Noctua Focused on Ryzen with NH-L9a-AM4 and NH-L12S Low-Profile Coolers

Subject: Cases and Cooling | September 25, 2017 - 10:43 AM |
Tagged: ryzen, noctua, low-profile, htpc, cooler, APU, amd, AM4, air cooling

AMD's popularity with Ryzen CPUs (and upcoming APUs) has made waves across the industry, and Noctua have jumped in with a pair of low-profile offerings that update previous designs for cramped case interiors.

First up is the new version of the NH-L9a:

noctua_nh_l9a_am4_1.jpg

"The new NH-L9a-AM4 is an AM4-specific revision of Noctua’s award-winning NH-L9a low-profile CPU cooler. At a height of only 37mm, the NH-L9a is ideal for extremely slim cases and, due to its small footprint, it provides 100% RAM and PCIe compatibility as well as easy access to near-socket connectors, even on tightly packed mini-ITX motherboards."

Next is the new NH-L12S:

noctua_nh_l12s_1.jpg

"The new S-version of the renowned NH-L12 not only adds AM4 support but also gives more flexibility and improved performance in low-profile mode. Thanks to the new NF-A12x15 PWM slim 120mm fan, the NH-L12S provides even better cooling than the previous model with its 92mm fan. At the same time, the NH-L12S is highly versatile: with the fan installed on top of the fins, the cooler is compatible with RAM modules of up to 45mm in height. With the fan installed underneath the fins, the total height of the cooler is only 70mm, making it suitable for use in many compact cases."

Noctua says that these new coolers now shipping "and will be available shortly", with an MSRP of $39.90 for the NH-L9a-AM4 and $49 for the NH-L12S.

Source: Noctua

Introduction and Specifications

FSP might be familiar as a manufacturer of power supplies, but the company has a growing product offering that now includes cases and CPU coolers, among other things. In this review we will examine the Windale line, which consists of the Windale 4 and Windale 6, a pair of tower-style CPU air coolers.

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"FSP CPU Air Cooler Windale Series come out with two models: Windale 6 and Windale 4. Both of them are featured with CPU direct contact technology which can release CPU heat more efficiently. The 120mm extreme quiet fan enhances better cooling performance. The High-tech 120mm fin design provides optimized cooling effect. They are highly compatible with the latest sockets of Intel and AMD."

FSP has priced their coolers to compete in what is often called a 'crowded market', and the $29.99 Windale 4 in particular seems to directly compete with the ever-popular Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO - on price, if nothing else. Can FSP's first effort dethrone the EVO as a budget favorite? To this end we will see exactly how the Windale 4 and 6 perform against Cooler Master's venerable air cooler with a toasty Intel Core i7-7700K supplying the load temps (and my trusty SPL meter along for the ride to capture noise levels).

We will get right into it with a summary of the specifications for both FSP Windale coolers:


Windale 4 (model AC401)

  • Heatsink Material: Aluminum Alloy
  • Heat-pipe: 6 mm x4
  • Fan Speed: 600-1600 RPM (PWM) ± 15%
  • Bearing Type: Sleeve Bearing
  • Fan Air Flow: 60 CFM ± 10%
  • Dimensions (LxWxH): 122 x 83 x 158 mm
  • Weight: 620 g

Windale 6 (model AC601 - blue LED)

  • Heatsink Material: Aluminum Alloy with black plating
  • Heat-pipe: 6 mm x 6
  • Fan Speed 600-1600 RPM (PWM) ± 15%
  • Bearing Type: Sleeve Bearing
  • Fan Air Flow: 60 CFM ± 10%
  • Dimensions (LxWxH): 122 x 110 x 165 mm
  • Weight: 823 g

Continue reading our review of the FSP Windale 4 and 6 coolers!

Manufacturer: Phononic

Introduction: A Hybrid Approach

The Hex 2.0 from Phononic is not your typical CPU cooler. It functions as both a thermoelectric cooler (TEC) - which you may also know as a Peltier cooler - and as a standard heatsink/fan, depending on CPU load. It offers a small footprint for placement in all but the lowest-profile systems, yet it boasts cooling potential beyond other coolers of its size. Yes, it is expensive, but this is a far more complex device than a standard air or even all-in-one liquid cooler - and obviously much smaller than even the most compact AiO liquid coolers.

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“The HEX 2.0 combines a proprietary state-of-the-art high performance thermoelectric module with an innovative heat exchanger. The small form factor CPU cooler pioneers a new category of cooling technology. The compact design comfortably fits in small chassis, including mini-ITX cases, while delivering cooling capacity beyond that of much larger coolers.”

Even though it does not always need to function as such, the Hex 2.0 is a thermoelectric cooling device, and that alone makes it interesting from a PC hardware enthusiast point of view (at least mine, anyway). The 'active-passive' approach taken by Phononic with the Hex 2.0 allows for greater performance potential that would otherwise be possible from a smaller TEC device, though our testing will of course reveal how effective it is in actual use.

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HEX 2.0 features an Active-Passive design (Credit: Phononic)

The goal for the HEX 2.0 CPU cooler was to provide similar cooling performance to all-in-one (AIO) liquid coolers or the very largest fan-heat sinks in a package that could fit into the smallest PC form factors (like miniITX). The active-passive design is what makes this possible. By splitting the CPU heat into two paths, as shown in Figure 1 (Ed. the above image), the thermoelectric device can be sized at an optimal point where it can provide the most benefit for lowering CPU temperature without having to be large enough to pump the entire CPU thermal load. We also designed electronic controls to turn off the thermoelectric heat pump at times of low CPU load, making for an energy efficient cooler that provides adequate cooling with zero power draw at low CPU loads. However, when the CPU is stressed and the CPU heat load increases, the electronic controls energize the thermoelectric heat pump, lowering the temperature of the passive base plate and the CPU itself. The active-passive design has one further benefit – when used in conjunction with the electronic controls, this design virtually eliminates the risk of condensation for the HEX 2.0.

Continue reading our review of the Phononic HEX 2.0 Thermoelectric CPU Cooler!

Manufacturer: Cooler Master

Introduction

Cooler Master's MasterLiquid Maker 92 is a unique liquid CPU cooler that fits all of its parts into one cluster atop the processor, and does it with a clever, hinged construction that allows it to be switched from an upright to a horizontal position at will. While the Maker 92 only occupies about as much space as a large tower air cooler in its upright position, the ability to fold it down provides both enhanced clearance and the option of directing airflow down to help cool motherboard components. But the big question for this cooler is just how effective can a closed-loop system be when it’s this compact? We’re about to find out!

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Let's get part out if the way right off the bat: specialty small form-factor products generally don't offer competitive price/performance numbers, and critics are quick to point to this aspect of SFF computing. The small form-factor side of enthusiast PC building is a pretty small niche, and a product like the Maker 92 might not be for you; but what is important to consider when looking at a specialty product like this is the performance for its size, as designs of the most compact cooling components typically sacrifice something in this regard given their reduced surface area, smaller fan diameter, etc.

Most SFF solutions for processor cooling are of the air variety, with liquid being an option if a given enclosure supports your AiO (or custom loop) cooling of choice. Ultra low-profile CPU air coolers are popular for slim builds, and a product like the Maker 92 isn’t going to replace one of these if your enclosure of choice has a very low profile. Any system using a standard height PCI Express graphics card will work, though that top fan may have to come off depending on the case - which of course will affect cooling performance (in theory, anyway). But enough speculation! Let’s take a close look at this cooler and test out the fit and cooling prowess in both orientations.

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Continue reading our review of the Cooler Master MasterLiquid Maker 92 CPU cooler!!

Podcast #418 - Air cooler roundup, Samsung 960 EVO and Pro announced and more!

Subject: General Tech | September 22, 2016 - 11:25 AM |
Tagged: video, Samsung, rivet, podcast, nvidia, msi, killer network, fatal1ty, evga, cooler, amd, 960 PRO, 960 EVO

PC Perspective Podcast #418 - 09/22/16

Join us this week as we discuss an air cooler roundup, Samsung 960 EVO and Pro announcement and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

Hosts:  Josh Walrath, Jeremy Hellstrom, Sebastian Peak and Ken Addison

Podcast #407 - RX 480 Power Concerns, X1 Yoga, Thrustmaster, Micron 9100 MAX, and more!

Subject: General Tech | July 7, 2016 - 02:20 PM |
Tagged: xbox play, video, Thrustmaster, technology, Samsung 840, rx 480, review, radeon 490, radeon, power, Polaris, podcast, pcper, news, Micron 9100 MAX SSD, lenovo thinkpad x1 yoga, Kinetic, gtx 1060, EVO, cooler, coolchip, alcantera

PC Perspective Podcast #407 - 07/07/2016

Join us this week as we discuss RX 480 Power Concerns, X1 Yoga, Thrustmaster, Micron 9100 MAX, and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

This episode of the PC Perspective Podcast is sponsored by Kaspersky! (promo code pcper)

Hosts:  Ryan Shrout, Allyn Malventano, Jeremy Hellstrom, and Josh Walrath

Program length: 1:47:16
  1. Week in Review:
  2. AD BREAK
  3. News items of interest:
  4. Hardware/Software Picks of the Week
    1. Jeremy: Canuck with no patience? Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1070 G1 Gaming
  5. Closing/outro

MSI & Thermaltake Make Motherboard-Specific Water Block

Subject: Cases and Cooling | November 29, 2015 - 07:01 AM |
Tagged: thermaltake, msi, CPU Water Block, cooler

Normally a water block presses against the CPU heatspreader, but this one is a bit different. MSI and Thermaltake decided to team up and make a motherboard-specific cooler that pulls heat away from the CPU and the motherboard's VRM MOSFETs. This way, water chills both the CPU and its power delivery, which could be a bottleneck when overclocking.

thermaltake-2015-pacificm3-msi.jpg

Specifically, the Thermaltake Pacific M3 motherboard water block is designed to be used with the MSI Z170A Gaming M5 motherboard. This is a Skylake / DDR4 platform with USB 3.1 and SATA Express.

Note that this is not a closed-loop cooler. It is designed to be embedded in a custom cooling loop, which means that the user (or a small business computer store that maintains their PC) is responsible for routing water and preventing leaks. That said, users who are looking for a high-quality cooler for their power delivery system should expect a little commitment to their build (and a little risk).

Also, since the product is designed for a specific motherboard, the user shouldn't expect to keep it hanging around from build to build. You will almost definitely use it while you have it and leave it when you move on. On the other hand, you shouldn't worry about it covering your RAM or anything -- you can be reasonably assured that it's built for your setup. (That is, unless you buy the wrong motherboard or something... d'oh!)

Source: Thermaltake

Scythe Ninja 4 Cooler Expected to Be Active or Fanless

Subject: Cases and Cooling | April 26, 2015 - 02:37 PM |
Tagged: fanless, cooler

We are getting a fair amount of “big heatsink” options for enthusiasts, which is nice. This one is from a Japanese manufacturer, Scythe Co., and it's quite big. It is similar in size and weight to the Noctua D14, but in a four-tower design. Each stack of fins has three heat pipes, twelve fingers total, to deliver the heat up from the plate that rests on your CPU. It measures 13cm x 15.5cm x 15.3cm and weighs 0.9kg.

scythe-ninja-4-side.jpg

The product page doesn't seem to declare a fanless operation mode, but FanlessTech mentions that previous models were advertised at, not just abused by enthusiasts to, 65W in passive configurations. It is a pretty large cooler, so that makes sense. I have also seen a few posts where the Noctua D14 can be used fanless for around 65W. You cannot really make an apples-to-apples comparison between the two units though. While the size and weight are similar, the geometry is quite different. For example, the Noctua is really designed to have fans installed between the two towers as well as the ends, blowing air over the fins in a certain direction.

scythe-ninja-4-bottom.jpg

No news about pricing or availability for Europe or North America yet. The company does have an international presence though.

Cooler Master Hyper 612 Ver. 2 Heatsink Released

Subject: Cases and Cooling | October 2, 2014 - 05:25 PM |
Tagged: hyper 612, heatsink, fanless, cooler master, cooler

The Cooler Master Hyper 612 Ver. 2 CPU cooler is a member of their "Hyper Series", upper-mainstream product lineup. It looks to be one of the (if not the) biggest offerings in that category. Its extreme dimensions are 139mm (5.47") in length by 102mm (4.02") wide, with a height of 160.4mm (6.32"). It has a 120mm fan which basically takes up a whole side and slowly blows air across it. Some sites claim that it can be used fanless with some (but not every) CPU.

coolermaster-612ver2.jpg

Cooler Master is particularly proud of their "Continuous Direct Contact" technology. In other words, the heat pipes are flattened into a contact with the CPU's heatspreader (or die guard for people like Morry). This eliminates a reservoir of heat before the copper pipes can carry it to the aluminum fins and out into the air.

The heatsink is now available, but no pricing information yet (I cannot find it online).

Noctua Offers Free Alternative Mounting Kit for Low-Profile NH-L9a Cooler

Subject: Cases and Cooling | April 26, 2013 - 12:30 AM |
Tagged: noctua, nh-l9a, hsf, cooler, mini-itx, low profile cooler

Noctua, an Austrian company known for its high-end air CPU coolers has announced that it will be offering up alternatvie mounting kits to users of its low profile NH-L9a cooler that have incompatible motherboards. Certain mini-ITX motherboards that place components on the back of the motherboard around the processor socket are incompatible with the company’s existing SecureFirm 2 mounting kit because the backplate cannot be installed.

Low Profile Noctua NH-L9a CPU Cooler.jpg

The new alternative mounting system for the NH-L9a CPU cooler uses Noctua’s NM-APS3 spacers that go in place of the standard backplate. The spacers go in between the motherboard and screws, but are small enough to not run into any components installed in the area normally reserved for a CPU backplate. Two such boards that Noctua has found to be incompatible are the mini-ITX AsRock FM2A75M-ITX and AsRock FM2A85X-ITX.

Users with an incompatible motherboard and NH-L9a cooler can obtain the alternative mounting kit for free by contacting Noctua’s customer service line and providing them with a proof of purchase (scan, photo, or electronic invoice) receipt for both the Noctua cooler and an incompatible motherboard. Additionally, Noctua will be including both the standard SecureFirm 2 and alternative mounting kits in the retail NH-L9a cooler box from now on.

It is nice to see Noctua continuing its tradition of good customer care. They many not be as popular as other cooler vendors in the US but it seems they are a company willing to go the extra mile for its enthusiast customers.

Source: Noctua