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Design and Functionality

This is a tower-like cooler. It measures 131x96x155 millimeters and weighs 860 grams. The heatsink does not look special at first: five nickel-plated copper heat pipes (8 millimeters in diameter) serve as the cooler’s base and a lot of aluminum plates hang on those pipes. There is also an anodized aluminum heatsink above the pipes.

 

 

The plates have a pimpled surface.

I’ve seen this kind of a heatsink texture in coolers from OCZ. This roughness serves the same purpose as the pimples on a golf ball. It helps create small whirlwinds and minimize turbulence and aerodynamic resistance. Still, I have to confess that coolers with such plates have not showed an exceptional performance before.

The aluminum plates are 0.40 millimeters thick. There are a total of 50 of them but the top plate is purely decorative, covering the ends of the heat pipes and giving the heatsink a finished look. The plates are placed 2.0 millimeters apart from each other.

 

The sides of the heatsink are covered by curled-down edges of the plates. The heatsink is symmetrical but there is a small arrow of a mysterious purpose on the top plate.

 

The user manual and the taciturn official website do not mention the arrow. Besides it, you can note an arrow-like placement of the heat pipes in the heatsink body. Of course, it would not be possible to place five 8mm pipes in a line, considering the width of the plates, but why does the arrow point inward rather than outward?

The two outermost pipes are cooled by the air from the fan the most effectively but these very pipes participate in the heat transfer with the CPU’s cap less actively than the other pipes (I will illustrate the point shortly). I guess it would be better for the pipes to be placed in such a way that the “arrow” in the top plate pointed in the opposite direction. That is, the central pipe with its two neighbors should be moved to the edges of the heatsink while the remaining two pipes should be in the center. The heatsink must be made broader in the central part for that, but this change is quite possible considering the current width of 48 millimeters.

The aluminum inserts between the heat pipes in the cooler’s base are 1.5 millimeters thick. The contact area is flat and finished well enough for an implementation of the direct touch technology.

And here is the promised illustration of how poorly the outermost heat pipes participate in the heat transfer with an LGA1366 processor.

 

The left photo shows that the two outermost 8mm heat pipes don’t do anything actually. They can hardly get any heat through the 1.5mm aluminum partition from the adjacent pipes. The right photo shows a better picture, yet the outermost pipes are still utilized by only 30%.

The Alpenföhn Nordwand is equipped with one 120x120x25mm fan whose frame and impeller are transparent. The seven impeller blades have a petal-like shape and rounded-off edges to minimize noise at the expense of some static pressure.

 

The fan is manufactured in China under the EKL brand. It is marked as SD-12025R1L4-P. The fan is PWM-controlled in a range of 850 to 1500 RPM. It is declared to have a maximum noise of 21dBA and an airflow of 53.9CFM. The cooler’s static pressure is not declared in the specs. The fluid dynamic bearing is guaranteed to work for 30,000 hours or over 3.4 years continuously. The fan rotor’s diameter is 40 millimeters while the 4-pin cable is 330 millimeters long.

The fan is fastened in the heatsink with four silicone pins. One end of each pin goes into the heatsink and another, into the fan.

This fastening mechanism seems to be optimal when it comes to minimizing the noise of the fan. There were as many as 11 such pins included with my sample of the cooler although the maximum number you need to install two fans is 8 pins. The remaining ones can be used as spare parts.

When I installed the fan on the heatsink, it turned out that there was a 13mm gap between them in the center. And when the fan was working, a large portion of its airflow was wasted through that gap without doing anything useful in terms of cooling. Therefore I will try to seal the gap with a piece of scotch tape during my tests and see if the cooling efficiency improves.

 
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