AMA Orc Review

RHKCommander959 - 2009-07-21 15:38:43 in CPU Cooling
Category: CPU Cooling
Reviewed by: RHKCommander959   
Reviewed on: July 30, 2009

Introduction:

In the search for a new heat sink, users have many choices to keep an eye out for - price vs. performance, the aesthetics, noise generation, size, and so on. Everyone has different desires for their systems, but generally people like a good performing heat sink for a fair price and one that outperforms their stock heat sinks in one way or another. With the latest generation Intel and AMD processors, the high performance chips have maintained a high thermal envelope which requires a large heat sink to wick the heat away - especially if users want to overclock. Some users like to have good looking parts - some display them through side panel windows or other means, which is where AMA Precision INC comes into play. AMA creates products which look unique and very nice. Under review today is the AMA Orc of AMA's Mythic series that looks like it targets the World of Warcraft/fantasy crowd. Equipped with six heat pipes and green LED 120mm fan, the Orc looks like it should deliver good performance along with its looks and supports Intel LGA 775/1156/1366 and AMD AM2/AM2+/AM3. Hopefully this unique looking heat sink performs as good or better than it looks!

 

Closer Look:

When the package arrived, I was surprised by the box inside. The box is large, bigger than most heat sinks I've encountered, and the color scheme of black and red is also uncommon. The front of the box has an AMA logo at the top, Orc logo and pendant, along with another AMA logo at the bottom, with the front opening to reveal a flap with information across the inside and a peek at the heat sink. The inner flap describes details such as socket support, weight and size, accessories, and so on. Five pictures also give a good look at a few of the features of the heat sink.

 

 

 

 

Both sides have the AMA black and red logo on them, along with a partial smoky Orc pendant image in the background. Both sides are literally reflections of each other. Looks like the images are just filler, but the package as a whole looks good without anything on these sides.

 

 

The back has an exaggerated picture of the heat sink glowing, and in several languages, comments on the all-copper construction with six heat pipes. Four barcodes litter the bottom, along with different supported standards. The top has a larger AMA logo and seal. Opening the box reveals the heat sink fan shrouded by a two-piece formed enclosure.

 

 

At the bottom of the box - underneath the heat sink are the manual and accessories package. All of the accessories are protected inside a bag and the reinforced cardboard box they came in. The heat sink uses spring loaded bolts to attach to Intel motherboards, with a latch for AMD processors. LGA1156 mounting brackets are not included with this kit, but are planned to be on future releases. Thermal paste is included as well as a wrench to install the bolts easier. Everything needed to install this heat sink is included.

 

 

 

With everything unpacked, let's get acquainted with the Orc!

Closer Look:

Pulling the massive AMA Orc out of the box, I found it was pretty light for its overall foot print. The clamshell package provided adequate protection, there was no damage to the heat sink or box for that matter during shipping. The glossy red and satin black look great together, and the green LED fan fits into the theme well - although green is less common in systems than other colors. The heat pipes are paired in two groups of three, although personally I think the heat sink would have benefited in an increase of rigidity from a staggered arrangement, where each side alternates heat pipes. The heat sink when fully assembled, feels strong enough for use, but when dismantled it loses strength. The two plastic pieces make this heat sink stand out ahead of other heat sinks, and the copper design looks good paired with it. Protecting the heat sink during shipping is a round black piece of foam which looks like a hockey puck that reinforces the heat sink during shipping, and a small bag of silica that keeps the package dry. All six of the heat pipes operate independently, each with its own separate fins, hopefully this design proves to cool the i7 processor well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The plastic molds have two prominent black spikes and four long claw-like things that wrap around the heat sink, with the letter A between each pair. Perhaps it is coincidence, otherwise there are a few features that resemble M's, which could infer the AMA branding subliminally. The design looks like a fancy piece of armor to me. The side shows the tall fins that are attached to the outermost heat pipes, although logically the heat will be focused in the center of the base near the middle-most heat pipes. There's plenty of clearance from the base to the heat sink, so most items shouldn't interfere with installing this heat sink.

 

 

The top shows the large 120mm fan with AMA logo sticker on the center hub of the fan. The fan impeller is a translucent green, which glows nicely thanks to the fans LED's. The six semi-circular heat pipes are partially visible with the fan and plastic pieces installed. An angled view shows off the general overall design.

 

 

The base is protected by a sticker, and very shiny as it is polished to mirror-shine levels. The base is not perfectly flat however, and to put it best - looks like ripples from a droplet hitting a basin of water. Three screws hold the fan to bracket which is held onto the heat sink with three screws and another bracket which squeeze together on the fins. Two arms reach out to bolt the plastic pieces to the heat sink.

 

 

The fan is manufactured by Everflow and is a high-speed fan with a single sleeve bearing. The overall design is similar to the Thermaltake MaxOrb heat sink, which uses a similar fan produced by Everflow and also a similar heat pipe and fin layout. The fan uses around a third of an amp and is stamped on when it was produced - May 27th 2009. To power the fan, it uses a 4-pin PWM cable.

 

 

The top-down view of the heat sink without the fan assembly shows the six semi-circular heat pipes with independent fins. With the whole system exposed, it is apparently crooked, and the largest fins are attached to the heat pipes furthest from the center of the heat sink's base, while the smallest are in the center. Attempting to straighten the heat sink is difficult since all six of the heat pipes are independent - the only sturdy point to grab is the base.

 

 

The plastic pieces are a simple two-piece kit with the red mounted to the black, they then have a small metal bracket and arm attached to grab onto a heat pipe for stability, and bolt to the fan mount mechanism. The fan bracket has three holes to mount to the heat sink with, three to mount the fan, and two for the plastic designs. A niche is cut into one side for the fan cable to route through.

 

 

The AMA Orc fits in the case with good clearance over the motherboard components, but it is a tight squeeze in the corner. Installation required a long screwdriver to install the mounting bolt for the corner. There is plenty of room between the heat sink and side panel, however.

 

It's time to take a look at the features of this heat sink!

Specifications:

Model Name
Orc
CPU Support
Intel® Core™ i7 (LGA1366/ LGA1156)
Intel® Core™ i5 (LGA1366/ LGA1156)
Intel® Core™2 Extreme (LGA775)
Intel® Core™2 Quad / Core™2 Duo (LGA775)
Intel® Pentium®  processor family (LGA775)
AMD Phenom™ II X4/X3/X2 (Socket AM3/AM2+)
AMD Athlon™ II X2  (Socket AM3)
AMD Phenom™ X4/X3 (Socket AM3/AM2+/AM2)
AMD Athlon™ 64 X2 (Socket AM2+/AM2)
AMD Athlon™ 64 (Socket AM3)
AMD Athlon™ X2  (Socket AM2)
Cooler Dimensions
155 (L) x 135(W) x 120(H) mm
Net Weight
660g
Connector
4 pin with pwm function
Heat sink material
All Copper Base and Fins+ 6 Copper Heatpipes
Acoustics 18 dBA during normal operation
Fan dimension
120 x 120 x 25 (mm)
Fan speed
1100~2000 rpm ±10%(with PWM control and Green Led)

 

Features:

 

All information courtesy of AMA @ http://www.amatech.com/computing/product/orc/orc.htm"

Testing:

Testing the AMA Orc heat sink is gone about by first installing the heat sink onto the LGA 1366 MSI X58 Platinum with the proper brackets and included thermal paste. Once installation is complete, the system is tested twice for both idle and loaded temperatures in Vista Ultimate 64-bit. The first test is at stock processor speed with no turbo or power saving features, and for load, Prime95 with small FFT's is used. Next the system is lightly overclocked to 166 BCLK causing the processor to run at an effective 3.33GHz. Idle and load temperatures are then recorded for the overclocked run. CPU voltage is keyed in at around 1.25V, and the testing is done inside a computer case with decent but common airflow. The average of the core temperatures is used in the graphs. Ambient temperature is kept around 75F with the temperature during this test at 74F. Once testing is complete the results are compared to other heat sinks that were tested.

Testing System:

 

Comparison Heat sinks:

 

 

 

 

 

 

The AMA Orc idled higher than all of the other heat sinks. For heat pipe systems to work efficiently, the heat pipes must move heat away quickly - so depending on the coolant used in the pipes, they may start pumping heat away more efficiently at a higher temperature. At load the Orc was second worst at stock speeds, but passed the Gelid SS by far in the overclocked results. No matter what, the AMA Orc beat the stock Intel heat sink in loading.

Conclusion

The AMA Orc looked cool, and didn't do too bad at cooling the i7 down. The design is very unique thanks to the plastic decorations, and the packaging looked good. The grammar and typo errors on the packaging are a minor nuisance and not nearly as bad as some mistakes I've seen in the past - although they are still present nonetheless.

The heat sink looks promising, and performance wasn't bad nor was it stellar. Everything that was needed to install the heat sink was included which is always a plus. The packaging and heat sink both look cool.

The major downfall was the performance This heat sink looks great but couldn't keep up with smaller heat sinks like the ZEROTherm Core 92, which had half the heat pipes. The base is finished to a mirror shine, but is not perfectly flat, and the packaging does have some minor grammar issues. To install the heat sink inside of the case, I had to use a long Phillips head screw driver and slide it through a gap in the fins to install one of the four mounting bolts that was out of the reach of the included wrench. Depending on the price, this heat sink could compete well.

 

Pros:

Cons: