AMA Phantom Review

RHKCommander959 - 2009-07-23 22:52:03 in CPU Cooling
Category: CPU Cooling
Reviewed by: RHKCommander959   
Reviewed on: August 19, 2009

Introduction:

There are a few different ways that heat sink manufacturers try to lure customers to their products. Some produce designs that look unique and interesting, while others strive for the best performance or quality. Others target the low-noise crowd, while the rest try to fit in the haze between these qualities. Occasionally, these qualities merge together to form great heat sinks. AMA is coming out with several new heat sinks to the marketplace. I personally just reviewed the AMA Orc, which operated quietly, looked cool, and performed well. On the agenda today is the AMA Phantom that looks far less menacing than the AMA Orc, while looking like it may possibly provide better cooling in a more compact design. This heat sink falls into the Astral line of AMA heat sinks, whereas the Orc fell into the company's Mythic series.

 

Closer Look:

Similar to the AMA Orc, the box is black with the AMA logo all around. This time a spaceship looking picture is on the front, with blue in place of red. The box itself has a few minor scuffs and also some weird grease that I tried to wipe away. Both heat sinks shipped together but the Orc's package was cleaner. Similarly, the front opens up to reveal a pouch of information and a perspective view of the heat sink and some smaller photos of some of the features of it. The box also has a window on it showing the decorative top piece.

 

 

 

 

 

Each side shows some basic specifications in several languages, this heat sink is compatible with i5 and i7 in future releases. Both sides have a silkscreen image of that spacey looking image. Each side has an AMA sticker on it. The back has another perspective view of the heat sink with blue LEDs on, and details similar to those found on the inside tab.

 

 

The top has an AMA sticker that is larger than the others, and another clear one to keep the box shut. Opening the box gives a good sneak peak at the side of the heat sink.

 

 

Included accessories are very similar to the AMA Orc, with a manual for the Phantom in place of the Orc's. Mounting brackets for Intel 775/1366 and AMD are included as well as thermal paste and mounting bolts.

 

With the heat sink ready to come out, let's get up close and personal with the Phantom.

Closer Look:

The well fitted two-piece clamshell package provides good space to help protect the heat sink from damage, but it is very easy to open when users want to get it out. The plastic is designed to hold the heat sink one way, and provides users a glimpse of the top of the heat sink when it is in the box. The heat sink is a six heatpipe tower design and is shaped similar to a double-bladed axe head. Underneath the clam shell is where the accessories are boxed in together, enough parts to install on Intel LGA 775/1366 and AMD Socket AM2/AM2+/AM3, and should also be compatible with 754 and 939 brackets. The AMA Phantom and Orc both have plans to also include Intel LGA 1156 mounting brackets for the soon to be released Intel i5 platform. Everything needed to get the heat sink installed is included in the accessories package, but I find it to be even easier to use a long neck Phillips screwdriver instead of the wrench for installing the Phantom heat sink, especially in crowded cases.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The front view gives a good glimpse of the heat sink, with all six of the heat pipes spread evenly behind the fan, which has good coverage over the fins. The fan has an AMA sticker on it that is reflective and lights up red to green. Improved performance could be gained by either using a shroud between the heat sink and fan or by using a fan with a smaller motor hub - either would help get rid of the dead space. The heat sink came with some minor fin damage that was easily fixed. The box also had some grease on it and one side had broken its glue - perhaps this heat sink fell off the production line? The elegant curve of the heat pipes adds to the looks of the heat sink while also keeping its footprint smaller. The side of the heat sink has three spots where an extra lip that comes out of some of the heat sink fins. These AMA heat sinks definitely look a little different than most other heat sinks.

 

 

The damage is minor, but it does look like the heat sink was dropped. The barcode shows similar damage as the fins. The heat sink should be small enough and is elevated so that it should fit in most cases and not interfere with motherboard components. The perspective view is a good overall glimpse of the heat sink. The plastic cover definitely helps improve the looks of the top, where most tower heat sinks generally look very similar.

 

 

The base is polished but it is clearly not smooth as the machining grooves are evident in the picture. These grooves are much smaller and more numerous than on the Orc, which had larger circles. These remind me of the Arctic Cooling Freezer heat sinks although the grooves aren't nearly as deep. The back is similar to the front minus grooves for the fan mount. Both sides are extended on the sides and could probably fit a second exhaust fan in as well.

 

 

The top plastic cover is held in place by two black screws. An AMA logo is in the center with fancy borders around. Underneath are the twelve tips of the six heat pipes and the fan mounting mechanism.

 

 

The front of the heat sink has each of the fins slotted to allow the fan mount to slide into them and hold the fan onto the heat sink. Seven screws (not counting mounting pieces) hold the heat sink together. The fan mount is bent 90 degrees to grab the top of the heat sink, and then attach with two silver bolts. Another three bolts hold the fan to the mount.

 

 

The fan has seven blades and a PWM cable. It is produced by Everflow just as the fan on the Orc was. The production stamp shows that the fan was made in early June. This fan uses less than a fifth of an amp to run.

 

 

On to the features then followed by the testing!

Specifications:

Model Name
Phantom
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
129 (L) x 120(W) x 143(H) mm
Net Weight
679g
Connector
4 pin with pwm function
Heat sink material
Pure Copper base + Al fins + 6 Copper heatpipes
Acoustics 20 dBA during normal operation
Fan dimension
92 x 92 x 25 (mm)
Fan speed
1,200~2,500 rpm ±10%(with PWM control and Blue Led)

 

Features:

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

Testing:

To test the Phantom I first had to install the mounting brackets and then attach the spring loaded bolts to the brackets. Next, I applied the thermal paste in the style that the guide recommended and finished by installing the fan cable after bolting the heat sink to the motherboard back plate. Then comes the testing. Testing is done by booting into Vista for the idle temperatures with Prime95 Small FFT's for the load tests. The average of the four core temperatures is then reported in the charts below. This is all then repeated after the processor has been overclocked to a base clock of 166, effectively 3.33GHz. Ambient was kept around 75F with the temperature at 76.5F during this test.

Testing System:

 

Comparison Heat sinks:

 

 

 

 

 

 

The AMA Phantom performed very similarly to the AMA Orc at idle testing, but at load performed far better! At stock its temperature was nearly the same, but when the processor was overclocked the Phantom did a lot better than the Orc. At overclocked load it did two degrees worse than the large Transformer 4, and at either load it performed similarly to the Core 92 heat sink. The tower design has been around for a while now, but its performance is fairly reliable. The Phantom was four degrees cooler than the Orc in each test. While the Phantom is not as trendy looking as the Orc, this design is much more solid and provides a better cooling solution.

Conclusion

The AMA Phantom performed better than the AMA Orc and with a smaller foot print. Although it isn't as unique looking, personally the performance would win me over. Although the package looks like it was dropped off the production line it still worked great and the fin damage was easily undone. Considering this heat sink has twice the heat pipes than the ZEROTherm Core 92 heat sink and is also larger, price will play a big role in the sales of this heat sink. AMA has a good theme going, the company's line of heat sinks could be very successful with the right strategy.

Overall the heat sink performed well, not breaking any records but besting its larger brother, the Orc, by four degrees in both overclocked and stock processor load tests. The packaging - although a little dirty in this particular case - looked great as did the Orc's. Installation is easier on this heat sink because it is smaller and a screwdriver can be used to tighten the bolts rather than the little wrench included. The blue LED fan adds to aesthetics with a blue hue glowing through the fan and fins. The single body tower design with six full heat pipes is much sturdier than the Orc's independent heat pipe style.

The downfall is that although it performed better than the Orc, it wasn't nearly as spectacular looking. However, it still looks good so this is just a small point. It also lacks a bit in performance when compared to other heat sinks; the smaller Core 92 with half as many heat pipes did just as well at load with a better idle temperature, although it does have a louder and more powerful 92mm fan whereas the Phantom is very quiet and gets the job done with less airflow/noise. The larger tower heat sinks are in a different class - overall the performance was decent. The base isn't smooth due to the machining grooves, but that is common on this level of heat sink.

 

Pros:

Cons: