iXBT Labs - Computer Hardware in Detail






Coolers for Socket 478, Spring/Summer 2002

Part 2. Cooler Master, Thermaltake, Evercool and ADDA

Part 1. AVC, Spire and GlacialTech coolers

Cooler Master DI4-6H52B and DI4-7H53D

The Cooler Master trade mark is well known on the world market and quite popular in Asia and Western Europe. The "retail edition" solutions possess improved quality and advanced technologies but they are dearer as well. Besides, simpler standard products are also interesting and attractive for consumers at least because of a good price/quality ratio. The DI4-6H52B and DI4-7H53D coolers are exactly of this kind. 

The DI4-6H52B model doesn't have anything extraordinary: it consists of a heatsink measuring 67x67x38 mm and a relatively weak fan of 60x60x15 mm working at 4500 rpm which diminishes its authority as compared with other models. 

Nevertheless, the cooler shows not the worst thermal efficiency (a little lower than the average) and far not the highest noise level. The only negative peculiarity is a too complicated fastening system. Like in case of the AVC SunFlower, first you have to remove a standard RM module installed on a mainboard and then attach the cooler with its own RM module. 

The DI4-7H53D model looks more attractive - it has a full-size heatsink of 83x69x37 mm with good fin parameters (fin is 0.8 mm wide) and an efficient fan of 70x70x15 mm with an impeller rotating at 4000 rpm. 

In the tests the cooler shows decent thermal efficiency (more than average), and it almost catches up with the reference AVC Sunflower. At the same time, the noise level is within the permissible range thanks to a well-balanced rotor and optimized geometry of the impeller of the Delta AFB0712HB fan boarding on the DI4-7H53D. 

The installation is not difficult, as compared with the DI4-6H52B. The cooler is equipped with handy lever-type clips which provide a standard hold-down pressure (about 15 kg). Apart from the lever each clip has an additional handle (the second holder of the clip which is dynamically fixed) which makes it easier to fix the fastener in the holes of the RM module. As a result, installation/deinstallation of the cooler goes relatively faster and without much difficulty. 

The DI4-6H52B and DI4-7H53D solutions have a preinstalled Dow Corning SH340 thermal interface (with zinc oxide being the main component) which possesses excellent physical and chemical properties and fairly good effectiveness. 

Thermaltake A1258 (P4 Dragon 478) and A1254 (Volcano 7+)

Thermaltake became an engine of the cooling systems industry several years ago and favored the rapid development of this market. At present Thermaltake products are popular all throughout the world and keep on attracting attention of consumers. 

However, at the moment Thermaltake looks quite careless in releasing new solutions disregarding their functionality and improvement of performance characteristics. 

The P4 Dragon model looks promising: it has an advanced heatsink with a copper core (very similar to the AVC Sunflower), an encased powerful fan of 60x60x25 mm, an ordinary lever-type fastener identical to the box version. 

But at a closer look at the P4 Dragon you can notice some unpleasant things. First of all, the fins are bent in direction of rotation of the impeller. Such technical solution looks strange because it's clear that it's impossible to provide optimal conditions of ventilation: an air flow floats over the heatsink and doesn't provide the required speed in the interfin channels. Well, this might affect the overall performance. 

Besides, the processing quality of the copper core is quite sad. But its design is advanced: its shape reminds a bolt (a traditional shank of 30 mm in diameter comes with a cap 45 mm in diameter and 6 mm think which serves a base for the heatsink); besides, it has additional fins on its external edge. But all advantages of the core are overlapped by its surface which hasn't passed electrochemical processing and is covered with a thick layer of oxide. It's obvious that the thermal contact between the copper core and the external finned contour is of low quality, therefore, the internal thermal resistance of the heatsink grows up. The situation will look more queer if you take a look at other copper-aluminum Thermaltake solutions: all of them have better quality, and the Volcano 7 has even a polished heel of its core. 

This has a negative effect on the thermal efficiency: the P4 Dragon is one of the worst performers. Neither the powerful and loud fan rotating at 6000 rpm not the rigid fastener help it. Hence the worst efficiency-to-noise ratio, even as compared with much simpler coolers with weaker fans. 

The Volcano 7+ is a unique system suitable both for Socket A and Socket 478 processors thanks to a tricky design and respective components. Another distinguishing feature of the cooler is an advanced copper heatsink with decent fin parameters - it is based on the skived fin technology. 

However, there are no more advantages, just drawbacks. 

The first one is a complicated procedure of making the cooler operable. To assemble the system (to attach the case with a fan and fasten the cooler) a user needs mechanic skills, tools and muscles. It's necessary to screw in 14(!) bolts 12 of which are to be cut into the heatsink base. 

Another downside is a loud fan. The powerful fan measuring 70x70x25 mm and rotating at 6000 rpm  makes the Volcano 7+ a leader in a noise level. The adjuster coming with the cooler and providing reduced power supply is not an option but a necessity: irrespective of a type and quality of a system unit the fan working at the rated speed doesn't let you take pleasure in your favorite musical composition. A noise level becomes acceptable only at about 4500 rpm, but the thermal efficiency falls down in this case and the Volcano 7+ loses its palm in this aspect. 

The last disadvantage is a too rigid fastener. You must apply exceptional force, break an RM module of a mainboard when pushing the teeth into the mounting holes of the module. This is because of the terrible mounting brackets of the Volcano 7+ which are very dangerous for the socket and require a very careful treatment. As a result, installation of the Volcano 7+ can be a very difficult problem even for experienced users. 

So, in spite of good thermal efficiency the Volcano 7+ gets an unsatisfactory mark. It's a pity that such an advanced heatsink with decent fin parameters got such poor fastener and fan. I have no choice but hope that the following Thermaltake's solutions for the Socket 478 will have decent thermal efficiency coupled with respective performance characteristics. 

Evercool CUW1F-715 and CUW2F-715

Evercool Technology has been working on the cooling systems market over 5 years and is a leading OEM partner of several well-known trademarks (for example, Titan Computer). Apart from performing OEM orders the company manufactures a wide line of its own products (mostly processor coolers, cooling systems for hard drives etc.), which have good quality and performance data. Evercool also have cooling systems for Socket 478 among which the CUW1F-715 and CUW2F-715 models are the most interesting for us. 

The CUW1F-715 cooler has an advanced heatsink of 83x69x38 mm with pin finning, a muted fan of 70x70x15 mm with an impeller rotating at 3500 rpm and an intriguing fastening system which makes a very good impression. 

The heatsink has an original design based on the cold extrusion technology. Here we have a "paling" made of pins 30 mm high and 2 mm in diameter - there are 298(!) pins in all. The heatsink looks amazing, but there is some drawback: in case of a small heat source (which is a processor) only central pins work, while peripheral ones stand almost idle. That is why such heatsinks show lower thermal efficiency than traditional models of the same dimensions. But if we increase heat conductivity of the base somehow (by reducing its thermal resistance), the effectiveness of such finning will be improved considerably and the standard finning fall behind. 

Fortunately, the engineers from Evercool put a wide copper plate into the base to reduce internal thermal resistance of the heatsink and make both central and peripheral fins work. Moreover, operations of heatsink extrusion and pressing in the plate are implemented almost simultaneously, which allows for an impeccable thermal contact and lack of heat losses. 

Besides, the CUW1F-715 has a pleasant mounting mechanism. It has advantages similar to the Igloo 4200 and Diamond 4000 from GlacialTech, making installation of the cooler fast and flawless. But there is one downside: the hold-down pressure is just 7 kg which doesn't tell positively upon a thermal contact between the heatsink base and the processor's lid. Probably with a more rigid fastener the CUW1F-715 could show better thermal efficiency (at present the temperature results are average). 

The CUW2F-715 takes a lot from its predecessor - it has the same pleasant mounting mechanism onboard and the same noiseless fan measuring 70x70x15 mm. At the same time, it demonstrates an advanced copper heatsink of 83x69x37 mm based on the bonded fin technology. 

The heatsink of the CUW2F-715 series can satisfy the needs of even the most demanding user: impressive dimensions, good fin parameters (the fins are only 0.2 mm wide, the heat exchange surface is over 1500 cm2), excellent quality of soldered connections of the base and finning, a well elaborated design. Besides, its ideally even and polished base is worth praising indeed. 

Despite all these advantages the CUW2F-715 can't realize its potential entirely: although it outscores the CUW1F-715 it is not able to catch up with the leaders. However, considering all its performance characteristics together I must say this cooler takes one of the privileged places in our rating list, and it loses only to the Diamond 4000 and Igloo 4200 from GlacialTech as far as the efficiency-to-noise ratio is concerned. 


Products of ADDA Corporation are usually of high quality and have decent performance characteristics. 

The design of the B66-1A doesn't carry anything extraordinary - the cooler comes with a full-size heatsink (83x69x38 mm) and a typical fan (70x70x15 mm). But it has its own peculiarities. First of all, the heatsink is closer to the GlacialTech products and possesses good fin parameters (an average fin thickness is 0.8 mm, the step is 1.5 mm, the heat exchange surface is over 1400 cm2). Secondly, the fastening system is quite handy and functional. Unlike the B33, this model has a fastener with a special handle which makes installation/deinstallation very short - it takes no more than 20-30 sec. Besides, the cooler has a preinstalled Dow Corning SC102 thermal interface (an improved version of the Dow Corning SH340) which doesn't yield to a lot of silver glues in its physical and chemical properties. 

The cooler's results are excellent as well - its thermal efficiency is just a bit worse than that of the reference AVC Sunflower. At the expense of a noiseless fan rotating at 3500 rpm the noise level is quite low. In this parameter the B66-1A comes very close to the GlacialTech Igloo 4200 Light. 

So, that's all we had to say about the participants and now let's turn to the test results. 

Note: several coolers (Thermaltake P4 Volcano, Titan TTC-MT4AB, Titan TTC-MS4AB and Titan TTC-W4TB) weren't described above. At present they are gradually leaving the scene being replaced by the newer modifications. But we did include them in the tests because they still can be interesting for you. The temperature results, noise level and other parameters are shown in the "Test Results" and "Table of Ranks" sections.

Part 3. Test Results (temperature, noise level, thermal resistance)

Part 4. "Table of Ranks" (technical and economic assessment of the coolers and technical and economic ratings)

Testing technique. Integrated assessment of consumer qualities of the cooling systems

Vitaly Krinitsin (vit@ixbt.com)

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