Antec Reference Heatsink

OK performance, noisy, heatsink. — Joe

SUMMARY: Middling performance and high noise with an interesting mounting system.


64 x 64 x 75 high; Fan: 40 cfm @ 6800 rpm; Weight: 345 gm

Antec was nice enough to send a sample of their latest entry called the Antec Reference Heatsink. This is a black anodized aluminum forging. The mounting system is interesting – it uses two spring loaded clips:


What’s important is that the clips are of two different lengths; the longest clip goes on the side that rides over the socket hump. The different lengths are necessary because the CPU does not sit in the center of the heatsink, but off to one side; therefore, the force must be unequal to hold the heatsink level to the CPU’s surface.

The clip orientation is explained in the instruction booklet which comes with it – best to actually read it before mounting the heatsink, as mounting must also follow a pattern.

When I first examined this heatsink and felt the spring pressure, my first thought was this thing could be a chip killer. However, I have used it on two motherboards without incident, so if you follow directions, it should be OK.

When you mount this heatsink, engage the long clip first. Then rock it back and, with a screwdriver, push down on the short clip and engage the other socket lug. The manual clearly shows this sequence – doing it the other way may put too much pressure on the CPU and chip it.

Needless to say , do not mix up the clips – they are of unequal length for a good reason. Be advised that the clips are not secured, so they can easily come off.

The base


clearly shows the off-center footprint of the CPU contact patch. It is fairly smooth – no discernible machining marks. The pins


are round and smooth. As a forging, there are no solder bonds, so heat transfer between the base and fins is maximized.

The fan looks and sounds like a Delta 38 (complete with black label) – I measured fan noise at 67 dBA (Radio Shack sound meter 8″ from fan intake) – about the same as a Delta 38.


The Antec was first tested on the CPU Die Simulator which gives results that are unaffected by motherboard influences. Tests then were conducted on a variety of motherboards as examples of what users might see on their systems.


Die Temp

Ambient Temp



Simulator, 77.6 Watts

57.1 C

20.2 C



TEST RESULTS – Motherboards

CPU Die Temp

Ambient Temp



CPU Back Temp

Palomino 1200/Iwill XP333 (56 watts)

40.9 C

20.6 C



44.3 C

Iwill XP333, XP @ 1467 (65 watts)

44.3 C

21.5 C



35¹ C

¹MBM in-socket diode temp.

Delta = CPU temp – Ambient Temp
C/W = Delta / CPU Watts

Interpreting C/W: For every watt the CPU radiates, the heatsink will cool the core by the (C/W x watts) plus ambient temp. For example, at an ambient temp of 25 C, a C/W of 0.25 with a CPU radiating 50 watts means that the CPU core temp will be 50 x 0.25 = 12.5 C over ambient temp, or 37.5 C. The lower the C/W, the better.

Die Simulator results place the Antec in the lower ranks of heatsinks (Heatsink Ranking).


The Antec Reference Heatsink should be used with care – proper mounting is important.

Thanks again to Antec for sending this our way.

Email Joe

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