Seven Coolers on Six-Core AMD and Intel Processors

Today we are going to talk about five new CPU coolers from Akasa, Deep Cool and ThermoLab and will offer you a performance comparison of seven products on six-core AMD and Intel processors.

by Sergey Lepilov
02/03/2011 | 10:11 AM

Manufacturers of air-coolers for central processors never waste a day: new cooling products launch and begin selling with steady regularity. We regularly examine and test new coolers, but sometimes we come across new cooling solutions, which efficiency can easily be predicted by simply looking at their design. It is extremely difficult to come up with something completely new in the cooling segment these days, but nevertheless a lot of companies would like to maintain their active presence in this very profitable market. So, very often we witness the appearance of the so-called “clone-coolers” that differ from one another only by the design of their packaging, accessories bundles, color, fans or even fan shields. Among the five cooling products tested within our today’s review there three coolers like that, and even though two models out of five tested coolers are really new, we decided to spice things up by performing our tests on two platforms with hot six-core AMD and Intel processors. But before we get to the tests, let’s take a closer look at five of our today’s seven testing participants: Akasa Venom, Deep Cool Ice Blade Pro, Deep Cool Ice Warrior, Deep Cool Killer Whale Premium and ThermoLab bada2010.

Akasa Venom (AK-CCX-4002HPV2)

 

The first cooler, Akasa Venom (AK-CCX-4002HPV2), is definitely a new product. It is shipped in a medium sized box with a cut-out window on the front of the box, revealing the cooler fan and part of its heatsink:

 

The back of the box lists the cooler specifications. The cooler itself is sealed inside a clear plastic casing, with the fan being packed separately from the heatsink. Below the plastic blister you can find a small cardboard box with accessories. Among the bundled accessories you will find a backplate and retention plate for contemporary Intel platforms, a swing-clip with a locking tab for AMD platform, a set of thumb-screws with plastic washers, four additional silicone mounts, a pack of SilMORE thermal paste and installation instructions:

Akasa Venom looks very vivid, it is not quite your ordinary CPU cooler. This effect comes from the cooling fan with bright yellow impeller and four silicon mounts of the same exact color, as well as a an image of a cobra snake on the top heatsink plate:

 

 

At the same time, the cooler heatsink measuring 120x96x160 mm and weighing 805 g cannot boast anything innovative about it. it consists of four copper heatpipes 8 mm in diameter that form part of the cooler base (heatpipe direct touch technology) and 45 aluminum plates pressed firmly against these heatpipes:

 

  

The plates are 0.45 mm thick and are spaced out at 2 mm from one another. The calculated effective heatsink surface area is 8,200 cm2. The heatsink plates are wedge-shaped on the side where the airflow approaches the cooler, which is probably done to reduce the airflow resistance. On airflow exit the heatsink plates are curved inside, which should lower the noise.

The base of our Akasa Venom cooler is pretty typical for the products using heatpipe direct touch concept: the gaps between 8 mm heatpipes is about 2 mm, and their finish quality is fairly good:

At the same time, the contact surface of the base is even, and both CPU imprints turned out OK, even though the first one (AMD Phenom II X6) is smudged because we had to rotate the cooler when dismounting, and the second (Intel Core i7) is uneven because the CPU heat-spreader surface was a little convex:


AMD (Socket AM3)

Intel (LGA1366)

Akasa Venom is equipped with one 120x120x25 mm AK-FN059 fan:

 

The key peculiarity of this fan is the unique shape of its blades called S-Flow:

According to Akasa, it ensures a 30% stronger air flow at the same level of noise (although this fan is completely defeated by Thermalright TR-FDB installed onto the same heatsink in the entire rotation speed range). The rotation speed of this fan is controlled automatically using PWM method in the interval from 600 to 1900 RPM generating 6.9-28.9 dBA of noise and creating a maximum airflow of 83.63 CFM. The declared static pressure is 2.98 mmH2O, and the fluid0dynamic bearing inside the fan motor should last at least 50,000 hours.

The fan is attached to the heatsink with four silicone mounts, which go inside the special holes in the top and bottom heatsink plates:

Four additional mounts are included among bundled accessories, in case you decide to use a second fan.

The cooler is compatible with all contemporary platforms and can be installed in a simple and very intuitive manner. We will not go into details about the whole installation process here, especially since there is a detailed step-by-step installation manual on the company web-site. You can only install the cooler one way on the AMD platform and secure it in place using the enclosed swing-slip with a locking tab. The benefit of this installation is the fact that you don’t have to remove the mainboard from the system case at all.

And this is what Akasa Venom looks like on an AMD CPU with one default cooling fan:

… and with two non-default fans:

There was very little room inside our Hyper Osiris system case, that is why our cooler is so close to the case fans in the back. At the same time, when we installed the cooler onto our Intel platform inside the roomy Antec Twelve Hundred case, Akasa Venom seems to feel just fine there:

In conclusion I would like to add that in the latter case the cooler is fastened with screws that provide extremely secure hold. The distance from the lowest heatsink plate to the cooler contact base surface is 39 mm.

Akasa Venom is priced at $44 MSRP and comes with a 1-year warranty.

Deep Cool Ice Blade Pro

The second cooler is called Deep Cool Ice Blade Pro and ships in a box with a cut-out window on two adjacent sides that reveals the cooler heatsink inside:

 

The cooler specifications are listed on the back of the box. They specifically stress the heatpipes diameter there. The heatsink sits between two pieces of polyurethane foam, with the fan and accessories sitting above and below the heatsink in separate boxes.

Deep Cool Ice Blade Pro comes with the following accessories:

As you see, everything necessary to successfully install the cooler onto any contemporary platform is there. There are even four additional shock-absorbing mounts for the second fan.

At first glance, Deep Cool Ice Blade Pro looks exactly like the Alpehfoehn Brocken cooler we tested before, so we can’t really call it a new product:

 

 

The cooler has an exact same heatsink as Alpehfoehn Brocken, which we have already described in detail in the above mentioned review, so we won’t repeat that here and simply refresh your memory with the following photographs:

 

 

Here is the base:

And these are the thermal compound imprints left by both test processors on the base of the Deep Cool Ice Blade Pro cooler:


AMD (Socket AM3)

Intel (LGA1366)

The fan is exactly the same, but with a Deep Cool sticker on the rotor:

 

Its specifications are fully identical to those of the Alpenfoehn Brocken fan: 900-1500 PWM, 60 CFM, 21.4-32.1 dBA, 30,000 hours MTBF).

Even the LED lights are the same:

 

Keeping in mind this extreme similarity between the two cooling solutions, it doesn’t make much sense to go into details about the cooler installation, especially since it is also described step-by-step in an online manual. However, I would like to draw your attention to the fact that this cooler uses a screw-on retention for the AMD platform, which high pressure hold, unlike Akasa Venom cooler we have just discussed above:

  

The distance between the cooler base and the lowest heatsink plate is 38 mm. This is what Deep Cool Ice Blade Pro cooler looks like when it is installed inside Hyper Osiris system case:

The cooler is priced at $39, which is $5 less than the price of Akasa Venom. It comes with the same 1-year warranty.

Deep Cool Ice Warrior

The next cooler is also manufactured under the Deep Cool brand and is called Ice Warrior. The box is designed in exactly the same manner, as the box of Ice Blade Pro, but the window in the front is cut out in the shape of an “X”:

 

The cooler is bundled with different accessories. Now we see three retention plates, two pairs of steel retention brackets, a set of screws with washers and bushes, additional wire clips for the fans, fan power adapters and an installation manual:

Deep Cool Ice Warrior is a tower cooler with a 150 W thermal envelope. It measures 136x84x156 mm and weighs 1,172 g (172 g is the fan). It looks very similar to Thermalright Ultra-120 eXtreme:

 

The cooler is built around six copper nickel-plated heatpipes 6 mm in diameter that go through the copper nickel-plated base. The heatpipes hold an array of 47 aluminum fins that are soldered to them. Each fin is 0.45 mm thick and the gaps between the fins measure 2 mm. the calculated effective heatsink surface is 7,200 cm2.

There is an embossed X-symbol on both sides of the heatsink, but you shouldn’t expect it to have any technological or optimization value, because according to the manufacturer, it has been made for purely aesthetic purposes, in order to give the heatsink unique and appealing look and please the modding fans:

 

 

The heatpipes inside the heatsink are placed in staggered order, which has been done in coolers for the past few years already:

The cooler base is very poorly finished, you can not only see but also feel the machine marks to the touch. Therefore, we can’t quite understand what they implied by saying that “Mirror polished copper base gives perfect contact with the CPU surface”. At least, the base is even. The photos below show the thermal paste imprints from our test CPUs:


AMD (Socket AM3)

Intel (LGA1366)

This cooler is equipped with Deep Cool UF120 fan. We tested this fan in our recent 120 mm Fan Roundup. Here I would only like to repeat that the fan is PWM controlled in the interval from 500 to 1500 RPM. It generates 17.6-27.6 dBA of noise and creates maximum airflow of 66.3 CFM.

Deep Cool Ice Warrior is compatible with all contemporary platforms. Its installation is tool-free, because even the steel retention brackets can be screwed on to the base without any wrench or screwdriver. The cooler is attached with screws to all platforms, so you will need to remove the mainboard from the system case. The detailed installation procedure is described in the following manual. This is what Deep Cool Ice Warrior looks like when installed onto an Intel platform:

The gap between the lowest heatsink plate and the contact surface of the cooler base is 37 mm. Deep Cool Ice Warrior is priced at $49 MSRP and comes with 1-year warranty. But the next Deep Cool product we are about to discuss costs even more…

Deep Cool Killer Whale Premium

Please meet the new Deep Cool Killer Whale Premium! The large box is open on the front, but the cooler is protected by clear plastic casing, so you can have a good look at it. It can also get easily damaged:

 

Since this cooler is an exact replica of XILENCE Black Hawk Copper we reviewed before, I suggest we simply take another good look at this all-copper top-cooler here:

 

 

 

The base of Deep Cool Killer Whale Premium is impeccably even and polished to mirror shine:

Here are the thermal paste imprints left by our test processors on the cooler base surface:


AMD (Socket AM3)

Intel (LGA1366)

This is what Deep Cool Killer Whale Premium looks like on AMD platform:

 

…and on Intel platform:

The only difference between Deep Cool Killer Whale Premium and XILENCE Black Hawk Copper is in the color of the fan LEDs: now it is blue instead of red, which looks just as good:

This beauty is priced at $59.

ThermoLab bada2010

The last new cooler we are going to discuss today is made in Taiwan by ThermoLab and is called bada2010. “Bada” translates from Korean as “sea”. The cooler comes in a not very big black box with the cooler photograph on the front:

There is information about the cooler, including its technical specifications printed on other sides of the box:

 

ThermoLab bada2010 is bundled with the same exact accessories as Baram2010 (except for the installation manual):

But the cooler itself is completely different, of course:

 

 

ThermoLab bada2010 is relatively small – 95x115x135 mm and weighs the modest 521 g. The cooler is built on three copper heatpipes 6 mm in diameter and employs heatpipe direct-touch technology. The heatpipes hold 40 aluminum heatsink plates pressed firmly against them. Each plate is 0.35 mm thick and the gap between them is about 1.9-2.0 mm:

  

 

The manufacturer claims that the effective heatsink surface area is 5,175 cm2. There is a seven-blade 92x25 mm fan on one side of the heatsink. Its rotation speed is PWM controlled in the interval from 1100 to 2200 RPM. It generates from 17 to 20 dBA of noise. There is no mention of the airflow readings among the cooler specifications. The fan is mounted on four soft spindles inserted into the heatsink slits:

This allows reducing the vibrations transferred from the fan to the heatsink and reduce the overall noise from the fan.

Unlike Baram2010, ThermoLab bada2010 employs heatpipe direct touch technology in the base. The gaps between the heatpipes are 1.8-2.0 mm wide:

The aluminum inserts between the heatpipes are fraction of a millimeter taller than the heatpipes contact surface, but despite this fact, both processor heat-spreaders left very decent imprints on the cooler surface:


AMD (Socket AM3)

Intel (LGA1366)

The cooler is compatible with all contemporary platforms and uses the same installation principles as Baram2010. You will need to attach the retention loops in a little bit different manner for the AMD platform than you would do for Intel:

The cooler is very compact, but the gap between the lowest heatsink plate and the cooler base is also quite small – only 30 mm:

 

ThermoLab bada2010 is priced at $39 and comes with a 1-year warranty.

Technical Specifications and Recommended Pricing

Testbed and Methods

We performed all our today’s tests on two different platforms inside two different system cases with removed side panels. Here are the testbeds configurations (the top line refers to AMD testbed, the bottom line – to Intel):

We overclocked our six-core processors as far as the least efficient cooler allowed us in quiet mode. As a result, our test CPUs with default non-lapped heat-spreaders reached the following frequencies:

 

Turbo Boost and Hyper-Threading technologies were disabled during our test session. All other parameters available in the mainboard BIOS and related to CPU or memory overclocking remained unchanged.

All tests were performed under Windows 7 Ultimate x64 operating system. We used the following software during our test session:

So, the complete screenshots taken during the test session look as follows for each of the tested platforms:


AMD

Intel

While the screenshot from the Intel platform should already be very familiar to our regular readers, the screenshot from the AMD platform requires a few explanations. Note that the CPU temperature in idle mode is 12°C.! No, we haven’t moved to the North Pole and there were no cataclysms like in “The Day After Tomorrow” movie (at least not yet). Looks like our processor has wrongly calibrated thermal diodes, because the cores cannot run at 12 degrees C minimal temperature when the room temperature around them is 21°C! By the way, other monitoring programs showed the same temperature. That is why we decided to add 10°C to all results obtained on the AMD testbed. So, you will see corrected data on all diagrams hereafter.

The CPU was loaded with two consecutive Linpack x64 test runs with the settings as indicated above. The stabilization period for the CPU temperature between the two test cycles was about 8-10 minutes. We took the maximum temperature of the hottest CPU core for the results charts. Moreover, we will also provide a table with the temperature readings for all cores including their average values. The ambient temperature was checked next to the system case with an electronic thermometer with 0.1 °C precision that allows hourly monitoring of the temperature changes over the past 6 hours. The room temperature during our test session varied between the annoying 20.5-20.7 °C.

The noise level of each cooler was measured between 1:00 and 3:00 AM in a closed room about 20 m2 big using CENTER-321 electronic noise meter. The noise level for each cooler was tested outside the system case when the only noise sources in the lab were the cooler and its fan. The noise meter was installed on a tripod and was always at a 150 mm distance from the cooler fan rotor. The tested cooling systems were placed at the edge of the desk on a sheet of polyurethane foam. The lowest noise reading our noise meter device can register is 29.8 dBA and the subjectively comfortable noise level in these testing conditions was around 35 dBA (do not mix it up with low noise level). The fan(s) rotation speed was adjusted in the entire supported range using the new controller revision by changing the voltage with 0.5 V increment.

We are going to compare our today’s testing participants against ThermoLab Baram2010 as one of the best coolers of that same tower-design and comparable price, as well as against our reference - Thermalright Silver Arrow:

   
 
AMD
 
Intel
 
AMD
 
Intel

Silver Arrow was equipped with its default Thermalright TY-140 fan tested in two speed modes: quiet 810 RPM and maximum 1280 RPM. Baram2010 was tested with one or two Thermalright TR-FDB fans in two modes, too: 820 and 2000 RPM. We used the same fans in addition to the default ones to test our tower-coolers Deep Cool Ice Warrior, Deep Cool Ice Blade Pro and Akasa Venom.

Cooling Efficiency Tests

AMD Platform

The following diagram shows the results obtained during the tests on AMD platform:

First of all let’s analyze the results obtained with the default cooling fans. ThermoLab bada2010 turned out to be the least effective one, which was quite an expected result, considering the cooler size and positioning. However, the mere fact that this little guy managed to cope with an overclocked six-core AMD CPU deserves our sincere respect. However, the next cooler didn’t prove up to our expectations. The all-copper Deep Cool Killer Whale outperformed bada2010 by only 2°C in quiet mode, and by 6°C in PWM mode when the fan sped up to its maximum. It may seem like a good result, but both its brothers, Ice Warrior and Ice Blade Pro turned out 2°C and 7°C more efficient respectively, although they cost less and generate less noise. We were a little surprised to see that Ice Blade Pro turned out 5°C more effective than Ice Warrior, although the latter is positioned one step higher by the manufacturer. Akasa Venom proved just as effective as Ice Blade Pro on AMD platform, but it has a faster fan. Thermalright Silver Arrow easily takes the lead in quiet mode at 810 RPM as well as at maximum rotation speed of its two TY-140 fans.

The results of our cooling efficiency tests with one and two Thermalright TR-FDB fans are just as interesting, because here we also have ThermoLab Baram2010 (it comes without any default fans at all). It wins in three tests out of four, but its advantage is minimal. It is closely followed by Akasa Venom and Deep Cool Ice Blade Pro, while the Deep Cool Ice Warrior is about 3-6°C behind. I have to say that ThermoLab Baram2010 equipped with two most suitable 120 mm fans at 2010 RPM is only 1°C behind Thermalright Silver Arrow with two 140 mm fans at 1280 RPM. Now let’s see what the results on Intel platform are going to be.

Intel Platform

The following diagram and detailed table show the results obtained on an Intel platform:

We can clearly see a much greater difference in the performance of our air-coolers caused by extremely high heat dissipation of our six-core Intel CPU. Moreover, we see that things have changed within our test categories compared with what we have just seen on AMD platform. For example, during the tests with the default fan the all-copper Deep Cool Killer Whale in quite mode is the least efficient product, which yielded even to the modest ThermoLab bada2010. At the same time, when the rotation speed of its default fan is increased to the maximum, Killer Whale manages to reduce the peak CPU temperature by 6°C compared with only 4°C improvement we have just seen on AMD. As a result, Killer Whale outperforms bada2010 and even Akasa Venom at quiet 810 RPM. However, as we see from the obtained results, the latter cooler is extremely sensitive to the rotation speed of its fan, so its efficiency improves dramatically when the fan speeds up to 1100 RPM. At maximum fan rotation speed it becomes best cooler of the pack, yielding only to the Silver Arrow from Thermalright. As for the Deep Cool Ice Warrior and Ice Blade Pro, the second cooler proves to be 5°C more efficient.

During the tests with alternative Thermalright TR-FDB fans instead of the default ones, things are also different compared with AMD platform results. Both Deep Cool products can only compete against one another here, and Ice Blade Pro wins. It demonstrates 3-4°C better results. But the most interesting thing here is the fact that Akasa Venom wins in three test modes out of four. Only at maximum rotation speed of two fans ThermoLab Baram2010 turns out 1°C ahead. In all other test modes Akasa Venom managed to surpass the dangerous competitor by 1-3°C. Keeping in mind that ThermoLab Baram2010 is the best cooler with a single-array heatsink, Akasa Venom’s results look really impressive. Therefore, we decided to check how far we can overclock our processor using this remarkable cooling solution when tested with two Thermlaright TR-FDB fans at the comfortable 1100 RPM. Venom proved capable of cooling our six-core CPU overclocked to 4.46 GHz at 1.46875 V Vcore (in the BIOS). In this case the peak core temperature didn’t exceed 86°C:

 

It is a great result! However, in this case Baram2010 still turned out 2°C better than the cobra-marked cooler:

Acoustic Performance

The graph below shows the acoustic readings taken off the testing participants with their default fans:

Out of four coolers equipped with a 120x25 mm fan Deep Cool Ice Warrior is the quietest: up to 1100 RPM its fan remains extremely silent and works in a very acoustically soft and pleasant range. It must be the benefit of the rubberized frame that reduces the vibrations from the fan to the heatsink and thus lowers the overall noise. Deep Cool Ice Blade Pro cooler is just a little louder, but it remains acoustically comfortable at up to 1050 RPM. However, its fan can’t boast creating stable and even sound pressure, which you can clearly see from its broken acoustic curve. Besides, it becomes one of the worst at low fan speed.

The thick fan of Deep Cool Killer Whale Premium is a little noisier, but without any abrupt changes in its acoustic performance, like the ones we observed by Ice Blade Pro. Akasa venom cooler appears to be the noisiest of the four. It remains acoustically comfortable only up to 950 RPM, and after that its fan starts to buzz. As for the Acoustic performance of ThermoLab bada2010, despite its smaller fan, it sounds a little less pleasant than the today’s leader – Deep Cool Ice Warrior. Although it will suit standard system cases just fine at up to 1500 RPM rotation speed, unless you are really looking for an ultra-low-noise system.

Conclusion

It is almost impossible to pick just one cooler out of five new products we have just discussed. I am sure you wonder why? Well, it is all very simple. ThermoLab bada2010 ($39), unlike Baram2010, can’t boast super-efficiency or low noise and costs too much for a product of its class. Of course, it is relatively compact and universal, but these are no longer unique features these days. Deep Cool Ice Warrior ($49) boasts a very good and quiet fan, but it yields to its less expensive brother, Ice Blade Pro cooler ($39), in performance. The latter could be considered the leader of our today’s test session, if it hadn’t been for the fourth cooler, Akasa Venom ($44), which proved remarkably efficient, but at the same time was the noisiest of all today’s testing participants when tested with 120x120x25 mm fans. Finally, Deep Cool Killer Whale Premium ($59) boasts extremely appealing exterior and beautiful LED lighting, but can’t offer exceptional performance or acoustics. Nevertheless, we hope that our today’s review will help you narrow down your search for that perfect cooler after all.

I also have to say a few words about the tests performed on AMD platform. Although we used the top AMD Phenom II X6 processor, its heat dissipation is quite modest even after we overclocked it beyond 4 GHz compared to overclocked Intel Core i7, therefore, the difference in cooling efficiency among the today’s testing participants is smaller. Moreover, coolers can usually be installed in only two ways on AMD processors, which limits our ability to study their cooling efficiency more diversely. Besides, the way the CPU is locked in its socket doesn’t let us estimate the quality of contact between the CPU and the cooler base from the thermal paste imprint, because we have to turn the cooler slightly during dismounting to avoid damaging the CPU. It produces a smudged imprint. Nevertheless, we will continue to include AMD platform tests into our cooler reviews from time to time.