To be honest, once I opened the box and saw the way the cooler was packaged, I thought to myself, this is nice, and more manufacturers should do this. Then as I dug the cooler out of the inner packaging and got to looking at it, I realized that this wasn't some fly-by-night design. There was a lot of thought and time that went into the AXP-100. First off it's a real pain to even get a C-style cooler this small, and still have it be effective enough to warrant any attention. Secondly, there is that trick little support system that keeps the cooler square and keeps users from kinking the heat pipes. Then, as if the fan on the cooler isn't perfect for what the AXP-100 is intended to do, they give users an adapter plate to allow them to throw on a Delta or Kaze fan if they wish.
From what I can see, and what I gathered from my testing, all that time and effort in the AXP-100 was well worth it. Here I am already saying I can see why its priced as it is, and I never covered the nickel coating, the pipe covers with TR logo's on them, nor did I cover the easy to use mounting system.
The fans I tested with are in fact plenty for the AXP-100, where the TY-100 actually performs better on the cooler than its larger brother. I was also advised that the fans being placed on the cooler to draw air off the motherboard would improve things since the fan wouldn't recycle heated air that way. I found that in my open air setup, it made no difference, but in a small form factor case with a PSU over it, it may make a couple of degrees difference. The reason the TY-140 did a little worse is for two reasons. When under PWM the fan speed was kept under 900 RPM most of the time, and hence not allowing the fan to really overtake the situation. At load, the CFM increases, but of course air seeks an easy path, and since the fan is larger than the fin body, you get a lot of the air ending up around the cooler, and not actually going through the cooler. By all means, if this isn't going in an HTPC, get a different fan and deal with the noise, the cooler has what it takes to keep even a heavy overclock under control; it just needs the right fan to help things along.
While my initial impression of the $59.95 MSRP was that it was a bit high, I have to say; at this point my mind is changed. The only coolers that may fit where the AXP-100 fits are the ETD-60-VD and the NH-L12, and both of those are larger and run closer to $70. On the other end you have the NH-L9i and the PH-TC90LS, which can be had at near $50 and $30 respectively, but neither of these coolers could finish the overclocked run of our testing. I have to say that Thermalright hit the low-profile market right where it had a hole, and I will bet that they will have no issues moving these coolers with the results I got with it.
It really is the perfect cooler for small environments. It allows you to use it in silence as-is and enjoy the comforts of managed thermals inside the PC and limited noise coming out of it. For those of you with something like the FT03 Mini, or even a Prodigy, slap in the AXP-100 and get a killer fan with high CFM and static pressure, and go ahead and clock the snot out of that gaming rig, the AXP-100 can handle the job with the right fan selection.
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