Life is short, play dirty. It's a motto we'd love to see Nike implement in a new sports shoe, maybe one with a steel tipped shank on the front or soles made of flubber. In a more literal sense, playing dirty describes how we use (and sometimes neglect) our PCs. Are you rocking any fan filters? You should be, whether it's one of Lian Li's new removable and washable filters, or ones you've constructed on your own à la MacGuyver.
There's a definite trend in CPU air cooling design, one that has cooler makers gravitating towards increasingly bigger heatsinks. The idea is to provide more surface area for heat to dissipate, and we've seen some air coolers that are as big as a softball. NZXT's new Havik 120 moves in the opposite direction and is essentially a shrunken version of the company's Havik 140 cooler.
We recently got our hands on three coolers marketed directly to overclockers, so we clocked our 2.8GHz Core i7-930 up to 3.9GHz and hit it with Intel’s internal stress-testing utility, which has been known to physically damage motherboards and fry CPUs if used improperly. We cranked up the utility until our Hyper 212 Plus (our favorite inexpensive cooler) could barely keep up without throttling, and used that as our baseline. Can any of these coolers beat the heat?
NZXT isn’t the only company branching into CPU coolers. EVGA—better known for videocards and motherboards—recently released its Superclock cooler, with five direct-contact copper heat pipes, one clear 12cm fan with red LEDs, and a sharp-looking black finish to its skyscraper-style copper cooling fin stack.
At $50, the Superclock is around the midpoint of CPU cooler prices, but can its performance live up to its name?
We have to hand it to Thermaltake: Nearly everything about the Frio OCK is well thought out. The two 13cm fans are secured in a black, red, and blue cowling that clips on and off of the heatsink with ease, eliminating many of the installation frustrations inherent in two-fan (or one-fan) heatsinks. Are the Frio OCK's performance numbers as cool as its design?
NZXT is new to the cooler game, but if the Havik 140 is any indication, the company isn’t being dumb about it. The Havik 140 is a hefty cooler in the stacked-fins “skyscraper” style, with six copper heat pipes rising from the heat exchanger through 4.25 inches of nickel-plated‑copper heat-dissipation fins.
Once mounted, the Havik performed admirably, besting the Hyper 212 Plus in our stress test by nearly 18 degrees Celsius, but was it good enough to dethrone the Best of the Best?
There are precious few things we'd turn down if they're offered for free, like the flu, jail time, and handerpants. Cooler Master is offering none of those things, but the company is giving away LGA2011 brackets to owners of its Hyper 212 Evo and Hyper 212 Plus air coolers so you can upgrade to Sandy Bridge-E without factoring in the cost of a new cooling solution.
There's reason to be excited about the upcoming launch of Intel's Core i7 2700K processor. News of this processor's existence and eventual release were leaked to the Web just a few weeks ago, and already engineering samples have fallen into adventurous hands. One person who got their mitts on one put the chip through its paces by overclocking it to 5GHz on air.
Enermax brought an assortment of buzz words and phrases when announcing its new ETD-T60 series of down-flow CPU cooling solutions. We're talking about terms like Vortex Generator Flow, Vacuum Effect Flow, and Auto Adjustable Pressure technology, two of which Enermax says are patented. The result of all this science book banter is a "breakthrough" in air cooling and thermal resistance down to 0.12C/W.
Gelid believes the key to improving air cooling performance lies in the orientation of heatpipes. The company's latest cooler, the GX-7 (or CC-GX7-01-A, if you prefer), falls under Gelid's Gamer branding and utilizes seven heatpiples arranged in a way the company claims facilitates better heatflow than most traditional heatsinks.