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Maximum PC Staff May 04, 2010

Thermaltake Contac 29

At A Glance

Contact

Top-tier performance; similar price/size as CM Hyper 212+.

Star Trek: First Contact

Tetchy push-pin install; frustrating fan attachments.

Direct-contact heat pipes must work!

When the wimpy-looking Cooler Master Hyper 212+ ( reviewed Holiday 2009 ) came along and matched performance with the best air coolers on the market, we wondered if its direct-contact heat pipes were responsible, and if so, how soon we’d start seeing imitators. It didn’t take long. Thermaltake’s Contac 29 is a near–carbon copy of that little wonder, with a few subtle refinements and one colossal pain.

Like the Hyper 212+, the Contac 29 features three heat pipes that run from a heat exchanger up through a stack of thin aluminum fins, paired with a single 12cm fan (as well as room for another, if you want to push/pull air). Differing from most skyscraper-type coolers, the heat pipes on the Hyper and Contac contact the CPU heat spreader directly, instead of being embedded in a blocky heat-exchanger. The direct-contact method seems effective; in our tests, the Contac 29 matched the Hyper 212+’s performance to within one degree Celsius at full burn, and performed identically when idling.


If it had a better mounting bracket and used wire clips instead of rubber plugs, the Contact 29 would earn a Kick Ass award, for sure.

The Contac 29, though very similar to the Hyper 212+, has its unique quirks. Unlike the Hyper’s mounting system, with its backplates, bolts, and screws, the Contac 29 uses the same plastic push pins as Intel’s stock coolers. This makes installation easy, or it should—we prefer sturdier mounting brackets, though. The last few millimeters of the fins are bent 90 degrees to direct airflow and prevent leakage at the sides.

Instead of wire clips to hold the cooling fans, the Contac 29 uses rubber plugs that slide through channels in the cooling fins and secure the fan loosely. These plugs were the source of most of our frustrations with the Contac—they’re hard to remove and harder to put back, which is a deal-breaker when you have to remove the fan to install the darn thing. We much prefer the simpler wire-clip method. Thermaltake at least includes a second set of these plugs, if you want to add an additional fan.

With cooling power, footprint, and price commensurate to the Hyper 212+, the Contac 29 is a damn-fine cooler. But we’ll stick with the Hyper 212+’s more-secure installation and better fan-retention mechanism, thank you.

Benchmarks

Thermaltake Contac 29
CoolerMaster Hyper 212+
Stock Cooler
Idle (C) 30.25
30.25 35
100% Burn (C) 45.75 45 62.5
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 inside a Corsair 800D case with stock fans.
THE VERDICT

Thermaltake Contac 29

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