GELID Silent Spirit Review
Reviewed by: RHKCommander959
Reviewed on: February 22, 2009
When deciding to upgrade a heat sink to keep a processor running good, a few key questions arise: how effectively does it cool, how loud does it operate, is it easy to install, and how well does it fit in with the computer. Some aftermarket heat sinks are designed for optimal silence, and others for cooling with more still falling between the two extremes. Featuring four heatpipes and a top mounted fan, this heatsink reminds me of the TT Big Typhoon in the looks department.
Gelid is a relatively new company, founded in 2008 and located in Hong Kong, China. According to the company, the name comes from “The English word "gelid" [which] is derived from the Latin word “gelidus” (extremely cold, icy).“ They currently produce two lines of fans, heat sinks, and other products for gamers and for silence including thermal paste. The company’s vision is to “Combine quality and ingenuity to set the standard in creating best- in- class products for global computer enthusiasts “. The product reviewed today is their Silent Spirit, which is geared towards silent operation.
The packaging for the Silent Spirit feels high quality, and is covered with information and designs. The front gives a sneak peek to the cooler, along with logo, brand, and website address, also detailed is the four centered heat pipes. The side lists the key features of the heat sink, including silent operation, long life, rubber fan mounts, high airflow, an intelligent PWM curve, optimized fan blade design, unique heat sink angle, fin architecture, and heat pipes. Also shown is a chart comparing generic regular PWM curves against those in the Gelid fan.
The rear panel lists the features in much more depth, reiterating with a broader explanation of what the side panel said, and giving specifications such as the maximum air flow of 45.8 cfm, thermal conductivity of 0.17 c/w, noise variance of 10-25.8 dBA, life time MTTF (Mean Time To Failure) of 50,000 hrs at 40c ambient, and 5 year warranty. The other remaining side lists all compatible processors, ranging from socket 754 to AM2+ Phenom 9850BE on the AMD side, and All Pentium and Core 2 processors from Intel. For socket 1366 mounting clips must be purchased separately. An image indicated the direction of airflow, and possible mounting orientation.
The top is decorated with a silky silhouette, continued across the entire package. The top is perforated in two places, the side for opening the flap that helps keep the box shut, and the middle for a punch-out that may be inserted for hanging the box in a retail setting. The bottom lists RoHS compliance, barcode, and being “Made in China”.
Once open, the flaps reveal the punch-out, and the manual neatly sitting on top of the heat sink. The heat sink itself is held in place and protected by a two-piece plastic mold. Underneath it all is the AM2 mounting brackets, and Gelid case badge.
For mounting to the latest Intel socket 1366, brackets must be ordered separately. The front of the box echoes the design of the heat sink, lists the function – mounting clip for CPU cooler, with a basic drawing of the brackets. The side lists the same information, and that it is compatible with the Gelid Silent Spirit.
The rear explains how to install the new brackets in five languages, the dimensions of the mounting clips, weight, and 1366 application. The box itself only contains the clips, inside a baggie.
Now that we are familiarized with the packaging, and equipped with the tools to mount it, let's take a look at the Silent Spirit.
The heat sink sits at an angle, with the four heat pipes spreading out from the base and then forking over. The fan itself is quality and targeted for silence with rubber mounts, solid PWM fan speed adjustment, and longer fan blades with more surface area combined with low rpm operation. Thanks to the fluid dynamic bearings, the fan achieves a longer life span, and lower mechanical noise than sleeve bearings. The top of the fan has a sticker with the Gelid website, Silent Spirit brand name, and Gelid logo. The mounting brackets use the same pushpin system that the stock Intel heat sink uses.
The other side of the fan has the same information, and operational statistics like 12v, 0.21a, and 2400rpm. The fan bracket is held on by four clips, which grab on to the fins and also possibly helps shroud them to guide air through. The fins on the heat sink alternate in length, groupings of longer followed by shorter, repeated the length of the heat pipes to help direct airflow from the fan.
Each fin grabs on to its neighbor with overlapping flaps, which help keep the fins spaced apart and from being accidentally bent. Each fin is textured with small divots, which increase air turbulence and surface area, helping to improve the cooling capability.
The heat pipes are soldered between a copper base plate and aluminum mounting structure, which is also a miniature heat sink itself. The fins are oriented to allow the airflow to sweep through, and continue along to be vented out of the case.
The base has a pre-applied serving of Gelid’s own thermal paste, GC-1. The base itself is relatively flat, but machining marks gouge the surface and thus deter from the cooling capability of the heat sink.
Gelid produces their own line of thermal paste called GC1, the packing lists the awards given on the front. The back lists a few reviews, some features of the paste like “Durability: Consistent performance over 10 years”, “Viscosity: 2850 Poise”, “Specific gravity: 3.96 g/cm3”, “ Net content 5g”, and that it keeps up with the best thermal pastes out, and beats Arctic Silver 5 based on the graph which compares the two on a AMD 9600BE with Cooler Master Hyper 212 cooler. Included in the package is the insert, 5g of GC1 thermal paste, and a spreader.
Mounting the heat sink oriented properly is key. The heat pipes work most efficiently when they are overlapping the processor cores, rather than having the cores sharing one or two heat pipes. Mounting is easy with the pushpin mechanisms. Make sure the arrows are rotated to point away from the heat sink, and push them into the holes on the motherboard while applying even pressure on the heat sink. The levers are only rotated when removing the heat sink from the motherboard. In testing the temperature would soar into unsafe territory due to the direction of the orientation. Once rotated 90 degrees however, the heat sink worked somewhat better than the stock Intel heat sink assembly, operating well into the safe zone, and much quieter – which is a good combination with an OEM chip that does not come with a stock heat sink. Orientation is key with this heat sink.
Lets take a look at the features and see how well the Silent Spirit holds up to cooling an i7 processor!
|GELID Silent Spirit|
|Airflow||45.8 CFM max|
|Hydro Dynamic Bearing|
||10 - 25.8dba|
|Dimensions of Cooler
||108mm (l) x 100.5mm (w) x 125mm (h)|
|Dimensions of Fan
||100.5mm (l) x 100.5mm (w) x 45mm (h)|
|Dimensions of Heatsink
||108mm (l) x 97mm (w) x 88.5mm (h)|
Mean Time To Failure
Pre-applied GC-1 high performance thermal compound
- Quad Sintered Heatpipes
- Unique Fin Architecture
- Special Heatsink Angle Design
- Optimized Air Flow Concept
- Intelligent PWM Fan Control Curve
- Anti-Vibration Fan Mounts
All information courtesy of Gelid @http://www.gelidsolutions.com/products/index.php?lid=2&cid=12&id=32&tab=2
Testing the Silent Spirit is done in two steps: checking the temperature of the CPU at idle after sitting in Windows Vista for thirty minutes, and at full load for the CPU using Prime95’s Small FFT option for thirty minutes as well. The heat sink will be tested twice under these constraints, once at stock 2.66ghz (133x20), and again at an overclocked 3.32ghz (166x20) with 1.25v. Temperatures are recorded with Realtemp, and are averaged out and reported in Celsius.
- Processor: Intel i7 920
- Motherboard: MSI X58 Platinum
- Memory: Mushkin HP3 12800 3x2gb DDR3
- Video Card(s): Nvidia GTX260 216sp
- Power Supply: Mushkin 800 watt Modular power supply
- Hard Drive: 1 x Western Digital Green 1TB SATA
- OS: Windows Vista Ultimate 64-Bit SP1
- Stock Intel i7 Heatsink
- Noctua NH-U12P SE 1366
While testing the Gelid Silent Spirit the temperatures at idle were all very similar in both the stock and overclocked testing the differences showed up under load. In the stock testing with he CPU running with the default vcore the temperature differential between the stock Intel heat sink and the Silent Spirit was 11 degrees Celsius. When overclocked the differential came in at 6 degrees, still a significant improvement over the results of the stock heat sink. The heat sink looks to be able to handle the 130w i7 920, and would probably fair even better with a dual-core or tri-core processor. Our initial testing of the Silent Spirit did not show any real difference between the stock Intel sink and the Silent Spirit, a result that was unexpected based on the configuration of the cooler. Gelid was kkind enough to send another sample for us to test and these results are more in line with the capabilities of the cooler.
Overall the packaging is good, the heat sink looks good, and operated quietly. The CPU ran stable, even at higher temperatures from overclocking. The arched design makes it fairly easy to use the Intel pushpin method, and clearance wasn’t an issue with surrounding components like capacitors and other heat sinks on the motherboard. While clearance was not an issue the proper orientation of the Silent Spirit is mandatory if you want any hope of controlling the temperatures on a core I7 processor. The Silent Spirit is definitely silent, although it appears that some cooling was sacrificed for silence. The heat sink does indeed cool the Intel core i7 CPU's but needs the socket 1366 bracket kit to make the switch from the as delivered socket 775 configuration. The Core i7 CPUs are supported when the bracket kit is ordered. Only Phenoms up to 9850 (125w) are supported, leaving out the Phenom 9950 for some reason, which is a 140w CPU. Performance wise the Silent Spirit performed better than the stock cooling by 11 degrees Celsius under load with the default voltage and speed of 2.66GHz. When the clock speeds and voltage were increased the Silent Spirit still out performed the stock cooler by 6 degrees Celsius under load. Not stunning but when cooling choices are made for decreases of a degree or two, six and eleven degrees Celsius are pretty steep improvements over the Intel factory cooling solution. The Silent Spirit is easily one of the quietest heat sinks I have used using the ear test to measure how loud a heat sink is, By no means is this scientific but when hidden in a chassis the cooler was inaudible, unlike most of the air cooled system I have where the fans on the heat sink are easily the loudest part of the build. The addition of a louder more powerful fan would definitely help the cooling capabilities but at a noise penalty that would remove the Silent from the name of Gelids Silent Spirit. This cooer is not meant to compete with the big dogs of the air cooling world but it is meant to compete in the stock replacement market. If you take into account the 30 dollar price tag coupled with the better than stock cooling you really can't go wrong. Better than stock cooling, ease of installation, low noise, low cost of ownership, good looks, what else do you need?
- Long life-span
- Good Clearance
- Included thermal paste
- Rough base-plate