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Appeared on: Monday, February 02, 2009
OCZ Gladiator Max

1. Features


Power users

Another CPU cooler for Intel/AMD sockets is in our hands and we plan to compare it with all the CPU cooling solutions we have already presented at CDRinfo. The OCZ "Gladiator Max" is engineered to dissipate heat produced by high-speed CPUs, potentially challenging other solutions in the overclocking arena. The cooler run quiet courtesy of a large fan mounted with anti-vibration rubber connectors to reduce excess noise.

As we mentioned, the Gladiator series is compatible with AMD AM2/939/754/755 and Intel 775 sockets and can be installed quickly and easily by end-users at all skill levels.

The cooler combines a distinctive stacked fin array, heat-pipe direct touch (HDT) design, and a large low-noise fan. The Gladiator series has direct contact with the processor using four copper heat pipes for maximum and rapid heat transfer.

The "folded" fin configuration also helps maximize surface area while maintaining a compact form factor.

- Features

2. Retail box, installation

- Retail package

The OCZ Gladiator Max product comes in a medium-sized retail box that will cost just $42.99 and with a limited time offer of -$10, just $32.99.

In the box you will find a an installation guide, several clips for AMD/Intel sockets, two screws and thermal paste.

The 120mm fan has supports a 4pin PWM function. It rotates at a maximum speed of 1500rpm, meaning that it is relatively quiet.

The OCZ Gladiator Max has a "tower" design. Four U-shape copper heatpipes are connecting the array of aluminium fins with the copper base.

The overall weight of the device is 780gr , which is typical for such big cpu cooler.

The base is covered by a plastic protective sticker that protects it - make sure to remove it before installation!

We would like to see a slightly different design here that would also accept a second fan, for extra cooling efficiency

- Installation

The installation process of the OCZ Gladiator Max is easy, since you don't even need to remove the motherboard from the PC case. The printed manual explains the required steps. In short, you have to use the two included screws and mount the Intel (or AMD) mounting mechanism. After from that point, just add some thermal paste and secure the cpu cooler on the motherboard. The included backplates are compatible with both Intel and AMD platforms. The fan should be secured with the anti-vibration rubber fasteners slided at the side of the main cpu cooler body. The good thing is that the aluminium fins are not sharp but they do bent easily so be careful.

The overall height of the cooler is 165mm, which is typical. This means that the cooler should fit in most midi cases without any problems.

3. How we test

In the following page we compare the performance of the OCZ Gladiator Max with some other CPU coolers.

We have chosen to test all the coolers after installing them on the same motherboard. The motherboard we used was the Asus P5Q Deluxe, since it comes equipped with many copper heatpipes and components. Such complicated designs are appropriate for testing the compatibility of the big-sized CPU coolers with the various motherboards.

The testbed configuration is as follows:

The used OCCT v2.0.1 software was used to produce high amounts of heat inside the PC case.

We left both cores running at full load for ~30 minutes. All temperatures were logged via the CoreTemp 0.99.3 and the software itself. We followed two overclocking scenarios:

For the noise tests, we measured the noise produced by each cooler using the Precision Gold N09AQ Environment Meter. The measured noise was coming from the CPU cooler itself, as well as from the two Thermaltake system fans (120mm ) installed in our PC case and the PSU. The noise meter wes placed outside the PC case, in an effort to have an idea of the overall noise than may reach your ears as you are using your heavily loaded PC.

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.

The thermal paste we used for all the coolers was the Tuniq TX-2. We should also note here that all tests were performed with the front PC panel closed, which is the worse case scenario in terms of internal air flow.

4. Test results

In the first series of tests, our CPU is clocked at 3.80GHz.

The OCZ Gladiator Max performed decently, considering that its 120mm fan is rotating at just 1500rpm max. Although the performance is not bad, a faster fan could give better results.

Pushing the Intel E8600 at 4.3GHz made things tougher for all the CPU coolers. This time, the OCZ Gladiator Max gave an average performance and it is listed in the middle of the following performance chart.

It managed to keep the temperature down to 71 degrees Celsius, placing itself just below some famous cpu coolers, like the Noctua NH-U12F. If you replace your stock CPU cooler (Intel) with OCZ's solution, you will have a CPU cooler by more than 16 degrees Celsius.

As it was expected, the Gladiator Max is a quiet cooler due to its relatively low rotating speed. The performance can further improved with the PWM function (4pins) and the corresponding setting at the motherboard BIOS. In our comparison test, the device produced approximately 55 dBs of noise (including the case fans). The cooler itself produced just 38dB (at 30cm distance) at full speed, which is very low.

Last but not least, the retail price of each tested product is presented below. The OCZ Gladiator Max costs around $43 making it a very affordable product.

5. Final words

The OCZ Gladiator Max is not an impressive product in terms of performance. The cooler performed decently and replacing your Intel stock cooler with it definitely makes sense considering its low retail price, which is its obvious advantage against the competition.

The cooler is well-balanced to offer performance and low noise levels even under demanding cooling conditions.

Of course, its retail package does not include many goodies and OCZ is offering the essential, keeping the retail price down.

The Gladiator Max can be easily installed without needing to remove the motherboard from the pc case. The printed manual had easy-to-understand instructions and in few minutes you will have everything ready.

So we have to do here with a properly priced CPU cooler and a good candidate solution for your overclocked PC system, especially if the noise coming out your PC case is already disturbing you.

Retail package
Motherboard compatibility
Installation time
Copper Base quality


+ Works with both AMD/Intel platforms
+ Includes thermal paste
+ Will fit in most midi cases
+ Very good compatibility due to high placed of the aluminum fins
+ Aluminum fins are not sharp
+ Good performance in noise level tests


- Included 120mm rotating fan doesn't help the product get a high rank in thermal tests
- Too bad we can't a second 120mm fan and further increase performance

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