iXBT Labs - Computer Hardware in Detail






Spring Newcomers from GlacialTech

While computer enthusiasts impatiently await a new Socket 939 platform and rub their hands in anticipation of new victories, general public shows no less interest in the good old Socket A. However, it couldn't be different, as CPUs made for Socket A are still AMD's mainstream (just look at the company's financial news and you'll see that in spite of its technical supremacy, the Athlon 64/Opteron line constitues a rather small share of AMD's market supply). The platform itself is as successful as before in reviving a lot of new or upgraded computers that are popular with serious customers (especially in what concerns the price/quality ratio). In other words, it's way too early to discard the good old Socket A.

But interestingly, while leading players of the mainboard industry (including AMD) share this opinion, cooler producers do not. They seem to have lost their zest concerning Socket A and have come up with few novelties of this category lately. Moreover, they have taken on the trendy rule to manufacture mostly multiplatform products. These products apart from being very expensive, are based on the principle that even if we lose in one thing (and this "thing" implies Socket A increasingly often), we'll certainly gain in some other (Socket 478 or Socket 754/940). At first sight, this strategy fully coincides with the consumer's interests: he can install the cooler in one system, then change the system and install the same cooler in it. That seems to be a real cure-all: it's all very economical and very comfortable. But the cruel reality often turns this "multiplatformness" into a very difficult cooler installation on the so-called bonus platforms, and the need-buy-install chain transforms into a nasty need-buy-can't-install string of events. So, dear manufacturers, you'd better stick to one thing or else you're trying to kill two birds with one stone. :)

However, there are always exceptions to the rules, and similarly, there are "loner-companies" that do not yield to the temptations of fashion. Instead, they stick to highly-specialised solutions and focus on the products' ergonomics and technical quality, they don't seek extravagant market-oriented innovations that are very dubious technically.

GlacialTech is one of such conservative cooler producers. It is known to Russian customers by its high-quality budget products. Noteworthy, even in these times of trouble the company sticks to its traditional regard of general public and therefore, can't ignore the Socket A platform which is essential for cooling systems. GlacialTech proves it by its new products for Socket A series Igloo 2461, Igloo 2470, Igloo 2520, and Silent Breeze.

A closer look

Igloo 2461 Light and Igloo 2461

These coolers are almost identical to their Igloo 2450/2460 predecessors: they are based on an unpretentious aluminium heatsink (76x64x41 mm), supplied with a 6-contact screwless retention mechanism with a strictly normal hold-down pressure, and contain an enlarged fan (80x80x18 mm).

Menawhile, traditionally for GlacialTech, the exterior plainness of Igloo 2461 and 2461 Light hides a very serious thermal support. Here we see an advanced finning (a trapezoid-profile fin 0.6 mm thick at the base and 0.3 mm thick at the upper side, with a 1-mm fin step) fitted with two additional thermal effectiveness catalysts. They are the fin-height alternation (to facilitate the heatsink/fan interaction) and a traditionally thicker central part of the heatsink baseplate (to diminish the effect of resistance to the heat flow dissipation). Along with the fan's optimised performance curve, it gives us reason to expect a good thermal result of Igloo 2461 and 2461 Light.

These models are also good in terms of technical ergonomics. In spite of their dimensions, Igloo 2461 and 2461 Light only weigh about 290 g and meet all AMD norms for Socket A compatible cooling systems. Besides, the coolers have a convenient well-thought-out retention with preinstalled thermal paste that facilitates installation singnificantly. And indeed, Igloo 2461 and 2461 Light are easily and quickly installed on almost any board with Socket A. It would also be appropriate to mention a high quality of the Everflow R128018DL and R128018DM onboard fans (installed on Igloo 2461 Light and Igloo 2461, impeller rotation frequencies of 1900 and 2400 RPM, respectively) that have good electric and mechanic features.

Igloo 2461 Light and Igloo 2461 have adequate test results and live up to our expectations. There is nothing fantastic or extraordinary about them, but they are definitely the leaders in their class leaving behind most of their budget rivals. The "newcomers" also excel their ancestors of the Igloo 2450 series. Thus, Igloo 2461 Light demonstrates the same noise level as Igloo 2450 Light but defeats it by 2°C. Similarly, Igloo 2461 outdoes the good old Igloo 2450 by 1°C. Well, not bad, not bad at all for low-budget coolers!

Igloo 2470 Light, Igloo 2470, and Igloo 2470 Pro

Now we'll dwell on massive budget coolers of the Igloo 2470 series. They are based on the same heatsink Igloo 2461 has and are suplied with the same 6-contact retention, but their fans measure 80x80x25 mm. The models of the series are traditionally ranged by the impeller rotation frequency (1700, 2200, and 2800 RPM for Igloo 2470 Light, 2470, and 2470 Pro, respectively).

The Igloo 2470 trio is abreast with Igloo 2461 in technical and exploitational terms: the coolers are compatible with an overwhelming majority of Socket A motherboards and are equally simple in installation. The new onboard fans (Everflow R128025DL, R128025DM, R128025DU) made for GlacialTech's special order also produce a favourable impression.

But in respect of the thermal readings and the effectiveness/noise ratio, the Igloo 2470 coolers overtake both Igloo 2450 "veterans" and their Igloo 2461 colleagues. According to the test results, Igloo 2470 Light excels Igloo 2461 Light and Igloo 2450 Light by one and two centigrade, respectively, demonstrating a 2-dBA better noise ergonomics; Igloo 2470 defeats the two models by the same number of degrees, keeping an equal noise level; and finally, Igloo 2470 Pro outdoes Igloo 2450 Pro by one centigrade, showing a substantial 3-dBA gain in noise ergonomics.

Well, we can't but emphasise once again: a CPU cooler can't live by copper alone. Igloo 2410/2450 veterans went out of their way to prove it, and now Igloo 2461/2470 coolers support them, but few people notice it. Hey, cooler manufacturers! Practice has repeatedly shown that cooling system efficiency is not determined by the heatsink material, or a jet-powerful fan, or monstrous dimensions. The main factors are thermally optimised finning parameters and a harmonious heatsink/fan symbiosis. And when hugely expensive copper monsters barely overcome or even lose to economical Igloo 2461 and Igloo 2470, the carelessness of cooler manufacturers becomes all the more evident...

Igloo 2520, Igloo 2520 Pro, and Silent Breeze III

Igloo 2520, Igloo 2520 Pro, and Silent Breeze III, GlacialTech top models, are the last in our list today. They continue a quite successful Igloo 2510 series, although their revised and updated appearance makes them closer to Igloo 2470. The top newcomers are based on an enlarged heatsink that measures 78x64x42 mm and is similar to Igloo 2470 in what concerns configuration and finning parameters. The coolers are supplied with 6-contact retentions and familiar 80x80x25-mm fans (Everflow R128025DL, R128025DM, R128025DU).

The new models only remind of Igloo 2510 in one thing. When you turn a new cooler you can see a traditional copper plate (70x50x2 mm) fixed to the baseplate by a patented manufacturing process. The plate's polishing quality is worthy of praise, but as the article On Autumn GlacialTech Coolers mentioned, this modification is mainly cosmetic and serves as a sort of bonus to a good smooth surface that ensures minimisation of contact thermal resistance between the CPU core and the heatsink.

Silent Breeze III keeps somewhat aloof in this respect. Its heatsink is covered with gilt, as befits the special Silent Breeze series. But as for the rest, it copies Igloo 2520 and is, in fact, its light version (Silent Breeze III incorporates a quiet Everflow R128025DL fan with a 1700-RPM impeller rotation speed).

In respect of the technical ergonomics, Igloo 2520 coolers, as well as Silent Breeze III, are no worse than more compact and installation-friendly Igloo 2510 veterans, in spite of their big dimensions. And they even excel them in some aspects: thus, the new 6-contact retention has a better load distribution on the socket than an old-fashioned though time-proved 4-contact variant. Installation shortcomings only include an abnormal weight (the new coolers weigh 360 g, which is 60 g above the norm. But then again, these 60 g seem a trifle compared to some popular coolers that exceed the norm by half a kilo or even more.

The new top models also show good thermal parameters. Igloo 2520 and Silent Breeze III though not making a revolutionary breakthrough, demonstrate an improved functionality, assigning primary importance to the noise ergonomics and the efficiency/noise ratio. Silent Breeze III scores best here. It excels its predecessor by 1°C reducing the noise level to 28 dBA, and thus becoming second only our champion Zalman CNPS7000A-Cu in the efficiency/noise ratio. The Igloo 2520 coolers also score well: Igloo 2520 Pro has a 3-dBA lower noise than Igloo 2510 Pro keeping almost a champion's heat efficiency, and Igloo 2520 outdoes it Igloo 2510 ancestor by 2°C retaining the noise level on the same good level.

Well, GlacialTech has raised very promising offsprings. Good job, guys, keep on trucking! But emotions aside, it's high time we wrapped it up. So, not willing to overload our readers we're going straight to the test results.

Test results

We'll start will the coolers' heat efficiency.

Testbed configurations:

  • ABIT KD7-S V1.0 motherboard
  • AMD Athlon XP 3000+ (Barton) CPU
  • Microsoft Windows XP OS

To model a close-to-the-maximal heat load, we used the burnk7 utility from CPUBurn, while the temperatures were controlled by Motherboard Monitor.

Diagram 1. Temperature readings

Each cooler was tested with thermal paste Stars 420
The diagram shows the complex result

Diagram 2. Thermal resistance

Thermal resistance θja can be found from the correlation θja = (Tj — Ta)/Ph, where Tj is CPU core temperature, Ta is ambient temperature (33°C in our case), and Ph is CPU thermal power (70 W in our case).

And finally, here are the results of noise measurements (the method is described in Coolers' noise characteristics and noise measuring methods).

Diagram 3. Noise characteristics

Note: Background noise level is 19 dBA

Evidently, no more comments are needed. It's time we dotted the i's.


The new GlacialTech coolers for Socket A make a most favourable impression. It is difficult to single out the best ones this time as all the tested models fulfill their tasks equally good and deserve the A mark. The coolers demonstrate a perfectly balanced set of consumer qualities within their categories (economic class: series Igloo 2461 and Igloo 2470, top class: series Igloo 2520 and Silent Breeze III). GlacialTech seems to have taken the right course with the aim to improve relentlessly the ergonomics and the functionality of cooling systems.

In conclusion, it would be appropriate to mention one important detail. The GlacialTech portfolio is now enlagred with a certification of the company's production capacities complying with the ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 standards. And now that GlacialTech has officially confirmed its hi-tech status, the company is becoming still closer to the customer and his interests. Well, we'll be waiting for new interesting cooling systems for even more attractive prices.


Vitaly Krinitsin (vit@ixbt.com)


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