Gelid Solutions Tranquillo Reviewccokeman - July 28, 2010
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The Gelid Solutions Tranquillo is a tower style heat sink that uses a series of four copper heat pipes arranged in a semicircular pattern to transfer the thermal load from the copper base plate to the aluminum fin array for dispersal. The view from all four sides does not show the design of the fin array. To see the shape and how it will allow the air to flow through the heat sink, you have to look from the top down. The top covers give the illusion of the Batman logo at a casual glance with the V shape of the Tranquillo adding to that effect. This design was developed using software simulation to come up with a shape that had lower airflow resistance to promote quiet cooling. The Tranquillo is not as large as some of the monstrous heat sinks I have tested, but comes in at 153mm tall, 125mm wide and 74mm deep, weighing 645 grams. Lighter than most of the comparison field in our testing, but close to the height of these same comparisons. The design of the Tranquillo prohibits the mounting of a second fan to be used in a push /pull configuration. The 'v' shape is not able to take advantage of it fully, although you could "strap it on" and make it work.
The base of the Tranquillo is made from copper encased in aluminum with the four copper heat pipes passing through it. On top of the aluminum surround is a small finned heat sink that uses airflow from the CPU cooling fan that flows under the Tranquillo to aid in cooling the CPU even further. Gelid does protect the surface with a thin clear sticker that contains the obligatory warning about its removal. The base is not mirror polished but is smooth without severe machining marks to impede performance.
The fan that is shipped with the Tranquillo is a 7 blade PWM controlled fan that uses 0.18 amps of current at 12 volts. With seven blades instead of nine, you would think the fan would be noisy, but the Tranquillo is built to be a silent heat sink. The fan runs at between 750 and 1500RPM at only 25.5 dBA at full song. Silent fans normally suffer from a lack of airflow and static pressure. This fan from Gelid pushes 58 CFM at the maximum 1500 RPM speed. Since quiet is the name of the game, Gelid has incorporated a hydrodynamic bearing into the fan instead of a ball or sleeve bearing, further reducing the audio signature of the fan.
The Gelid Tranquillo is a bolt-in heat sink instead of one that uses Intel style push pins to locate and lock the heat sink into place. The brackets attach to the heat sink base with a single screw. The Intel brackets for socket 1156 and 1366 installation are the same with two indexed holes that fit the cooler to either socket. To complete the installation, the back plate is positioned on the back of the board over the CPU retention back plate and is screwed in with the four spring-loaded screws. These four screws put the correct amount of pressure on the Tranquillo's base for the best possible contact patch. Once done, you can install the fan on the heat sink with the included clips. These proved to be an extremely tight fit, but did prevent any fan vibration.
Gelid included one of their Wing 12PL fans for use with the heat sink. This fan pushes slightly more CFM than the included fan at 75.3 with 2.66mmAq of static pressure. This fan features a self-lubricated "Nanoflux" bearing. This design uses magnetic fields to make sure that the moving parts never touch reducing noise, friction and abrasion to deliver a MTBF of 100,000 hours in Gelid's durability testing. The Wing 12 PL fan is a PWM controlled fan that runs between 600 and 1800 RPM with a noise signature close to that of the Silent series fan that comes with the heat sink. This fan is available in both a UV green and UV blue.
What good would a CPU heat sink be without a good thermal paste? The Tranquillo comes with a small tube of GC-2 thermal paste, but Gelid supplied a tube of their GC Extreme thermal paste for use in this test. The GC Extreme comes in a 3.5 gram applicator tube/syringe and includes a small applicator to smooth out the thermal paste. GC-Extreme is a non conductive, non toxic and non corrosive thermal paste and proved effective in the testing.
Just on looks alone, the Tranquillo appears able to leverage its design to provide a strong series of results.