DEEPCOOL Ice Wind Pro Review

airman - 2012-02-20 22:01:05 in CPU Cooling
Category: CPU Cooling
Reviewed by: airman   
Reviewed on: May 22, 2012
Price: $45.99

Introduction:

Over the past couple of years, cooling accessory manufacturer DEEPCOOL has been making its way into the US market. While it still seems to be a rather quiet company to many of us over here, DEEPCOOL was founded in 1996 in Beijing, so it has been in the business for more than 15 years. In fact, 2003 was the year that DEEPCOOL was able to achieve the No. 1 sales volume in all of mainland China in retail computer cooling accessories. DEEPCOOL is an ISO-recognized company, meaning that it conforms to a strict level of international requirements and standards not only related to manufacturing, but to higher levels such as management and continuous improvement. To us, this means that we can expect a high level of quality from DEEPCOOL in its products and have faith that its products will get even better with time.

I have had the opportunity to review several other DEEPCOOL heat sinks in the past, such as the Gamer Storm and Ice Matrix 600. Both of these coolers performed well beyond my expectations and also offered a high level of build quality. When I received these coolers for review almost a year and a half ago, I had never even heard of DEEPCOOL. Since then, I have learned that just because you haven't heard of a company before, does not mean you should be skeptical of its quality! Today, I will be giving DEEPCOOL's latest addition to its heat sink lineup, the Ice Wind Pro, a thorough evaluation. It is compatible with all recent sockets, traversing back all the way to Intel Socket 775 and AMD Socket 754. It uses four direct contact 6 mm copper heat pipes, a single stack of aluminum fins, and is packaged with a single 120 mm fan, though it does accept two fans for a user who may wish to have a push/pull setup.

In this review, I will provide a thorough evaluation of the DEEPCOOL Ice Wind Pro heat sink as it is packaged in its retail form, and its performance metrics as compared to other heat sinks on the market. Starting with its unboxing and followed by an up-close look at the heat sink itself, it will then be mounted in a recent computer system, so that its idle and load temperatures can be recorded in both stock and overclocked scenarios. Let's get started!

 

Closer Look:

The DEEPCOOL Ice Wind Pro is packaged in a standard DEEPCOOL white box with blue accents. The front of the box features an angled picture of the cooler with its black and blue fan mounted. Underneath this picture are several icons that denote its Intel and AMD compatibility, anti-vibration technology, its "super silent" operation, and its "modding look". The right side of the box has a listing of the cooler’s specifications such as its overall dimensions, weight, fan speed, and other technical data in many different languages. Also, on the top is a handle for easy carrying. The rear of the box has a picture of the back side of the heat sink, along with a picture of its base, which shows off its "Core Touch Technology" (CTT). Finally, on the left side is a listing of all compatible CPUs (aside from just the socket listing) for both Intel and AMD, along with the dimensions as seen from a left, front, and top drawing view.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inside, the Ice Matrix Pro is sandwiched between two pieces of soft foam with the fan box tightly placed next to it; there is no plastic wrapping on the heat sink itself. Loosely placed in the box is a warranty card, a quality certificate, and the installation guide. Underneath the heat sink and the fan is the accessory box which includes a rather slim array of items – all that is provided are two pairs of fan clips, a plastic mount base for Intel sockets, four pairs of locking pins, and a small packet of thermal paste. This mounting system is new to me; it seems that Intel systems will be adapted to use an AMD-style mounting. Aside from this unique mounting setup, the elements of this cooler remind me of what I have seen in previous DEEPCOOL heat sinks. I like what I see so far!

 

 

 

With everything pulled out of the box, let's move onto the close-up evaluation of the cooler itself.

Closer Look:

The contrast between the aluminum and copper has always appealed to me, but is also the easiest look to achieve on a heat sink since it requires no coatings, paint, or plating. The Ice Wind Pro stands at 157 mm tall (from base to top of fan), 83 mm thick (with fan), and weighs only 650 g in total. Its lightweight construction would be perfect for someone who may move their machine a lot or at the minimum, someone who may be concerned with their cooler's weight. The DEEPCOOL Ice Matrix Pro has something that the other DEEPCOOL coolers have had, which is a unique fin shape that differs it from a plain, "symmetric" design. The fin sizes and shapes vary as they travel up the heat pipes, giving it a dynamic look that sets it apart from other medium-range coolers. The heat pipes protrude from the top and are mostly uniform (about as uniform as you can make heat pipes). To have so many bends and be so uniform, I'd say whoever operating or programming the heat pipe bender is a master of the art! The base itself is clearly aluminum and has a grooved pattern on its top. Two notches on either side hold the two clamping arms in place, which are used to clamp the heat sink to the CPU.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The base itself is protected with a plastic film that has a clear warning label on it to ensure the user removes this before installation. On the underside of the first fin is a sticker with a bar code on it, as well as "warranty void if removed", signifying that these heat sinks are serialized – usually, this means a better end-product for the customer. Upon the removal of this plastic film, a very well-polished base is exposed, containing only very small gaps between the heat pipes and aluminum base material. With the heat sink using a direct contact base, it is important to minimize these gaps as they can trap air. A high-quality base with very small gaps denotes a well-designed and thought-out cooler, and typically implies a high-quality product! Its reflectivity is high as well; another highly sought after characteristic.

 

 

 

The fan itself is a 4-pin, PWM, 120 mm fan with rubber anti-vibration pads already in place. Its housing is made of black, high-gloss plastic, and its blades are made of a blue plastic, with a silver DEEPCOOL center cap. There is only a plain white sticker on its backside where the manufacturer and general information can be found – however, the white sticker provides no data. Luckily, the box tells us that it runs on 12 V and pulls ~0.13 A, making it a 1.56 W fan that operates between 500~1500 RPM at 17.8~27.6 dBA and has a maximum airflow of 66.3 CFM. These specifications are rather standard and do not signify what OEM may have provided this fan.

 

 

 

Attaching the fan to the cooler is rather self-explanatory; there are slits at each edge of the cooler for the fan clips to grab onto. The other ends of the clips then hook into each of the fan's four screw holes. Since two clips are required per fan, we have another pair left over in case we want to install a secondary fan for a push/pull setup.

 

 

Now, to the part I've been interested in since I first opened the box. As I suspected, the cooler itself is natively configured to clip directly to an AMD heat sink bracket without any modifications. However, for us Intel folks, we will need to install the provided mounting bracket that mimics this AMD-style mounting. The push pins are placed in each of the four corners of the bracket that correspond to the correct socket (i.e. LGA 775, 1156, and 1366). Once the bracket is in place, one side of the heat sink's clip can be hooked around the bracket, with the other side requiring a little bit of force to move into place. A small workout is needed (that's an exaggeration), though anybody can do it. This process makes the installation completely tool-free. It is nice not to have to hunt for a screwdriver, although you may need one to remove your previous cooler!

 

 

 

With an easy, tool-free installation, the cooler is now ready to be put on the hot seat for some time on the test bench!

Specifications:

Overall Dimension
140 x 83 x 157 mm
Fan Dimension
120 x 120 x 25 mm
Weight
650 g
Rated Voltage
12VDC
Operating Voltage
10.8~13.2VDC
Starting Voltage
7VDC
Rated Current
0.13 +/- 10% A (max)
Power Input
1.56 W
Fan Speed
500+/-200~1500+/-10% RPM
Max. Air Flow
66.3 CFM
Noise Level
17.8~27.6 dBA
Bearing Type
Hydro Bearing

 

Features:

 

All information provided courtesy of DEEPCOOL @ http://www.deepcool-us.com/Product/ICE_WIND_PRO/

Testing:

Testing of this heat sink will involve applying a load simulated by Prime95, using small FFTs in stock and overclocked scenarios, where 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 during a period of 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 23°C throughout testing of the DEEPCOOL Ice Wind Pro, as well as with the comparison units. 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 on other heat sinks from their respective manufacturers will be used. The fans on each cooler will be run at full-speed for these tests.

Testing Setup:

 

Comparison Heatsinks:

 

 

 

 

These results look rather skewed, but this ~$40 cooler is going up against $50+ coolers and hanging in there within a couple degrees in every test, showing no sign of fatigue in even the overclocked load testing.

Conclusion:

The thing that impressed me the most about this cooler, believe it or not, was its installation process. The 100% tool-free, in-case, no-rear-access-required installation went through like a breeze. It took only minutes to go from having no cooler to having this one installed. It's the first of its kind that is done this way and I hope other manufacturers take a step for lighter-end coolers that can get away without a heavy-duty mounting mechanism. The cooler's build quality is top notch, which follows in the steps of previous DEEPCOOL heat sinks that I have had the opportunity to review. The base is exceptionally flat and the grooves at the heat pipe-to-base interface are almost non-existent. The fan is quiet and the fan mounting clips are sturdy; the included rubber vibration dampers on the fans are also a nice touch. I don't have anything against this cooler and I'm excited to see what DEEPCOOL puts into the market next. So far, I have been pleased with the way DEEPCOOL designs its heat sinks and the reasonable prices that DEEPCOOL sets for them. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this cooler for anyone in need of a mid-range, lightweight, and simple cooler.

 

Pros:

 

Cons: