Manufacturer: be quiet!

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Introduction

be quiet! is a relative new comer to the US computer component market with an award-winning reputation for high quality power supplies and components in their native Germany. Recently, they have branched out into the highly competive cooling space with their Dark Rock and Shadow Rock cooler lines. The Dark Rock Pro 3 is the newest member of their Dark Rock cooler line, featuring a massive dual tower radiator and dual fan design. The Shadow Rock Slim is a recent addition to their Shadow Rock line, featuring a smaller footprint single radiator design to maximize motherboard compatibility with the cooler. The Dark Rock Pro 3 comes with a premium MSRP of $89.99, while the Shadown Rock Slim is available at an MSRP of $49.99.

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Courtesy of be quiet!

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Courtesy of be quiet!

As a flagship solution, the Dark Rock Pro 3 cooler has most of the nice to haves to find on top-end coolers from other manufactures - copper base plate and heat pipes, nickel plating on all copper surfaces, thick dual radiator construction, dual fans, and a massive amount of heat pipes to wick the heat away from the CPU surface as fast as possible. be quiet! developed the cooler using dual fans, a 120mm front fan and a 135mm inner fan. Heat is transfered from the copper base plate to the dual aluminum radiators by a dense array of seven copper heat pipes. All surfaces are nickel coated for corrosion protection and scratch resistance with the nickel plating black colored to give the cooler a sleek and menacing appearance.

Continue reading our review of the be quiet! CPU air coolers!

Thermaltake's Core V51 offers a lot of choice to the system builder

Subject: Cases and Cooling | October 6, 2014 - 06:29 PM |
Tagged: thermaltake, Core V51, air cooling, water cooling

The Thermaltake Core V51 Mid-Tower does not have a flashy exterior but the simple aesthetics should appeal to certain segments of the population.  At 540 x 236 x 560mm (21 x 9 x 22") it is smaller than many of the cases we have seen released to the market but still has room for an eATX board inside as well as a Morry sized cooler.  The cooling design is quite flexible, in several places you can choose to mount multiple 120/140mm fans or a single monstrous 200mm if you possess one; those who prefer watercooling are able to place 420mm rads in two places or smaller ones in numerous other places.  [H]ard|OCP loved the performance and flexibilty of this case, as well as the $110 asking price, which together were enough to win a coveted Gold Award.

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"Thermaltake has some very lofty goals set for its new mid-tower case. Its primary goal is to deliver outstanding cooling performance which is always high on our priority list as well. Form and function both seem to be well served in this new Core V51 model as its performance profile is not hard on the eyes."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

Fanless, SFF or heavy weights, check out the best in quiet coolers

Subject: Cases and Cooling | September 23, 2014 - 03:45 PM |
Tagged: heatsink, air cooling, water cooling, quiet

Silent PC Review has just done a major update to their lists of the best Big, Small and Fanless coolers, both air and water.  The Big list requires a fair sized case in which to contain the cooler and consists of those coolers which operate at 20 dBA or less from 1m away with no more than 45°C rise over ambient.  The graph starts with the loudest 20dBA and grows more quiet with the measured temperature appearing at the noise level they tested, those with multiple values have adjustable speeds.  The Small list has the same setup but consists of coolers that should fit in most SFF cases and the fanless lacks noise ratings for obvious reasons.  Check them all out here.

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"Recommended Heatsinks lists SPCR-reviewed top cooling devices for CPUs, VGA and other hot computer parts, ordered by cooling performance and low noise. Major update on 16 Sept 2014."

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Manufacturer: Noctua

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Introduction

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Courtesy of Noctua

Noctua is a well known player in the CPU cooling business with their focus on high quality solutions that don't kill your eardrums. The NH-D15 cooler is their current flagship product, building upon the design of their much loved NH-D14 cooler for an even higher performance product offering. The NH-D15 is composed of dual cooling towers, threaded through by six heat pipes. The heat pipes and copper base are all nickel-plated, giving the unit the signature Noctua look. We put the NH-D15 up against other high-performance solutions to best gage its cooling abilities. High performance comes at a cost with the NH-D15 being no exception at a $99.99 MSRP.

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Courtesy of Noctua

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Courtesy of Noctua

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Courtesy of Noctua

The NH-D15 incorporates everything that Noctua has learned in designing its NH-D14 and U-series coolers, coming up with an extreme performance product that maintains almost universal motherboard compatibility. The cooler features twin 150mm wide cooling towers with airflow provided by dual NF-A15 150mm, 1500RPM fans. The heat transfers from the copper base plate to the aluminum radiator towers via six copper heat pipes. The copper base and heat pipes are all nickel-plated, providing scratch and corrosion resistance without affecting thermal transfer capabilities. To ensure optimal acoustics, the NH-A15 fans have rubber corner guards on all four corners to minimize fan vibration and vibration transfer to the radiator. The CPU base plate is seamless and polished to a mirror finish, ensuring an optimal mating surface.

Continue reading our review of the Noctua NH-D15 CPU air cooler!

It is slim but not that quiet; BeQuiet's Shadow Rock Slim

Subject: Cases and Cooling | June 20, 2014 - 02:42 PM |
Tagged: bequiet!, Shadow Rock Slim, air cooling

For those who's cases are small and CPU sockets are crowded the enormous dual fan 1kg heatsinks you commonly see are not an option.  BeQuiet has a smaller cooler called the Shadow Rock Slim which is a much better choice.  As the name implies it is quite slim and so should not interfere with your RAM's heatspreaders and the 159mm (6.25") height means it can fit in a wide range of cases.  Even with it's small size the tests that FrostyTech performed show it performs quite well at stock fan speeds, though they do not recommend running it a lower speeds on hot processors as the performance simply changes too much.

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"BeQuiet's Shadow Rock Slim heatsink stands 159mm tall and has a footprint of 130x74mm so it will fit most motherboards where space between the memory slots and videocard is on the tight side. The Shadow Rock Slim heatsink weighs 730 grams and is constructed around four 6mm diameter copper heatpipes onto which are swaged raw aluminum cooling fins."

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Source: FrostyTech

Check out the fan on that Shadow Rock 2

Subject: Cases and Cooling | June 12, 2014 - 03:52 PM |
Tagged: bequiet!, purewings 2, shadow rock 2, air cooling

The 120mm BeQuiet PureWings 2 that comes on the Shadow Rock 2 heatsink has a unique look with ripples on all the blades and can be mounted on any side of the cooler which could be handy for those with tall DIMM heatspreaders.  The heatsink weighs in just over a 1.1 kg and measures 159x122x149mm (6.25x4.8x5.8") with the fan attached which could be a tight squeeze in some systems.  FrostyTech hooked it up to their testbed and found it to be a very quiet cooler, especially on the low fan setting and relatively decent performance.  It is unlikely to show up on a top 10 list as it offers only reasonable performance and is quite expensive.

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"In this review Frostytech is checking out the boxy BeQuiet's Shadow Rock 2 heatsink which stands 159mm tall and weighs in at 1120grams. This heatsink has a footprint of 122x122mm without a fan, 122x149mm with the supplied 1600-800rpm, 120mm PWM fan installed."

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Source: FrostyTech

Introduction: Budget Cooling Options and the Seidon 120V

The Seidon 120V is Cooler Master's newest 120mm all-in-one liquid CPU cooler, and its affordable price adds another option to anyone looking for an aftermarket cooler on a budget. But when we start comparing low-cost options it's valid to wonder just how much better a liquid cooler in this price range might perform over air. To find out we'll test the Seidon 120V against a popular budget air solution, and see how these aftermarket coolers compare against the stock solutions from AMD and Intel.

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Image courtesy of Cooler Master

Cooling on a Budget

When you’re pricing out a new computer build these days it’s pretty easy to put together a solid group of components for $500 or so, and these will get you going on all the latest games at HD resolution. Sounds awesome! Of course, within that tight budget certain things are going to have to wait, and right up there on the list is probably some better cooling. It’s easy enough to change out a CPU cooler later, but if the stock cooler is doing the job within the thermal specs of the processor is it really needed? Clearly, AMD and Intel are not going to ship a cooler with their product that can’t keep it cool enough under stock workloads, but having better cooling can allow for overclocking as well as extend the life of not only the CPU, but the components around it on your motherboard. Aftermarket coolers are often able to cool more efficiently as well, producing less noise.

So...many...options...

The selection of aftermarket coolers available is, well, ridiculous. As easy as it is to get lost looking at, say, every virtually identical stick of DDR3 memory, scrolling through product pages for CPU cooling is on another level entirely. Liquid cooling systems are much easier to navigate, as there are not only fewer of them, but the pricing segmentation allows for easier selection if you’re on a budget.  For instance, the Seidon 120V at around $50 was the least expensive AIO option on Amazon when this review was started (actually coming in at 47.99 shipped, though this has been fluctuating quite a bit lately). Finding a suitable budget air cooler was not so easy, and it needed to be at least comparable to the performance of a liquid cooler, while coming in at or below the $50 mark of the 120V. (This might take a while…)

On the air-cooling side of things narrowing the selection to $50 or less doesn’t help much, as there are still (roughly) 50 million to choose from in that price range. There are going to be so many different preferences and opinions on these, so an easier alternative would be to simply follow the consensus pick, e-tail style. This intensive research project involved visiting Amazon and typing “cpu cooler” into the search box. (OK, that was pretty easy!) The plan was to put whatever came up first under $50 in the cart. Turns out the most popular air-cooler is also under $50 (not surprising). This top result was also from Cooler Master, their Hyper 212 EVO which was selling for under $34 shipped. Done.

Continue reading our review of hte Cooler Master Seidon 120V Liquid Cooler!!

Manufacturer: Noctua

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Introduction

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Courtesy of Noctua

Noctua is an established player in the CPU cooler space, offering high quality solutions that cool your processors without killing your eardrums. Their U-series coolers combine unrivaled cooling performance with an innovative design to ensure quiet operation and motherboard compatibility. The flagship product of this line, the NH-U14S, is composed of a single aluminum-finned radiator with six embedded, nickel-plated copper heat pipes running through a copper base plate. For performance testing of the NH-U14S cooler, we put it up against other high-performance liquid and air-based coolers. With a retail MSRP of $75.99, the NH-U14S CPU cooler has a premium price to match its premium size and cooling potential.

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Courtesy of Noctua

Continue reading our review of the Noctua NH-U14S CPU air cooler!

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Introduction

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Courtesy of SilverStone

SilverStone Technology is a well known brand in the computer component space, offering high quality solutions for everything from cases to case-mounted fan controllers and displays. Their CPU air-coolers are some of the best in the industry with the latest incarnation being part of the Argon Series. The Argon Series AR01 CPU cooler is made for optimal cooling of your Intel socket 115X or AMD-based systems, comprised of a single aluminum radiator tied to a copper base-plate via a set of copper heat pipes with a 120mm fan for heat dissipation. To prove out the performance of the AR01 unit, we tested put it up against other high-performance liquid and air-based coolers. At a retail MSRP of $34.99, the AR01 cooler has a great performance to price ratio for its cooling potential.

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Courtesy of SilverStone

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Courtesy of SilverStone

Continue reading our review of the SilverStone Argon Series AR01 CPU air cooler!

Manufacturer: Phanteks

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Introduction

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Courtesy of Phanteks

A relative new comer in the enthusiast space, Phanteks has taken the hearts and minds with their high-performance and innovatively designed thermal cooling solutions. The PH-TC12DX cooler features a massive dual-radiator tower actively cooled by two 120mm fans with a copper, nickel-plated CPU base plate. The cooler cines packaged with support for all current Intel and AMD CPU socket offerings. To properly gage the PH-TC12DX's performance, we put it up against several similarly-classed air and water-based cooling solutions. At a retail price of $54.99, the Phanteks PH-TC12DX offers you solid performance without busting your bank.

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Courtesy of Phanteks

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Courtesy of Phanteks

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Courtesy of Phanteks

The Phanteks PH-TC12DX cooler consists of a single tower radiator with four U-shaped heat pipes intersecting the its cooling fins. The cooler uses nickel-plated copper heat pipes to transfer the heat from the copper CPU base plate to the fins of the aluminum radiator for optimal heat transmission and dispersal. The tower is sandwiched by two high air flow 120mm fans for heat dispersion from the radiator. Phanteks went to great lengths to make sure the PH-TC12DX kept a sleek looking appearance from the black coloration of the radiator to the branded top-plate to hide the heat pipe termination points.

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Courtesy of Phanteks

Phanteks includes everything you need to get the cooler up and running in your system: mounting kits supporting both Intel and AMD-based systems, dual PH-F120HP 120mm fans, fan mounting kits, a sleeved dual-ended fan power cable, and Phanteks PH-NDC thermal paste.

Continue reading our review of the Phanteks PH-TC12DX CPU air cooler!