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Appeared on: Wednesday, March 08, 2006
Spire Verticool II

1. Introduction

The need for top CPU Cooling solutions has become more and more necessary since the latest CPU technology with blinding speeds has become more prevalent. Both major CPU manufacturers, AMD and Intel, compete in the MHz race, in order to achieve first place in the market. This has created the need for better CPU cooling solutions, which come in many different forms and shapes from a variety of manufacturers. One of these is Spire, a well known brand name and a manufacturer of cooling solutions for CPUs, PC cases, graphics cards, hard drives and other products. After several reviews on CPU coolers from Spire, we will be reviewing yet another, the VertiCool II, which supports the K8 and 775 sockets for AMD and Intel respectively.

The VertiCool II with the UV fan...
The copper base and the heatpipes...

The universally compatible VertiCool II, is the newest innovation from Spire. The VertiCool II is made of an all copper heatsink with dual copper heatpipes leading up to forty five aluminum micro-fins, providing the optimal cooling configuration.

The VertiCool II fits nearly every processor available on the market today. Its cooling capacity ranges from low end processors, like Intel's Celeron D & AMD's Sempron, all the way up to today's hottest high speed dual-core processors, like the Intel Pentium EE & AMD Athlon64 FX. This cooler has it all! Equipped with Spire's signature ball bearing UV-reactant spider fan, this towering cooler is built to last.

Main Features:

Having said that, lets take a look at the fan itself. A UV reactive patented 90mm Diamond-Fan design sits on the top of the heatsink, spinning at 2700 RPM and producing an airflow of 34.46 CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) at a noise level of 22.0 dBA. The UV reactive fan gives quite an impressive appearance to the case, provided a UV bar is installed.

Here are the detailed specifications as provided by Spire :

Socket 754 / 940 / 775 / 939 Cooling kit
Dimensions Heat sink : 95×65×100 mm (l × w × h)
12VDC Fan : 90×90×25 mm
Bearing Ball bearing
Rated speed 2000 RPM +/-10%
Rated power 2.4 W
Noise level 19.0 dBA
Air flow 36.80 CFM
Current 0.2 A
Life hours Ball: 50.000
Features Blue transparent spider fan, 2 heat-pipes, Aluminum Micro-Fin, Copper base
Connector 3 pin, mainboard
Application Intel :
Celeron D ~ 2.93 GHz (340J)
Pentium 4 ~ 3.73 GHz (775 Prescott)
Pentium D ~ 3.4 GHz (775 Dual-Core)
Pentium EE ~ 3.73 GHz (775 Dual-Core)

AMD :  
Athlon 64 ~ 4800+ (K8)
Athlon 64 FX-51 (K8)
Athlon 64 FX-53 (K8)
Athlon 64 FX-55 (K8)
Athlon 64 FX-60 (K8)
Opteron ~ 2.6 (K8)
Sempron ~ 3300+ (K8)
Thermal Resistance 0.23 °C/W
Thermal type Stars-420 white grease (Injection tube)

*All Spire CPU cooling products come with thermal compound either pre-applied onto the cooler or in an injection tube. The compound will begin to function at its optimum potential, after a gradual increase in heat-dissipation, approximately 168 hours (7days) after initial application.

- The Package

The package we received from the Spire Promotion Team includes the VertiCool II cooling system, a tube of thermal compound, the mounting brackets for AMD K8 socket and Intel 775 socket and an installation guide. By default, the VertiCool II comes with the brackets pre-installed for the Intel 775 socket.

Now that we have covered the basics of the CPU cooler, lets move on to the test PC and the installation.

2. Installation

The Spire VertiCool II is quite easy to be install on a 775 socket, as well as on a K8. In a few steps, you can have your system working with the VertiCool II. Keep in mind that in the case of a 775 socket, you'll have to remove the motherboard from the PC case.

the CPU specs...
and some info about the mobo used...

We will use the mounting brackets for the 775 socket.

In the case of a K8 socket, the pre-installed brackets have to be replaced with those for a K8.

First thing's first. We must uninstall the original cooler and clean the CPU of any remnant thermal compound before applying the new. After we're done cleaning the old thermal paste, we place on the CPU, the new thermal paste which comes included in the retail package from Spire.

we put some paste in the center of the CPU and spread it around evenly...

Next, we installed the back plate onto the motherboard which is an easy enough task, but the motherboard needs to be removed from the PC case. When finished, it should look like this...

the back plate is an X shape.

And now for the easiest part of the installation, mounting the heatsink onto the CPU. No troubles here, as we do not have to mess around with brackets or any other types of fastening clips.

not a lot left to do now except to sit the fan on the CPU...

Just screw the heatsink onto the backplate and move on...

The power cable is the last step before turning the whole system on to start testing the cooling potential.

Connect the power cable onto the board...

As we've seen, the installation is very easy and should cause no problems. Now we are ready to put the cooler through its paces to find out just how good it is.

3. Performance

To measure the CPU's temperature, we used SpeedFan v4.27 which provided us with real time monitoring and created a graph of the temperature over time. With the stock cooler installed, we let the processor cool down in idle mode and then ran Prime95 and the In-place large FFT test to heat it up to its maximum level. As one can see, the P4 3.73GHz Extreme Edition processor is a real challenge for all cooling systems out there, since it overheats easily.

The temperature started at 49°C...
and here is the reported fan speed...

We started the SpeedFan utility while the CPU was running in idle mode for around two minutes. There, its temperature was around 49°C. After the two minutes, we started the stress test with Prime95. The temperature immediately started to increase. We left the test running for eight minutes. As you can see from the SpeedFan graph, the maximum temperature was reached after running Prime95 for approximately two minutes where it reached 61°C. For the remaining six minutes, the temperature remained at the same level. At the same time, we took a screenshot of the rotation speed of the fan, once again with SpeedFan. As you may have noticed, as the temperature increases, so do the revolutions of the fan. Starting from approximately 2720 rpm, it eventually ends at 2990rpm where it was also quite loud.

The next step was to retest the system, this time with the Spire VertiCool II installed. Again we allowed the CPU to operate at idle and the temperature to stabilise. We then fired up the Prime 95 and FFT torture tests...

5° C difference from the stock cooler...
just 2200 rpm, quite good...

With the Spire VertiCool II installed, we repeated the same tasks. The temperature at the beginning of the test was at 45° C, four degrees lower than the stock cooling system from Intel. Once more, we let the system run at idle for two minutes and then we ran Prime95 for eight minutes. The maximum temperature was reported after four minutes and was 61°C. This is five degrees lower than the stock cooler. Moreover, it is important to mention that this temperature was achieved at a much later stage than with the stock cooler.

As for the noise levels, they were quite low. According to the SpeedFan utility, the fan never had to increase its rotation speed, which hovered around 2200 rpm, at least 700rpm lower than the stock fan. This is in fact what helps keep the Spire VertiCool II quiet.

4. Conclusion

The Spire VertiCool II is a well designed cooler with a copper base and 45 fins around the 4 heatpipes. The fan, according to Spire, runs at low RPMs while it is also UV reactive. It's a solution for both Intel and AMD platforms, 775 and K8 sockets respectively.

The installation process was quite easy for both platforms but we would like a solution where we would avoid having to remove the motherboard from the PC case, in order to install the X shaped back plate. Apart from this, you only have to apply some thermal compound on the processor and take care of the four screws. In the case of an AMD K8, things are much easier. However, since the VertiCool II comes with the 775 socket mounting pre-installed, you'll have to do some preparation before attaching it to the AMD processor.

When it comes to performance, according to Speed Fan, the Spire cooler is better than the stock cooling system from Intel. Starting temperatures are 5 °C lower than with the stock cooler, a difference which is also retained at peak temperatures, at least with the Intel P4 3.73GHz Extreme Edition processor that we used for our tests, a rather hot CPU. We also noticed that it takes more time for the Spire VertiCool II to reach the peak heat level, which is a good thing.

Finally, the noise levels from the Spire VertiCool II, are much lower than with the stock cooling system and the reason for this seems to be the lower RPMs that the Spire's fan works at, 700 rpm slower than the stock.

Up and working..

The price for the Spire VertiCool II at the time of this review was close to €28.

Low noise
- UV reactive diamond fan
- Easy to install
- Decent performance


Value for money:

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