Cooler Master V6GT Review

airman - 2010-06-26 17:47:57 in CPU Cooling
Category: CPU Cooling
Reviewed by: airman   
Reviewed on: June 28, 2010
Price: $69.99

Introduction:

As technology progresses, so must the necessary equipment to cool down today's most extreme components. One of the manufacturers bringing the public some of the best performing heatsinks, cases, and other computer components is Cooler Master. Cooler Master has been around for over a decade and continues to follow their company's mission of providing the industry's best thermal solutions by "responding to transformations in the global industry and adapting to its own rapid growth." Today's release is Cooler Master's V6GT. Probably Cooler Master's most hyped CPU cooler this year, the Cooler Master V6GT is a massive, 200W-capable cooler that boasts six heatpipes and two powerful 120mm fans. In this review I will provide a detailed assessment of the cooler's looks, construction, ease of use and most importantly, its performance. Being one of the first people to have the V6GT in their possession certainly is a privilege and I am definitely looking forward to seeing how this heatsink performs.

 

Closer Look:

The Cooler Master V6GT is packaged in a very attractive dark box with a glossy finish and high quality graphics. The front and rear as well as the left and right sides are identical, respectively. The front and rear feature a dark red background with a black stripe through the middle containing the V6GT logo, the phrase "Muscle Cooling/200W Cooling Solution," and a list of the supported sockets. The V6GT logo is pressed into the cardboard and has what looks like a foil lining in the letters giving the box an even more impressive look. The right and left sides have the Cooler Master logo in the upper left side, a quarter angle photo of the cooler, and the same content that appears in the stripe on the front and the rear.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The top of the box features a closeup of the top of the heatsink with the Cooler Master logo in the upper left corner. The top of the box is held closed with two pieces of Velcro.  Opening the top exposes a small window that allows the owner to have a peek at the top of the cooler. The bottom of the box is where all of the content is located and contains an extensive list of features, specifications, and additional dimensions of the cooler. One thing that I happened to notice is that in the large list of specifications, the weight of the cooler is not listed. However, it is available on Cooler Master's product page on their website.

 

 

Once opened, the top of the cooler's massive size nearly takes up the entire box. The base of the V6GT is secured in about three inches of soft foam at the bottom and is stabilized at the top by a sheet of fitted plastic. Next to the cooler is a small white box that contains all of the mounting hardware as well as an English user's manual, a user's manual containing the other languages, and a warranty card. The warranty card states that Cooler Master offers a two-year guarantee against defects in material and workmanship.

 

 

 

With the heatsink out and ready to go, my anticipation for its performance is beginning to build and I'm looking forward to taking a closer look at the V6GT. On the next page, I will be exploring the V6GT up close and putting the rest of it in the spotlight.

Closer Look:

The V6GT is by far the largest heatsink I have ever had my hands on. I have used plenty of 120mm heatsinks, even ones like the V6GT that have dual 120mm fans, but the V6GT is both tall and wide. The tinted blades on the fan have a wavy shape to them and present a unique look. The sides of the heatsink show the large width that the cooler has and the many aluminum fins that are attached to the heatpipes. Although the base is silver, it is listed as copper in the specifications chart, which means that it is probably plated with nickel or aluminum. The front and rear views show the interesting arrangement of the heatpipes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

The top of the V6GT has a neat design that subtly represents the top of an engine. It refers to the Cooler Master button at the top as an "oil cap" and the center looks like the typical "V" form of a the manifolds on a V6 engine as well. A look at the bottom gives another visual of how the heatpipes are laid out. This design is shown to provide better airflow around each heatpipe for maximum heat dissipation. The base has a protective film over it so that it is protected from scratches due to mishandling. Checking the flatness of the base reveals that it's not perfectly smooth, but it is far from unacceptable and will provide plenty of even contact.

 

 

 

One of the things that I found convenient in the V6GT's list of features is the snap on fan holders. These allow for the fans to be snapped off and exchanged without needing any tools or screws. After removing the fans, two screws in the top of each side can be removed to completely disassemble the cooler. The light in the top is powered by a 4-pin Molex connector and has a small circuit board attached to its underside that controls the ability to switch the colors of the LED. The 5-degree tilt of the fins is apparent when looking at the bare broad side of the V6GT. This tilt is said to improve heat transfer by providing a larger cooling surface. Without the fans, the V6GT sheds its width by about half, but still the bare core of the V6GT is very large and I would be interested to see how well it performs without fans. Though for a retail price of $69.99, it may not be worth the price to use it in such a way.

 

 

 

The fans that are supplied with the V6GT are two 120mm fans that are rated at 12V and 0.70A. The current draw on these fans provide good insight that they will move quite a bit of air and will probably not be very quiet at full speed. The fan specifications provided by Cooler Master state that each fan moves up to 94CFM at up to 38dBA. This certainly isn't deafening, but it will definitely be audible. The fans use 4-pin PWM connectors that plug into a splitter, which requires only the one 4-pin header on the motherboard to be used. The splitter is tagged with the heatsink's serial number. If a user wanted to upgrade the fans, this can easily be done. The removable fan covers have four small pegs that fit into the fans' mounting holes and helps to secure them.

 

 

 

Installation of the V6GT can take a little time and patience, especially since the massive weight of nearly 2.5lbs could stress the motherboard if installed improperly. The cooler is ready to be installed after attaching the appropriate back plate and mounting brackets. For 775/1156/1366 motherboards, the mounting brackets have to be configured differently depending on which socket is being used. Out of the package, the brackets are set up for socket 775. This cooler will be applied in a socket 1366 scenario, so I had to modify the screws' positions. From this point, I used the provided Cooler Master thermal paste and attached the heatsink per the provided directions.

 

 

The V6GT has four color modes. Each press of the "engine oil cap" rotates through having the LED be red, blue, purple, and turned off. For testing purposes, I had it on red. I think it accented the rest of the lighting in the case well. This cooler had no more than a quarter of an inch between the top of it and the side panel of the case. Given its large height, it may not fit in some smaller cases. This makes it important to check the clearance in the case if there may not be enough room.

 

 

 

After getting the V6GT installed and powered on, there was no doubt that the cooler means serious business when you take a listen to it at full speed. However at low speed, the fan is nearly inaudible. Hopefully the cooler will perform well enough to allow the user to leave the fans on low speed and still maintain acceptable temperatures. I will be exploring the performance of the V6GT soon, the moment I've been waiting for. The next page is a list of specifications and features as provided by the V6GT's product page on Cooler Master's website.

Specifications:

CPU Socket
Intel Socket LGA1366 / 1156 / 775
AMD Socket 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:
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
131 x 120 x 165mm (5.2 x 4.7 x 6.5”)
Weight
939g
Heat Sink Material
Copper Base / 55 x 0.3mm Aluminum Fins / 6 Heatpipes
Fan Speed
800 – 2200 RPM
Fan Airflow
34.02 – 93.74CFM
Fan Air Pressure
0.43 – 3.30mm H2O
Bearing Type
DynaLoop™ Bearing
Fan Life Expectancy
40,000 hours
Fan Noise Level
15 – 38dBA
Heat Pipe Dimensions
6mm
Rated Voltage
12V
Rated Current
0.45A (0.7A max)
Input Power
5.4W (8.4W max)

 

Features

 

With everything that the V6GT has to offer out on the table, the next part of the review is the most important: how it performs. The V6GT will be put in the test rig and compared to several of the other coolers on the market today.

Information provided courtesy of Cooler Master @ http://www.coolermaster.com/product.php?product_id=6668

Testing and Setup:

Testing of the heatsink will involve a load simulated by Prime95, using small FFTs in stock and overclocked scenarios. Idle and load temperatures will be recorded. Load temperatures will be the maximum value displayed in RealTemp after running eight threads in Prime95 for one hour, and idle temperatures will be the minimum value recorded by RealTemp with no computer usage after one hour. The temperature values for each of the four cores will be averaged. The ambient temperature is held at a constant 25° C throughout testing of the V6GT, as well as the comparison heatsinks. All the data shown in the graphs is in degrees Celsius. The included thermal paste from Cooler Master will be used during testing, and thermal pastes as packaged from the other coolers were used with each heatsink respectively.

Testing Setup:

Comparison Heatsinks:

 

 

 

 

 

I must say, the Cooler Master V6GT is an extremely powerful cooler. Even at low speed, it beat out all of the other comparison models under load and is a very strong challenger among the other ultra high end air coolers on the market. My reaction: impressed. On the next page, I will wrap up this review with my thoughts and conclusions on the Cooler Master V6GT.

Conclusion:

To say the least, the Cooler Master V6GT is a fantastic heatsink. It outperformed all of the other comparison heatsinks in every test but one, and pulled even further ahead in the load tests. The large size of the V6GT is made up for by its heat capacity and these tests show it. I am pleased with the engineering and research that Cooler Master put into the V6GT, and there is no doubt that this heatsink falls short to little or none.

The looks of the V6GT are very appealing and can add a very nice touch to any case that it can fit in. Though it is large, it did not impede access to any crucial area of the motherboard. Even if it was in the way of something, the fans snap off easily enough to relieve some hassle to access something under the heatsink. This heatsink offers a few things that I have never seen before. First, the layout of the heatpipes is in a "V" fashion which helps increase airflow around each heatpipe. The other is the slight tilt on the fins that is said to provide a larger surface that the air passes over. Realistically, I can't think that the increase in surface area on a 5-degree tilt would be more than a negligible amount. However, judging by the performance of the V6GT, it certainly didn't hurt.

As I mentioned a few pages back, I was interested to see how well the cooler performs passively. Passively, this cooler doesn't perform much better than the stock Intel heatsink does. If someone is crazy enough about having a completely silent computer with the latest and hottest hardware, a passive V6GT would not be the wisest choice looking at the price to performance ratio. It would be more worth it to buy a water cooling kit for a small amount more than the cost of the V6GT if silence is what someone is looking for.

In conclusion, the Cooler Master V6GT has to be by far one of the best coolers currently on the market and is a great choice for anyone who is looking for a serious air cooling solution. I strongly applaud Cooler Master's expertise in the manufacturing and production of the V6GT and would not hesitate to recommend it as a high end air cooling solution without jumping into the price range of water cooling.

 

Pros:

 

Cons: