Deepcool Gamer Storm Reviewairman - September 23, 2010
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The Deepcool Gamer Storm has a very standard form factor that is common among many single and dual fan heatsinks. The entire heatsink is plated with dark nickel, which gives a very unique look. Nickel plating does not help improve the performance and it is only there for cosmetic reasons. It could, however, prevent oxidation of the aluminum if it was a bare surface. The fins are about as thick as the other high end heatsinks, and are spaced comparably as well. The Deepcool Gamer Storm utilizes six soldered heatpipes attached to 48 aluminum fins, with more fins on top of the base. Heat transfer and fin effectiveness is all about surface area, so the engineers at Deepcool understood that having more surface area on the normally wasted space on the base is a strong addition. The fins on the side of the Gamer Storm are folded over in the center section, making a solid surface. This is most likely for the sake of keeping all the air from the fan between the fins, rather than escaping through the sides.
The top of the Gamer Storm is also plated in dark nickel with the Deepcool logo stamped into it. Since it is plated, it is very reflective and almost mirror like, giving it a sleek look. The heatpipes are staggered so that the air can flow around them without being as blocked as if they were in a line, and the base is polished to a mirror finish. I have not seen the base of any heatsink polished to a mirror finish in ages and I am excited to see it on this cooler. Generally, users would have to take the time to wet sand their heatsinks' bases, which is very time consuming and difficult to get perfect and also voids the warranty. I will definitely mark this as a plus for Deepcool's design.
The fins are press fit onto the heatpipes and have two notches on both sides cut into them. These notches are for the clips that attach the fans to the heatsink. This angle also gives a better look at how the heatpipes are staggered for optimizing airflow. Below is also a better look at the small secondary heatsink mounted on top of the base. This helps remove heat directly to the air before traveling through the heatpipes, and is definitely worth having there. As I said, heat transfer by convection (air blowing over a surface) is optimized with maximum surface area. Having fins on the top of the base increases the surface area of the base from just a flat surface and can easily add a significant amount of cooling capabilities.
The six heatpipes are soldered to the base between two pieces of copper. A lot of heatsinks today use a direct contact setup where one surface of the heatpipes is exposed through the base, but there is usually large gaps between the heatpipes and the material of the base. Having these gaps lessens the contact area of the base of the heatsink to the processor, which is bad for heat transfer as well. Technically, having one less interface between the heatpipes and the processor will provide a quicker heat transfer rate, but the gaps and smaller surface area probably cancel this out. So, having the heatpipes within the base is still the best way to go in my opinion, as the contact area of the base can be maximized and polished to a mirror finish like the base of the Gamer Storm.
At first glance from an angle, the fins on the Gamer Storm look as if they are diagonal due to their overlapping design. This is what I thought with my first look at the heatsink before looking at it straight on. It's a neat design that is eye catching, which is why I decided to mention it in this review.
Installation of the Deepcool Gamer Storm is relatively simple. For Intel LGA1366, four adhesive-backed plastic nuts attach to the back of the motherboard underneath each of the CPU heatsink mounting holes. I don't really like the adhesive side of it because if the heatsink has to be removed and exchanged, these plastic nuts will become less adhesive. In order for the heatsink to be attached properly, these need to be held in place while attaching the screws to these nuts, which can be difficult if they cannot withstand the tightening force on their own. After these four plastic nuts are attached, four more male-to-female screws attach through the mounting holes into the plastic nuts. These need to be relatively tight so that the heatsink will have enough pressure onto the CPU, though finger tight will be tight enough initially. This is because once the heatsink attaches to these inner screws, they will continue to tighten into the adhesive plastic nuts behind the motherboard. The specific bracket for LGA1366 attaches to the base of the Gamer Storm with two thumbscrews, which can then be set onto the CPU and tightened down. The thermal paste included with the Gamer Storm is spreadable by hand, which a lot of people prefer, as I do. I tightened the screws on the heatsink mount all the way down in a criss-cross pattern until the springs could no longer compress, which also ensures equal compression on the CPU. As far as the difficulty level goes for installing the heatsink while inside the case: 5/10.
Now that the Deepcool Gamer Storm is installed in the computer, the time to test it is near. The next page will have a comprehensive list of its specifications and features, which precedes the rigorous testing of the cooler.