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Maximum PC Staff

Jun 26, 2009

Cooler Master V10

At A Glance

V8

Offers decent cooling. RAM fan is a bonus.

V1

Outperformed in every way by cheaper, easier-to-install products.

Huge, mediocre, and difficult to install is no way to go through life, son

The Cooler Master V10 is a monster. It weighs two pounds, 10 ounces, stands 6.3x9.3x5.1 inches, and contains one thermoelectric cooler, two fans, and two heatsinks: one on the CPU and one on the TEC. The TEC, which needs to be powered by a 4-pin Molex on a dedicated power lead, activates only when needed.

The Cooler Master V10 is two and a half pounds of frustration.

The V10’s installation is the worst we’ve ever experienced. Two retention clips attach to the cooler, which you then attach to a bracket you mount on the back side of the motherboard. This means removing your motherboard and balancing the cooler on your lap while you screw it in. Unfortunately, the V10 is so huge that it blocks the motherboard’s top three ATX screws, making it difficult to mount the motherboard in even the roomiest cases. And the V10’s bulk made it difficult to connect both the 8-pin and the 24-pin motherboard power cables on our test system’s motherboard—impressive, since they’re on opposite sides of the motherboard.

The V10’s RAM fan means you have to remove the cooler to remount your memory, and DIMMs with cooling vanes, like Corsair’s Dominators, are likely to be bumped by the V10’s overhanging radiator. Indeed, the first few times we tried to install the V10, our machine wouldn’t POST due to RAM seating issues. It wasn’t until we replaced our tall DIMMs with shorter sticks, and removed the optional backplane bracket to mount the cooler (which can warp the motherboard), that we could even get our system to start.

Ultimately, the V10 offers nothing to recommend itself. It’s a nightmare to install in most machines—the only exceptions are cases with motherboard tray cutouts behind the CPU. Plus, its performance is merely mediocre: Our favorite air cooler, the Zalman CNPS9900, outcools it easily in both idle and full burn (by three and five degrees, respectively). The Zalman cooler is also smaller, $60 cheaper, easier to install, and requires less power.

Benchmarks

Cooler Master V10
Zalman CNPS9900
Stock Cooler
Idle (C)
30 27
32.25
100% Burn (C)
47.75
42
61
Best scores are bolded. Idle temperatures were measured after an hour of inactivity; load temperatures were measured after an hour’s worth of CPU Burn-In (four instances). Test system consists of a stock-clock Q6700 processor on an EVGA 680i motherboard.
THE VERDICT

Cooler Master V10

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