Cooler Master, DEEPCOOL, Noctua, and Thermaltake CPU Cooler Roundup

Waco - 2012-09-30 11:15:15 in CPU Cooling
Category: CPU Cooling
Reviewed by: Waco   
Reviewed on: January 20, 2013
Price: $44.99 to $129.99

Introduction:

When building a high-performance gaming computer, many people simply throw some parts together and never touch the BIOS. Clearly since you're reading this you aren't part of the "stock computer" clan – you want the best performance for your dollar and won't settle for sub-par parts or performance. An oft-overlooked part of a new build (and generally thrown in as an afterthought) is the heart of your computer's cooling system: the CPU heat sink. While originally regarded as somewhat of an afterthought in past years with modern CPUs being multiplier unlocked in the upper model ranges having a decent CPU heat sink can unleash a lot of additional performance from your processor without increasing temperatures to dangerous or damaging levels. After all, what good will all that extra performance be if your computer does an imitation of Chernobyl in the process?

Some of you are already rolling your eyes and sighing after reading the previous paragraph; after all good cooling is essential to a properly-configured rig, right? Lucky for you I have a gaggle of boxes filled with all sorts of copper, aluminum, nickel plating and water. Five CPU coolers from the prestigious Cooler Master, DEEPCOOL, Noctua, and Thermaltake are lined up for the OCC gauntlet of tests. First up is the Cooler Master TPC 812, a tower cooler with an integrated vapor chamber in the base. Next is a pair of coolers from DEEPCOOL: the Ice Blade Pro V2.0 and the Neptwin. Both are tower coolers utilizing 120mm fans and a slew of heat pipes. Next under the microscope is everyone's favorite Austrian heat sink manufacturer Noctua with the low-profile NH-L12. Lastly we'll be taking a look at the Thermaltake Water 2.0 Extreme which is the big mac-daddy of the Water 2.0 line (with the smaller siblings having been reviewed in the past few months: LINK). Now that you know what to expect on the next few pages, keep reading to discover whether these coolers deserve to suck the heat out of your components!

 

Closer Look:

The Cooler Master TPC 812 showed up in a classy maroon and black box that clearly shows the heat sink itself along with the included fan. Just in case you didn't know what it was, there's a large chrome and black sticker to remind you that this is indeed intended to keep your CPU cool. The front of the box also boasts about the "vertical vapor chamber" cooling design that's ready for overclocking (we'll see about that later!). The side of the box lists the specifications of the cooler and the included 120mm fan – for more detail jump over to the Specifications & Features page. The backside of the box spits out a little blurb that highlights the vapor chamber design, the overclocking capabilities, and the ability to have "silent cooling". Whether these claims have merit remains to be seen but overall the cooler looks quite impressive and should fit on any modern CPU socket!

 

 

 

 

 

 

OCC is no stranger to DEEPCOOL having reviewed quite a few of its cooling components in the past (LINK). The first of the pair of DEEPCOOL CPU coolers I'll be looking at today is the Ice Blade Pro V2.0, an updated version of the original Ice Blade Pro. This refreshed model features a blue LED-lit 120mm fan, quad heat pipes, and support for all modern Intel and AMD sockets and CPUs up to 150 watts. Curiously enough the aspect ratio of the photos on the box is a bit off and makes the cooler appear quite a bit chunkier than it actually is as you'll see in a bit. The rest of the box details the direct-touch heat pipe design and the various specifications that you can read in full on the Specifications & Features page.

 

 

The second cooler from DEEPCOOL is the rather impressive looking Neptwin. The Neptwin shares a similar box design to the Ice Blade Pro V2.0 and makes them look quite at home next to each other on a shelf. The Neptwin features six (count-em, six!) heat pipes arranged in a twin-tower design that houses dual 120mm spinners. Unlike its smaller brother the heat pipes are not of the direct-contact type and are instead soldered into a copper base. Being much larger than the Ice Blade Pro V2.0 and running dual fans I expect the Neptwin will perform a bit better when really pushing the thermal load even though the two share a maximum heat rating of 150 watts. For a full list of features, well, you know the drill by now don't you?

 

 

The contender from Noctua is a bit of an odd duck in this bunch; the NH-L12 is a low profile and low noise cooler. The low noise part isn't unexpected from Noctua since most of its coolers range from very quiet to near inaudible, but the low-profile design is definitely a new thing from the makers of the monstrous NH-D14. Designed to fit into small micro ATX and mini ITX cases, the NH-L12 only rises to 66mm tall over your motherboard when running in single fan mode. With both the 92mm and 120mm fans installed the quad heat pipes should be able to move quite a bit of heat away from your CPU (and I suspect it will do that in near-silence as well). The box itself doesn't paint a very good picture of the heat sink as it lacks any photos with the exception of a small diagram of the cooler dimensions. Will this small cooler be able to keep up with the bigger (and probably louder) competition?

 

 

The last contender in the lineup will probably never be the last one to be chosen for the basketball team; the Thermaltake Water 2.0 Extreme stands tall over all of the other coolers. Sporting a dual 120mm radiator, integrated PWM fan and pump controls and hassle-free sealed cooling, the Water 2.0 Extreme is the biggest and baddest of the Water 2.0 line. I have no doubts that this monster of a self-contained water cooling system will outperform the rest of the coolers today, but it comes with a few caveats of its own that we'll dig deeper into later in the review.

 

 

All in all there is a nice spread of cooler sizes and types in the running here. From the small and quiet Noctua to the big and bad Thermaltake there's enough variation here to make the comparisons both interesting and difficult – so keep reading to find out how each of these heat sinks stacks up in ease of use, compatibility, and performance!

Closer Look (Cooler Master TPC 812)

Finally I get to open some boxes! The Cooler Master TPC 812 is the first up to the chopping block. Popping open the box reveals a big block of foam encasing the heat sink itself, a box with accessories, and a pair of instruction manuals. Breaking open the accessories box brings to light a somewhat odd hold-down mechanism, a rather busy back plate and a bag full of parts. The bag contains the miscellaneous mounting parts for the cooler as well as a low-noise adapter, an installation tool, a second set of fan brackets for the mounting of a second 120x25mm fan and a tube of Cooler Master thermal compound.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And here you have it: the Cooler Master TPC 812. Out of its protective foam, you can see the true bulk of the heat sink assembly itself with its six heat pipes and vertical vapor chamber tubes poking out of the top plate. Personally I'd rather have them covered up by a simple top plate without all the chrome (I really, really, hate chrome) but it does lend a sense of "I mean business" to this tower cooler. The included 120x25mm fan comes pre-installed with plastic clips that are a welcome sight compared to the annoying wire clips seen on many coolers. The fin assembly is fairly thick and reminds me of the renowned Prolimatech Megahalems with its somewhat split design and gobs of heat pipes in a staggered arrangement.

 

 

 

Stripping the TPC 812 of its fan reveals the bare heat sink assembly and I have to say it looks damned good! The fins are cut with different designs alternating up the tower to increase turbulence, which is key to dissipating heat efficiently. The base and all heat pipes (and vapor chamber tubes) are copper with nickel plating, which looks fantastic and won't tarnish over time. While it does look good, I would rather Cooler Master skipped the nickel plating since it adds no performance and definitely comes at a cost – but I'm a function over form sort of guy, so take my opinion on that with a fairly large truckload of salt. The vapor chamber tubes look like a pair of flattened heat pipes (and to my knowledge that's exactly what they really are) and really add some meat to the appearance of the base plate. The base finish shows some machining marks as evidenced by the amazing Omnibond LEGO man reflection. The machining also reveals that the center of the base plate is convex to apply more pressure to the integrated heat spreader on modern CPUs.

 

 

 

The included 120x25mm Cooler Master fan is rated to spin from 600 to 2400 RPM. Using the included low noise adapter will drop the maximum RPM of the PWM capable fan from 2400 RPM down to a more reasonable 1600 RPM and drops the rated airflow from around 86 CFM to 60 CFM. If the included fan doesn't suit your fancy the included plastic clips will bolt up to any 120mm fan regardless of the thickness as long as it is an open corner design.

 

 

Installing the Cooler Master TPC 812 was a fairly simply affair. The back plate bolts up to the board via four bolts (for Intel sockets) and four nuts that tighten down easily with the included Philips to hex tool. Once the back plate is installed you flip the board over to see the incredible unreleased Intel i9 6900K Cardboard CPU of DOOM! Hmm, yes, I lost my socket protector on this spare board I use for installation pictures and testing. Because of this I will be showing the installation procedure but not tightening down the brackets entirely to avoid damaging the base of each heat sink. The CPU hold down bracket adjusts to fit various socket bolt patterns and slips through the center of the heat sink to clamp down to the back plate. After tightening it down (assuming you don't have my awesome i9 6900K) you can clamp on the fan, plug it in, and fire your rig up!

 

 

 

 

Installed to the OCC test board (along with a few example sticks of DDR3 with heat spreaders), it's quite clear that neither the heat sink or the fan on the TPC 812 is going to cause any issues with taller RAM modules. The plastic brackets allow you to place the fan up higher on the tower if you need more clearance and the tower itself doesn't overhang the slots in any way. This cooler isn't the largest I've ever seen, but it's beefy without being unwieldy and looks to be a real contender in this lineup!

 

Closer Look (DEEPCOOL Ice Blade Pro V2.0)

Moving on to the second cooler of the day I get to unbox the DEEPCOOL Ice Blade Pro V2.0. Breaking open the box brings forth two boxes of accessories along with the cooling tower packaged snugly in soft foam. The two accessory boxes spit out a 120x25mm fan along with a slew of parts for installation (there's a manual too but I have a phobia of them). Also included is a tube of DEEPCOOL thermal interface material.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Ice Blade Pro V2.0 tower is a good looking chunk of nickel plated copper heat pipes and base clad in aluminum fins. The top plate neatly covers the tips of the four heat pipes which somewhat reduces efficiency (since the heat pipes don't come in contact with the top few fins) but it does lend a nice clean look to the whole tower assembly. The fins are all identical but they are ribbed to provide additional turbulence and cooling capability. The top plate is embossed with the DEEPCOOL logo which adds a subtle branding to the cooler without being obnoxious or gaudy.

 

 

 

 

Peeling off the protective sticker reveals the real feature of this heat sink: the direct contact heat pipes. The base has been shaved down so that the heat pipes and the copper base sit flush to your CPU. The gaps between the heat pipes and the base are surprisingly small and the overall base is very flat although it is not polished in any way. The large size of the base plate will likely reduce the effectiveness of this design on smaller processors (like the Sandy Bridge CPU I'll be testing with), but should give some additional cooling power to platforms with larger dies (like Bulldozer or Sandy Bridge-E).

 

 

The included 120x25mm fan is curiously unlabeled with the exception of the DEEPCOOL branding on the front side of the fan hub. Digging through the specs reveals that this fan is rated for 1500 RPM operation and lights up in blue via four LEDs embedded in the semi-transparent frame. At maximum speed it should move around 60 CFM which isn't anything out of the ordinary for a fan of this type.

 

 

The back plate for the DEEPCOOL Ice Blade Pro V2.0 is clearly well designed. After positioning the four pegs for your socket type there are four rubber isolating covers that not only protect your valuable motherboard but also hold the pegs onto the back plate. I can't count how many times I've dropped the damned pegs behind my board when installing a CPU cooler, so this is a very welcome addition. Flipping the board around allows for the installation of the hold down brackets and spacers which can be installed without tools, but also have Phillips heads for a more secure fit. I installed the hold down for the tower itself without the tower, to show how it actually screws into the mounts without the tower in the way.

 

 

 

Fitting the tower to the motherboard requires a bit of dexterity but nothing out of the ordinary. A long-nose screwdriver will keep you from banging into the heat sink fins but nearly all tower heat sinks have this same issue. The brackets and tower come nowhere near the RAM slots so tall modules should be no real issue. The included fan clips are an odd design but easily clip into place and allow for the fan to be moved up and down on the tower as needed to clear especially tall RAM modules (I had no problems installing the fan at normal height).

 

 

All installed the Ice Blade Pro V2.0 really looks like it means business! There are extra clips included to install a second fan should you need more cooling power though they will only work with 120x25mm fans. Firing up the OCC test bed nearly blinded me – the blue LEDs on this fan are bright! If you're a fan of blue lighting you'll like the way this heat sink looks.

 

Closer Look (DEEPCOOL Neptwin)

This second DEEPCOOL CPU cooler, the Neptwin, comes in a larger box to contain its larger stature. Popping the top brings forth three boxes containing the cooling tower, the accessories, and the twin 120x25mm fans. Aside from all the mounting accessories you get a 4-pin PWM fan splitter that allows control of up to four separate fans (although I would caution against plugging in four high-powered fans into this splitter when it is plugged into your motherboard), some mounting pads for the splitter, and a tube of DEEPCOOL thermal paste.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wow - this cooler really looks like it means business! There's no extra plating (aside from the base plate), no flashiness, nothing at all that's not purely functional. The twin-tower design boasts six copper heat pipes soldered to aluminum fins and a nickel-plated copper base plate. The aluminum fins are serrated for maximum turbulence on both sides and the heat pipes are arranged laterally across the fins to maximize heat transfer. The Neptwin does bow in slightly to the center due to the bending of the heat pipes, but this shouldn't hamper performance in any way.

 

 

 

The top plates on the Neptwin sport the DEEPCOOL logo embossed on each side but are otherwise bare. The base plate is finned slightly and grooved to grab the hold down bracket for installation. The nickel plating on the base plate is superb and exceedingly flat – the Omnibond LEGO man really liked his reflection! The heat pipes are bare copper and will tarnish over time (especially if handled), but this will only affect the looks and not the performance.

 

 

The two included fans look identical at first glance but they are not. Once sports a 4-pin PWM fan connector, while the other is graced with only a 3-pin connector. The rear hub of each fan is again unlabeled, which doesn't help with the confusion. Both fans are 120x25mm in size although the 4-pin fan spins at 900-1500 RPM, while the 3-pin variant spins at 1300 RPM and move 60 and 54 CFM, respectively. With both of them installed, this cooler should really be able to dissipate some heat!

 

 

Installation of the DEEPCOOL Neptwin is essentially identical to the Ice Blade Pro V2.0. Install the back plate, install the mounting brackets, and then mount the cooler with the hold down bracket. Curiously enough, the nuts to hold the mounting brackets to the board are much shorter on the Neptwin and consequently tend to slip even with a fairly large Phillips screwdriver when close to completely tight (the bolt through the board pokes up through the center of the nut and interferes with the screwdriver). Why DEEPCOOL didn't use the same excellent nuts (tee-hee) from the Ice Blade Pro V2.0 is a mystery – either way, it was a small annoyance.

 

 

 

Once mounted I actually flipped through the manual to figure out how the little foam 'o'-rings were supposed to be used. It turns out they simply mount to the fins to dampen vibration from the fans. The fans mount quite easily with the included clips and have no issues with clearance with the Mushkin test RAM. The tower fins do slightly over-hang the first RAM slot, so if you have obnoxiously tall RAM heat-spreaders, you may end up moving them or dropping a stick.

 

 

With both fans installed, this cooler clearly means business. The spartan appearance along with the dual fans and gobs of laterally oriented heat pipes, just scream "throw some heat at me!".

 

Closer Look (Noctua NH-L12)

This cooler is one of the lineup that really has me intrigued – Noctua always delivers a quality product and I'm a stickler for quiet cooling. Flipping the box open reveals a pair of boxes housing the heat sink and all of the accessories. Not surprisingly Noctua has included quite a few extras with the NH-L12: a pair of low noise adapters, a four-pin fan splitter, a four-pin extension cable, an installation tool, a tube of Noctua NT-H1 thermal interface material and a fancy steel Noctua case badge. As usual, Noctua has included a very well written manual that cautions against installing the cooler with the heat pipe bends facing upwards. This is a nice little tip, since mounting any heat pipe cooler with the bends facing up, reduces performance quite drastically (though it's surprising how few companies include that information!).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have to say I have a serious case of déjà vu here. I know this will date me (at least slightly), but the actual cooler design here immediately made me think back to my excelled Thermalright XP-120 from back in the Athlon64 days of yore. Sure, it's quite different in that the fins are only connected to the base via heat pipes and that it only has four of them, but I'm a sucker for nostalgia and the XP-120 is what popped into my head. Anyway, the NH-L12 sports a 120x25mm fan along with a 92x25mm fan to maximize cooling potential with the minimum amount of noise. The fins are angled quite noticeably towards the motherboard, which gives it a bit of an awkward look. The fans attach with extremely easy to use clips that other companies really should copy (did I just say that?).

 

 

 

 

Unclipping the two fans from the NH-L12 brings the meat and potatoes of this cooler into view. Everything is nickel plated and screams of high quality. The fins are aluminum and ridged to improve turbulence but are quite thinner than the other coolers seen so far in this roundup. Coupled with the fewer heat pipes and the parallel-to-the-board orientation I foresee this cooler struggling a bit more under heavy loads than the more beefy coolers seen previously.

 

 

 

 

Omnibond LEGO man is pleased but looks a bit confused with how blurry everything is. Perhaps he is still a bit hung over from New Years Eve, but the reality is that the base of the cooler is, while quite flat, not polished at all. This isn't really anything to complain about as it doesn't hamper performance in any real manner, but I did expect a polished base given the fit and finish of the rest of the heat sink.

 

The two included fans with the Noctua NH-L12 are 92mm and 120mm in size. Both are 25mm thick (which is fairly standard) and have four-pin PWM plugs. The smaller of the two is rated at 1300 RPM and 38 CFM while its larger brother is rated at 1600 RPM and 55 CFM. The frame of the 120mm fan is gilded with rubber isolators that should keep vibration-induced noise to a minimum. The vanes on the 120mm fan are also quite different from what I generally see on fans and should improve static pressure (airflow through resistance) and keep noise down as well.

 

 

Installation of the NH-L12 is extremely straightforward. The back plate has various positions for the bolts to fit multiple socket sizes and includes rubber bumpers that both protect the motherboard as well as hold the bolts in place so they don't fall out during installation. Once the back plate is in place, the spacers and mounting brackets can be secured to the board. Noctua has included their standard thumb-screw and Phillips combination nuts here that do their job simply and easily. Securing the heat sink itself to the brackets, however, is slightly awkward. It's easy to see how it should line up to the mounting brackets but when actually positioning the heat sink over the brackets with the lower 92mm fan in place it's quite difficult to line everything up. "Easy to visualize and hard to actually do" describe this process to a tee. Once aligned and tightened down installation of the 120mm fan is a breeze. In the pictured orientation cooling is maximized and clearances are as well – but the NH-L12 does overhang the first two RAM slots and could cause issues with overly-tall RAM modules.

 

 

 

 

With both fans installed the "low profile" moniker still applies for the most part as this heat sink is quite a bit shorter than all of the tower-style coolers seen so far in this roundup. Without the top fan installed this cooler really would be quite short and would easily fit into some of the more cramped cases no the market with no issues at all. One benefit of the orientation of the NH-L12 is that it blows air across your RAM as well as the VRMs around your CPU socket.

 

Closer Look (Thermaltake Water 2.0 Extreme)

The Thermaltake Water 2.0 Extreme is the final (and largest) cooler being tested. Being the only self-contained water-cooling unit in the group, it has both an unfair advantage (in cooling performance) and a built-in disadvantage (in cost and case compatibility). Breaking open the box reveals a recycled cardboard carrier with all of the good parts tucked safely away in their own little compartments. Pulling everything out of the carrier reveals the pump and radiator assembly, the mounting brackets and hardware, a driver disc, and the twin 120x25mm PWM fans. Each fan is rated for 1200-2000 RPM operation and can move up to 81 CFM at full speed. At full speed these fans aren't going to be very quiet, but should move a massive amount of air!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Freed of its packaging, the radiator makes its presence known. This is a dual 120mm radiator with a 25mm core (although it is 38mm thick overall) and it is attached to the pump via very flexible rubber hoses. The radiator core is crammed full of very dense aluminum fins which don't bode well for quiet operation (increased density usually requires high speed fans to effectively move air), although the bundled software breathes some life into the notion that this can be a quiet cooler.

 

 

The heart of the Water 2.0 Extreme is the Water 2.0 pump and water block combination. Rated to run at 2800 RPM at full speed, it is designed specifically to extract heat from your power-hungry overclocked CPU as fast as possible with the minimum amount of noise. Interestingly enough, it has an integrated fan controller and can adjust both pump speed and fan speed via an attached USB internal header connection. The water block itself is machined from copper to maximize heat extraction into the cooling fluid. Straight from the box the pump is quite bare, but installing the appropriate CPU bracket is quite straightforward. The required bracket essentially snaps into place and then requires you to build the hold down screws on each corner. The manual helps this process along nicely, although it is possible to figure out without resorting to any reading.

 

 

 

The back plate is simple to put together for the appropriate socket size although it does have a bit of a drawback. The small nuts that fit into the back plate don't stick through the board very far at all and require some dexterity to hold into place, while securing the pump in place. Thankfully, Thermaltake has used nice thumb screws on the hold down bracket, which makes this a lot less painful that it could have been. The huge bonus to this type of design (and for almost all self-contained water cooling systems) is that you have zero chance of interference between the cooler and your motherboard components or RAM sticks, no matter how crazy they are.

 

 

All bolted up to the board, the only real complaint I can muster is that the cabling is a bit hard to hide. The USB 2.0 header along with the two 4-pin PWM fan connectors are quite bulky and hard to route. The power connection to the pump itself is appropriately long, but not annoyingly so. The real rub here is that you must have a case that can not only mount dual 120mm fans side-by-side, but also be able to accommodate the 38mm radiator plus the 25mm depth of the fans, without interfering with any other components. In many cases (ha, get it?) the Water 2.0 Extreme simply has nowhere to fit, although the OCC testbed has no issues housing such a beast.

 

 

Unlike the other coolers in the roundup, the Water 2.0 Extreme comes with its very own software package to tailor the system to your tastes. With the USB 2.0 header plugged in and the driver installed, you are greeted by a sleek black interface that allows you to control every aspect of the Water 2.0 pump and fans. The top-right features a small selector with three settings: Extreme, Silent, and Custom. Extreme runs everything at maximum speed, Silent spins the fans down to keep them quiet, and Custom allows you to set the fans to ramp up based on a fan curve you define.

 

 

As mentioned above, you can set a custom fan ramp that is based on the liquid temperature measured by the pump. You can have the fans run at minimum speed (which is quiet silent), until a given RPM then smoothly ramp up to full speed based, on a given coolant temperature. Also included on the Fan Control tab is the ability to have the software notify you when fan speeds or coolant temperatures exceed certain values. The Graphs tab takes the measurements seen on the Dashboard and displays them over time on a pair of graphs. The update rate can be set along with the startup configuration on the Settings tab. There is a second skin for the application as well (it's blue-themed), but the effect is fairly subtle and I doubt anyone will really spend time staring at the interface anyway.

 

Cooler Master TPC 812

Specifications:

CPU Socket:
Intel Socket:
LGA 2011 / 1366 / 1156 / 1155 / 775*

AMD Socket:
FM1 / AM3+ / AM3 / AM2+ / AM2
CPU Support:
Intel:
Core™ i7 Extreme / Core™ i7 / Core™ i5 / Core™ i3 / Core™2 Extreme / Core™2 Quad / Core™2 Duo / Pentium / Celeron

AMD:
FX-Series / A-Series / Phenom™ II X4 / Phenom™ II X3 / Phenom™ II X2 / Phenom™ X4 / Phenom™ X3 / Athlon™ II X4 / Athlon™ II X3 / Athlon™ II X2 / Athlon™ X2 / Athlon™ / Sempron™
Dimension:
138 x 103 x 163mm (5.4 x 4.1 x 6.4in)
Heat Sink Dimensions:
134 x 74 x 158mm (5.3 x 2.9 x6.2in)
Heat Sink Material:
Copper Base / 2 Vapor Chambers
6 Heatpipes / Aluminum Fins
Heat Sink Weight:
826g (1.83lb)
Heat Pipe Dimensions:
6mm diameter
Fan Dimensions:
120 x 120 x 25mm (4.7 x 4.7 x 1in)
Fan Speed:
600 – 2,400 RPM (PMW) (1,600 RPM with Silent Mode Adapter)
Fan Airflow:
19.17 – 86.15 CFM (59.54 CFM @ 1,600 RPM)
Fan Air Pressure:
0.31 – 4.16 mm H20 (1.99mm H20 @ 1,600 RPM)
Fan Life Expectancy:
40,000 hrs
Fan Noise Level (dB-A):
19 – 40 dBA
Bearing Type:
Long Life Sleeve Bearing
Connector:
4-Pin
Fan Rated Voltage:
12 VDC
Fan Rated Current:
0.2A
Power Consumption:
2.4W
Fan Weight:
152g (0.34lb_
Note:
*Supplied accessories may differ by country or area. Please check with your local distributor for further details.

 

Features:

All information provided by: http://www.coolermaster.com/product.php?product_id=6809

 

 

 

DEEPCOOL Ice Blade Pro V2.0

Specifications:

Socket Support:
Intel:

LGA2011/LGA1366/LGA1155/LGA1156/LGA775
Core i7/i5/i3
Core 2 Extreme
Core 2 Quad
Core 2 Duo
Pentium/Pentium G
Pentium D/Pentium 4
Celeron Dual-Core
Celeron/Celeron D
 
AMD:
FM1/AM3+/AM3/AM2+/AM2
FX X8/X6/X4
A8/A6/A4
Phenom II X6/X4/X3/X2
Phenom X4/X3
Athlon II X4/X3/X2
Athlon X2
Athlon/Athlon FX
Business Class
Sempron
 
Overall Dimension:
125 x 70 x 161 mm
Fan Dimension:
120 x 120 x 25 mm
Net Weight:
981g
Bearing Time:
Hydro Bearing
Rated Voltage:
12 VDC
Operating Voltage:
10.8 ~ 13.2 VDC
Started Voltage:
7 VDC
Rated Current:
0.25 A (MAX)
Power Input:
3.0 W
Fan Speed:
900~1500 RPM
Max. Air Flow:
60.29 CFM
Noise:
21.4 ~32.1 dB(A)

 

Features:

All information provided by: http://www.deepcool-us.com/Product/ICE_BLAD_PRO_V2/

 

 

 

DEEPCOOL Neptwin

Specifications:

Socket Support:
Intel:
LGA2011/LGA1366/LGA1155/LGA1156/LGA775
Core i7/i5/i3
Core 2 Extreme
Core 2 Quad
Core 2 Duo
Pentium/Pentium G
Pentium D/Pentium 4
Celeron Dual-Core
Celeron/Celeron D
 
AMD:
FM1/AM3+/AM3/AM2+/AM2
FX X8/X6/X4
A8/A6/A4
Phenom II X6/X4/X3/X2
Phenom X4/X3
Athlon II X4/X3/X2
Athlon X2
Athlon/Athlon FX
Business Class
Sempron
Overall Dimension:
126 x 136 x 159 mm (with fan)
Fan Dimension:
120 x 120 x 25 mm (2PCS)
Net Weight:
1109g
Size:
150 x 130 x 85 mm
Bearing Type:
Hydro Bearing
Rated Voltage:
12 VDC
Operating Voltage:
10.8  ~ 13.2 VDC
Started Voltage:
7 VDC
Rated Current:
0.16 / 0.13 A (MAX)
Power Input:
1.92 W / 1.56 W
Fan Speed:
1300 RPM / 900 ~ 1500 RPM
Max. Air Flow:
53.65 CFM / 60.29 CFM
Noise:
26.6 dB(A) / 21.4~32.1 dB(A)

 

Features:

All information provided by: http://www.deepcool-us.com/Product/NEPTWIN_E/

 

 

 

Noctua NH-L12

Specifications:

Socket Compatibility:
Intel LGA2011 (Square ILM), LGA1366, LGA1156, LGA1155, LGA775 & AMD AM2, AM2+, AM3, AM3+, FM1, FM2 (backplate required)
Height (without fan):
66 mm
Width (without fan):
128 mm
Depth (without fan):
150 mm
Height (with fan):
93 mm
Width (with fan):
128 mm
Depth (with fan):
415 mm
Weight (with fan):
415 g
Material:
Copper (base and heat-pipes), aluminum (cooling fins), soldered joints & nickel plating
Fan Compatibility:
120 x 120 x 25 mm & 92 x 92 x 25 mm
Scope of Delivery:
1x NF-F12 PWM premium fan
1x NF-B9 PWM premium fan
2x Low-Noise Adaptor (L.N.A.)
Y-Split Cable
NT-H1 high-grade thermal compound
SecuFirm2™ Mounting Kit
Mini-ITX Mounting-Kit
Noctua Metal Case-Badge
Warranty:
6 Years
 
 

Noctua Fan Specifications:

Model Number:
Noctua NF-F12 PWM & Noctua NF-B9 PWM
Bearing:
SSO-Bearing
Max. Rotational Speed:
1500 / 1600 RPM
Max. Rotational Speed with L.N.A.:
1200 / 1300 RPM
Min. Rotational Speed (PWM):
300 / 300 RPM
Max. Airflow:
93.4 / 64.3 cubic meters per hour
Max. Airflow with L.N.A.:
74.3 / 52.6 cubic meters per hour
Max. Acoustical Noise:
22.4 / 17.6 dB(A)
Max. Acoustical Noise with L.N.A.:
18.6 / 13.1 dB(A)
Input Power:
0.6 / 0.96 W
Voltage Range:
12 V
MTBF:
> 150,000 hours

 

Features:

All information provided by: http://www.noctua.at/main.php?show=productview&products_id=46&lng=en&set=2

 

 

 

Thermaltake Water 2.0 Extreme

Specifications:

Water Block:
Material: Copper
Pump:
Motor Speed: 2800+-150 RPM
Rated Voltage: 12 V
Rated Current: 220mA
Fan:
Dimension: 120 x 120 x 25 mm
Speed: 1200 ~2000 RPM
Noise Level: 27.36 dBA (MAX)
Rated Voltage: 12 V
Rated Current: 0.5 A
Max. Air Flow: 81.32 CFM
Connector: 4 pin
Radiator:
Dimension: 270 x 120 x 38.3 mm
Material: Aluminum
Tube:
Length: 326 mm
Material: Rubber
Weight:
1,150g
Compatibility:
Intel:
LGA 2011
LGA 1366
Core i7
LGA 1155/1156
Core i7/Core i5/Corei3
Core 2 Extreme/Core 2 Quad/Core 2 Duo/Pentium D/Pentium 4/Pentium/ Celeron D/Celeron
 
AMD:
FM1
A-series
AM3+ / AM3
Phenom II/Athlon II/
Athlon/Sempron series
AM2+ / AM2
Phenom II/Phenom/
Athlon/Sempron series

 

Features:

All information provided by: http://www.thermaltake.com/products-model.aspx?id=C_00001876

Testing:

Testing of the various CPU coolers will be accomplished installing the coolers into the test system mounted into a case, not a test bench. Most systems are built and mounted into a sealed (relatively) chassis, so this method will be used to generate the load and idle results to give a real world view as to what kind of cooling performance one can expect based on the test system listed below.

Of course, your results may vary, due to case design and ambient air temperature, by several degrees. The CPU load is generated by Prime 95 version 27.7 for a period of two hours with a cool down period of one hour after the computer has returned to an idle state. Real Temp 3.70 is used to log the temperatures over the time frame with the highest and lowest averages across the four cores of the Core i7 2600K test CPU. Ambient temperatures are kept at 22C throughout the testing to minimize the impact of a variable temperature. Each cooler is tested with the same thermal compound (Arctic Cooling MX-2) to keep conditions as similar as possible between coolers. While this makes the results vary a bit from the as-packaged CPU coolers, it will allow for a more fair comparison of the coolers in the same test bed and should give the best idea of their relative performance.

 

Testing Setup:

 

Comparison Coolers:


 

Results:



 

   

 

   

 

At stock speeds these coolers are all more than adequate to keep an i7 2600K cool and safe. In terms of noise, from most quiet to least quiet, the ranking is: Noctua NH-L12, DEEPCOOL Neptwin, DEEPCOOL Ice Blade Pro V2.0, Cooler Master TPC 812, and lastly the Thermaltake Water 2.0 Extreme. All of the coolers were run with their fans at full speed. The NH-L12 and Neptwin were very close to silent with the NH-L12 being just a bit closer to sound-less nirvana. The Ice Blade Pro V2.0 and TPC 812 both essentially tied in terms of noise, with both having a reasonably audible medium-pitched drone that was easy to pick out over the noise of the 650D case fans. The Water 2.0 Extreme, being mounted in the top of the case, was clearly audible when cranked up to full speed (as it was tested) but has the ability to be quiet when using the built-in fan controller.

With only 8 degrees C separating the pack under load there really isn't enough heat here to separate the boys from the men. Not surprisingly, the two water cooling units with 240mm radiators lead the pack with the TPC 812 and Neptwin in close pursuit. The Ice Blade Pro V2.0 doesn't fare poorly here, but it does hang near the back. The low profile design (along with the quiet fans) of the Noctua NH-L12 are enough to keep temperatures safe, but not enough to compete with the larger and louder coolers.

The real test is, of course, the overclocked settings. The i7 2600K at 4.4 GHz with 1.35 volts pumping through it is not a cool CPU and can easily overwhelm coolers that aren't up to the job. Even at idle, the coolers start to separate themselves by their relative performance, since all power-saving measures are disabled. Once I fired up Prime95, it became obvious which coolers could handle the heat and which could not. The new Water 2.0 Extreme matches the performance of the Corsair H100, albeit with less noise. Just behind the water coolers and ahead of the rest of the field, is the surprisingly good DEEPCOOL Neptwin. The TPC 812 and Ice Blade Pro V2.0 are on even ground here, but have jumped into the uncomfortable 80+C range that many wish to avoid like the plague. Again, trailing the rear of the pack is the NH-L12 low-profile cooler that just can't handle the heat that the 2600K can dish out at these speeds and voltages. It isn't quite in to dangerous territory, but at 87C in a relatively cool room, it is a lot higher than I'd like my CPU to be sitting for extended periods of time.

Conclusion:

You'll notice as you read through this roundup that I've left price out of the equation. This is because I actually didn't even look up the prices until after testing and writing about each cooler. Sure, I had some notion of cost based on the different styles of coolers, but I didn't know for sure. Second, assuming you read through the review instead of jumping directly to this page, it allowed you to get a good idea of how the different heat sinks performed without pre-judging based on their price tag. That all said; some of the prices surprised me. The Cooler Master TPC 812 is priced at $64.99, the DEEPCOOL Ice Blade Pro V2.0 at $44.99, the DEEPCOOL Neptwin at $50.99, the Noctua NH-L12 at $69.99 and the Thermaltake Water 2.0 Extreme rounds out the pack at $129.99. Read on to see how that finalizes my opinion of each!

 

Cooler Master TPC 812

The Cooler Master TPC 812 is a nice cooler. Installation was straightforward, the fan clips are extremely easy to use, and the overall design works well. That said, the overclocked performance really doesn't live up to expectations based on the price tag. In stock testing it performed within a single degree of the much louder and more expensive water cooling units but when pushed with the overclocked heat load the TPC 812 was simply overwhelmed and fell to nearly the bottom of the rankings. The fan on this cooler, at full speed, produces a medium-pitch drone along with the sound of rushing air that is not inherently unpleasant but would probably be audible in most cases. For the price it works well at stock speeds and could be suitable for moderate overclocking on less power-hungry CPUs.

Pros:

Cons:

 

 

DEEPCOOL Ice Blade Pro V2.0

At $44.99 the DEEPCOOL Ice Blade Pro V2.0 rings in as the least expensive cooler in this roundup. At $20 less expensive than the Cooler Master TPC 812 it delivered identical performance in the overclocked tests even though it didn't rule the roost in the stock tests. This lower cost comes at a price of a bit of ear sanity though, as the Ice Blade Pro V2.0 does have a bit more of an annoying whine to it when spinning at maximum RPM. I have the feeling that it would perform better on a larger CPU like a Sandy Bridge-E or a Bulldozer, because of the size of the base and how the heat pipes are positioned, but it still performed adequately on the relatively tiny Sandy Bridge i7 2600K. If you like blue lighting and don't want to spend an arm and a leg to keep your reasonably-overclocked CPU cool then the Ice Blade Pro V2.0 may be worth a look!

Pros:

Cons:

 

 

DEEPCOOL Neptwin

The DEEPCOOL Neptwin is the real diamond in the rough here. At just $50.99 it beats all of the other air coolers in the roundup in the overclocked tests and best of all, it managed to do that without being obnoxiously loud! The twin fans were barely audible over the case fans in the Corsair 650D test case and as long as you don't have exceedingly tall RAM modules, you won't run into clearance issues in the vast majority of cases. If I had to pick a favorite purely in terms of price and performance, the Neptwin would be my choice. The focus on cooling efficiency over any kind of "bling" might not be to everyone's liking, but personally it appealed to me more because of that trait.

Pros:

Cons:

 

 

Noctua NH-L12

The Noctua NH-L12 is a bit out of its element in this comparison. Being the only low-profile cooler as well as being one of the quietest coolers in the roundup it was at a distinct disadvantage. That said, for lower power CPUs and for light overclocking, it will certainly keep your CPU cool and safe without wrecking the silence of your office or living room. While I probably wouldn't choose the NH-L12 for a gaming computer, it would fit right at home in its target market: a micro-ATX or mini-ITX HTPC case. The price tag of $69.99 is a bit lofty compared to the other higher-performing coolers I tested, but at the same time, it will fit into almost any case (especially in single-fan mode) and carries with it an incredible six year warranty, just in case anything goes wrong. If you're building a smaller HTPC and don't want to hear a stock cooler droning away all day the NH-L12 demands your consideration.

Pros:

Cons:

 

 

Thermaltake Water 2.0 Extreme

Last but not least, the Thermaltake Water 2.0 Extreme really lead the pack in terms of performance. That performance comes at a price though; at $129.99 the Water 2.0 Extreme is a a lot more expensive than the other air coolers it was compared to and even eclipses the cost of the Corsair H100 by $20. That $20 doesn't go to waste, however, as the built-in fan controller works admirably to tailor the sound profile of the Water 2.0 Extreme to your liking. Even at full speed (which matches the Corsair H100 in terms of cooling), it is substantially less loud than the H100. That's not to say it's a quiet cooler when cranked up to full throttle, but it is tolerable if you are in a noisy room or are wearing a decent headset. If you've been on the fence about jumping into water cooling and don't want to go for a full custom solution with all of the included headaches, then a self-contained system like the Water 2.0 Extreme may very well be exactly what you've been waiting for!

Pros:

Cons: