I first ventured into liquid cooling for my computers way back, about a decade ago, for my Intel Pentium 4 "Williamette" and AMD "Duron" based test systems. This was when I was in high school and in my early years of reviewing computer hardware. Back then, the big players in the watercooling market were Danger Den and Swiftech. There were no pumps specific for computer watercooling, so most adopters of liquid cooling used fountain and pond pumps. For radiators, the main choices were the Black Ice series from HWLabs or car heatercores (I preferred Chevelle cores).
Arctic Cooling is a company most of you probably heard of before, and it's focus was on computer cooling products. Most well known for its video card cooling products, it was also very popular with it's Freezer 7 and 64 CPU coolers. Rebranded as ARCTIC in 2010, the company now covers a wider market with a variety of different computer and electronic products. Today we're looking at two products which extend from the original roots in cooling hardware ARCTIC came from, the Freezer 13 PRO and Freezer i30 CPU coolers. In the past, the brand has been known for producing high performing coolers with value oriented pricing, so we'll see what their current generation of products bring to the table.
SilenX was born in 1995 as a hobby between a group of college students. Originally they wanted to make the computer systems they used silent, but there was a lack of variety of cooling products in the market with a focus on low noise. Since its humble beginnings, SilenX has been released and offered a wide variety of low noise computer cooling products. Today we'll be looking at one of their newest products, the Effizio EFZ-120HA5 CPU cooler. With support out of the box for all of the modern CPU sockets (including LGA2011) and a low price tag, this cooler is meant for the mass market. We'll see if the Effizio EFZ-120HA5 is able to live up to the SilenX name with low noise output, but without compromising cooling performance.
Taking a look at computer retailers online, and even our past CPU cooler review history, it's easy to see that the most popular style of heatsink right now follows the tower design. It's no surprise as towers with their heatpipes and large radiators perform well. But performance aside, they have major downsides including high height and low base clearance which interferes with RAM with tall heatspreaders. Both the benefits and downfalls of the tower style of heatsink were evident in our last CPU cooler review of Noctua's NH-D14.
Massive. That's the word I would use to describe my first impression of the cooler that's the subject of this review. I've reviewed many CPU coolers in the past, and this was the first one which stood out enough for my wife to ask me while I was testing, "What is that thing?"
This 'thing' is Noctua's NH-D14 CPU cooler. And even Noctua uses the word massive to describe it for its product data sheet. Like most other Noctua coolers of the past, the NH-D14 was designed for ultimate quiet cooling performance. So I'll be testing to see if that description holds true in practice.
In the minds of most tech enthusiasts, Corsair is a brand name synonymous with computer memory. They are a major player in the high-performance memory market and have been for a long time. Corsair has since diversified its product portfolio and are also now well known for flash memory, power supplies and solid state drives. In the past couple of years, Corsair also ventured into the CPU cooler market. Since the beginning of that, they've always offered watercooling solutions in this market, which should be no surprise since Corsair usually aims for the high performance areas of the markets it's in. But more recently, air coolers are now on the menu. Today that's what we're looking at, Corsair's mainstream air cooler, the A50.
Thermal compound is very important when it comes to running a cool computer. It helps to facilitate the dissipation of heat from the processor to the heatsink. Without thermal compound, it doesn't matter whether you're using stock cooling, high end air cooling, water cooling or above, cooling performance will be dismal. In the past few years, thermal compounds have undergone an evolution. I'm sure many are familiar with the basic silicon based thermal compound, also known as white goop. This quickly evolved into metal based thermal compounds, which by its namesake have a composition of metal particles. This improved the thermal conductivity, but also had the problem of being electrically conductive.
Now we are at a stage where performance thermal compounds are ceramics based. Thermal conductivity has been improved even more, and don't have the problem of being electrically conductive. Most of the thermal compounds we are looking at today are ceramics based.
The thermal compounds we are looking at in our mini-roundup are the Stars-700, Noctua's HT-N1, Arctic Silver's Ceramique, Tuniq's TX-2 and OCZ's Freeze.
The word vendetta makes me think of the recent movie, V for Vendetta. It makes me think of a challenge and rebellious behaviour against the establishment. So what does this mean in regards to OCZ's Vendetta CPU Cooler? I'm guessing it refers to OCZ's fight against the heat eminated within from processors: OCZ's Vendetta against heat! Sounds corny? Yes it does. BUT did OCZ win the bitter feud? Let's find out.
OCZ's Vendetta CPU cooler is a heatsink with the tried and effective heat pipe and fin design. The fins are aluminum, the heat pipe is copper, and the fan is 92mm. Together, this creates a light weight cooling package.