ENERMAX ETS-T40 Heatsink Review

airman - 2012-05-24 16:07:51 in CPU Cooling
Category: CPU Cooling
Reviewed by: airman   
Reviewed on: August 1, 2012
Price: $45.99

Introduction:

When the name ENERMAX comes to mind, I am personally reminded of an early pioneer of power supplies and other OEM computer products. I recently became aware of a line of heatsinks designed and manufactured by ENERMAX — the ETS series. This fresh design incorporates four 6mm direct contact heatpipes into a familiar tower-style shape that uses 120mm fans. Only one of ENERMAX's fancy circularly-lit LED fans is included in the retail package, but the heatsink and included accessories support a push/pull setup if another fan is desired. I am looking forward to seeing what ENERMAX has to offer with its ETS-T40 heatsink and how well it performs compared to other comparable heatsinks on the market. In this review, I will be exploring the ENERMAX ETS-T40 heatsink from its packaging, design and construction, specifications, and determining its thermal performance metrics. With that said, let's get started!

 

Closer Look:

The packaging for the ENERMAX ETS-T40 is a mostly white and blue cardboard box with the "title" portion on the top of the box. The top shows a quarter-view of the cooler and names some of the processors with which it is compatible such as the Core i7, i5, and AM3, AM2, etc. A red sticker in the bottom right of the top face is placed underneath the furthest icon to the right indicating that it is the "VD" submodel, which lets us know that the included fan is ENERMAX's multi-colored T.B. Vegas Duo fan. Each of the four connecting sides list features and specifications of the cooler from its patented technologies (I will discuss these in more detail later) to its mechanical specifications such as dimensions, weight, material, and fan properties. The remaining side offers the phrase "The CPU cooler with PWM fan features patented VGF/VEF/HDT for extremely high cooling performance, and all-in-one bracket for Intel 775/1155/1156/1366 & AMD AM2/AM3" in 12 languages including English.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Opening the box reveals a plain brown cardboard frame that is positioned around the cooler with the fan facing outwards. The mounting components and other accessories are tucked in beside this cardboard frame in a plastic baggie. The mounting components are very simple in quantity: one backplate, two threaded support bars, and a clamping bar that holds it in place. Securing everything together is a total of four standoffs and six nuts. When it comes to simple and effective mounting methods, this one is at the top of the charts in my book. The components feel heavy duty, and I already know how it goes together just by looking at it.

 

 

 

With the ENERMAX ETS-T40-VD (VD for violet LED) out of the box, let's take a closer look at the heatsink itself. I am pleased so far with what I have seen in this cooler, and I am already anxiously looking forward to seeing how well it performs. So far I am in love with the simplicity of the mounting mechanism, the high quality and rugged feel of the cooler itself, the stiff and effective fan clips, and its lean and lightweight construction.

Closer Look:

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.

Specifications:

Compatible Socket
Intel® LGA 775/1155/1156/1366/2011
AMD® AM2/AM2+/AM3/AM3+/FM1
Overall Dimensions
139(L) x 93(W) x 160(H)mm
Heatsink Dimensions
139(L) x 70(W) x 160(H)mm
Weight
610g
Heat Pipe
4 x Ø6mm
Material
Copper heat pipes, aluminum fins
Thermal Resistance
0.09°C/W
Thermal Grease
Dow Corning® TC-5121
Fan Dimension
120 x 120 x 25 mm
Fan Speed
800 ~ 1800 RPM
Air Flow
33.26 ~ 75.98CFM
Static Pressure
0.97 ~ 2.28mmH2O
Rated Voltage
12V
Bearing Type
Twister Bearing
MTBF
100,000 hours
Noise
16 ~ 26dBA
Connection
4 pin PWM connector
LED
Circular Type Blue LED

 

Features:

 

Information provided courtesy of ENERMAX @ http://www.enermax.com

Testing:

Testing of this heatsink 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 ENERMAX ETS-T40 as well as the comparison units. All the data shown in the graphs below is in degrees Celsius. The included thermal paste from ENERMAX will be used during testing and thermal pastes from other heatsinks provided by their respective manufacturers will be used. The fan(s) on each cooler will be run at full speed for these tests.

Testing Setup:

 

Comparison Heatsinks:

 

 

 

 

 

The performance numbers provided by the ENERMAX ETS-T40 are certainly respectable, especially while operating on only one fan. On the next page, I will offer my conclusion to this review and my opinion of its overall quality and performance.

Conclusion:

With everything that the ENERMAX ETS-T40 heatsink offers, I am happy to say that I like the cooler and the thermal loads it is capable of handling. The installation is incredibly easy and does not require the use of numerous small parts, the fan clips are nice and sturdy, it's quiet, and the fan is unique in that it has the capability to display cool patterns and change colors using a unique 360° lighting method. The gaps between the heatpipes on the base are a little larger than what I would say makes a good quality heatsink, but we can see that for its price it performs well in the ranks of other ~$50 coolers like the DEEPCOOL Ice Wind Pro and the Thermaltake Frio Advanced. For a $45 price tag, this cooler does very well. On top of that, it performed well with only a single fan. With an additional fan in place, I'm sure we could have seen another degree or so lower on a couple of tests.

Overall, the ENERMAX ETS-T40 is a well-built, quality heatsink for less than $50. The construction and quality remind me of what one might find with Noctua or another high end brand where quality is expected. I am pleasantly surprised by this cooler and ENERMAX has done well to make a good impression with the first ENERMAX heatsink that I have had the opportunity to review. For a cooler around the $50 mark, I would definitely place this heatsink among my top, personally-recommended models for anyone who needs a good cooler but doesn't want to break the bank. Well done, ENERMAX!

 

Pros:

 

Cons: