When it comes to CPU heatsinks, is bigger always better? We are constantly greeted by new heavyweights entering our testing labs such as the Thermaltake Beetle, Zalman CNPS9500, Thermalright XP-120, Scythe Kamaboko, and most recently the Thermaltake Blue Orb II. With all of these mighty heatsinks there are even some that have difficult times fitting in traditional ATX chassis' and other compatibility issues due to their immense size. Although larger heatsinks may generally have a greater advantage over the featherweight models due to the expanded surface area for heat dissipation, today we are looking at a CPU heatsink fan that is among the smallest we have tested since some predominant Socket 423 solutions. Are some smaller heatsinks able to pack a larger punch when it comes to thermal dissipation? We will be investigating this possibility on none other than Intel's Pentium D Prescott line-up. The heatsink we are grasping for this article is the SilverStone Technology Nitrogon NT03. The NT03 is SilverStone's fourth heatsink coming out of the starting gate after the NT01, NT01 v2.0, and NT02. Will this 90 x 72 x 64mm heatsink be able to effectively radiate the heat from our toasty setup? We shall see today, but before we begin, below are SilverStone's special features for the NT03 model.
· All copper construction
· Low profile for nearly any application
· Superior powder heat pipe design
· Intel Socket 478, LGA775, and AMD Socket 754, 939, 940
· For use with P4 Prescott 3.4GHz & above
Although a great deal of manufacturers package their HSF wares inside plastic packaging, there is no clear standard when it comes retail heatsink housing. SilverStone, like Scythe, uses cardboard packaging for their heatsink line-up. When it comes down to the layout and color scheme of the packaging, the Nitrogon packaging is representative of what can be seen in their other product offerings such as the Strider PSU series. Cracking open the box, inside we found the actual NT03 heatsink, two 60mm SilverStone fans, mounting hardware, thermal paste, 3-pin power splitter, and a user's manual with installation instructions. Differing from the NT01 with its pure Socket 478 support, the supported sockets by the NT03 model are 478, LGA-775, 754, 939, and 940. Previously the NT03 listed support for the Socket 479 (Pentium M) on the desktop front but due to an increasing number of motherboards turning to proprietary mounting methods, SilverStone has retracted its official support but depending upon the motherboard it still may be compatible.