Chipset Cooling System
When I check out the abit IP35 Pro photographs, I for some reason got the impression that it features pretty light-weight heatsinks. Maybe this association was triggered by the similar looks of the MOSFET heatsink and the old Zalman CNPS2000 and 3000 coolers shaped as flower blossoms. However, it proved a solely exterior similarity. Unlike Zalman FHS (Flower Heatsink), abit heatsink features very solid base and pretty thick fin array.
It is a very efficient design. The advantage of thin heatsink fins is that you can fit much more of them within the same available space and this way increase the heat dissipating surface area. However, there is certainly a downside to it, too: thin fins cannot transfer the heat at longer distances, it dissipates fast and the very ends of the fins as well as the middle part of them in some cases remain cold, i.e. do not really work. Thin heatsink ribs should be short, or should receive heat from multiple sources for their maximum efficiency.
For example, the MOSFET heatsink on MSI P35 Platinum mainboard is designed in a very smart way from this standpoint. The heatsinks ribs are thin, but they are heated up by MOSFET transistors at the bottom, one heatpipe in the middle and two other heatpipes on the sides. As a result, the entire surface of these heatsink rib plates works efficiently, although they are thin and relatively tall.
The heatpipe on abit IP35 Pro mainboard comes from the chipset North Bridge to the heatsink base, which also takes the heat from the processor voltage regulator transistors. In this case it would be very unreasonable to use a heatsink like Zalman FHS, because the heat would be dissipated without ever reaching the ends of the fins. In our case, the heat is accumulated in the massive heatsink base and is distributed along the thick fins, so the entire heatsink is working efficiently.
The chipset North Bridge is topped with an even larger heatsink:
It is hard to judge by the looks only without real temperature measurements, but from my experience the MSI “roller coaster” would be the most efficient chipset cooler at this time.
At the same time, I cannot claim that it is the best chipset cooling solution out there, because it is evidently more expensive to manufacture and doesn’t allow installing some of the large CPU coolers. If we compare abit IP35 Pro chipset cooling solution to, say, Asus P5K, it will definitely stand out due to larger heat dissipating surface of its heatsinks.
So, I think it would be logical to prefer very rational chipset cooling solution on abit IP35 Pro to the inconvenient beauty of the one on MSI P35 Platinum and the minimalism of the one on Asus P5K.