Gigabyte Volar Review

nismozcar - 2007-10-12 21:02:10 in CPU Cooling
Category: CPU Cooling
Reviewed by: nismozcar   
Reviewed on: November 26, 2007
Gigabyte
Gigabyte
Price: $30.99

Introduction:

The enthusiast market has grown tremendously over the last few years. Many new sockets have been introduced, and with each one comes new ways in which to cool their corresponding chips. Those of us who are avid overclockers constantly search for new coolers that will help us reach beyond the normal capabilities of our CPUs. Recently, most companies have focused on making these coolers larger and the fans faster. Every now and then, a company might find a new innovative solution that will increase efficiency while simultaneously providing extra features that can extend the possibilities of your hardware. One such device has been designed and manufactured by Gigabyte and promises to help the overall performance of your computer. The product is the Gigabyte Volar CPU cooler and features a new twist on an old design. The most striking feature is the angular inclination of the cooler itself. This design allows the cooler to provide efficient cooling for the CPU as well as the MOSFETs located on your motherboard. A very innovative design indeed, but performance speaks louder than design and we have yet to see how this product performs. So let’s move on to the testing and see how the Volar stacks up to the competition.

 

Closer Look:

The Gigabyte Volar comes in a very interesting package. The Volar’s winged-logo is placed at the top, with a small picture of the product to the left (or right depending on which side you are viewing), each with a different socket adapter installed. The cooler is visible from the outside due to the large windows that are cut into the back and front of the box. Both sides of the package detail the same information regarding the properties and features of the product. This includes the socket compatibility, RoHS compliancy and operating noise level and a few key features.

 

 

The sides contain pictures and text detailing the specifications of the Gigabyte Volar. The left side displays all the information in multiple international languages and briefly describes the MOSFET cooling solution in a photo at the top. The opposite side is written entirely in English and contains all necessary technical information and features with a few detailed photos.

 

 

Upon opening the package, you will notice that the Volar is shipped inside of a plastic shell that holds the Volar in place, preventing it from sliding around during shipment. A large white box is included in the package; it contains the directions for installation and all the necessary hardware and mounting brackets. Also included in the package is a small packet of thermal paste, plus a fan cable extension.

 

 

The instructions included with the Volar are printed in many languages; the first set of instructions are printed in English. The Gigabyte Volar is very simple to install and only requires a couple of steps. All steps included photos and captions, making installation fast and easy.

 

Closer Look:

The front of the cooler bears the Volar’s winged-logo in the center of the 120mm fan. The top of the Volar remains very open and allows for maximum airflow to pass through the heatsink. The backside of the aluminum heatsink directs air down toward your MOSFETs, which are generally located next to the CPU socket.

 

 

 

 

 

From the side you can get a nice view of the angle at which the cooler sits. The heatpipes attached to the base of the cooler hold the heatsink in this position and allow the air to pass through without restriction. You will also notice the wire mesh band that encircles the heatsink. This helps draw air from around the CPU, the effect is created by the air as it passes through the front to the back.

 

 

A red adhesive sticker is placed on the base of the heatsink to protect the finish after manufacturing. Once removed, you can see that the base has been lapped. Unfortunately, the lapping process was not as fine as most would hope. I placed a quarter next to the base to show you that the lapping procedure didn’t result in a mirror finish.

 

 

Installation:

Installation is usually a pain when installing a CPU cooler, but Gigabyte made installation very simple with the inclusion of the socket adapters. The cooler comes with the AM2/K8 adapter installed; simply remove the two screws from the bottom and the adapter will come off. Since my motherboard is a socket 775, I removed the two 775 adapters and four screws from the kit and securely screwed them on from the bottom.

 

 

 

 

 

With the adapter in place, you are ready to install the cooler onto the CPU. I decided against using the thermal paste provide with the kit and opted to use some Artic Silver 5 instead. Apply a small bead of thermal paste across the center of the CPU and spread it around until an even layer of thermal paste is achieved. To seat the cooler, face it toward the front of your case. Align the four pins with the corresponding holes and press down firmly until an audible click is heard. Once all four pins have been seated, connect the three-pin fan cable to the CPU header. You are now ready to close your case and power up.

 

 

Specifications:

Manufacturer
Gigabyte
Model
Volar
Heat Sink Dimension
122 x 125 x 141 mm
Fan Dimension
120 x 120 x 25 mm
Heat Pipes
3
Base Material
Copper
Fin Material
Aluminum
Rated Voltage
12V
Rated Current
0.2A
Fan Speed
1,500 / 2,000 RPM
Noise Level
18 / 23 dBA
Bearing Type
EBR
Fan Life Expectancy
30,000 hr
 
Compatibility
Intel Pentium Extreme Edition Series
Intel Pentium D Series
Intel Pentium 4 Series
Intel Core 2 Duo Series
AMD AM2 Series
AMD Athlon FX Series
AMD Athlon 64 X2 Series
AMD Athlon 64 Series

 

Features:

 

Testing:

Testing the Gigabyte Volar cooler consists of four tests. The first two tests are performed at stock 1.86GHz at 1.25v, the temperature of the CPU is recorded during idle and load after a period of 15 minutes. The second two are performed with a moderate overclock at 3.15GHz at 1.375v and again the CPU temperature is recorded during idle and load. The same tests will be done using the Zalman 9500LED; the goal of these tests is to determine how the two coolers compare in terms of cooling efficiency.

 

Testing Setup:

 

The results of the first test, put the Gigabyte Volar ahead of the Zalman 9500LED by a small margin. The difference in idle temperatures between the Volar and 9500LED was a mere one degree Celsius, but both were more than five degrees cooler than Intel's stock heatsink. All the coolers performed well at stock speeds, but the gap began to widen when the load was increased. At load, the Volar beat out the Zalman by two degrees and the Intel by ten degrees. This might not seem like much, but when overclocked, the extra headroom could result in a higher sustainable overclock. If you do not plan on overclocking, both coolers would be well suited for keeping your processor nice and cool during normal operation.

 

 

The trend from the first test continued through to the second. With the FSB and voltage raised, the Gigabyte Volar again came out on top of the Zalman 9500LED. The Volar handled the extra heat extremely well and beat the 9500LED by two degrees and the Intel by ten degrees during idle at 1.375v. Again, I turned up the load and the gap steadily increased, resting at 52 degrees Celsius, a total difference of three degrees between the Volar and 9500LED. It is evident that the Intel heatsink cannot cope with the extra voltage and is pushing the thermal threshold of the CPU. The efficiency of the Volar is a nice improvement over the Zalman and with the ceiling of 60-65 degrees for most processors, three degrees could be the difference between a stable and unstable overclock.

 

 

Conclusion:

With so many CPU coolers on the market, it might be tough to make the choice that would fit your computer best. Above all, efficient cooling is the main focus of your decision.

After putting the Gigabyte Volar through a number of tests, it is apparent that it is very capable at providing excellent cooling. The unique shape of the cooler gives it an advantage over its competitors, as most coolers on the market neglect to cool the MOSFETs on your motherboard. Compatibility is another plus and Volar supports three different socket types, making it a great choice for many users. The socket adapters included in the kit make installation quick and easy, with minimal steps needed to install. The installation guide provides help in many languages and the photos provided ensure that you will successfully install the cooler on the first try. The Volar’s large fan moves huge quantities of air, yet it operates very quietly and still provides the superior cooling when overclocking. However, the cooler is very large and may cause issues when used with some cases or aftermarket northbridge coolers. But the cooler's large size accounts for its excellent cooling ability, and in the right case will not cause such clearance issues. The Gigabyte Volar is well-designed and a great addition to any setup. The innovative styling and unique features set it apart in an ever expanding list of aftermarket coolers. If efficient cooling is something you’re seeking, the Gigabyte Volar gets the job done.

 

Pros:

 

Cons: