by Sergey Lepilov
09/12/2008 | 04:33 PM
In forum threads discussing processor cooling systems you can often come across two types of questions: why they would make anything like that at all and why we test it. Strange as it might seem, but the answers to both these questions are right there on there surface. Unfortunately, cooling efficiency and low noise have become secondary for most cooling solutions out there. The reason for that lies with human psychology: potential buyers very often get attracted to impressive looks, fan highlighting or vivid stickers promising “unprecedented performance”. I assure you that this user group is much more numerous than the users who know at least something about the basics of efficient cooling. Overclocker group is even smaller than that, which means such coolers will always be in demand.
The answer to second question seems to be even simpler. Taking into account what has just been said, you understand that we intend to encourage as many users as possible to move from the first group to the second. In other words, we have to discuss and test as many cooling solutions as possible, no matter how efficient they may seem at first glance. Moreover, sometimes even experienced users cannot tell by the look of the cooler how efficient it will be in practical tests. Today we re going to talk about two coolers like that – the clone-coolers - EVERCOOL Transformer 6 and TITAN CoolIdol.
Both cooler from EVERCOOL and TITAN come in boxes of the same size provides with convenient carry handles:
Of course, the boxes have different design and EVERCOOL box also has a cut out window in the front revealing part of the cooler inside. The boxes have all sorts of information printed on them starting with key features description and finishing with the fact about new thermal compound inside. One side of each box contains a list of cooler technical specifications. TITAN solution seems to have more items in this list:
The cooler shave different specs, but we are going to discuss it later in our article. In the meanwhile let’s check out the accessories bundled with these coolers and packed in separate boxes:
Inside these smaller boxes you can find the following items:
As you can see, they differ only by the fan rotation speed regulators and thermal compounds. In fact, EVERCOOL Transformer 6 comes with a button regulator that allows setting the fan into quiet mode or at maximum rotation speed. TITAN CoolIdol comes with a variable regulator that should be installed into the case rear panel instead one of the brackets.
Both coolers are made in China.
The coolers look pretty unusual (hereinafter we will be showing EVERCOOL Transformer 6 on the left and TITAN CoolIdol on the right):
Each of them uses 6 copper heatpipes 6mm in diameter that hold three aluminum heatsink arrays. They are topped with 120x120x25mm fans and their sides are partially covered with aluminum casings:
The EVERCOOL Transformer 6 cooler measures 155x140x120mm, while TITAN CoolIdol is claimed to be a little bigger: 163x142.5x125mm, although they both look pretty identical (TITAN CoolIdol seems to be 2mm taller because of the fan grill). EVERCOOL Transformer 6 weighs 873g, while the weight of TITAN CoolIdol is not mentioned anywhere, but it hardly differs too much from the weight of the EVERCOOL solution.
The key distinguishing feature of EVERCOOL Transformer 6 and TITAN CoolIdol coolers from other air coolers is the use of three aluminum heatsinks, each hanging on a pair of heatpipes:
Four heatpipes out of six come out of one side of the base and hold two upper heatsink arrays, while the remaining two heatpipes come out of another side of the base and hold the additional lower heatsink that doesn’t touch the any of the upper ones:
Note that the lower heatsink uses two central heatpipes that take on lion’s share of heat. It is a very questionable solution, because the heatsink is pretty small and the airflow from the fan reaches it after going through the upper heatsink plates. We should also keep in mind that there is a “dead zone” right beneath the fan motor, which is exactly where the third smaller heatsink is located.
The aluminum plates of all three heatsinks are spaced out at 2mm and are about 0.3mm thick:
Four heatpipes that go to one side of the base intersect with one another:
It could have been done to make the heatsink sturdier. Anyway, since two and four heatpipes go into opposite directions from the base and intersect, the coolers are not really compact at the base:
Here I would like to mention that there was only one way to install these coolers onto ASUS P5K Deluxe mainboard out of four theoretically possible options. But, I am going to return to it later, in the Installation charter of our review.
The heatpipes lie in special grooves in the cooler base, which increases the contact surface area and thus improves heat dissipation:
I couldn’t find out how they are actually attached to the base, because no traces of soldering or thermal glue were anywhere to be seen. The thinnest part of the copper plate beneath the heatpipes measures 2mm.
The bases of both coolers are finished similarly well. There is no mirror-shine here, however there are no machine marks or other defects often typical of sir coolers either:
The base is also very even, no complaints here. The thermal compound imprint on the processor heat-spreader turned out very even:
Both coolers come equipped with shiny seven-blade 120-mm fans installed on top of aluminum casing:
Moreover, the fan doesn’t touch the casing and on both coolers, EVERCOOL Transformer 6 as well as TITAN CoolIdol, the fans are installed on silicon spindles that absorb vibrations and shift the fan noise into more comfortable acoustic range:
The fans are very similar from the constructive standpoint, but their use different motors:
According to the specs, the fan of EVERCOOL Transformer 6 fan rotate at ~1200RPM or ~1800RPM depending on the operational mode set using the bundled regulator. The noise levels in this case will be 23dBA or 30dBA respectively. However, TITAN CoolIdol has a more functional fan. Its rotation speed may vary from ~800RPM to ~2200RPM with the noise changing from 17.2dBA to 39dBA. Moreover, the TITAN fan supports PWM rotation speed control feature.
Both new coolers are universal and can be installed on all contemporary platforms. In case of LGA775 and Socket 939/AM2 their retention goes through the mainboard PCB with a backplate. As I have already mentioned above, heatpipes going in different directions at the cooler base, make them not very compact. Namely, there was only one way I could install these coolers on ASUS P5K Deluxe mainboard, because otherwise the heatpipes would hit against the heatsink on the mainboard power components, the chipset heatsink or even memory DIMMs. As a result, the only possibility was to install the coolers with the heatpipes turned horizontally (in a Tower case):
Moreover, I also had to remove two memory modules from the DIMM slots closest to the CPU, otherwise the bottom of the cooler heatsink would be pressed against them. if you are using standard memory modules (without tall heats-spreaders), you won’t have this problem.
TITAN CoolIdol fan is topped with a wire grill protecting overclockers’ fingers. EVERCOOL Transformer 6 doesn’t have a grill like that, however its fan has four blue LEDs:
Looks very pretty, doesn’t it?
The technical specifications and recommended retail price of both coolers are given in the table below:
Both new coolers and their only competitor were tested in two modes: in an open testbed when the mainboard sits horizontally on the desk and the cooler is installed vertically, and in a closed testbed with the mainboard in vertical position.
Our testbed was identical for all coolers and featured the following configuration:
All tests were performed under Windows XP Professional Edition SP3. SpeedFan 4.34 was used to monitor the temperature of the CPU and mainboard, reading it directly from the CPU core sensor and to monitor the rotation speed of the cooler fans:
The mainboard’s automatic fan speed management feature was disabled for the time of the tests in the mainboard BIOS. The CPU thermal throttling was controlled with the RightMark CPU Clock Utility version 2.35.0:
The CPU was heated up with OCCT (OverClock Checking Tool) version 2.0.0a in a 23-minute test with maximum CPU utilization, during which the system remained idle in the first 1 and last 4 minutes of the test:
I performed at least two cycles of tests and waited for approximately 20 minutes for the temperature inside the system case to stabilize during each test cycle. The stabilization period in an open testbed took about half the time. Despite the stabilization period, the result of the second test cycle was usually 0.5-1°C higher. The maximum temperature of the hottest CPU core of the four in the two test cycles was considered the final result (if the difference was no bigger than 1°C – otherwise the test was performed at least once again).
The ambient temperature was checked next to the system case with an electronic thermometer that allows monitoring the temperature changes over the past 6 hours. During our test session room temperatures varied between 24.5-25.0°C. It is used as a staring point on the temperature diagrams. Note that the fan rotation speeds as shown in the diagrams are the average readings reported by SpeedFan, and not the official claimed fan specifications.
Now a few words about the competition. We will be comparing the cooling efficiency of EVERCOOL Transformer 6 and TITAN CoolIdol against that of Thermalright SI-128 SE air cooler (~$55 + $10) that sells t a comparable price. This cooler was tested with 120-mm Scythe SlipStream 120 fan working at ~800RPM with very low noise. It was more than enough to reveal the cooling potential of EVERCOOL Transformer 6 and TITAN CoolIdol. The latter, Unlike EVERCOOL Transformer 6, was tested not only at its minimum and maximum fan rotation speeds, but also at manually set ~1240RPM, which is the minimum fan rotation sped of the EVERCOOL solution.
So, inside a closed system case using the “weakest” cooling system with one quiet fan we managed to overclock our 45nm quad-core processor to the modest frequency of 3.7GHz (+23.3%). The nominal processor Vcore was increased to 1.4625V in the mainboard BIOS (+17%):
The monitoring utilities reported a little lower voltage setting than the one in the mainboard BIOS: 1.42~1.44V:
The obtained results are summed up on the following diagram:
Unfortunately, we have to admit that the new EVERCOOL Transformer 6 and TITAN CoolIdol cooling solutions didn’t show any remarkable cooling efficiency during quad-core processor overclocking. As we have just seen, these coolers are bulky, expensive and not very quiet. Besides, they are not efficient enough to let the CPU reveal its full potential.
Frankly speaking, it is pretty hard to determine what the target user group for these solutions would be. I believe these are users who do not overclock, have enough money to spend and value unique looks and beautiful fan LEDs more than cooling efficiency or low noise.