nPowerTek TTIC NPH-201 Socket A Heatsink Review
The Thermal Transtech
International Corp. NPH-201 Socket A heatsink is at first glance a cooler with
a rather large central heatpipe. That assessment is just about correct, except
that the large column supporting its many copper fins is not
technically a heatpipe as we know it. It is what TTIC have termed a "heat column." This column, 25mm in
diameter and made from a hollow copper cylinder, has a chemical coating on the inside that works to the same effect as a wick in a traditional heatpipe... at
least as far as we can glean from TTICs patent on the technology.
The heat column as it called by the manufacturer,
absorbs heat from the AthlonXP core and disperses it to approximately 30 copper
fins measuring roughly 60x75mm in size. The 25mm diameter copper column passes
up through the center of each of the 0.2mm thick copper fins, transferring the
heat energy to them in the process. A set of fans arranged in a push-pull
configuration provide the necessary airflow to remove the heat from the fins of
the heatsink to the surrounding environment.
According to this documentation by QuTech, the heat column used here is essentially an empty
cylinder of copper which has been internally coated with a thin
"superconducting heat transfer medium." The copper cylinder is sealed off at both
ends, and inside is under a vacuum of approximately 1 Torr.
Patent no. 6,132,823 explains
QuTech's very interesting and potentially revolutionary process to the topic of
heatpipes, entitled Superconducting Heat Transfer
Medium . Here is a short excerpt from the patent which explains the
technology in plain english... but feel free to skip ahead to the
actual heatsink review.
"Inorganic Medium Thermal
Conductive Device. This heat conducting device greatly improved the heat
conductive abilities of materials over their conventional state.
Experimentation has shown this device capable of transferring heat along a
sealed metal shell having a partial vacuum therein at a rate of 5,000 meters
On the internal wall of the shell
is a coating applied in three steps having a total optimum thickness of 0.012
to 0.013 millimeters. Of the total weight of the coating, strontium comprises
1.25%, beryllium comprises 1.38%, and sodium comprises 1.95%....
The fact that a conventional heat
pipe shares a similar outside shape to a thermal superconductive heat pipe
used to raise some misunderstandings. Therefore, it is necessary to give a
brief description on the differences and similarities of the two. A convectional heat pipe makes use of
the technique of liquids vaporizing upon absorbing great amounts of heat and
vapors cooling upon emitting heat so as to bring the heat from the pipe's hot
end to its cold end. The axial heat conducting velocity of the heat pipe
depends on the value of the liquid's vaporization potent heat and the
circulation speed between two forms of liquid and vapor. The axial heat
conducting velocity of the heat pipe also is restrained by the type and
quantity of the carrier material and the temperatures and pressures at which
the heat pipe operates (it can not be too high).
The present superconductive heat
transfer device is made of a thermal superconductive medium whose axial heat
conduction is accomplished by the thermal superconductive mediums' molecules
high speed movement upon being heated and activated. The present
superconductive heat transfer device's heat conducting velocity is much higher
than that of any metal bars or any convectional heat pipes of similar size,
while its internal pressure is much lower than that of any convectional heat
pipe of the same temperature."
this 'heat column' technology has surfaced on a few
heatsinks we've tested already, it may be slower to adopt in spite of its otherwise
promising attributes. Also, since most people would be hard pressed to explain
what a heatpipe is, or does, the "superconducting" heatpipe, or heat column
is probably going to continue to generate a lot of confusion. Anyhow, on with
the review of the TTIC NPH-201!