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Swiftech MCX478-V Heatsink: The Pentium 4 is very overclocking friendly, but still emits a fair amount of heat. When the going gets tough, you'll want to consider a name overclockers trust.

Date: March 10, 2004
Provided By:
Written By:
Price:

Test Setup - Pentium 4 3360MHz

ASUS P4C800-E: Pentium 4 2.8B (21x160) @ 1.8v, 2 x 512MB Kingston HyperX PC4000 (2.5-3-3-6), AIW Radeon 9800 Pro, 120GB Western Digital SE 8MB Cache, Windows XP SP1, VIA Hyperion 4in1 drivers 4.51, ATI Catalyst 4.2.

Going up against the Swiftech MCX478-V will be the MCX4000. Both coolers will be outfitted with an Enermax 92x25mm Adjustable Fan (running at 41cfm), as well as a Vantec Tornado 92x38 119cfm fan. Arctic Silver 5 is the thermal compound used for both coolers.

To load up the system, we run Prime95 run for 20 minutes, with Folding @ Home running in the background. Ambient room temperature is maintained at ~23°C/74°F. Temperatures were gathered using Motherboard Monitor.

Enermax Fan (41cfm, 26dBA)

Coolers @ Full Load
Temp (°C)
Swiftech MCX478-V
52.5
Swiftech MCX4000
54

Under these overclocked conditions, we can see both coolers having a hard time keeping things in the low fifties. The Enermax fan isn't totally silent here, but the noise is just slightly above our Panaflo case fans in our Cooler Master case.

Vantec Tornado (119cfm, 56dBA)

Coolers @ Full Load
Temp (°C)
Swiftech MCX478-V
48.5
Swiftech MCX4000
51.5

Using the much more powerful Tornado fans, we can see a significant drop in temperature when moving from the Enermax fans. Despite having fewer pins, the new design improves on the MCX4000 by a significant margin, especially when using the Tornado.

Another interesting observation is with the slower Enermax fan, the MCX478-V is only 1°C warmer than the MCX4000 with the Tornado. It looks like Swiftech achieved their goal of good performance with less noise.

Final Words

The MCX4000 has had a good run but it's now time to step aside for the MCX478-V. The new design is more efficient, both in performance and installation. Build quality is typical of Swiftech; i.e., excellent. The price of the heatsink, , is acceptable though you'll need to purchase a fan (if you don't have an 80mm or 92mm already). If you buy this at our friends at , be sure to use the coupon code CPCVL043004 during check-out. This is an exclusive to our readers, and will give you 10% off the purchase price.

As we've already covered, installation is a lot easier now than it has been in the past. No longer do you need to remove the motherboard and remove the Intel retention bracket. Simply pop off whatever cooler you have now, and put this one in.

Although we've seen quite an improvement, it's not like 5°C. My point? Well, the MCX4000, despite hovering in the mid-fifties, still keeps our heavily overclocked CPU within specs. If you already have the MCX4000, or a heatsink that performs in the same range, I don't feel an upgrade to the MCX478-V is necessary.

That being said, if you're not ready for the plunge into water cooling, the MCX478-V should be on your short list for a new air cooler if you're in the market for one. It is the best air cooler we've had a chance to test for the Pentium 4, and I would consider this heatsink the minimum if you're eyeing a Prescott.

Pros: Good performance, excellent quality, easier to install than past Swiftech coolers.

Cons: Not a huge jump in performance from the MCX4000.

Bottom Line: A great heatsink, and a lot easier to use than Swiftech's past offerings. Those of you serious about overclocking shouldn't hesitate in considering this cooler.

If you have any comments, be sure to hit us up in our forums.

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