Deepcool Ice Matrix 600 Review

airman - 2010-12-08 12:46:18 in CPU Cooling
Category: CPU Cooling
Reviewed by: airman   
Reviewed on: December 27, 2010
Price: $60

Introduction:

Recently visited at OCC was the Deepcool Ice Matrix 400 - a nicely performing, low cost heatsink with a very small footprint that accepts a 120mm fan. It was good for mainly stock scenarios where overclocking wasn't taking place, however Deepcool may have something on the table that has all of the great features of the Ice Matrix 400, but can handle a little more heat. The Ice Matrix 600 has two extra heatpipes and only a slightly larger footprint. The extra heatpipes and more mass should make this cooler achieve even lower temperatures than the Ice Matrix 400, and handle overclocking a little more effectively. Deepcool, founded in 1996, is now rapidly gaining popularity in many countries around the world, though they have been a supplier to Dell, Fujitsu, Siemens, and other companies for years. They offer many heatsinks, GPU and chipset coolers, notebook coolers, and hard drive coolers. Many of their products display their flagship colors of black and blue, making it easy to spot one of their coolers with the naked eye. I am looking forward to trying the Ice Matrix 600 and seeing how well it performs compared to its little sister, the Ice Matrix 400, and compare it to other heatsinks on the market. In this review, I will provide a complete evaluation of the Ice Matrix 600's un-boxing, a closer look at the product itself, specifications and features, followed by an intense product testing and comparison.

Closer Look:

The Deepcool Ice Matrix 600 is packaged in a glossy white cardboard box with a large window in the front that displays the cooler well. Underneath the window are 8 icons that tell a little more about the cooler. Some of these include its supported sockets (Intel and AMD), PWM fan control, silent fan, copper base, and more. I will explore these later in the review. The right side of the package has a picture of the Ice Matrix 600 with the large 140mm fan equipped. Aside from the size and extra heatpipes, the fan is larger on the Ice Matrix 600 than the fan supplied with the Ice Matrix 400. The rear of the package, like the Ice Matrix 400, has a list of standard specifications such as dimensions, weight, and fan information such as voltage and noise levels in many different languages. These figures will also be explored later in this review. Finally, the left side of the box has a listing of supported sockets and processors, along with measurement diagrams showing specific views and their dimensions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Everything is neatly packaged and organized inside the box. The fan is secured behind the heatsink itself, and the mounting hardware and other accessories are in a white box underneath the heatsink. Inside the white box are three back-plates, two sets of mounting clamps for Intel and AMD, fan clips, power adapters, thermal paste and other mounting hardware. The supplied thermal paste is only enough for two or three uses, but that's more than enough for the average user who plans on strapping this heatsink down and leaving it there!

 

 

With everything out of the box, I'm ready to get started on taking a close look at the Deepcool Ice Matrix 600 and assess its features and what I think it is capable of. Stay tuned!

Closer Look:

As I stated in the introduction, the Ice Matrix 600 is almost identical to the Ice Matrix 400. It is a little larger and has two more heatpipes, but everything else is identical. I could almost copy and paste my descriptions from the Ice Matrix 400 review into this one and I'd only have to change the pictures! Nevertheless, that would make this a boring job. My first impression of the Ice Matrix 600 is that I am impressed at how many heatpipes that Deepcool fit into this cooler. The only way they could make an Ice Matrix 800 would be to make the base much larger, or use smaller heatpipes! A larger base could cause clearance issues, and eight smaller (probably around 4mm) heatpipes wouldn't conduct heat any more effectively than six (6mm) heatpipes. That being said, Deepcool looks like they put as much improvement into the Ice Matrix 600 as physics would let them!

Moving on, the Ice Matrix 600 stands at about 170mm (6.7") tall, which is about as tall as many other tower heatsinks in its category. However, it is less than 75mm (3") wide including the fan. This gives the owner great clearance and can make in-case installation simple and less painful than other coolers. The top side of the base exhibits the same feature as each of the other Deepcool heatsinks I have tested, and that is, for lack of a better description, a smaller heatsink stuck onto it. Deepcool takes advantage of this unused surface area, and adds even more surface area with these fins. As we can understand from a heat transfer perspective, any amount of fins should be better than no fins at all. The large mass of six heatpipes are sandwiched inside the base and they look to make good contact. They snake out from the base and then align themselves next to each other, to where the fins are stacked pressed onto them. Taking a look at the sides of the Ice Matrix 600 will clearly show that the real estate on the base for heatpipes is maxed out. This looks like another area where Deepcool takes advantage of whatever leftover space they have, and make use of it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The top fin in the Ice Matrix 600 has the Deepcool logo stamped into it, finishing off the heatsink's identity. The six heatpipes extend through the top fin by only a quarter of an inch, with not enough room left for even one more fin. The base of the Ice Matrix 600 has a protective film over it, warning the user to remove it before installing the heatsink. This film is to protect the base of the Ice Matrix 600, as it needs to remain free from any defects. Any defect in the base, from scratches to dents, can trap heat and can decrease the overall heat transfer rate. As a side note, this is why some manufacturers will polish their bases to a near mirror finish - which can actually improve performance by a couple of degrees. Deepcool's Website states that the base is mirror polished, and I'll check that out soon.

As I said earlier, the heatpipes are very well sandwiched between the two pieces of the base. Good, solid contact here is also extremely important. Just like when the processor doesn't make good contact with the bottom of base, if the heatpipes don't make good contact inside of the base, the heatsink will perform poorly. Another concept of "good contact" applies to the fins as well. The fins are pressed into the heatpipes, stretching their openings and creating pressure at this interface. High pressure and large surface area helps the heat move quickly between the heatpipes and the fins, and ultimately removed by the air moving through it. A close up of the fins on top of the base can be found below.

 

 

 

A similar trait to the Ice Matrix 400 that this heatsink has is the split down the middle of the fins. As far as I can observe, this split won't help airflow through the fins, nor will it help with cooling capabilities. Unfortunately, as I expected, the base on the Ice Matrix 600 is just like the base on the Ice Matrix 400. Deepcool's Website says that it is polished to a mirror finish, but by my definition, it certainly isn't. The machining marks are evident and it is not very reflective at all. For the Ice Matrix 400, as a lower cost heatsink, I didn't really expect to see a high quality finish - but I was disappointed to see that Deepcool says that it is supposed to have a mirror finish. For the Ice Matrix 600, being a little more pricey, I expected there to be a little more to the "upgrade" than a couple of extra heatpipes. That being said, I'm probably going to take points off from Deepcool. The base is far from mirror polished.

 

 

The supplied fan on the Ice Matrix 600 is a 140mm black and blue rubber coated fan that pulls 12v at about 0.13A. It moves up to 72CFM at 1200RPM and about 28dBA. The rubberized coating helps dampen any vibrations that could propagate through the heatsink and into the case, resisting any excess noise that could be distracting or a nuisance. It is fastened to the heatsink with two metal clips, which are held in a slot on the side of the heatsink and clips into the fan itself. This is probably the easiest way to clip fans to heatsinks, and I hope more manufacturers continue this method. Deepcool does supply an extra set of clips that can be used to fasten a second fan on the heatsink if one wishes to use a push/pull fan configuration.

 

 

Installation of the Ice Matrix 600 is just like that of the Ice Matrix 400 and the Gamer Storm. There are appropriate back plates for Intel 775 and 1156, as well as AMD AM3/AM2+ and AM2. There is not, however, a specific back-plate for 1366 applications. For a socket 1366 processor, you take the four stick-on plastic nuts and apply them on the rear of the motherboard instead of placing a back-plate there. I mentioned on the earlier Deepcool reviews that this is a little bit of a drawback because the stickiness of the plastic nuts wear out, are difficult to remove, and leave residue on the back of the motherboard. Anyway, once the appropriate back-plate is in place, four standoffs are are screwed in through the motherboard. Then, the mounting clamps are attached to the base of the heatsink, which is then tightened down into the stand-offs. Of course, thermal paste is applied before mounting the heatsink.

 

 

 

The Deepcool Ice Matrix 600 is just like its little sister, in the fact that it is very unobtrusive in the case and it is very unlikely that there would be any clearance issues or make access to other parts of the computer difficult when compared to other tower coolers. The Ice Matrix 600 has a nice and attractive stance inside the case, giving an observer a clean view of the entire motherboard. For users who want to maximize viewing angles, this doesn't seem like a bad way to go. Now that the heatsink is installed and ready to go, it's time to fire up the test rig and see what it can handle and how it handles it! The next page contains a compilation of manufacturer specifications and features, as found from the Deepcool Website.

Specifications:

Overall Dimension
140 x 73.5 x 169.5mm
Net Weight
1100g
Fan Dimension
140 x 140 x 25mm
Rated Voltage
12VDC
Rated Current
0.13 +/- 10% A
Fan Speed
500~1200RPM
Max Air Flow
71.8CFM
Noise
17~27dBA
Supported Sockets
Intel: LGA1366/1156/775
AMD: AM3/AM2+/AM2

 

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 in the graphs below. The ambient temperature is held at a constant 22.5 °C throughout testing of the Ice Matrix 600, as well as the comparison heatsinks. All the data shown in the graphs below 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 Ice Matrix 600 will be run at full speed for these tests.

Testing Setup:

Comparison Heatsinks:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well, the Ice Matrix 600 did slightly out-perform the Ice Matrix 400, but it's obvious that 50% more heatpipes and a higher CFM fan didn't really improve a whole lot on what Deepcool already had in place with the Ice Matrix 400 - a little disappointing. The next page will have my final thoughts about this heatsink.

Conclusion:

Well, what can I say? The Deepcool Ice Matrix 600 is a relatively small cooler that employs six heatpipes and a stack of aluminum fins to remove loads of heat from the processor. However, as the results show, there didn't seem to be a whole lot of improvement over the Ice Matrix 400 - which will probably launch at about $20 less than the Ice Matrix 600. With a mild overclock of only 800mhz, this chip is capable of much more and I'm sure that the Ice Matrix 600 would probably pull a further gap away from the Ice Matrix 400 as the clock speed increases. So, in my opinion, users won't take much advantage over the Ice Matrix 400 with the Ice Matrix 600 unless they plan on running a heavy overclock.

Just as I found with the Ice Matrix 400, this heatsink doesn't have the mirror polished base that Deepcool advertises. A mirror polished base means that the CPU makes a slightly higher contact with the heatsink and has a little higher heat transfer rate. For socket 1366, Deepcool doesn't use a back plate, but rather a set of four stick-on plastic nuts. While this method works, it does make reusing these later a little troublesome since the adhesive will wear out after a few uses. While the adhesive isn't 100% necessary, it does prevent the plastic nuts from spinning while tightening down the standoffs on the other side of the mounting area. Also, a little bit of adhesive from the double sided tape is likely to remain on the back of the motherboard, which can cause other back plates from other heatsinks to get stuck - making it a concerning task to remove.

Overall, I feel that for an extra $20 on top of the price of the Ice Matrix 400, users won't really find much of an advantage unless the processor is significantly overclocked. The Ice Matrix 400 held a close gap to this cooler, though that gap widens as the processor is overclocked. This is because the Ice Matrix 600 has a little bit more mass, and the extra heatpipes helps the overall heat transfer rate. Both of the Ice Matrix coolers could find some improvement if the bases had higher quality finishes. Overall, for price to performance comparisons, the Ice Matrix 400 will win compared to the Ice Matrix 600. However, the Ice Matrix 600 is obviously a better option for users who wish to overclock, but don't want a cooler with a large footprint.

 

Pros:

 

Cons: