ENERMAX ETS-T40 Heatsink Reviewairman - August 1, 2012
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The size and shape of the ENERMAX ETS-T40 heatsink is one with which we are all familiar. It has a single tower construction with direct contact heatpipes on its base. The heatpipes exit both sides of the base and make 90° turns upwards where they enter the stack of fins. Though the ETS-T40-TA (blue LED) model is nickel plated, this ETS-T40-VD (violet) model is not, and the bare copper color is visible. The fins on the short edges are folded into each other, forcing the air to travel through the fins in the direction that the fan(s) blow. The heatpipe ends exit through the top fin and stick out about 8-10mm from the top fin, which is a typical characteristic with this type of heatsink. The wide edges of the fins are uniquely notched, and from what I can tell this has to do with ENERMAX's patented features that somehow increases air convection (VGF: Vortex Generator Flow), enhances heat transfer (SEF: Stack Effect), and optimizes the airflow (VEF: Vacuum Effect). I don't exactly know how the fins do all of these things since there isn't any technical information about it.
The top fin is embossed with the ENERMAX logo and has visible triangles that are pressed/cut into the surface, while smaller triangles surround the heatpipes. From what I can tell, this unique design may be the "Vortex Generator Flow" technology. These small triangles surrounding the heatpipes could generate additional flow turbulence that can indeed increase convection effectiveness. Well done ENERMAX, I see what you did there. Looking at the bottom of the heatsink where the heatpipes enter the fins does not show any evidence that the fins are soldered to the heatpipes, but a different view does give another perspective of the triangles cut into the fin profile. On the base itself is a protective sticker that is to help maintain base surface quality during shipment and transport.
When looking at direct contact heatpipe heatsinks, there are two main areas where I judge the base in terms of quality. Important to me is the gap between the aluminum base material and the heatpipes as well as the overall surface finish. It's difficult to achieve small gaps between the heatpipe/base interface — additional processes (extra machining steps perhaps) are required that can drive costs much higher. Here lies the trade-off between cost and quality; lower-budget coolers require a balance of the two factors. The same goes for the base's overall surface finish and flatness, where the flatter and shinier the base appears the better (but again, this increases cost). The gaps between the heatpipes and aluminum base are evident, but the base is flat overall and has a nice reflectivity. Even with the noticeable gaps it's a $45 cooler, and I can't complain!
I think that the coolest (no pun intended) part about this cooler is the T.B. VEGAS Duo fan (only available with ETS-T40-VD model). It's your standard 120mm PWM fan, but its lighting is the unique part. An LED strip lines the entire circumference of the inside of the fan and will project neat patterns onto the clear fan blades. There is an auxiliary/remote button that can be used to switch between 11 different modes using both red and blue LEDs. I am excited to see exactly what this looks like once I get it installed. As far as technical specifications go, the T.B. VEGAS Duo fan operates from 800~1800 RPM with a noise level of 16~26dBA and an airflow of 33~76 CFM. These numbers are typical and they look good to me.
Installation of the ENERMAX ETS-T40 is simple and only requires a Phillips head screwdriver. The backplate is put into position and is fastened into place with four standoffs screwed through the motherboard and into the backplate. The two crossbars are fastened to the standoffs with four nuts that are tightened using the included wrench. Finally, the heatsink is moved into position, and the it is ready to go after locking down the crossbar with two more nuts. The light modes on the fan vary between just blue, just red, or both and are adjusted by the remote button that comes from the fan. They can be solid on, flashing, rotating, or off completely. I will say the flashing modes are not my style, so I'll end up leaving them off entirely. The picture below is with both red and blue LEDs illuminated, which produces a purple color.
Now that everything is installed, it's time to get started on testing! But first, let's take a look at the heatsink's specifications and features on the next page.