Cooler Master Aero 7 Lite CPU Cooler Review

Admin - 2007-01-31 19:09:07 in CPU Cooling
Category: CPU Cooling
Reviewed by: Admin   
Reviewed on: October 9, 2003
Cooler Master
Cooler Master
Price: $21 USD
Introduction
Greetings. Today we'll be looking at another iteration of Cooler Master's popular 'Aero' line with the very unique blower fan. The Aero 7 Lite is an "Aluminum extrusion with copper inserted" type heatsink. The idea is that the copper draws more heat from the CPU die, and the aluminum disperses it. Those of you familiar with HSFs will be familiar with this concept. The benefits of this design is that while the temperatures may be slightly higher then an all-Cu design, the heatsink itself will be significantly lighter. And with that done, we move on to examine the heatsink!

Since Cooler Master's establishment in 1992, the company has been dedicated to designing, researching, developing and manufacturing cooling systems for personal computers. Today, Cooler Master has already gained a reputation as one of the world's top suppliers of CPU cooling systems. Even though Cooler Master is ISO 9001 certified, the best proof of high quality standard is derived from the type of customers that we serve. You will find Cooler Master thermal solutions inside the computers of companies like AMD, Epson, Fujitsu, HP, Microsoft, NEC, nVidia, Samsung, Sony, Siemens and a myriad of other respected brands worldwide.

Specifications

Features
Closer Look


Glossy and Good Looking Aero 7 Lite package

The packaging for the Aero 7 Lite is not clamshell plastic, which is different from the other Cooler Master products I've seen and used. Instead, it comes tightly packed in a small cardboard box.



What's Included:



The box includes *almost* everything you would need to install the Aero 7 Lite. strangely enough...no instruction manual. Now, I know for pretty much all of us this isn't a big deal, but for those new to the game, its always nice to have a firm visual reference. The lack of instructions surprised me, however, they are available at the Cooler Master website. The instructions are multilingual..but they also use a different style clip in the pictures provided. The clip included on the Aero 7 Lite is a slot-screwdriver one, as opposed to a thumbclip. You may have also noticed, there was no thermal grease/paste included. Why? Coolermaster has put a thermal pad on the base of the heatsink. As a result, we also see a departure from the massive sticker found on most Cooler Master heatsinks and have a large plastic base instead.



As you can see in the picture, the base is obviously machined, but comes nowhere close to a mirror shine. This is probably the worst I have ever seen a Coolermaster base. Running a fingernail over it, I was still able to feel the ridges. Closer Look Continued



Unfortunately I was unable to get a top-down shot of the heatsink for you. The blower fan on the Aero 7 Lite is, as far as I can tell, not removable.



And we have the screwdriver clip. As much as I hate them, I suppose they are functional. For a closer look at the Coolermaster blower fan (seeing as I couldn't get it off) as well as the adjustable speed controls (also identical) you can go here. The only difference is the "Aero V" on the fan is now simply "Aero"



No touching!

Installation
The installation of this fan was basic - simply grab yourself a slot screwdriver and pop it in, much as you would any other heatsink. Be careful though, because - as always - the screwdrive may slip and you ruin a good motherboard. Just take it easy and you'll be all set. At this point, I should mention that since the blower is adjustable, the noise level differs. At the highest setting, the fan is loud, but not horribly so. Given the information on the Cooler Master website, the fan is rated at a max dBA level of only 37.5dBA. Only a slight tweak down (the "Medium" setting as listed below), and its very tolerable, if not downright silent.



Installing the 3.5" bracket was a bit difficult. The drive cages on the Antec case I was using (the 1040BII) do not have screw holes that far forward in the cage. As a result, the 3.5" bracket is a little bit set back in the first slot, and is uninstallable in the 2nd slot. Seeing as I only have 1 case, that could be a singular problem (I can't test it) but it would be nice to have a bracket that could be flush with the outside of the case. Perhaps longer sides on the bracket could accomplish this. Testing
So let's get going on the good parts: What type of performance will this HSF give you.

Testing Setup
Abit NF7-S v2.0
AMD Athlon XP 2500+ (Barton) (1.83GHz)
Kingston Hyper-X 256M PC3200 (DDR400) CAS 2
Antec 1040BII tower w/ 2 exhaust fans
Arctic Silver Ceramique Thermal Compound

Testing Method

Temperatures were recorded from the onboard thermal probe on the motherboard. Ceramique was applied to the heatsink according to the directions available at Arctic Silver's website. The compound was given 3 days (72 hours) to set before any testing was done. The idle temperature was recorded after 15 minutes of inactivity. The load temperature was taken after running CPU Burn-In for 15 minutes. Temperatures were taken at High (~3500RPM), Medium (~2100RPM) and Low (~1725RPM) fan settings, as well as at stock speeds ([email protected] 1.83Mhz) and overclocked speeds ([email protected] 2200Mhz).

Testing Results



At idle, the Aero 7 Lite performs very well in the AL-Cu hybrid class. At the lowest fan speed, there is only a 6*C difference between Non-OC and OC. And at 46.5*C, your PC is still in the green. At the highest fan speed, the gap is closed to 4.5*C, displaying the benefits of the blower fan, with the pressure hitting that copper slug in the center of the heatsink.



Under load, the temperature invariably rised. However, it isn't that dramatic and the Aero7 Lite still keeps the CPU at a healthy temperature, even at the lowest fan speed. Again we see the 6*C difference between the Non-OC and the OC temps. At High fan speed, the gap remains similar, with the Non-OC temp at 41*C and the OC temp at 46*C.



For the comparison we'll be using the stock HSF that is included with the AMD CPU. Why? Because everyone has one, so everyone can understand the benefits of this fan. At idle temps, the Aero 7 outclasses the stock heatsink by 6*C when Non-OC, and by a full 9.5*C when the CPU has been overclocked.



Under load, again the Aero 7 keeps the gap clear when not overclocked. However, we finally see the true use of this fan when we get to the overclocked temperatures. At a full 10*C lower then the stock AMD fan, the Aero 7 Lite keeps your CPU in the green at 46*C, as opposed to a dangerous 56*C.


Conclusion
The Aero 7 Lite is a well performing fan in its group of Al-Cu hybrids. On top of that, the unique look will spruce up the insides of any case. At a mere $21US/$29CAN this heatsink is an extremely good performer for the money invested. As blower fans become more popular, I'm sure (like every other fan) we'll see new ones with LEDs and UV reactive casings soon to hit the market. Even so, the Aero 7 Lite is a great looking fan, at an extremely affordable price. It was a shame to see that a) no instruction manual was included and b) there was a thermal pad, but overall this was an easy-to-install, highly functional heatsink. Despite all its misgivings, the Aero 7 Lite was definately a winner.

Pros

  • Very attractive
  • Adjustable
  • Extremely good performance to noise levels
  • Sturdy CPU clips
  • Very well built

Cons

  • No Instructions?!?
  • Brackets only come in silver
  • Screwdriver clip assembly
  • Thermal Pad (Boooo)
  • Poor base machining/lapping
  • Can't remove blower fan


Thanks to Cooler Master for sending us this product to review.

 

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