Deepcool Gamer Storm Review

airman - 2010-08-23 15:12:40 in Cooling
Category: Cooling
Reviewed by: airman   
Reviewed on: September 23, 2010
Price: $69.99

Introduction:

A relatively unknown yet still well-established manufacturer in the cooling world is the company named Deepcool. Deepcool has a large range of cooling products for many different platforms, including 1U and 2U servers, standard desktops, and laptops, for everything from hard drives to video cards to chipsets. Deepcool's goal is to provide the best performance and humanized thermal solutions for worldwide customers, while maintaining customer satisfaction by serving its customers’ ever-changing thermal needs and providing the quickest and most comprehensive service available. Today, this review will encompass Deepcool's latest CPU cooler, the Gamer Storm. I had not heard of Deepcool prior to receiving this cooler, and looking through its products and doing a little bit of research on the company has been impressive so far. I am excited to test this cooler and see how it stacks up to the latest and greatest heatsinks, and to see if it beats any of the top standing performers currently on the market. In this review, I will provide a complete evaluation of the Deepcool Gamer Storm from unboxing, a close look at the product, its installation, specifications, features, and most importantly, performance.

 

Closer Look:

The Deepcool Gamer Storm is presented VERY well. The box is made and designed in a way that will make the owner want to keep it since it is so well-made. The packaging is a sturdy white box made of multiple ply cardboard (not corrugated, so it's very stiff) that has a magnetic flap that holds the front cover to the box. The magnetic flap easily flips up and uncovers the interior of the box, which features a window that shows the cooler, as well as a list of features of the Gamer Storm. With the outer flap opened, there is an inner flap that folds outwards and completely shows the cooler. The Gamer Storm is encased in black, fitted foam next to another fitted area that houses the included fan and accessories. The included parts, other than the heatsink, is the 120mm PWM fan, mounting hardware for LGA775, 1156 and 1366, as well as AM3, AM2+ and AM2.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By just looking and handling the Gamer Storm for a short while, I feel that it will be a solid contender to the likeness of the Noctua NH-U12P and the Megahalems. Coming from a name that I haven't heard of, it will certainly be interesting to see how the engineering from Deepcool compares to that of the other companies that currently dominate the market. The Deepcool Gamer Storm is a very well presented product that also looks great and seems like it has a lot of potential to be a great performer. On the next page, I will explore the physical parts and features of the Gamer Storm, shortly followed by rigorous testing and comparisons.

Closer Look:

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.

Specifications:

Material
Copper base, Aluminum Fins
Weight
1189g
Socket Compatibility
Intel LGA775/1156/1366
AMD AM3/AM2+/AM2
Overall Dimensions
134 x 98 x 158mm (with fan)
Fan Dimension
120 x 120 x 25mm
Fan Voltage
12VDC (operating 10.8V~13.4VDC)
Fan Current
0.13A (+/- 10%)
Fan MAX Air Flow
66.3CFM
Fan Noise
17.6~27.6dBA

 

Features:

 

Information provided courtesy of Deepcool @ http://www.deepcoolglobal.com

Testing and Setup:

Testing of the heatsink will involve applying a load simulated by Prime95, using small FFTs in stock and overclocked scenarios. Both 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 recorded value by RealTemp with no computer usage after one hour. The temperature values for each of the four cores will be averaged and displayed on the graphs below. The ambient temperature is held at a constant 25 °C throughout testing of the Gamer Storm, as well as the comparison heatsinks. All the data shown in the graphs is in degrees Celsius. The included thermal paste from Deepcool will be used during testing, and thermal pastes as packaged from the other coolers were used with each heatsink, respectively. The fan on the Gamer Storm will be run at full speed for these tests.

Testing Setup:

Comparison Heatsinks:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The results here are right on par with my expectations - the Gamer Storm actually does battle with the Noctua DH-U12P! The Noctua heatsinks are regarded as some of the best coolers for their size, and the Gamer Storm is about the same size. The two Thermalright coolers that outperformed the Gamer Storm are very large, which provide respective results. I will wrap up my thoughts of this review on the next page.

Conclusion

The Deepcool Gamer Storm is a very strong competitor in the heatsink market when compared to other heatsinks in its category. Its core size is very manageable and non-intrusive, and offers very good performance even when using only one fan. I think if Deepcool provided one extra fan (they do provide another set of fan clips) with the Gamer Storm, the performance of this cooler would be even more stellar right out of the box. Speaking of the box, it is a very well made package that will probably not be thrown away. It is very rigid and easy to open and close with the included magnets in the exterior flap. Moving on, the heatsink itself is very good looking and has a small footprint, which has a lesser chance of causing clearance issues around tall RAM heatsinks. The base has a mirror finish, which is the first I've seen for a while, and has a set of fins on top of the base for extra heat exchange. These two features found on the Gamer Storm are very unique and hard to find, and they display complete and utter thoughtfulness by the engineers at Deepcool. Installation on an LGA1366 motherboard is easy, though the (somewhat) required adhesive on the back of the plastic nuts is only good for one or two uses. After the adhesive has worn off, tightening the pressure caps that hold the heatsink to the motherboard will become more difficult because the nuts will want to spin.

Overall, the Deepcool Gamer Storm is a very good performer, beating the Noctua NH-U12P by a slight margin and maintaining a relatively small footprint. Installation is easy, though could be improved for multiple uses on LGA1366 systems. The base is mirror polished, which is hard to find in stock form, and the heatpipes are staggered so that there is less airflow blocked from other heatpipes. The only thing that I feel this cooler lacks is that it only comes with one fan, and could offer a slight bit more performance in a push/pull configuration. Available at $70 right now on Amazon, it is a little more pricey than some other coolers in its category. However, the small footprint and very thoughtful engineering makes it worth it, so I will not list this as a con.

 

Pros:

 

Cons: