If you're in the market for a new CPU cooler, Enermax has announced a a mid-range tower-style cooler with LED lights, U-shaped heat pipes, and Enermax's patented Stack Effect Flow (SEF) technology. On top of that, the blue LED lights add a cool sci-fi lilt to what could otherwise be a boring plain cooler. And who would want that?
When it comes to keeping your CPU cool under pressure, it’s hard to beat a closed-loop liquid cooler (CLC). They’re on the expensive side, though, so there’s still plenty of room at $50 and below for conventional air cooling. What, then, do we make of an air cooler with an MSRP of $100? It’s gotta be pretty fancy to command that kind of scratch, and the Cooler Master V8 GTS sure seems like a contender.
Note: This review was originally featured in the Holiday 2013 issue of the magazine
Ever since closed-loop liquid coolers (CLCs) arrived on the scene, hardware manufacturers have been scrambling to get a slice of the pie. On paper, CLCs can achieve better performance than even the most expensive air coolers, and more quietly. Because PC technology is always evolving, it’s rare to see a genuinely new and interesting war front appear—if you’re not participating in it, you might get left behind. Silverstone has stepped into the game with its Tundra series of CLCs. Last month, we reviewed its 240mm TD02, and now it’s time for the TD03, which is the 120mm version.
Note: This article was originally featured in the December 2013 issue of the magazine
Although the gearhead legions appear to be moving in droves to liquid cooling, there’s still plenty of value in large air-coolers. You don’t need to remap your case airflow to accommodate them, and there’s no chance of them peeing all over the inside of your computer someday. Depending on your setup, however, even a nice air cooler can meet its match.
Note: This review was originally featured in the August 2013 issue of the magazine.
Zalman has a well-earned reputation for high-quality air coolers. The “flower” design of its older all-copper heatsinks was eye-catching and distinctive, and its large (for the time) fans ran quietly even under load. Lately, though, liquid cooling has been all the rage. Closed-loop units from companies such as Corsair and NZXT are packaged with the cooling tubes and pump pre-attached to a radiator—referred to as an “all-in-one” (AiO) design. These units are much less expensive than cobbling together separate components, and there’s little maintenance required. The LQ-320 marks one of Zalman’s first forays into the AiO market, and it’s a respectable part, though arguably priced too high for its performance.
Note: This review was originally featured in the June 2013 issue of the magazine.
Almost every CPU cooler we receive nowadays is some massive tower that loves consuming every square-inch of chassis space. Because we’ve been inundated with these hulking behemoths, it’s refreshing to see a low-profile cooler such as Phanteks’ PH-TC90LS. At 3.75x3.75x1.77 inches, this cooler makes the Intel stock cooler look tall and should fit the snuggest of HTPC builds.
Note: This review was taken from the Holiday 2012 issue of the magazine.
Intel’s enthusiast platform puts out the heat—here are seven ways to take it off
Intel’s Sandy Bridge-E enthusiast platform brings with it a new Intel socket, and that means new cooler mounting brackets! One nice thing about the X79 chipset: The boards ship with an integrated universal CPU mounting backplate, so no more fiddling around behind the motherboard.
Installing the Zalman CNPS14X CPU cooler is sort of like doing P90X exercises—there’s a possibility of extreme discomfort, but if you’re tough enough to bear the burden, you will ultimately see good results. The reason the installation is so painful is not so much the size of the cooler—we’ve installed coolers larger than this before without resorting to profanity—it’s the construction of the cooler and fan, which dictates the installation process.
The movie Die Hard was so awesome it spawned a wave of imitators that all had just one distinguishing difference—Die Hard on a plane, Die Hard on a boat, Die Hard in a nursing home, etc. And so it is in the world of air coolers: We have dozens of skyscraper aluminum coolers with just one standout feature, and on the Silverstone Heligon HE01 the standout feature is its super-thick 14cm fan. It’s so big that Silverstone had to shave off a sliver of the cooler’s right appendage to make room for it, giving the cooler an asymmetrical look that resembles a tennis player’s arms.
The Thermalright Silver Arrow SB-E doesn’t lack for heat pipes: Eight of them rise from the heat exchanger up into the two sets of cooling fins. The entire thing, from aluminum fins to copper pipes and heat exchanger, is plated in a shiny nickel coat. The two sets of cooling fins are shiny and jagged, and much more stylized than the Noctua DH-14 (reviewed April 2012) or the Phanteks PH-TC14PE (reviewed June 2012), its most obvious competitors of the coolers we’ve tested. The whole assemblage weighs two pounds, 7.6 ounces with both fans. Those fans—a 15cm TY-150 and 14cm TY-141—are both low-RPM 12V fans with 4-pin PWM connectors.
There’s something incongruous about mustard-and-olive fans with those edgy nickel-plated cooling fins.