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Appeared on: Monday, January 07, 2008
Battle of the CPU Coolers


1. Intro - AC Freezer 7 Pro

Cooling has been a rather hot subject for many users, from amateurs to experienced ones. As we all know, both AMD and Intel are offering coolers at their retail package, these coolers are sufficient for normal everyday use. However recently there are so many different needs to be covered that we have seen enormous growth in the cooling systems world. There's no doubt that the market is very strong and while most CPU coolers are priced low, there is a higher demand for less noise and increased performance. After receiving a great number of emails, we decided to perform a rather "big" roundup with many different coolers from well known and established companies. We will how they perform with as much as possible accurate measurements and correct testing methodology. More on this later, lets meet our first contender.

- AC Freezer 7 Pro

Manufacturer
Arctic Cooling
Model
Price
$27
Category
Medium Level

AC Freezer 7 Pro is a well known CPU cooler. We have already reviewed AC Freezer 7 Pro in the past. For your convenience we'll sum up its most important features. The AC Freezer 7 Pro consists of a copper base with six heatpipes ending up in aluminum fins. We would say that it has a rather typical design and it's easy to install. The CPU cooler has PMW function that allows it to operate very well producing low levels of noise, depending on the work load. All this of course if the motherboard supports this function.

- Full specifications
Heat Sink:
104 x 58 x 126.5 mm
Fan:
107 x 43.5 x 96 mm
Overall Dimensions:
107 x 96.5 x 126.5 mm
Rated Fan Speed:
900 - 2500 RPM (PWM)
Power Consumption:
0.16 Amp.
Air Flow:
45 CFM / 77 m3/h
Weight:
520 g
Noise Level:
0.9 Sone
Thermal Resistance:
0.17°C/Watt
Thermal Interface Material:
Pre-applied MX-1 Paste
Warranty:
6 Years

- Retail package

The retail package of AC Freezer 7 Pro is rather simple and doesn't include much, only an installation guide and the ARCTIC MX-1 thermal compound preapplied. Of course this was removed in order to perform all CPU coolers tests with the same thermal compound.

As we said earlier, the base is fully made of copper and the three U-shaped heatpipes should absorb and release heat very efficient. The four rubber connectors on the fan base act as vibration dampers preventing vibrations from being transfered to the heatsink and to the system. Surprisingly, this works rather well and the noise that comes from that CPU cooler is quite low.

A closer look at the base. AC Cooling has included the MX-1 thermal paste, which was left for all tests:

- Installation

The AC Freezer 7 Pro installation process is very simple. For best results it's advised to remove the fan (it's very simple) for securing the cooler at the motherboard. Note that the white plastic fasteners bend too easily so it takes some time until you align all four to complete the task. Make sure to hear the clicking sound that indicates that all four plastic fasteners are at the same depth and therefore at the correct position. If you miss one, the cooling performance is highly affected.

Due to its design, it's very possible that you need to rotate the fan until you would be able to fit it. In our case we did noticed that the right side of the cooler was very close to the motherboard's copper heatsinks, I guess you could bend the aluminium fins to avoid any contact.

After that you can finally attach the rotating fan to the cpu cooler. This is very easy, nothing to worry about.

Installing the whole structure to our case, can unveil how big and how empty space was left from the cpu cooler. As we can see there is enough room around the cpu cooler.

Another picture...


The height of the cooler is not that big...

- Ratings

Retail package
Design
Motherboard compatibility
Installation time
Copper Base quality

2. Akasa AK-965
Manufacturer
Akasa
Model
Price
$25
Category
Entry Level

The low noise AK-965 utilizes U-shape heatpipe technology for rapid and even heat transfer. A copper base is used for maximum heat absorption,  three precision embedded copper heatpipes ensure hi-speed heat transfer and 45 aluminium fine fins for ultimate heat dissipation. Intel approved power management (PWM) lo-noise 92mm round frame fan provides efficient and quiet cooling. Intel reference push-pin retention is used for safe and easy attachment. The specific fan positioning enhances the VRM cooling (VRM - CPU Voltage Regulator Modules located on the motherboard). Thermal compound is pre-applied.

The AK-965 can be assembled horizontally or vertically as the heatpipes work independently of installation direction. Akasa plans to ship the AK-965BL soon, with different air cooler colours:

- Features

- Full Specifications

  Socket type
  Intel LGA 775
  Heatsink dimension
  132 x 105 x 56.5mm
  Heatsink material
  Aluminium fins, copper heatpipes and base
  Cooler dimension
  139.5 x 111.6 x 89.5mm
  Fan dimension
  92 x 25mm (on 80mm fan fitting)
  Fan speed   600 - 2500 R.P.M.
  Fan connector
   4-pin (PWM enabled)
  Fan airflow
  10.56 - 47.68 CFM 
  Fan air pressure
  0.18 - 2.56 mm H20
  Fan life expectancy
  45000/hrs
  Bearing type
  Ball Bearing
  Voltage rating
  12V
  Noise level
  17 - 30 dB(A)
  Product code
  AK-965

- Retail package

The retail package of Akasa AK-95 is very minimal.

Opening the package, unveils its contents, which are...only one:

The cooler follows the design of several other cpu coolers. There is a big 92mm fan in the front. The bottom is made out of copper and there are three U-shaped heatpipes that absorb the heat from the base and transfer it to the aluminium fins. The height is only 11cm and we can say it's a middle size cooler.

A side view of the cooler...

Another picture that shows the aluminium fins. As you can see the thermal compound is pre-applied.

- Installation

The installation procedure is very simple, since it follows Intel's standard procedure. No much to explain here, this cooler can be installed in less than 1 minute. We didn't encountered any problems with the nearby copper heatpipes.

- Ratings

Retail package
Design
Motherboard compatibility
Installation time
Copper Base quality

3. Akasa AK-925 Revo
Manufacturer
Akasa
Model
Price 
$72
Category
HTPC/Medium Level

Revo is a totally new class of CPU cooler powered by "bubble-pump" technology. Revo has been developed by Akasa Europe. At the heart of the cooler is "SilentFlux" a technology developed in Denmark. SilentFlux utilises a unique dual-component coolant to drive the bubble pump. This product and its patented technology is unique to Akasa.

Revo marks a revolution in the development of Silent CPU cooling: it is quieter and more efficient than heatpipe coolers, significantly cooler than conventional heatsinks and easier to fit (and safer) than watercoolers.

Revo does not use a conventional heatsink. At the heart of this technology is a "bubble pump" (no moving parts, dual component fluid) which silently shifts heat instantly to an aluminium eight port radiator with approximately 1200cm sq. of profiled fine fins that rapidly dissipates heat. Due to the high thermal efficiency the fan can operate at low speeds, effectively eliminating fan noise. Vents in the fan -mount direct cool air to surrounding components, motherboard, VRM’s, chipset etc.

Revo can be used with a 92mm smart (PWM) fan or fan-less for lower wattage CPU’s.This cooler is all aluminium and consequently lightweight, and can be easily fitted tool-free without Motherboard removal .

- How Revo works ?

Revo uses SilentFlux® technology.

  1. Heat is absorbed from the CPU into a chamber which stores a specially designed dual-component liquid-coolant
  2. From the CPU chamber heat moves to the radiator along the up-pipe of a hermetically sealed circuit. The specially designed dual-component liquid-coolant works with a bubble pump to force the heat rapidly to the radiator
  3. Heat is dispersed from the radiator by a 92mm fan rotating at low speed
  4. The dual-component coolant is cooled by the airflow from the fan and returns along the down-pipe of the sealed circuit to the chamber for re-use

- Features

- Full Specifications

Socket type

  AMD Socket 939 / AM2
  INTEL LGA 775

  Cooler dimension   132 x 90 x 138mm (W, D, H)
  Cooler material   Aluminium
  Fan dimension   92 x 92 x 25mm
  Fan speed   600 - 2200 R.P.M.
  Fan connector   4-pin (PWM)
  Fan airflow   11.44 - 41.96CFM
  Fan air pressure   0.85 - 3.13 mm H20
  Fan life expectancy   45000/hrs
  Bearing type   Ball bearing
  Voltage rating   12V
  Noise level   17 – 26 dB(A)
  Weight   330g
  Product code   AK-925

- Retail package

The retail package of the Akasa Revo included all the needed logos to show what this product is about.

Opening the package, unveils its contents, everything is well placed and secured. There are mounting mechanisms for AM2 and Socket 775 platforms. You will also find a printed manual in several languages.

Let's now examine the Akasa Revo cooler. The design is unique for sure. In the middle we can find a 92mm fan supporting PWM. At left we can find the bubble pump pipe and the return pipe.

At the back, there's the small radiator.

The bottom includes the support stand, the liquid reservoir and the heatsink chamber

The base is made out of aluminium and the whole weight is low (330gr). This could be easily the lightest cooler of this roundup.

- Installation

The installation procedure is simple. First you need to secure the included Socket 775 base and lift up the two retaining clips.

Gently insert the cooler and place it at the base. Secure the cooler with the two retaining clips. Lock it by pushing them down and outwards so it's latched securely.

Take a note here, the Akasa Revo works only when the case is standing up, this means that the radiator must face the power supply. Akasa recommends for best performance that the Revo should be installed with the radiator on top. The cooler will also work with the radiator on the right side, but not with the radiator at the bottom or at the left. The Akasa Revo doesn't occupy much space inside the case...

- Ratings

Retail package
Design
Motherboard compatibility
Installation time
Copper Base quality

4. Asus Silent Knight II
Manufacturer
Asus
Model
Price 
Category
Overclockers

Asus recently decided to enter the CPU cooler market with several products. We can definitively say that the Silent Knight II is a good example of design and at the same time performance. The Asus Silent Knight II is made out of 100% copper materials with six copper heat pipes that ensure excellent heat dissipation for maximum cooling performance. Due to its design, the Silent Knight II supports the Intel Core2 Extreme/ Core2 Quad (Quad-Core) CPU, Intel Pentium 4 LGA775 & AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual-Core CPU, AMD Athlon 64(-FX) (939/940/AM2). The PWM function automatically adjusts rotation speed according to CPU temperature and delivers a quiet cooling at a mere 25dBA. Lastly, the fan is positioned inside the frame and VRM shield guides cool air to critical components around the CPU for stable operation.

- Full specifications
CPU Support
Intel® Core™2 Extreme/ Core™2 Quad (Quad-Core)
Intel® Core™2 Duo/ Pentium® Dual Core/ Pentium® D (Dual-Core)
Intel® Pentium® 4 HT/Celeron® D
AMD Athlon™ 64 FX
AMD Athlon™ 64 X2
AMD Athlon™ 64
AMD Sempron™
CPU Socket
Intel LGA 775
AMD 754/939/940
AMD AM2
Dimensions (L x W x H)
115 (L) x 140 (W) x 110 (H) mm
Net Weight (g)
610 g
Heatsink Material
Cu. Base + Cu. Fins + 6 Heat Pipes
Fan
Dimension (mm)
92 x 92 x 25
Bearing Type
Sleeve
Connector
4 Pin with PWM Control
Speed
2300 rpm ± 10%
Max. Airflow
45.6 CFM
Max. Air Pressure
2.325 mm-H2O

- Retail package

The retail package of Asus Silent Knight II is semi-transparent in front to show up the design and its features.

The package is full, this means that it includes all the needed items for installing it either with an AMD or an Intel processor.

The Asus Silent Knight II is fully made of copper. There are six heatpipes that absorb heat from the processor and via the centered 92mm fan, heat is released to the nearby area. For sure this cooler looks impressive.

What we didn't liked is the fact that the power fan cable is too short and can easily be messed up with the fan. Just make sure to push it away from fan during the installation procedure. At night the fan will light up in an electric blue color adding a special mood to your case.

The bottom is very impressive without a mirror finish and no manufacturing defects or scratches:

- Installation

The Asus Silent Knight II needs some extra time to install it. First of all you need to add the backplate stabilizer, add four screws to the black base and mount the whole structure to the motherboard. Then you need to pass through the bottom of the cooler another metal plate and push it down so the cooler stays stable at the motherboard. The procedure does sound complicated, but Asus has included well written instructions.

With Asus Blitz Extreme we had some problems fitting the left bottom screw, since the black metal case was touching the copper heatsink. With some extra force this problem was overcomed. We could have simply rotated the whole base instead...

Installing the cpu cooler at the case we can have a better idea of its dimensions and overall volume.

The cpu cooler from top view, there is enough empty space around it...

- Ratings

Retail package
Design
Motherboard compatibility
Installation time
Copper Base quality

5. Asus Triton 75
Manufacturer
Asus
Model
Price 
Category
HTPC/Medium Level

Asus apart from Silent Knight II, provided us with a lower priced CPU cooler the Triton 75. The inspiration for the design and the look comes from ancient greek god Poseidon and his distinctive "weapon", the Triton. So according to Asus this product should be very efficient against your main "enemy", the heat! The Triton 75 comes fanless with a very wide space for easily accepting 12cm fans. The installation is very easy and there is no special preparations to be made. The product is very lightweight (395gr.) and is made out of a copper base, aluminium fins and four copper heatpipes. The Triton 75 supports the Intel Core 2 Extreme/Core 2 Quad Quad-core CPU (LGA 775) and AMD Athlon 64 FX/X2 Dual-Core processors (939/940/AM2). The unique design allows to use any aftermarket 12cm fan, so that gives gamers and other enthusiasts -according to Asus- the freedom to choose and satisfy their DIY needs...

- Full specifications
CPU Support
Intel® Core™2 Extreme/ Core™2 Quad (Quad-Core)
Intel® Core™2 Duo/ Pentium® Dual Core/ Pentium® D (Dual-Core)
Intel® Pentium® 4 HT/Celeron® D
AMD Athlon™ 64 FX
AMD Athlon™ 64 X2
AMD Athlon™ 64
AMD Sempron™
CPU Socket
Intel LGA 775
AMD 754/939/940
AMD AM2
Dimensions (L x W x H)
137 (L) x 120 (W) x 90 (H) mm
Net Weight (g)
350 g
Heatsink Material
Cu. Base + Al. Fins + 4 Heat Pipes
Fan
Dimension (mm)
Fan-less
Connector
Fan-less

- Retail package

The retail package of Asus Triton 75 is small and features a photo of the product along with several other general specs.

Opening the package we find several components for installation with either an AMD or Intel processor.

The Asus Triton 75 is made out of full copper base with 4 heat pipes. The high density aluminum fins design allows better heat dissipation according to Asus. What we didn't liked was that the copper base had several weird scratches/marks...

We can see at the side the empty space needed to add the two metal straps for securing a 12cm fan

- Installation

The Asus Triton 75 takes a few minutes to install. You only need to screw the two bases for Socket 775 at the copper base:

and shortly your new cpu cooler will be ready to install.

Due to the massive volume of this cooler, we had some issues securing it on the motherboard, since our long screw couldn't very easily rotate the Intel default mounting mechanism. After a while, we shorted out all things. Again it's not a major negative but it could take some time.

Due to its height, the Asus Triton 75 cpu cooler will cover a large area of the motherboard. Depending your motherboard design, we encountered some problems securing the mounting screws on the case and the 8pin power cable is not very easy to mount/un-mount.

With higher heighted copper heatsinks, installation would be impossible.

Adding a 12cm fan is very easy

Finally here is how our CPU cooler looks after the installation on Thermaltake's Soprano case

- Ratings

Retail package
Design
Motherboard compatibility
Installation time
Copper Base quality

6. GlacialTech Igloo 5160
Manufacturer
GlacialTech
Model
Price Range
$20
Category
Entry Level

GlacialTech launched its latest IGLOO 5610 PWM CPU cooler and IGLOO 5610 Silent CPU Cooler for Intel CPUs on October 22 2007. The design and price aims at the entry level users who wish an affordable and at the same time efficient cpu cooler. The unique design incorporates a specially aligned aluminum heatpipe combination of two pipes that dissipate the heat from the CPU directly to the heatsink fins. From there, the Silent version’s fan brings the temperature down. The low decibel (19dB), high volume (30.8 CFM) fan is 80mm×80mm×25mm and runs at the ultra-quiet speed of 1800 RPM.

Unlike the Silent version of this series, the PWM version has an 80mm×80mm×25mm adjustable speed fan which brings the temperature down according to your needs, The fan's speed ranges from 800 to 3200 RPM, with a maximum volume throughput of 51.3CFM. The fan produces a maximum of 34dB  at full speed. The entire heatsink (both versions) keeps a relatively low profile and  weighs 373grams.

Highlighted Features

 ● Quality Aluminum design with Copper base
 ● Heatpipe-fin-airflow combination with Patented Engineering principles
 ● PWM version: Enhanced speed adjustable Fan (800-3200 RPM)
 ● Silent version: Silent performance (19dB)

- Retail package

The retail package of GlacialTech Igloo 5610 Silent/PWM versions are very simple. Actually both models are the same concerning the design and the physical structure, the only difference is the power management functions (PWM) of the 5610PWM model.

Opening the package, there is only the backpanel braket and a quick installation guide

The Igloo 5610 is fully made of aluminum with four (4) heatpipes and the 80mm fan produces low noise, according to GlacialTech. At the bottom there is already pre-applied thermal paste.

More pictures...


Here is the backside...


While on top, there is the GlacialTech logo...

- Installation

The GlacialTech Igloo 5610 Silent/PWM function takes sometime to install it. The backpanel has a sticker that if removed will hold it until you secure all  the mounting screws. The whole process is rather simple and users shouldn't encounter any problem.

Due to its small volume, there shouldn't be any kind of problems, even with specially designed  motherboards. Finally here is how our CPU cooler looks after the installation on  Thermaltake's Soprano case.

- Ratings

Retail package
Design
Motherboard compatibility
Installation time
Bottom Base quality

7. Noctua NH-U12F
Manufacturer
Noctua
Model
Price Range
$60~65
Category
Overclockers

Noctua, an Austrian company, introduces the NH-U12F to the market as one of the most powerful CPU coolers with high efficiency and very good performance.The NH-U12F can be rotated by 90° on all sockets It fully supports AMD's new AM2 socket and comes equipped with a Noctua NF-S12 120mm fan, which has a minimum noise rating of only 8dB(A). Thanks to the 4 Dual-Heat-Pipes, the 38 aluminium cooling fins with a total surface area of more than 5000cm² and soldered joints for optimal heat-transfer, the Noctua NH-U12F achieves superior cooling performance at minimum noise levels.

- Features

4 Dual-Heatpipes for optimal heat absorption
The 4 u-shaped Dual-Heat-Pipes have a huge contact area with the copper base to efficiently absorb the CPU's heat. They form 8 risers to spread the heat throughout the fins.

38 aluminium cooling fins for optimal heat dissipation
Thanks to a surface area of more than 5000cm², the cooling fins dissipate the heat extremely fast. Both the choice of aluminium and the fins' shape and spacing allow for outstanding cooling performance with the supplied ultra silent NF-S12-1200 fan.

Soldered joints for optimal heat-transfer
Unlike many other coolers, whose heat-pipes are stuck to the base and the fins, the Noctua NH-U12F possesses high-grade soldered joints to ensure optimal heat transfer.

Noctua NF-S12-1200 fan with Ultra-Low-Noise adaptor
Thanks to the sound-optimized blade geometry of the Noctua Straight-Blade-Design and the self-stabilizing oil-pressure bearing (SSO bearing), the NF-S12-1200 achieves a flow rate of 81m³/h at a noise rating of only 17dB(A). Using the supplied Ultra-Low-Noise adaptor, the noise level can be lowered to only 8dB(A)!

Screwless fan-mount including anti-vibration strips
Attaching the fan with the steel clips is a child's play and doesn't even require a screwdriver. The supplied anti-vibration strips minimize vibrations transmitted to the cooler and hence allows for extra quietness.

Easy installation on socket LGA 775, K8 (754, 939, 940) & AM2
The NH-U12F fits Intel's socket LGA 775 as well as AMD's K8 (754, 939, 940) and AM2. Thanks to the detailed step-by-step installation guide, installation only takes a few minutes!

SecuFirm™ mounting system
The SecuFirm™ mounting system guarantees optimal contact pressure and maximum security thanks to the use of a backplate and spring-loaded screws. As a result, the SecuFirm™ mounting system makes it possible to safely transport the assembled system without any risk even though the cooler exceeds the 450g weight specification established by Intel and AMD. Perfect for LAN gamers!

Can be rotated by 90° for improved compatibility and optimal positioning within the case
The NH-U12F can be installed rotated by 90° on all compatible sockets to allow for an optimal positioning of the cooler within the airflow inside the case and to evade compatibility issues.

Including manual, thermal paste and mounting hardware
In addition to the mounting hardware, the manual and the NF-S12-1200 fan, the package contains a syringe of high-grade thermal paste so that you can get started right away!

- Specifications

Socket compatibility
Intel Socket LGA 775, AMD K8 (754, 939, 940) & AM2
Height (without fan)
155 mm
Width (without fan)
126 mm
Depth (without fan)
70 mm
Height (with fan)
155 mm
Width (with fan)
126 mm
Depth (with fan)
95 mm
Weight (without fan)
640 g
Weight (with fan)
790 g
Material
Copper (base and heat-pipes), aluminium (cooling fins), soldered joints
Fan size
120x120x25mm / 120x120x38mm (2 fans mountable)
Fan
Bearing
Blade Geometry
Rotational Speed (+/- 10%)
1200 RPM
Rotational Speed with U.L.N.A. (+/- 10%)
800 RPM
Airflow
81 m³/h
Airflow with U.L.N.A.
59 m³/h
Acoustical Noise
17 dB(A)
Acoustical Noise with U.L.N.A.
8 dB(A)
Input Power
1,44 W
Input Current
0,12 A
Voltage Range
4-13 V
MTBF
> 150.000 h
Scope of Delivery
  • NH-U12F
  • NF-S12-1200
  • Complete mounting hardware
  • Ultra-Low-Noise Adaptor (U.L.N.A.)
  • Thermal Paste
  • Anti-Vibration-Strips
Warranty
6 years

- Retail package

The retail package of Noctua NH-U12F is middle sized and includes apart from the cpu cooler, a 12cm fan from Noctua, mounting hardware and thermal paste.

The Noctua NH-U12F is made our of a copper base with U-shaped copper heatpipers and aluminium fins.

The base has an excellent finish..

On top there is the Noctua logo...

- Installation

Noctua has a webpage that includes many motherboard brands and the compatibility list. Due to the size of the cpu cooler, we advise to visit the page and check if your motherboard is compatible. Apart from this page, there is a FAQ page with many interesting facts about the NH-U12F product. There is also the possibility to add a second 120mm fan using the included 4 fan clip for further boosting the product's capabilities...

Let's begin our installation tour, everything you need is included, you can i the cooler either in horizontal or

in vertical position, this depends upon your needs. For our tests, we placed the cooler horizontally as shown on the photos bellow:

Then you need to gently place the cooler and mount it with the included screws. The included screwdriver does helps, since the Noctua NH-U12F has 155mm height. Included in the retail package there are four (4) anti-vibration strips that absorb any shocks produced from the fan.

Finally our cpu cooler is ready and armed. The two steel clips are easy to place, until you understand how exactly they should be placed, Noctua should had a better sketch for this.

Despite the height of this cooler, we didn't had any problems with the nearby copper heatsinks.

Due to the small volume, there shouldn't be any kind of problems even with specially designed motherboards. Finally here is how our CPU cooler looks after the installation on Thermaltake's Soprano case


Yep, the height is enormous...

- Adding an extra 12cm fan

You can add a second 12cm fan on the Noctua NH-U12F  in order to boost the product's abilities and performance. For this we used a Noctua NF-S12 fan that was very easy to install. The overall volume of the cooler rised up and the total weight of both fans and CPU cooler reached 940gr...We are not very sure if this is safe for your motherboard.

Another picture from the top, despite the increased volume, there is still enough room for air to circuit. What we didn't like was the fact that our 12cm case fan wasn't aligned at the same height as the Noctua NH-U12F cooler. This could have a negative effect on the overall performance but we will talk about this later in our review.

- Ratings

Retail package
Design
Motherboard compatibility
Installation time
Bottom Base quality

8. OCZ Vendetta
Manufacturer
OCZ Technology
Model
Price Range
$30
Category
Medium Level

Using a distinctive, highly efficient heat pipe and fin design developed by Xigmatek, combined with a low-noise fan, the Vendetta is built to tackle heat-induced performance degradation and solves the cooling challenges of today’s enthusiast system builds.

While traditional heat pipe CPU coolers typically use a solid base plate design, the Vendetta’s three copper heat pipes make direct contact with the processor allowing for maximum heat transfer at a more rapid pace. A novel “dimple” design in the micro-configuration of the stacked aluminum fans adds turbulences, thereby reducing the skin effect of laminar air flow. Moreover, a folded "V" shape of the macro-configuration of the fins adds surface area without compromising the compact design. As a result, the Vendetta offers incredibly efficient cooling area comparable to much larger coolers which is reflected in its performance.

The ultra-quiet fan cools without disruption with its anti-vibration rubber connectors to reduce excess noise, resulting in quiet, yet extremely effective performance. Because the OCZ Vendetta has a compact design, even the most crowded cases can accommodate the cooler with ease.

- Specifications

- Retail package

The retail package of the OCZ Vendetta is middle sized. Its contents are well packaged and secured inside the box:

It includes a 92mm fan with rubber connectors, mounting hardware for supported CPUs and thermal compound:

The OCZ Vendetta is made our of a hybrid copper/aluminium base with V-shaped copper heatpipers and aluminium fins.

The base consists of three copper strips with thick aluminium fins between.

On top there is the OCZ logo...

- Installation

The OCZ Vendetta doesn't take much time to assemble and install. First you have to secure the Intel stock motherboard screws as the picture shows:

Then you have to mount the 92mm fan with the included rubber connectors as shown.

A good idea is to install the fan after you secure the CPU cooler on the motherboard. This will allow to easily fasten the mounting screws or else you will have to bend them, since the fan is right above them.

Due to its small volume and design, there shouldn't be any kind of problems even with specially designed motherboards. Finally here is how our CPU cooler looks after the installation on Thermaltake's Soprano case.


The OCZ Vendetta doesn't take much space on your motherboard...

- Ratings

Retail package
Design
Motherboard compatibility
Installation time
Bottom Base quality

9. Scythe Andy Samurai Master
Manufacturer
Scythe
Model
Price Range
Category
Overclockers

Scythe Andy Samurai Master is another award winning product from Scythe. It has a more compact design than other Scythe solutions with good performance and six (6) heatpipes for quick heat dissipation.

IIFS – Infinity Interleave Fin Structure
Seeking the better way to efficiently dissipate the heat from total 6 heatpipes to heatsink fins, this IIFS makes the quick & efficient heat transfer ever!

Top-Flow High-End CPU Cooler
“Top-Flow” airflow can cool both the CPU and the motherboard components simultaneously!

Tool Free Easy Installation
Newly developed & “patent pending” mounting mechanism “VTMS (Versatile Toll-Free Multiplatform System) allows user to install the Andy Samurai Master CPU Cooler without any tool and hassle.

Universal Socket Compatibility with AM2
Andy Samurai Master CPU Cooler is compatible for socket 478/754/939/940/AM2 & LGA775. All in one solution for your PC system.

- Full Specifications

Heatsink

Dimensions:
Weight:
Material:

 

Combined Dimensions: 124 x 135 x 125(H) mm
Weight: 685g

Fan

Dimensions:
Noise Level:
Air Flow:
Speed:
Bearing Type:

 

120 x 120 x 25 mm
20.94 dBA
49.58CFM
1,200rpm (±10%)
Sleeve Bearing

- Retail package

The retail package of the Scythe Any Samurai Warrior is small. There are pictures of the product and some specifications printed in both English and Japanese:

Opening the package, unveils its contents:

which are

The Scythe Andy Samurai Warrior is a very compact CPU cooler compared to other coolers from Scythe.

Its exact dimensions can be found below...

There are aluminium fins and 6 (also alumunium) heatpipes. The overall build quality is very good. On top there's a 120mm fan that can easily be replaced with something better.


The front view of the cooler...


The side view...


The top view...

The base is fully made out of copper. We would like it to have a better finish, since it has many noticeable lines and no mirror finish.

- Installation

The installation process is very simple. First you need to mount the two Socket 775 brackets on the preset area (left/right side), that takes no more than a couple of secs. This is completely tool free. The mounting process also uses standard Intel mounting screws, so no need for a motherboard backplate. This is probably the easiest to install big sized cooler of this roundup. You will now need a screwdriver to press the four plastic screws in order to secure the whole cooler to the motherboard, or you could use your thumb for this purpose. The overall weight is kept low (!), if you can call low 685gr for a cpu cooler. The extensive use of aluminium does bring down the overall weight. Be careful to remove the plastic sticker on the bottom before installation.

The cooler isn't very big. However due to its design you will be able to install it in only one way, probably with the heatpipes on the left side (facing the memory banks) as shown in the following picture. In general there shouldn't be many problems with the installation, unless your motherboard has many and big heatspreaders surrounding the CPU area.

Placing the motherboard inside the case we can notice the low height of this cooler, at least compared to other ones...

- Ratings

Retail package
Design
Motherboard compatibility
Installation time
Copper Base quality

10. Scythe Kama Cross
Manufacturer
Scythe
Model
Price Range
Category
Medium Level/HTPC

Scythe is a well known cooler manufacturer with products that stand out. The Kama Cross is a unique product for CPU coolers with X design, that according to Scythe offers increased performance compared to traditional solutions.

X Structure – Airflow Loss Free Design
Introducing the X structure shape for the new innovation for the CPU cooler market. This X structure allows the airflow to both cool the CPU as well as the components build-on to the motherboard with minimum loss in airflow.

Ready for 120mm Fan Mounting
The default fan (100x100x25mm – Scythe Kaze Jyu 100mm Fan) can be easily exchanged to another 120mm sized fan with 25mm of thickness for high performance user.

4-Way Mounting
4 way (direction) mounting is available. This allows you to configure the optimized airflow direction inside your chassis without any restrictions.

Universal Socket Compatibility with AM2
Kama Cross CPU Cooler is compatible for socket 478/754/939/940/AM2 & LGA775. All in one.

- Full Specifications

Heatsink

Dimensions:
Weight:
Material:

 

140(W) x 120(D) x 132mm(H)
Weight: 530g

Fan

Dimensions:
Noise Level:
Air Flow:
Speed:
Bearing Type:

 

Dimensions: 100 x 100 x 25mm
Noise Level: 22.00dBA
Air Flow: 42.69 CFM
Speed: 1,500rpm (±10%)
Bearing Type: Sleeve Bearing

- Retail package

The retail package of the Scythe Kama Cross is minimal. There are pictures of the product and some specifications printed in both English and Japanese:

Opening the package, unveils its contents:

which are

The Kama Cross features a unique crossed X-heatpipe design with a total of 80 fins attached, 40 on each side. A total of 3 heatpipes are used to transfer heat from the bottom base to the fins. Due to the placement of the fan, its very possible that nearby components can also be cooled, like the motherboard heatpipes!

The default fan of 100mm proves to be weak to handle the big heat loads of recent Intel processors especially the Quad core series. Of course you can remove it and add a standard 120mm in case you want to. This way you get greater performance for a small additional cost.


A side view of the cooler...


A top view cooler...

The base has is very well polished and the quality is astonishing.

- Installation

The installation procedure is very simple. First you need to mount the Socket 775 bracket, that follows Intel's standard mount mechanism. In order to secure the four plastic screws you need to use a screwdriver and slightly bend them in order to apply the needed force. We are not very sure what will happen if you plan to install/un-install this cpu cooler very often...

The cooler is big sized, due to its X-design...

Placing the motherboard inside the case we can notice the height, which of course isn't much compared to other coolers...

The Scythe Kama Cross occupies a large area...

- Ratings

Retail package
Design
Motherboard compatibility
Installation time
Copper Base quality

11. Scythe Infinity (Mugen)
Manufacturer
Scythe
Model
Price Range
Category
Overclockers

Scythe introduces Infinity (Mugen) model as a top performer with several interesting features, such as four (4) fan mounting choice, toolless installation and a wide range cooling options.

4 Fan Mounting Choice
Users can choose from 4 possible direction to mount the fan to get the best performance out of MUGEN!

Tool Free Easy Installation
Newly developed & "patent pending" mounting mechanism "VTMS (Versatile Toll-Free Multiplatform System) allows user to install the MUGEN CPU Cooler without any tool and hassle. MUGEN CPU Cooler is compatible for socket 478/754/939/940/AM2 & LGA775. All in one solution for your PC system.

Wide Range Cooling
MUGEN CPU Cooler is optimized to get its performance from low-rpm to high-rpm to meet the demand from silent users to heavy-core overclockers.

For super heavy user, quad fan mounting (total 4 fans) is possible for SCINF-1000 (MUGEN CPU Cooler) with SCY-12FC fan clips!

Caution: Due to the total weight being very heavy for quad fan mounting, we strongly advise you to mount and secure the heatsink to avoid damaging your motherboard/CPU. For Quad fan mounting, please arrange this at your own risk (ex. spreading weight by using wires to sling the CPU cooler).

- Full Specifications

Heatsink

Dimensions:
Weight:
Material:

 

Combined Dimensions: 125 x 116 x 160mm
Weight: 960g

Fan

Dimensions:
Noise Level:
Air Flow:
Speed:
Bearing Type:

 

Dimensions: 120 x 120 x 25mm
Noise Level: 23.5dBA
Air Flow: 46.5CFM
Speed: 1,200rpm (±10%)


- Retail package

The retail package of the Scythe Infinity is medium sized. There are pictures of the product and some specifications printed in both English and Japanese:

Opening the package, unveils its contents:

which are

The Scythe Infinity (Mugen) is one of the biggest -both in height and in volume- cpu cooler you can find in the market.

Its exact dimensions can be found below...

There are 29fins with five (5) copper heatpipes running through them. That makes a sum of 10 headers that can be seen from the top. The overall build quality is superb...


The front view of the cooler...


The side view of the cooler...


Another View of the cooler...

The base of Scythe's Infinity (Mugen) is made out of copper with 5 copper heatpipes rushing out of it. While at the picture the base looks to have a perfect finish,

a real life picture shows exactly the opposite. Lots of tiny scratches are noticed all over the base, we expected something "smoother" for such a high end product.

- Installation

The installation procedure is very simple. First you need to mount the Socket 775 bracket. This is completely tool free. The mounting procedure also uses standard Intel mounting screws, so no need for a motherboard backplate. This is probably the easiest to install big cooler of this roundup. You will now need a screwdriver to press the four plastic screws in order to secure the whole cooler to the motherboard. What you should keep in mind is that this cooler weights almost 1kg, (960gr to be exact). Adding more fans to it, will require a more radical solution to keep your motherboard safe from breaking it in half.

The cooler is huge... Installing it in our motherboard was problem-free, however we can't be sure that it can be installed in all the motherboards without any problems.

The 120mm fan can also be installed very easy, there are two attachment clips included in the retail package.

Placing the motherboard inside the case we can notice the height. I'm starting to wonder if the side panel will  close eventually...

A very large area is covered by the Scythe Infinity...

And yes, the side panel did closed without any problem.

- Installing 2 Fans

As we saw earlier in our introduction, the Scythe Infinity (Mugen) allows the use of up to four (4) 120mm fans. To give you an idea we tried and installed a second fan, manufactured by Scythe..

Not much free space is left around the CPU area, we will find later if this configuration is more effective.

- Ratings

Retail package
Design
Motherboard compatibility
Installation time
Copper Base quality

12. Scythe Ninja Mini
Manufacturer
Scythe
Model
Price Range
Category
Medium Level/HTPC

Scythe is a well known cooler manufacturer with several great products. The Ninja Mini CPU cooler aims at HTPC systems and hopefully would be as less noisy solution as Scythe advertises it. The default silent fan (80 x 80 x 25 mm) can be easily exchanged to a 92mm sized fan with 25mm of thickness for higher performance (92mm Fan Clips are included). The Ninja Mini CPU Cooler has an improved mounting mechanism with easier than ever mounting for all sockets! As Scythe advertises, the Ninja Mini CPU Cooler is compatible with socket 478/754/939/940/AM2 & LGA775. All in one solution for your PC system...

- Full Specifications

Heatsink

Dimensions:
Weight:
Material:

 

110 x 110 x 115 mm
580g
x6 Heat Pipes
Aluminum
Copper

Fan

Dimensions:
Noise Level:
Air Flow:
Speed:
Bearing Type:

 

80 x 80 x 25 mm
24.4 dBA
32.2 CFM
2,300 rpm (±10%)
Sleeve Bearing

- Retail package

The retail package of Scythe Ninja Mini is small and simple. There are pictures of the product and some specifications printed in both English and Japanese:

Opening the package, unveils its contents:

which are

The outer box indicates that this cooler can be used in HTPC systems. However opening the box you get a rather unpleasant surprise...this is a nasty big cooler! While we didn't had any problems with our test motherboard, we believe that there would be cases, where this little monster simply won't fit.

The Ninja mini has 17 aluminum fins stamped out like an iron cross with 6 copper heat pipes running through them and a hole down in the middle. The cooler looks identical in four ways, so this means you can rotate it in case it won't fit at your system. The build quality is high, indicating that this product must be good.


A top view of the cooler...

The included 80mm fan comes with Scythe's logo, and has a 2300rpm specification. The mounting mechanism to the main body is simple, just two attachment clips. With the included 92mm attachment clips, you can easily change the default fan with another one, bigger to further boost the performance.

The base has polish finish and top build quality...

- Installation

The installation procedure is very simple. First you need to mount the Socket 775 bracket, that follows Intel's standard mount mechanism. The holes in the main body allow a long screwdriver to come through the cpu cooler and tighten the screws until the whole structure is secured. No much to explain here, this cooler can be installed in less than 2 minutes. We didn't noticed any problems with the nearby copper heatpipes, despite its big volume.

Next step is to attach the 80mm fan. Which is very easy with the included attachment clips.

To get an idea of how big this cooler is, just look closely the following picture. The cooler covers one memory bank!

Placing the motherboard inside the case, we can notice the reduced height compared to other coolers...

A very large area is covered by the Scythe Ninja Mini...

- Ratings

Retail package
Design
Motherboard compatibility
Installation time
Copper Base quality

13. SunbeamTech.com Silent Whisper
Manufacturer
Sunbeamtech
Model
Price Range
Category
Entry /Medium Level

SunbeamTech introduced Silent Whisper as a killer for bigger and much higher priced CPU coolers. The Silent Whisper is priced at $20, has copper heatpipes with an elevated thin finned design.  The Sunbeam Silent Whisper can be found either for the Intel LGA775 or the AMD K8 socket, so we have two different models.

- Full specifications

Fan Speed 1000 ~ 2300 PWM controlled
Weight 512 g
Socket Type LGA 775
Application Intel Pentium 4 all frequencies
Core duo all frequencies
Core quad all frequencies
Celeron D all frequencies
Bearing Type Ceramic Shaft and Bearing

- Retail package

The retail package of SunbeamTech Silent Whisper is really small and includes only the necessary, meaning -only- the CPU cooler

The Silent Whisper can be characterized as a small CPU cooler with a 92mm fan. There are three U-shaped heatpipes combined with a copper base and aluminum fins. The mounting mechanism is exactly what you find in Intel's stock CPU coolers, using push pins to secure the heatsink through the holes in the motherboard. The CPU cooler uses four-pin connector with the PWM function.

At the bottom we can find some thermal compound pre-applied. The build quality isn't the best we have seen in this roundup, at least compared to other much more expensive coolers. The base is made out of copper and hopefully this will help the cooler get a good position in our tests.

Another view of the cooler, you can notice the six heatpipes:

- Installation

The installation procedure of Sunbeamtech's Silent Whisper is pretty simple, just like installing an Intel's stock cooler. Due to the low volume and minimal design, there shouldn't be any problem with many motherboards. We didn't encountered absolutely any problem with the nearby copper heatpipes...

Finally here is how our CPU cooler looks after the installation inside Thermaltake's Soprano case, lot of empty space around the CPU area...

The height is low, at least compared to other CPU coolers...

- Ratings

Retail package
Design
Motherboard compatibility
Installation time
Copper Base quality

14. Titan Amanda Tec
Manufacturer
Titan
Model
Price Range
$110
Category
Overclockers

Titan introduced Amanda TEC as a top performance CPU cooler, aimed at enthusiasts and of course overclockers. Its main design allows the heat to be abstracted by combing TEC (Thermo-Electric cooler) and of course the traditional heatpipes. We will not get into much technical stuff, we hope that this solution performs as Titan advertises...The Titan Amanda TEC can be either installed in AMD or Intel sockets, depending the model number and plate design. So this means you only get either an Intel or an AMD model only...

- Features

Please note that the Amanda TEC cooler is specifically designed for overclocked and high power consumption CPUs and it's able to significantly drop the CPU temperature. In low power consumption CPUs, the temperature difference will not be so evident when using the Amanda TEC cooler compared to a stock cooler

- Full specifications

Cooler Dimension
160 x 95 x 170mm
Thermoelectric Chip
40 x40 mm / 12V DC
Power Consumption
0% Loading / 5w
50% Loading / 28w
100% Loading / 50w
Heat Sink Material
4 heat pipes.,Aluminium Fins & Copper Base
Heat Sink Dimension
90 x 90 x 90mm (D x W x H)
Fan Dimension
92 x 92 x 32mm
Fan Voltage Rating
12V DC
Fan Speed & Noise Level
1500RPM / <20 dBA
Weight
1035g (with two Fans)
Thermal Resistance
0.12 -0.15(C/W)
 
Control Interface System
PCI Card
TEC Temperature Response Time
< 1 second
Power Input
12V DC / 5A
Controller Dimensions
136 x 121 x 21 mm ( D x W x H )
Weight
50g
 
Orange Light
It means the Thermoelectric Chip is working. (When the temperature is over 25℃, the TEC is working)
Red Light
When the CPU temperature is  over 70℃ or less than 15℃, the red LED light will blink and system will send the alarm.
Green Light
It means system power has already been started. 

- Retail package

The retail package of Titan Amanda Tec is medium sized, there is a transparent window in front that gives us a glance of what's included inside:

Opening the box, everything is well packaged and secured inside a plastic shell..

The Titan Amanda Tec aims at serious users (aka overclockers). The design includes four U-shaped heat pipes. combined with aluminum fins and base. The cooler is really big, its exact size is 160 x 95 x 170mm, so there might be some issues with small cases.

At all sides there's the Amanda logo...

There are 8 noise absorption pads to the connecting the fans with the main body. According to Titan, this should turn down the noise coming from the CPU cooler, but later with that in our review...

There are two 92mm rotating fans pre-installed, with a  maximum speed of 1500rpm.

The aluminium base is protected by a sticker.

Lets remove it and investigate the base. There is no polish finish and everything looks ok, but we did noticed a scratch and some weird marks.

The retail package includes all the needed tools to install the cpu cooler either at AMD or Intel based motherboards. Notice the extra PCI card used to control the cooler, especially its TEC capabilities

In order for this cooler to work, you need to install the PCI card. This card provides the needed power for the fans to operate and at the same time automatically controls their rotation according to the reported processor temperature. There are two slots that are connected with the main cooler. There is also a molex type power input that needs to be connected for the whole circuit to properly work.

At the back, there are three LEDs. The green LED is the power indicator, the orange LED lets you know when the TEC is working (under 25 celcius), and the red LED is an alarm and notifies you when the temperature either falls below 15c or above 70c. This can give a quick overview at users in case the cooler malfunctions and further actions should be made.

- Installation

The installation procedure of Titan Amanda Tec can be either easy or complicated, according to your motherboard. In our case, the Asus P5K3 Deluxe has several chipsets at the bottom and the back plate was overlapping them. I don't know if this is a good sign, for sure we didn't liked this. Other motherboards doesn't include such chipsets so it could be a specific board issue. The best and easiest way was to  place the cooler first, attach the thermal paste and gently leave the motherboard upon it. With the 4 black screws secure the whole structure and finish the installation. Note that this cooler weights almost 1kg. This may be a problem for some motherboards. Titan has included a weight reduction system, that is actually two plastic cables for securing the cooler at the case...

Then you can flip over the motherboard and admire the Titan Amanda TEC. We didn't encountered any problems with the nearby copper heat pipes.

Then you have to connect the included power cables with the PCI controller.

Finally here is how the CPU cooler looks installed inside the case! Everything fits, even the length is almost very close to the case limit. Actually there is a 1-2cm space between the case's 12cm fan and Titan's Amanda TEC cooler. Since the left fan blows away heat, this actually is good, since all the hot air is driven directly out of the case.

The height of this cooler shouldn't trouble you...

- Ratings

Retail package
Design
Motherboard compatibility
Installation time
Copper Base quality

15. Titan TTC-NK34TZ
Manufacturer
Titan
Model
Price Range
$20
Category
Medium Level

Titan has a wide range of CPU coolers either for AMD or Intel processors. This time, we have another CPU cooler from Titan, designed especially for Intel Socket 775 socket. The Titan TTC-NK34TZ promises good performance at a low price. There is another version for AMD based system called TTC-KN32TZ, so be careful before buying this product.

- Features

- Full specifications

Outline Dimension
90 x 90 x 130mm
Fan Dimension
92 x 92 x 25mm
Rated Voltage
12V DC
Rated Current
0.20A
Rated Speed
2200 ± 10%RPM
Airflow
37.13CFM
Static Pressure
0.5inch H2O
Noise Level
<26.9dBA

- Retail package

The retail package of the Titan TTC-NK34TZ is very simple with no specifications and no product name in front. Not the best solution to impress a user at a retail store. The package doesn't include much also, only the cooler and a tube of thermal paste. The production cost is kept low and hopefully the retail price also:

Lets now see our cooler. The design is simple and doesn't include much weird hi-tech gizmos. At the bottom we can see the socket 775 back plate and the four mounting screws. The design follows the idea of a tower, with a frameless 92mm fan supposedly making the cooler less noisy. However it also prevents it from performing its best. The overall size shouldn't be considered as "big", since we have seen much higher and wider CPU coolers in this roundup.

The copper base of this CPU cooler is very smooth but doesn't have a a mirror finish.

There are six heatpipes that absorb heat from the base and deliver it to the aluminum fins. A better picture showing the cooler's mounting system follows.

While at the back, we can see the aluminium fins design.

- Installation

The installation procedure of Titan TTC-NK34TZ is very easy. It shouldn't take more than a few minutes. You need to un-screw the back plate, attach it in the back of the board,

and then, after placing the cooler,

bolt the four screws.

No headaches for this cooler. Let's now see how things are inside the case after the installation. Due to low height and low volume, there is enough free space around the CPU area...

- Ratings

Retail package
Design
Motherboard compatibility
Installation time
Copper Base quality

16. Titan Vanessa L-Type
Manufacturer
Titan
Model
Price Range
$70
Category
Medium Level

Titan is a company manufacturing many coolers of interesting design. The Vanessa L-Type is an interesting CPU cooler due to its butterfly shaped design which is at least pleasant to the eye. It has support for both AMD/Intel CPUs so you won't need to purchase another cooler in case your platform. The price is good and we are wondering what its performance would be compared to other coolers in this roundup. The Titan Vanessa L-Type is big enough with 15cm in height. Due to its size, Titan offers another smaller (S-Type) version.

- Features

- Full specifications

Outline Dimension
150 x 130 x 117.4mm
Fan Dimension
120 x 120 x 25mm
Weight (heatsink+fan)
800 g
Rated Voltage
12V DC
Rated Voltage
12V DC
Min
Max
Rated Current
0.16A
0.33A
Power Consumption
1.92W
3.96W
Rated Speed
1100 ± 10%RPM
2100 ± 10%RPM
Airflow
37.83CFM
82.94CFM
Static Pressure
0.73mm H2O
3.02mmH2O
Noise Level
<22 dBA
<38dBA
No. of Pole
4 Pole
Bearing Type
Sleeve / One Ball / Two Ball / Z-AXIS
Life Time
25,000 / 35,000 / 50,000 / 60,000 Hours

- Retail package

The retail package of the Titan Vanessa L-Type is bigger than other coolers in this roundup. In front we can see various logos and the unique "Vanessa" design:

Opening the box unveils its contents. Everything is well packaged and secured.

So whats included inside the box? First of all printed instructions for all supported installation sockets (AMD/Intel). A long screwdriver (you will understand later why its needed). Finally a box with several other components and of course a speed fan regulator.

Opening the included box, we get more contents, the installation bases for the various sockets and of course, mounting screws and thermal paste.

Lets now see our cooler. The design is rather unique, in front there is a big 12cm fan that covers the whole cooler.

Another side view...

On top we can see four holes and a printed plastic logo with the Vanessa fairy figure... The aluminium fins are in the shape of a butterfly and we don't know how efficient this design can be...

The base is made out of copper and its rounded! The only cooler in this roundup with a round base. There are also four pre-installed mounting screws. The installation procedure should be very easy, but later with this. There isn't any mirror finish but the surface was clean and smooth.

- Installation

The installation procedure of Titan's TTC-NK34TZ is easy if you read the included printed instructions. First you need to use the x-shaped back plate. The screws are philips type so you can use the included screwdriver.

The next step is to apply the thermal paste and of course gently place the Vanessa cooler above the processor.

Its about time to use the included screwdriver. At the top there are four holes that can be used to tighten the 4 base's mounting screws. The holes are precise, so you can't miss the screws. After everything is secured you can admire your newly bought CPU cooler.

There is no real problem with the nearby heatpipes...

Lets now install this cooler inside Thermaltake's Soprano case and check out what happens. There is enough space between the cooler and the PSU. The 12cm case fan is also far away and all motherboard cables can be installed without any problem.

The height is at the case's limit, but fortunately the side panel closes.

Another view...

- Ratings

Retail package
Design
Motherboard compatibility
Installation time
Copper Base quality

17. Tuniq Tower 120
Manufacturer
Tuniq
Model
Price Range
Category
Medium Level

Tuniq, a subdiary of SunbeamTech introduced to the market the Tower 120 CPU cooler with very good specifications and features. The price is really low and we hope the performance to be up to the level that Tuniq's reputation is...

- Features

- Full Specifications

Material
Copper and aluminum fins
Socket Type
Socket 478, LGA775, k8 ( 754 / 939 / 940 )
Fan Speed
1000 - 2000 RPM
Thermal
Resistance
0.16 - 0.21 °C / W
Fan
Dimension
120mm (W) x 120mm (H) x 25mm (D)
Heatsink
Dimension
131mm (W) x 108mm (H) x 153mm (D)
Weight
798g ( without fan )

- Retail package

The retail package of Tuniq Tower 120 is medium sized and includes a transparent window for you to admire the cooler before buying it:

Opening the box, we can see that everything is in place, well secured and organized.

Let's now check what is included:

Lots of good things are included, like: a printed manual, backplates for Socket 775 and K8 processors, thermal compound, two different screw kits (AMD/Intel), - four cover screws to attach the 120mm fan and a fan speed controller bracket. Rather a complete package if you ask me...

The Tuniq Tower 120 has a wave-like aluminium fins design, while there is a 120mm fan in the middle. This kind of design is encountered for the first time in this roundup. The base is fully made out of copper while there are four U-shaped heatpipes (kind of).

The front and back shark shaped fins are a little sharp, while on the left and the right side are flat.

On top there is a black finish, that actually holds the middle fan in its place. If you pull it up, the fan will be also unveiled. So this way you could for example, replace it with something more powerful or less noisy, in case the included fan doesn't satisfy you. There are also four small holes that needs to be filled with the included screws to keep the fan in its place.

The copper base is...big. No joke, this has to be one of the biggest copper bases we saw in this roundup. there is no mirror finish, but the overall quality is awesome. If you see the copper base from the other side, you will notice a small metal clip which serves for securing the mounting mechanism.

- Installation

The installation procedure of Tuniq Tower 120 has a medium degree of difficulty. First you have to place the back panel plate, then place the H shaped metal between the copper base and secure it at the motherboard. There are four mounting screws, with the corresponding springs that also needs to be placed . Then you select the most outer holes and start securing the structure with the four gold thumb screws. This takes sometime, because in case the copper heatpipes of the motherboard may interfere with the thumb screws. Anyway it isn't so difficult, it just needs practice. After that you are ready to plug the fan header and see how this cooler performs.

There is enough empty space between the motherboard's copper heatpipes and Tuniq's Tower 120.

On the right side, for a moment we were afraid that there might be a problem, but the cables passed through nicely as you can see in the picture bellow.

The Tuniq Tower 120 is 15.5 cm in height. This may sound big, however most regular mid / full-tower cases are 19 cm or more in height, so according to Tuniq, there shouldn't be any problem during the installation. Our Thermaltake Soprano case, didn't had any problem with this cooler. Of course large area of the motherboard is covered from the cooler.

Just look, how high this cooler is, I'm wondering if the side panel will close nicely...

And yes, it did closes, despite the fact that there is an extra fan attached to it.

- Ratings

Retail package
Design
Motherboard compatibility
Installation time
Copper Base quality

18. Zalman CNPS8700NT
Manufacturer
Zalman
Model
Price Range
$66.50
Category
HTCP/Medium Level

Zalman has a long tradition at manufacturing high quality CPU coolers. The design and term "Flower Cooler" has been used by Zalman since 2001  The CNPS8700 has several improvements compared to the CNPS7000 series, mostly in its cooling ability through the use of two heatpipes at the base. As Zalman describes "...Rather than the radial fins being attached directly to the base of the heatsink, the two heatpipes are now attached there instead. They cross over each other and then pass around the circumference of the whole cooler. Before they rejoin the base, the heat generated by the CPU is passed into 87 ultra-thin 0.2mm copper fins...".

Zalman offers two variations of the same product, the CNPS8700 LED and CNPS8700 NT. Both are identical in physical structure and design, while their main differences are the fan connector and the color of the heatsinks.


CNPS8700LED

The LED version has a standard copper finish and is supplied with a 3-pin fan and a controller to allow the user to control the fan speed manually.


CNPS8700 NT

The NT version has a nickel-plated silver finish and is supplied with a 4-pin PWM fan. The fan speed is automatically controlled by the motherboard BIOS. Today we will review this model. The CNPS8700 is compatible with all the major socket types. Due to the size/volume/design of the cooler there must be no motherboard components standing taller than 39mm within a 61.5mm radius as shown in the pictures bellow.

- Features

- Full Specifications

Model
CNPS8700-LED
CNPS8700-NT
Dimensions
120(L) X 123(W) X 67(H) mm
Weight
475g
Base Material
Pure Copper
Dissipation Area
3,300cm2
Bearing Type
2 Ball-Bearing
Speed
1150rpm ± 10% ~ 2300rpm ± 10%
1150rpm ± 10% ~ 2100rpm ± 10%
Noise Level
17.5dBA ± 10% ~ 33dBA ± 10%
17.5dBA ± 10% ~ 30dBA ± 10%
Fan Control Method
Manual with FANMATE2
PWM Control, Auto Restart

- Retail package

The retail package of Zalman CNPS8700NT is "slim" compared to other packages. The big transparent window allows you to check how the cooler looks like before buy:

After opening the package, we can finally see the contents:

Here is whats included:

  1. Cooler (CNPS8700 NT)
  2. Thermal Grease
  3. Clip
  4. Clip Lever
  5. User’s Manual
  6. Four (4) Clip Support Fixing Bolts
  7. One (1) Clip Support for Socket 775
  8. One (1) Backplate for Socket 775

The cooler is very compact. The low height is an ideal solution for HTPC users who wish to upgrade their cooling systems. The finish is very good, Zalman has a good reputation in manufacturing quality products. The aluminium fins bent very easily so be careful when installing the cooler. .

At the base there are the two heatpipes we talked about during our introduction. The base has mirror finish and it's very well constructed.

- Installation

Zalman offers an installation video at the product's homepage and you should view it before buy. The whole installation procedure is rather easy to understand. First you have to install the backplate and the mounting bracket. So far so good. There is a case that the mounting bracket is not compatible with your motherboard, so you should rotate by 90 degrees, this  isalso mentioned in the printed manual. The next step, and probably the most time consuming is to slide the mounting clip in the cooler, center it on the ridge on top of the cooler, and slide a little handle at the end of the clip. The main problem in our case was the motherboard's heatsinks, so we had to use a small screwdriver to secure it.

After that you press the front level down to get a perfect fit. This installation procedure is the same for both AMD and Intel processors.

Lets now examine how our new cooler looks like. Probably you will notice that this cooler is low heighted. That's the good news. The bad news is that it will probably interfere with the motherboard's copper heatpipes, as in our case. So you would probably need to put some extra force to get a perfect fit during the installation procedure. I can understand that by that the motherboard's copper heatpipes could also benefit from the cooling air, so maybe its a good thing after all.

Finally, its time to see how the cooler looks inside the case. Very low height...

And enough empty space around the CPU area.

During its operation, this cooler will glow in an electric blue color, good if you are a modder.

- Ratings

Retail package
Design
Motherboard compatibility
Installation time
Copper Base quality

19. Zalman CNPS9700LED
Manufacturer
Zalman
Model
Price Range
Category
Overclockers

Zalman introduced the new 9700 series this year. The new design looks like a copper flower with numerous copper fins. This CPU cooler promises a performance improvement over the 8700 series and less noise. We are curious to see how well this cooler performs compared to its own brother the CPNS8700. Zalman offers two variations of the same product, the CNPS9700 LED and the CNPS9700 NT. Both of them are identical in physical structure and in design, while their main differences are the fan connector and the color of the heatsinks.


CNPS9700NT

The NT version has a nickel-plated silver finish and comes with a 4-pin PWM fan. The fan speed is automatically controlled by the motherboard's BIOS. The LED version has a standard copper finish and it's supplied with a 3-pin fan and a controller to allow the user to adjust the fan speed manually.


CNPS9700LED

Today we will review the CNPS9700 LED. The cooler is compatible with all the major socket types. There are major restrictions compared to the low height CPNS8700 series.

- Features

- Full Specifications

Dimensions 90(L) X 124(W) X 142(H) mm
Weight Heatsink: 690g, Total (including fan): 764g
Base Material Pure Copper and Aluminum
Dissipation Area 5,490 cm2
Bearing Type 2 Ball-Bearing
Speed Silent Mode 1,250RPM ± 10 % Normal Mode 2,800RPM ± 10 %
Noise Level Silent Mode 19.5dB ± 10% Normal Mode 35dB ± 10%

- Retail package

The retail package of Zalman CNPS9700LED is "slim" compared to other packages. The big transparent window allows you to check how the cooler looks before buy. There are several logos at the top left indicating that this cooler has won several awards:

After opening the package, we can finally see the contents:

Here is whats included:

  1. One (1) CNPS9700
    One (1) Thermal Grease (ZM-STG1)
    One (1) Fan Speed Controller (FAN MATE 2)
    One (1) FAN MATE 2 Cable
    One (1) Double-sided Tape (For attaching FAN MATE 2)
    One (1) User’s Manual
  2. Components for Intel Socket 775
    One (1) Clip (S-Type)
    Four (4) Bolts (for installing the cooler)
    Four (4) Clip Support Fixing Bolts for Socket 775
    One (1) Clip Support for Socket 775
    One (1) Backplate for Socket 775
  3. Components for AMD Sockets AM2/754/939/940
    One (1) Clip for AMD Sockets
    One (1) Clip Lever for AMD Sockets

The cooler looks very impressive. The material is pure copper and the flower design with the ultra thin fins does look unique. Take care when handling the cooler, since the fins are sharp and you may cut yourself. The cooler is full-height (142mm) but that shouldn't give you any headaches when installing it, even inside a small case.

At the base there are six heatpipes and you can notice the mirror finish and the build quality.

- Installation

Zalman offers an installation video at the product's homepage that you should view before buying it. The whole installation procedure is simpler than the CNPS 8700 series. First you have to install the backplate and the mounting bracket. So far so good.

There is a case that the mounting bracket is not compatible with your motherboard, so you'll need to rotate it by 90 degrees, this is mentioned in the printed manual. The next step, and probably the most time consuming is to slide the mounting clip in the cooler, center it on the ridge on top of the cooler, and slide a little handle on to the end of the clip. Then you have to screw the mounting clip to secure the whole structure.

Here is a close up of the mounting clip.

Finally, its time to see how the cooler looks inside the case. Very low height

And plenty of empty space around the CPU area.

During its operation, this cooler will glow in an electric blue color, good if you are a modder.

- Ratings

Retail package
Design
Motherboard compatibility
Installation time
Copper Base quality

20. Zaward VIVO
Manufacturer
Zaward
Model
Price Range
$45
Category
Overclockers

Zaward VIVO is another product with unique design and hopefully good performance. Its main features are the option to include two low noise 92mm fans, the easy installation process and hopefully the low retail price.

- Features

- Full Specifications

Application
Intel Socket 775 & AMD AM2/940/939
Product Dimension
LxWxH=120.7x98.0x151.0+/-1mm
Material
Copper Heatpipe base & Aluminum fin
Heatpipe
Copper ø6mm x 3 pcs
Weight (NET)
500±20g
Fan Dimension
ø92x25mm
Bearing Type
Sleeve Bearing
Fan Speed
2,000rpm ± 10%
Air Flow
37.61CFM
Noise Level
24.7dBA
Max.Rated Current
12VDC
Life expectancy
26,000 hours

- Retail package

The retail package of Zaward's VIVO is small. There is a transparent window for you to see the cooler.

Opening the package, unveils its contents, not many are included, a backplate base for Intel Socket 775, a mounting plate for AM2, thermal paste and a printed manual.

The Zaward Vivo is a compact CPU cooler, at least compared to other much bigger and massive coolers that we have seen in this roundup. Its design enables it to hold two 92mm fans attached inside a plastic case that is afterwards mounted to the main cooler's body. Its not that complicated as it sounds...

The main cooler consists of aluminium fins in high density and copper heatpipes. The mounting mechanism for Socket 775 is pre-installed, there are four screws that are mounted at the backplate with zero-hassle.

The base is a combination of copper and aluminium. We will see if this is as efficient as other solutions fully made of copper.

Here is how the cooler looks with its external plastic shell. The 92mm fan is mounted at the plastic shell that consists of two pieces. While the main idea seems ok, the whole structure does look a little bulky and heavy.

- Installation

The installation procedure is very simple. First you need to place the backplate at the motherboard, apply the thermal paste and place the cooler in its place. The four mounting screws are placed exactly above the motherboard's holes so you only need a screwdriver to get everything secured. There shouldn't be any problem with nearby motherboard copper heatpipes due to its design and low volume.

Lets now place and secure the external plastic shell. No major problem here. There are four mounting holes on top and you should use the included screws to keep everything secured.

The back of the cpu cooler is left open, unless you mount the secondary included fan.

Placing the motherboard inside the case, we can notice the low height, at least compared to other cooling solutions...

- Installing two fans

Adding the secondary 92mm fan is very easy, and you don't have to remove the main cooler's body, just the external plastic case. Zaward suggests placing the secondary fan in such way in order to suck the air and therefore the first one to blow it. In short case, both sides should have the zaward logo in front...

Here is how the system will look like after getting everything in place.

Another picture from top...

- Ratings

Retail package
Design
Motherboard compatibility
Installation time
Copper Base quality

21. Test methodology

Testing so many different coolers at the same conditions is either easy or difficult. First of all we choose to test all the coolers inside a computer case, as most users will in their systems. This is a controvercial subject and most of  the coolers manufacturers ask us to do so. Then we tried to choose an ideal motherboard to test all these coolers. What we mean by ideal? The motherboard with the most copper heatpipes that should be a good example in order to test the compatibility of all coolers, especially those who have a massive volume. We looked at all the motherboard we could find in our labs and we choose Asus P5K3 Deluxe WiFi Edition. It seemed as the perfect choice. It's a well known motherboard and it's also full of copper heatpipes. So we started all our tests, to the point the motherboard was -kinda- wrecked... Yes we damaged our test board since one of the backplates couldn't be removed and we had to apply major force. So our advise is NOT to remove the white label that prevents a backplate to be glued to the motherboard...

Our next choice was another Asus motherboard, the Blitz Extreme, with less copper heatpipes. Of course our comments about compatibility are based on the Asus P5K3 Deluxe since we could install all the coolers, even when the motherboard stopped functioning. The testbed configuration is as follows:

In order to produce the highest possible temperature we used Intel's Thermal Analysis Tool (TAT) that offers higher thermal production compared to Prime95 (3-4celcius more!). This has been mentioned in several online forums and was confirmed by our testings.

We left both cores running at full load for 30 minutes. All temperatures were logged via CoreTemp 0.95.4. In Asus Blitz Extreme we set various voltages in order to have the same conditions for all tested CPU coolers:

We measured the produced noise from all the coolers with Precision Gold N09AQ Environment Meter. We decided to measure the noise with the two system 120mm fans (by Thermaltake) and of course the noise that the power supply produces. All measurements were made just outside the case, mostly near the side panel and in front, so we had an overall view of the produced noise. Remember that higher rpm means more noise, so we lowered the rpm either via the BIOS smartfan or via the 3pin controller.This way we tested all the coolers either at full rpm speed or at low rpm speed. For all the coolers we used the same thermal compound from Arctic Cooling, the TX-2. We tried to apply the same amount of thermal paste in the same way in all the coolers. All in all we tried to have the exactly same environment conditions in all the tested coolers. Its possible that due to Vdroop (Vcore variations) to have 1-2 celcious difference in performance from system to system. Lastly, all tests were performed with the front panel closed, that produces the worse case scenario in terms of internal air flow.


22. Results - Idle

Lets start by presenting our test results with the Idle report. In Idle mode, we have the lowest heat production from the whole system. Most CPU coolers should perform more or less the same...or not? From our test results, the Titan Amanda Techreported the lowest  temperature. The Intel stock cooler has 43 celcius, while many other coolers had more or less low variations. The Scythe Infinity/Mugen with the two fans had the second best performance with 34 celcius.

Raising the CPU voltage to stabilize the system while overclocking, nothing changed. The Titan Amanda Tech is still the best CPU cooler with 32 celcious, while Scythe Infinity/Mugen and Tuniq Tower 120 are very close.

Lowering the rotation speed of most CPU coolers, the temperature start to increase. We don't present you the results of low fan speed and overclock mode, since it isn't ideal to have the lowest noise while overclocking, even if it's wanted. Note that due to a BIOS bug/limitation, CPU coolers with PWM function are not listed, since the Asus Blitz Extreme was raising the rpm in order to keep the CPU temperature low, even withthe 'silent mode' selected in BIOS or in the AI Suite. Also, the Titan Amanda Tech has a PCI card that automatically controls the rotation speed of the fans so we can't have a direct control of this process.

With several coolers missing, the Zalman CNPS9700LED was the best performer, and Asus Silent Knight II followed. Both coolers share the same design and have similar specs. The Tuniq Tower 120 also performed very well.


23. Results - Load

Apart from the idle mode, most of our systems work in full load. Intel's stock cooler had, as expected, the worst performance with 71 celcius. On the other hand, Titan's Amanda had a superb performance with 52 celcius at full load, with stock voltage. I assume that this kind of performance can be achieved only with a water cooling system, however Amanda makes it possible. The Asus Silent Knight II came second with 55 celcius, while Scythe Infinity/Mugen and Noctua NH-U12F came third, but with the additional fan installed. If we don't count those models, the Tuniq Tower 120 and Zalman CNPS9700LED came third, while Akasa AK-965 and Noctua NH-U12F fourth..

Overclocking our system to 3.60GHz, will unveil more interesting details about the behavior of each cooler. This time we have a tie at the first place, Titan's Amanda and Noctua's NH-U12F (with 2 fans), came first. In the second place we find Asus Silent Knight II, Tuniq Tower 120 and Zalman's CNPS9700LED. The Noctua NH-U12F and Zaward's Vivo (2 fans) came third.

Lastly, lowering the cooler's rotation speed, we can see which cooler performed the best with the lowest produced noise. This time, the Noctua NH-U12F came first, while the Asus Silent Knight II and Zalman's CNPS9700LED second. Again coolers with PWM and Titan's Amanda results are not posted, due to reasons explained earlier.


24. Results - Noise

The produced noise of each CPU cooler is different, according to the rotation speed of the installed fan and the build material. The Noise tests, proved to be rather difficult since you can't just post a number and be sure that it's accurate. There are many factors that can increase/lower the produced noise of a CPU cooler, but anyway all displayed models were tested in exactly the same conditions. Keeping the rotation speeds at full throttle gives us the best possible performance. However it also increases noise. The Titan Amanda proved to be a good solution, due to the fact that it automatically adjusts its rotation speed, therefore we cannot have a direct control over it. The GlacialTech Igloo 5610 Silent proved to be much silent as much as Intel Stock and Amanda Tech. The Asus Triton 75 is a passive cooled solution, and the used Noctua NF-S12 did produced very low noise. The Zaward Vivo also performed good and several other coolers were very close. What didn't make us very happy was the Zalman CNPS9700LED because it was too noisy at full speed..

Lowering the rotation speed down to a minimum does reduce the produced noise. This time, the Tuniq Tower 120 and the Zalman CNPS9700LED share the second place, while many other coolers follow in the third place.


25. Summary

This CPU cooler roundup, without any doubt has been a very interesting journey for us. We tried to gather as much as possible coolers we could get in a short period of time and perform thorough tests. We examined our methodology and tried to keep the same rules and conditions for all the contesters. We hoped that we succeeded in presenting you with an accurate and close to reality roundup. If you passed all previous pages and came directly here to read who won, lets try to sum it up for you.

In most tests, there was an absolute and without any doubt winner, the Titan Amanda Tech. Armed with two 92mm fans and TEC (Thermo-Electric Cooler) technology managed to keep our processor temperatures very low, to the point we thought we were testing a water cooling solution. The produced noise was also very good, since the PCI controller card that adjusts the rotation speed does its work. The installation procedure is not very difficult and the big volume might be an issue for small computer cases. What you will not like is...its retail price. With almost $110 its the highest priced cooler you can possibly buy today.

So is there any serious competition to Titan's Amanda offer? Of course there is and in fact we have a hard time in announcing a winner. The Noctua NH-U12F, the Tuniq Tower 120, the Asus Silent Knight II and Scythe's Infinity/Mugen all performed very close. Each cooler has its own features, so is there another CPU cooler we can suggest at an affordable price? Yes there is! The Akasa AK-965 proved to be a very low priced solution (25$) and most of the times outperformed bigger and higher priced solutions. We didn't expected to get a top performance but at that price, we are more than happy. At the previous pages there are many graphs with different numbers and different scenarios. We hope that this roundup was enjoyable for you and hopefully soon we will update our records with new models and other manufacturers that didn't managed to get their products in our labs in time.

Top CPU Coolers December 2007
Award
Titan Amanda Tech
Akasa AK-965

We would like to thank the following companies for their support and help in order to complete this roundup:



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