Cooler Master Aero 7+ Plus Heatsink Review
Reviewed by: Admin
Reviewed on: November 2, 2003
: Cooler Master
: Cooler Master
Price: $40 USD
Today we'll be taking a look at one of Cooler Master's latest heat sinks, the Aero 7+. The major difference with this heat sink and the others that we've reviewed here before is the use of a new type of fan. Will the blower fan help cool better by eliminating "blind spots" caused by traditional fans? Read on to find out.
Since 1992, Cooler Master has designed, developed, and manufactured a myriad of innovative cooling devices for desktop personal computers. Cooler Master is proud to offer its impressive line of patented thermal solutions. Few people in the PC manufacturing industry are unfamiliar with the name Cooler Master.
Even though Cooler Master is an ISO 9001 certified manufacturer, the best proof of high quality standards is derived from the type of customers that we serve. You will find Cooler Master thermal solutions inside the computer's of companies like IBM, Hewlett Packard, Gateway 2000, NEC, Packard Bell, Compaq, Fujitsu, Siemens, and a myriad of other respected brands worldwide.
|Aero 7+ Specifications|
|Aero 7+ Features|
A Closer Look
The package that the Aero 7+ arrived in was larger than I had expected. I had expected it to come in a package similar to the X-Dream, and X-Dream SE heat sinks did.
|Included in the Aero 7+'s package was:|
The base of the heat sink included a safety sticker to keep the base clean and unscratched. Some manufacturers don't do this, however every heat sink I have ever seen from Cooler Master has had this..
The base of the heat sink is very similar (if not identical) to that of the X-Dream SE heat sink, and as with the various models of the X-Dream, the Aero 7+ includes a much shorter mounting clip. Cooler Master doesn't have the best lapping process that I've ever seen, however they still do a good job. As you can see, it doesn't have the mirror effect most people go after when they lap a heat sink, but that doesn't mean it's not good. We'll see the base again and compare it to the base of a Swiftech MCX-462 in a moment.
Like I said, the base is much similar to the base of the X-Dream SE, with the exception of the clip, which has been dramatically shortened. The heat sink base is made of all copper to help with the heat transfer off of the CPU.
As I've already made mention, the clip of the Aero 7+ is dramatically shorter than the clip Cooler Master used in other heat sinks, this is important because the old clip, what I call the version one, could cause problems when mounting the heat sink inside a case, such as my Lian Li. As you see in the image, the version one clip pressed up against the PSU box, this made it almost impossible to install.
Version One Clip Version Two Clip
As you can see in the information provided by Cooler Master, the Blower is designed to push air directly into the center of the heatsink, whereas traditional fans create a "blind spot" over the center. Well see in a moment how much better the blower is over a traditional and not so traditional fan. :)
The blower fan is dual ball bearing fan, rather than the rifle bearing that Cooler Master is popular for using. As you can see in the picture of the bottom of the blower, it's completely unobstructed, thus allowing air to blow directly over the entire heat sink.
Cooler Master is branded into the top of the blower, with Aero V branded into the side. - Now this is my question, why "Aero V"? Isn't this the Aero 7+, or the Aero VII+?
As with most heat sinks these days, the Cooler Master Aero 7+ fan is adjustable, allowing you to "turn down the volume" when your not using your computer. The Aero 7+ also includes to mounting brackets for the controller, so you can chose to mount the adjustment knob in either a spare 3.5" drive bay, or a spare PCI bracket. The PCI bracket is silver, and looks great with a Silver/Aluminum case, but those of you with other colored cases are just out of luck.
The last thing included with the package was the Cooler Master case badge. Nothing much, but it does add something different to your case.
ComparisonAs I mentioned before, we'd see the CoolerMaster up against the Swiftech MCX-462. Here is what the two heat sinks look like side by side. The Aero 7+ base is on the right, with the MCX-462 on the left.
The base and mounting style of the heat sinks are both very different. The Aero 7+ of course uses the clip on, where the MCX-462 mounts through the motherboard. Each one has its own advantages and disadvantages, but mainly comes down to personal preference on which you like better. Here is what the base of the heat sinks look like using two different lighting settings to give you an idea of the difference. Again, the Aero 7+ base is on the right.
Here you can see three fans that I used for testing, on the left is a generic 80mm Antec fan, in the center is the Blower, and on the right is an 80mm Vantec Tornado.
Now, the real fun comes into testing... in addition to using the Blower with the Aero 7+, and the Tornado with the MCX-462, I decided to swap the fans around while testing to see how big of a difference there was. I also used the Antec fan on the blower to give you an idea of what kind of results a "normal" fan would give.
Here you can see the heat sinks the way they are suppose to be.
And here you can see what they look like with the fan's swapped around.
And with that done, it was time to jump into the testing. Testing Method
Temperatures for the testing were taken via a CompU Nurse thermal probe located next to the CPU die. Céramique (by Arctic Silver) thermal compound was applied to the CPU and each heat sink according to the directions located on Arctic Silver's web site. The compound was given 100 hours of use before testing was done on any of the heat sinks. To achieve the "idle temperature" reading, the computer was allowed to set idle for 15 minutes, and then the reading was taken. To achieve the "load temperature" CPU Burn-In was run for 15 minutes and then a reading was taken. The overclocked temperature readings were done in the same fashion, except that the system FSB had been increase from 133 to 145 giving a 138Mhz overclock. In addition to testing the different fans, the Aero 7+ was also tested with the blower running at full speed (~3750 RPM), medium speed (~2163 RPM), and low speed (~1776 RPM).
The difference in fan speed is really amazing, with the Tornado literally blowing everything else away. But is the fan speed enough to make up for the "blind spot"?
We can see that in addition to having more RPM than anything else, we can see that the Vantec Tornado fan also has a higher noise level than any of the other fans. Higher in this graph is worse. For those of you who have never owned a Tornado fan, you can't even imagine how loud these things are. Let's just say it got its name for a reason. :) I don't have the tools available to accurately measure sound levels, so I've only provided the information that the companies have made available on their product web sites.
We can see that the MCX-462 with the tornado is clearly the best temperature here, followed by the Aero base with the Tornado fan. The Aero 7+ was 5.8°C warmer than the MCX-462. You can also see even at load when the Aero 7+ blower speed was turned down, the temperature changed 3.1°C from High to Medium, and then 1.7°C from Medium to Low, or 4.8°C from High to Low. Using the Antec fan produced a result almost equal to the Aero 7+ on the medium setting.
When we cranked the system up to a "load" condition, you can see that the Aero 7+ was still behind the MCX-462 by 4.9°C, and there was a difference of 7°C between the Aero 7+ high and low settings.
Again, with the CPU overclocked, and the system setting at idle, there was a 4.3°C difference in the Temperature of the Aero 7+ and the MCX-462.
The last reading taken was the CPU overclocked, and the system under a "load" condition. This time a differance of 5.8°C was seen between the MCX-462 and the Aero 7+.
The results clearly show that the Aero 7+ was no match for a high powered fan like the Tornado, even when on the same heat sink, however when put up against a more normal, or quiet fan like the Antec 80mm fan, the Aero 7+ preformed quite well. This shows that while traditional fans may produce a "blind spot", high CFM fans will more than make up for it.Conclusion
I'll give the Aero 7+ its credit, it preforms great, however it's no match for the high powered Swiftech & Tornado combination (or any other high end combo like the Thermalright SLK900), however for those of you who want a reasonable sound level the Aero 7+ is perfict for you. Good performance and low noise is a combination that can't be beat. In adition to that, the Aero 7+ has an awsome look to it, and can really impress those friends of yours who have only ever seen standard fans. I'm willing to bet before to long, we see the blower fans with LEDs, and maybe fan guards. Which for those of you that didn't notice, the Aero 7+ has no fan guard. For those of you who like the fan, but want a different look, ThermalTake has a blower (the XBlower) that is orange and black. The heat sink itself cost about $39.00, which isn't to bad considering the price of some heat sinks today. If you already have a heat sink, you can purchase the blower from a Cooler Master reseller for about $12.00
Thanks to Cooler Master for sending this to us to review!