Thermalright's AXP-100 could be the perfect CPU cooler for your homebrew Steambox

The recently released AXP-100 is the latest low-profile CPU cooler released to the UK market designed for those powerful mini-ITX motherboards I'm so fond of.

Cooler manufacturer Thermalright might be better known for their hefty, macho chip chillers, like the hefty Macho Rev.A tower cooler, but this here low-profile design ought to deliver some impressive cooling performance too.

With six 6mm heatpipes shifting the heat from the CPU out to the heatspreader and fan array it's got the sort of cooling layout you'd normally expect to see in larger tower coolers. In fact the massive Macho Rev.A cooler is also running with six 6mm heatpipes too.

But it's not all about the pipes and fins though, the actual fan makes a big difference to the cooling performance of your chip chiller too. The AXP-100 comes with a similarly low-profile 100mm fan, which adds just another 14mm on top of the heatsink itself, but they include a secondary fan mount that allows you to attach larger, more effective fans to the cooler.

That allows you to add fans up to 140mm and that will allow you to either keep your chip even cooler or allow you to spin it slower for the same thermal performance but with less noise. This Enhanced Fan Mount also allows the position of the fan to be moved around on either x or y axis so that you can ensure the larger fan doesn't interfere with your small mobo's attached graphics card or chunky performance RAM modules.

The fact Thermaright are including mountings for the LGA 2011 socket means that they're pretty confident about the thermal performance of the AXP-100. Realistically though I think most people are going to be sticking these low-profile coolers on the sort of mini-ITX boards we've seen in the H77/Z77 range.

It does also mean you might be able to get some overclocking loving out of your CPU if the AXP-100 can give you a bit of thermal headroom to play with.

With the full-spec performance gear you can drop into a mini-ITX machine now who needs the crazily priced Piston Box when you can put together a teeny tiny system yourself for a fraction of the price?

My review sample has just landed on my test bench and I'll be putting it through its paces very soon.

Dave James
Managing Editor, Hardware

Dave has been gaming since the days of Zaxxon and Lady Bug on the Colecovision, and code books for the Commodore Vic 20 (Death Race 2000!). He built his first gaming PC at the tender age of 16, and finally finished bug-fixing the Cyrix-based system around a year later. When he dropped it out of the window. He first started writing for Official PlayStation Magazine and Xbox World many decades ago, then moved onto PC Format full-time, then PC Gamer, TechRadar, and T3 among others. Now he's back, writing about the nightmarish graphics card market, CPUs with more cores than sense, gaming laptops hotter than the sun, and SSDs more capacious than a Cybertruck.