result, the CPU heats up more than 10 degrees more than the cooler is quiet! Shadow Rock LP . As for the maximum speed, the Thermalright cooler wins from significant speed, the lag behind the competitor is quiet! Is reduced to only 3 degrees. As you might expect, compact coolers are inferior to traditional tower models.
In general, the performance of Thermalright AXP-100RH in a well-ventilated enclosure will be sufficient for a powerful 4-core processor, similar to the Core i7-4790K. Especially if you do not overload the CPU too much. In such cases, the fan will run at low speed thanks to the PWM control. Even under the game load of Battlefield 4 with a discrete video card that generates additional heat in the case, the cooler fan rarely exceeded 1.000 rpm.
To compare the “clean” performance of coolers without the influence of regular fans, we equip all coolers with our reference fans. We used powerful Noctua NF-A15 PWM fans, the distance between the fixing holes is 105 mm, the speed is up to 1,200 rpm. If there was no possibility to install such fans on the radiator, we used a more compact Noctua NF-F12 120 mm at a speed of up to 1,500 rpm. In the case of coolers designed for “real” 140mm fans with 140mm hole spacing, we used the NF-A14 PWM.
The NF-A15 PWM fan is compatible with a distance of 105 mm between the holes, but we decided to take the reference NF-F12 PWM, since it is better suited to the compact Thermalright AXP-100RH. In this case, the compatibility of the cooler with the compact cases does not deteriorate, and the results can be compared with the competitor be quiet! Shadow Rock LP.
A larger reference fan led to a positive effect – the temperature fell below the threshold plate at 1.000 rpm, we were able to perform measurements. The temperature was 77 degrees Celsius, which is 9 degrees higher than that of Shadow Rock LP. But even with the NF-F12 PWM fan, we could not measure at 600 rpm due to heating above the threshold temperature.
Thermalright AXP-100RH is the most compact processor cooler that has been in our test lab in recent months. Of course, in the world of coolers, size matters. The larger the volume of the radiator, the greater the heat exchange surface, the higher the cooling capacity. Therefore, the results of Thermalright AXP-100RH tests did not surprise us – it is inferior to the traditional tower models. But the cooler is much more compact.
If there are enough places in the case, then it’s better to choose an ordinary large cooler. Moreover, for the price of Thermalright AXP-100RH you can find quite convincing tower models. But if you need a low and compact cooler, the new Thermalright is one of the most interesting solutions on the market. Appearance also matters. Nickel-plated shiny surfaces look cute, like a black fan with a red impeller. And the noise level is good. For a 120mm fan, the minimum speed of 900 rpm may seem too high, but a compact 100mm fan works on it barely audible. Unless in the open case you can see the rustle of the bearing. At maximum RPM fan noise starts to irritate even in a closed case.
The fan speed is controlled via PWM, the cooler has coped with cooling the Core i7-4790K in all daily scenarios with a reasonable level of noise. Of course, in our tests the cooler is quiet! Shadow Rock LP showed better cooling performance. In addition, this model with a vertical airflow is slightly cheaper. But the Shadow Rock LP cooler is 1 cm higher than Thermalright AXP-100RH, and is noticeably larger.
Do you need a compact and high-quality cooler? In this case, we recommend paying attention to the Thermalright AXP-100RH, which can be purchased at a price of 48.99 euros.