When it comes to air cooling, there are a few companies to keep in mind while shopping for a heatsink. is one company that I always consider when I need a cooler. Other than being excellent performers, their heatsinks and waterblocks are of extremely high quality. This quality doesn't come cheap, but like the old saying goes, you get what you pay for.
Our past Pentium 4 heatsink of choice was the MCX4000, but it's getting a little long in tooth now. Late last year, we looked at the MCX462-V, which was an update on the superb MCX462+. Though it shares many of the same design principles, Swiftech made some refinements that improved on past performance. It also got a whole lot easier to install, as motherboard removal was no longer necessary.
Today, we'll be looking at the MCX478-V, which is the Pentium 4 version of the "V" series of heatsinks. Like it's AMD counterpart, the Intel cooler shares the unique pin design, as well as using a clip system for installation, doing away with the locknut method of installation.
||BARE HEATSINK. No fan is included by default.
||Overall dimensions without fan 3"x3"x1.66"
Aluminum pins and Copper base.
CNC machined, C110 copper base, 3"W x 3"L x .500"H, flatness better than 0.0003", micro surface finish 8 or better.
374 Helicoid Pins made of High Thermal Conductivity Aluminum Alloy, press fitted in the base.
||Weight: 22 oz (620g) without fan.
The Swiftech MCX478-V Heatsink
Although the specifications resemble past Swiftech coolers, once it's out of the box, many of the changes are quite obvious. As with their previous heatsinks, the MCX478-V is composed of aluminum pins and a thick copper base. There are helicoid pins fitted into the base, which addresses the heat dissipation weakness of copper. As we've mentioned in the past, copper absorbs more heat than aluminum (great for that initial blast of heat when powering on a PC with an overclocked CPU), whereas aluminum dissipates it better. The heat moves from the copper to the aluminum, where it is cooled by a fan of your choosing.
This new helicoid pin design increases surface area for heat dissipation. According to Swiftech's specifications, the pins increase air turbulence for more efficient heat dissipation compared to traditional fin design. While the MCX4000 had 429 pins, the MCX478-V drops the number down to 374. The reason for the lower number of fins is because rather than being perpendicular to the base as it was in the past, they are now angled. This "flare" is designed to optimize cooling as well as reduce noise by using lower speed fans. Compared to the MCX4000, the theory is you'll get similar performance with a slower fan as a result from the angled pins.
The MCX478-V accepts both 80mm and 92mm fans. Larger fans typically move more air at lower speeds than 60mm or 70mm fans. Lower speeds means less noise of course, but you're obviously free to use the biggest (80mm or 92mm) and loudest fan you can find. Fans are instaled using snap-in rivets, making fan installation a breeze.
The copper base measures 1/2" thick. There's a heat spreader as well that lines up perfectly with the Pentium 4. The heat spreader has been machined flattened to 0.0003", and although it isn't a mirror shine, the base is well polished. The surrounding area seems a little rougher, though this isn't a concern though as this area never makes contact with the CPU.
Installation is much easier with the MCX478-V than it was with the MCX4000. Simply place the heatsink on top of the CPU in the socket, and use the two included clips to snap it into place.
By default, the MCX478-V has the 80mm fan mounts installed, but parts for a 92mm fan installation are included. Like the MCX4000, you do not have to screw the fans in, but simply use the snap rivets instead. Removal isn't as easy as installation, but it is certainly less time consuming than unscrewing a screw for the fan.