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Appeared on: Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Akasa Nero (AK-967) CPU Cooler


1. Features, specifications

The new "Nero" (AK-967) CPU cooler is Akasa's proposal keeping your new LGA 1366 processor cool and ready for overclocking. The product is also compatible with the previous LGA 775 socket as well as with AMD's AM2 platform.

- Akasa Nero (AK-967)

Manufacturer
Akasa
Model
Price 

$38

Category
Power users

The Akasa NERO (AK-967) has a classic design that combines performance and near silent operation. A multi-platform cooler designed for the entire range of Intel and AMD current processors with 3x8mm ultra high capacity U heat pipes are installed with direct CPU contact for rapid heat transfer. The direct contact eliminates a thermal resistance thereby increasing efficiency. Over 46 aluminum profiled fins are available for optimum heat dissipation. A black 120mm PWM fan is mounted using anti-vibration siliconized rubber pins giving quiet cooling.

The product design has been refined to ensure quiet cooling for CPU’s up to 150W TDP (Thermal Design Power). Installation is easy using push-pins (Intel) or cam-lever (AMD) mounting mechanism.

The Akasa NERO can be assembled horizontally or vertically (in desktop or tower chassis) as the heat pipes work independently of installation direction. It supports the following CPU sockets: Intel LGA 775, LGA 1366, AMD Socket 939, AM2, AM2+ and many CPU’s: INTEL Pentium 4, Pentium D, Core2Duo, Core2Quad, Core2Extreme, Core i7, AMD Athlon 64, Athlon 64 X2, Athlon 64 FX, Athlon X2, Phenom X3 and Phenom X4. The key features on the Akasa Nero CPU cooler include:

Here are the full specifications of the product:
  Socket type   Intel LGA 775 / LGA 1366   
  AMD 939 / 940 / AM2 / AM2+
  Heatsink dimension   146.4 x 120 x 65mm
  Heatsink material   High grade aluminum fins, copper heatpipes
  Cooler dimension   160.5 x 119.9 x 54mm
  Fan dimension   120 x 120 x 25mm
  Fan connector   4-pin (PWM control enabled)
  Fan speed   500 - 1500 R.P.M.
  Fan airflow   17.38 – 50.54 CFM
  Fan air pressure   0.152 - 1.32 mm H20
  Fan life expectancy   30000/hrs
  Bearing type   Sleeve Bearing
  Voltage rating   12V
  Noise level   18.3 – 24.6 dB(A)
  Product code   AK-967


2. What's in box

The Akasa Nero comes in a small sized box . The retail price of the AK-967 is around $38~$45, as found at several online stores.

Opening the box unveils a very well packaged internal, everything is surrounded by a plastic hard foam that keeps the product in place and secure during transportation.

The middle-sized cooler 160mm x 120mm 54mm (H x W x D) features siliconized rubber fan mounts for easy installation and quiet performance, as you can see in the picture below:

The cooler uses 46 fins profiled for optimal airflow and heat dissipation. Three 8mm full copper heat pipes with U-shape are linking the array of the fins to the base, offering direct contact with the CPU:

The 120mm fan support the PWM function and rotate at 500~1500 R.P.M. This speed is high but still, we have seen even faster fans. Let's wait and see the actual performance of the fan later in this review.

The retail package includes mounting clips for the various supported sockets, thermal paste and two mounting screws for the Intel sockets.

The 120mm fan can be easily installed by just pulling the rubber absorbers through the two holes of the fan.

Installing the cooler itself is also simple. The first step is to mount the clips for your Intel/AMD CPU. In our case we used the LGA 1366 clips and we secured them on the bottom side of the cooler using the includes two screws. Then you just push the four clips down until they lock on your motherboard. It would be better to do this procedure before you mount the fan on the cooler.


3. Test methodology

For our tests with the LGA 1366 CPU coolers we used an open air test bed with the following configuration:

In order to produce the highest possible temperature inside the PC case, we used OCCT v2.0.1 software with a custom 30mins (mixed) operation.

We left both cores running at full load for ~30 minutes. All temperatures were logged using the CoreTemp 0.99.3 and the software itself.

We followed two overclocking scenarios:

We also measured the produced noise from all the coolers using the Precision Gold N09AQ Environment Meter. All measurements were taken at a distance of 30cm from the cpu cooler running at full speed. For all the coolers we used the same thermal compound from Tuniq, the TX-2. All in all we tried to have the exactly same environment conditions in all the tested coolers.


4. Results

In the following graphs you see the results of the Akasa Nero cooler (blue bar) compared with the Intel's stock CPU cooler and two other solutions from Titan and GlacialTech.

We lest the Core i7-920 processor running at its default speed (2.66GHz). The Akasa Nero cooler kept the temperature down to 50 degrees Celsius (max), as the OCCT software reported. That's eight (8) degrees less than Intel's stock cooler. The higher priced Titan Fenrir was more efficient in this test with 46 degrees Celsius, mainly due to its more powerful fan.

The next step was to see how the coolers perform under overclocking conditions. We pushed the Intel Core-i7 920 at 3.60GHz. This means that its voltage was also increased and thus, the CPU was producing more heat.

Akasa's solution kept the temperature at 69 degrees Celsius, which is 21 degrees less than Intel's stock solution. Again, the Titan Fenrir performed better with 61 degrees C.

When it comes to active cooling solutions, keeping the right balance between cooling efficiency and produced noise is critical. As it was expected, the Intel stock CPU is the quietest CPU cooler in the test, but it lacks efficiency.

The Akasa Nero produced 47dB of noise and the Titan Fenrir around 52dB. All the test results are available here.


5. Conclusion

In past we have talked a lot about the Akasa cpu coolers with great words. Today we cannot do otherwise but repeat them, since the Akasa Nero proved to be a very good product for the LGA 1366 platform, offering greater performance than the Intel stock cpu cooler and keeping the CPU cool even under overclocking.

Adding to that its low retail price (~$38) and the great compatibility with AMD/Intel systems, "Nero" is certainly a good choice for all those who need to enhance their system and replace their stock CPU cooler.

Nero 's design will not trouble you during installation since is will fit in any motherboard and its Intel mounting method is the easiest you will meet in today's CPU coolers.

The operation noise is not high and it should not be annoying. If so, you can further reduce it by using the supported PWM function. Overall a great, reasonably-priced product with good performance and design. And if this is just not enough for you, you may easily replace the included 120mm fan with something more powerful.

Retail package
Design
Motherboard compatibility
Installation time
Copper Base quality

Pros:

+ Good retail package
+ Works with both AMD/Intel platforms
+ Includes thermal paste
+ Includes 120mm fan with PWM function
+ Very good performance in heat/noise level tests
+ Great price (~$38)

Cons:

- The cpu cooler could have more mounting holes for easier installation of a second fan :-)



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