Thermalright SP-97

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Very good Socket A heatsink, depending on noise preferences – Joe

SUMMARY: Very good heatpipe for Socket A cooling – excellent build quality.


The good guys at Thermalright were nice enough to send a Thermalright SP-97 for a test spin. Mounting instructions may be viewed HERE; particularly note the orientation of the heatpipes when installed.

The parts that ship with the SP-97 includes


a backing plate with plastic insulator and assorted nuts, bolts, washers and springs for mounting.

The base is well finished:


When I ran my nail over it, I could not feel or hear any ridges.


The SP-97 was tested on the CPU Die Simulator which gives results that are unaffected by motherboard influences. For testing, I used a Delta FFB0812EHE , 80 cfm @ 5700rpm, 52.5 dBA¹, at 69.5 watts; this fan features vanes in the base which straighten airflow into the heatsink. I varied rpms to give a range so users can match performance to noise tolerance.


Die Temp
Ambient Temp
SP-97, 6000 rpm, 78 dBA
36.7 C
20.6 C
16.1 C
SP-97, 5500 rpm, 75 dBA
36.9 C
20.7 C
16.2 C
SP-97, 4967 rpm, 72 dBA
37.3 C
20.2 C
17.1 C
SP-97, 4011 rpm, 65 dBA
38.3 C
20.1 C
18.1 C
SP-97, 3023 rpm, 55 dBA
39.9 C
19.6 C
20.3 C

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

Interpreting C/W: For every watt (CPUw) that the CPU
consumes, the HSF will limit the CPU’s temperature rise to (C/W x CPUw)
plus the temperature at the HSF’s fan inlet. For example, at an ambient temp of 25 C, a C/W of 0.25 with a CPU radiating 50 watts means that CPU temp will increase 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 SP-97 in the top rank of heatsinks tested to date (Heatsink Ranking).


Thermalright’s SP-97 is a fine choice for Socket A cooling. Noise levels depend upon the fan used – more aggressive cooling, more noise. Users wishing low noise, but efficient, solutions might consider a high performance heatsink such as this coupled with low rpm or rheostat controlled fans.

Thanks again to Thermalright for sending this our way.

The SP-97 is available from The Heatsink Factory.

¹Note that manufacturers measure fan noise usually 3 feet from the fan; I measure noise 8″ from the fan’s intake.

Email Joe