Enermax ETD-T60-TB Top-Cooler Review

Considerably large and well-optimized heatsink, six heatpipes and a unique fan – will all these features help the new top-cooler from Enermax to win its place under the sun?

by Sergey Lepilov
12/21/2011 | 02:03 PM

We have just discussed a new cooler from Enermax Technology Corporation called ETS-T40-VD that made a very versatile impression but undoubtedly won our hearts with its sophisticated fan LEDs. Today we are going to talk about one more new product from this company. This time it is a top-cooler, which directs the airflow towards the mainboard PCB surface, - ETD-T60-TB.

 

It also boasts a few interesting implementations, but it also features a super-efficient cooling fan with uniquely shaped impeller blades and a long-lasting bearing. Let’s see how great it actually is.

Technical Specifications and Recommended Pricing

Packaging and Accessories

The cooler ships in a small cardboard box with two clear windows on the top and on one of the sides, which allow you to take a peek at the heatsink and fan:

Right there it says that Enermax ETD-T60-TB can cool processors with over 200 W TDP, which is, actually, more than optimistic for a top-cooler.

The information on the sides of the box tells you everything about the cooler inside:

 

 

ETD-T60-TB is accompanied with a universal backplate, two types of retention brackets, a set of threaded plastic bushes, a set of screw-nuts, bushes, washers and screws with a corresponding wrench, Dow Corning TC-5121 thermal paste (2.5 W/m°K) and an assembly and installation guide:

Enermax ETD-T60-TB is priced at $49.99 MSRP and comes with a one-year warranty. It is made in Taiwan.

Design and Functionality

The new cooler makes the impression of a relatively compact and light-weight product, but it can hardly be considered small:

 

Enermax ETD-T60-TB weighs only 540 grams, which is very little for contemporary processor coolers. It is 112 mm tall with a fan, 137 mm wide and 151 mm long:

The cooler consists of an aluminum heatsink on six copper heatpipes coming out of the cooler base. Four heatpipes come out on one side of the base and the remaining two – on the other side:

  

This entire structure is cooled with a single 120 mm fan. The base surface is covered with protective plastic reminding that it needs to be removed before installation:

 

The heatsink, base plate and heatpipes are all nickel-plated, which will ensure that they do not lose their visual appeal for a long time.

The heatsink fins on the airflow entry side are of variable height:

This helps lower the airflow resistance and ensure high efficiency of the Enermax ETD-T60-TB cooler at low fan speed. The heatsink body is built of 55 aluminum fins, each 0.4 mm thick that are positioned 1.8 mm away from one another. The thermal resistance of this cooler declared in the specifications is 0.12 °C/W.

Moreover, the heatsink has all the same optimizations as the ETS-T40-VD discussed in our previous article, such as: VGF (Vortex Generator Flow) and VEF (Vacuum Effect Flow), even though unlike ETS-T40-VD, its heatpipes pierce the heatsink evenly and at the same level:

The heatpipes at the base lie side by side in special grooves:

It is very difficult to tell from just visual inspection what the contact between the heatpipes and the base plate is, because the traces we found looked more like thermal glue rather than soldering residue. However, Enermax claims that all contact spots are soldered together.

The contact surface of the base plate is more or less even, but its finish is barely satisfactory at best:

You can not only see, but also feel to the touch the radial machine marks on it.

Enermax ETD-T60-TB is equipped with one 120x120x25 mm T.B.SILENCE PWM fan with nine dual-segment “Batwing” blades and a “Carved Halo” frame:

According to the manufacturer, these Batwing-shaped blades combined with a perforated frame create 20~30% higher airflow compared with fans featuring common blades.

The fan rotation speed is automatically controlled using PWM approach in the interval from 800 to 1800 RPM creating 37.57-86.70 CFM airflow and generating 10-21 dBA of noise. They also claim the fan’s static pressure is 0.72-2.41 mmH2O.

Moreover, the fan is built with a unique self-lubricating magnetic Twister bearing, which should last at least 100,000 hours (over 10 years of non-stop operation). The maximum fan power consumption shouldn’t exceed 5.4 W at 0.45 A current. However, our tests showed that the fan power consumption didn’t exceed 2.04 W and the startup voltage equaled 3.9 V.

Compatibility, Installation and Cooling Efficiency Tests

Enermax ETD-T60-TB is compatible with all contemporary platforms except for the recently launched LGA 2011. The installation is described in detail in a multi-lingual guide that can be downloaded from the official web-site. The first thing you have to do before installing the cooler onto any of the supported platforms is to fasten the plastic bushes and threaded mounts in the ends of the corresponding retention brackets:

After that these brackets are screwed on to the base of the cooler:


AMD

Intel

Next you apply thermal paste, install the cooler on top of the processor and tighten the screw-nuts on top of the universal backplate on the back of the mainboard PCB:


AMD

Intel

It is much more convenient to set the mainboard on top of the cooler, and not the usual way.

The installation guide points out one certain position as the correct one: the heatpipes must be positioned perpendicular to the memory DIMM slots, i.e. be horizontal:

The cooler could be easily installed this way onto a Socket AM3 mainboard:

 

It also fit just fine onto an LGA 1366 mainboard:

 

Although in this case the possibility of installing the cooler as recommended will depend on the location of the processor socket on the mainboard.

That’s all: Enermax ETD-T60-TB has been successfully assembled and installed:

However, the LGA 1366 platform has symmetrical retention holes therefore you can also install the ETD-T60-TB cooler in an incorrect way, i.e. with the ends of some heatpipes pointing up and some – down:

In this case Enermax ETD-T60-TB will be cooling an overclocked six-core processor as follows:

In other words, it won’t be cooling it at all. However, it turned out that we shouldn’t pin this on the “incorrect” cooler installation. In fact, there was simply no proper contact between the base of the cooler and the prominent heat-spreader of our test CPU:

 

Turning Enermax ETD-T60-TB 90° counterclockwise improved the contact, although it was still far from ideal:

 

Despite this fact, ETD-T60-TB still refused to maintain the stability of our CPU overclocked to 4.3 GHz at 1.3875 V Vcore (even at maximum fan rotation speed and with removed system case side panel, which is of utmost importance for top-coolers):

Therefore, we had to lower the CPU frequency to 4.1 GHz and drop its core voltage to 1.3 V. In these testing conditions Enermax ETD-T60-TB managed to ensure stability of our six-core processor even in a closed system case. Although it was still unable to compete in any way against Thermalright HR-02 Macho tower-cooler (which is also cheaper on top of everything else):

As we can see, at best (and without taking into account the noise) Enermax ETD-T60-TB is 10°C behind Thermalright HR-02 Macho under peak load, and in the worst case the difference reaches 21°C. However, there was no ideal contact between the base of the new Enermax top-cooler and the CPU heat-spreader, so I am sure that it could also partially explain this unimpressive performance.

Since we didn’t have another LGA 1366 CPU at our disposal at the time of tests and we didn’t feel like lapping the surfaces for a perfect match, we decided to run a series of additional tests using an AMD FX-8150 based platform. The cooler was installed in the “correct” position recommended by the manual:

The thermal paste imprints were practically perfect:

 

Now Enermax ETD-T60-TB can’t find any excuses, so let’s see how well it does in ideal testing conditions (with removed system case side panel) with an eight-core AMD CPU overclocked to 4.3 GHz at 1.28125 V Vcore:

True, Enermax ETD-T60-TB feels much more confident here, although it is still 4-6°C behind the tower-cooler depending on the fan rotation speed. Although I have to admit that in terms of noise HR-02 Macho is still superior, which we are going to discuss in just a few paragraphs. Here I would like to add that when we closed the system case side panel, our top-cooler lost about 5~7°C of cooling efficiency, while the efficiency of its tower competitor lowered by only 2~3°C.

Noise

The graph below shows the acoustic performance of our today’s testing participants:

Taking into consideration the overall difference in noise from the Thermalright TY-140 fan, we can’t help mentioning that Enermax ETD-T60-TB is equipped with a pretty high-quality fan, which remains acoustically comfortable up to 1050 RPM and really quiet up to 900 RPM. The fan doesn’t rattle or vibrate in the entire rotation speed range. The impeller is very well-balanced, and the unique Twister bearing works practically completely silently.

Conclusion

Despite two failures on an Intel platform, which are most probably caused by the severely imperfect surface of our test CPU and insufficient pressure hold of the cooler retention, Enermax ETD-T60-TB made a pretty good impression on us (as a top-cooler, of course).Namely, on a platform with an eight-core AMD CPU this product didn't fall too far behind the tower cooler boasting one of the best price-to-performance combinations today. At the same time, ETD-T60-TB is compact (very short) and lightweight (540 g). Quality Enermax T.B.SILENCE fan with long MTBF and PWM support as well as universal retention are two indisputable advantages of the new Enermax product. However, its price of $49.99 and serious dependence of its cooling efficiency on the system case are its definite drawbacks. However, the latter is typical of all top-coolers, so it is not a unique shortcoming of the new Enermax ETD-T60-TB.

P.S.: And those who love LEDs will be pleased to know that Enermax also offers a top-cooler modification with an LED fan – ETD-T60-VD.