This month, memory-maker OCZ wades into the hotly contested CPU cooling arena with its blingy Tempest cooler. Though the Tempest has the signature OCZ flair, we were let down by its midrange performance and loud operation.
At first glance, it looks like a standard CPU cooler, if somewhat milquetoast: In a world where every high-end heatsink/fan is the size of a small mammal—a necessary evil when surface area largely dictates cooling performance—the Tempest is more like a vole.
Pick it up, though, and you’ll do a double-take. It sports a huge copper base plate (titanium-coated to prevent oxidation), and it's very heavy. A heavy cooler is usually a good cooler, and the Tempest strikes an uncommon balance of heft without being as tall or wide as much of its competition.
Installation is fairly simple, though a bit time intensive. On our AMD platform, we had to attach two little arms to the cooler’s base plate, and then attach those arms to the stock retention mechanism with two included screws. Intel systems require mobo removal along with installation of an included backplate.
During testing, the Tempest delivered slightly better performance than the stock FX-60 cooler from AMD, but it’s not in the same league as top-notch coolers like the Zalman CNPS9500, Tuniq 120, or the Thermaltake Blue Orb II. Think respectable but not mind-blowing. The 9.2cm fan, however, with its bright blue LEDs, is too loud for our tastes. It’s rated at 33dBA, spins at 2,500rpm, and is always audible. If we bought this cooler, our first step would be to use Speedfan or a similar utility to slow it the heck down.
All in all, we have to say it’s a disappointing freshman attempt from OCZ. Sure, the cooler is adequate, and it certainly looks nice, but we had high expectations of the company and this cooler fell far short of them.
Month Reviewed: November 2006