NZXT Havik 140 Review

airman - 2011-05-21 06:12:11 in CPU Cooling
Category: CPU Cooling
Reviewed by: airman   
Reviewed on: July 14, 2011
Price: $74.99

Introduction:

The recent launch of NZXT's Havik 140 marks a big day in the world of CPU cooling and heatsink manufacturing, as NZXT officially has entered into the market as a competitor. NZXT brings us the Havik 140, a large tower, 140mm cooler, with six 6mm heatpipes. Generally, these heatsinks are all designed the same way. You've got a metal base with heatpipes attached, and fins pressed onto these heatpipes. It's a simple concept that's proven worthy of being consistently implemented. As you would expect, NZXT chose this design for its Havik 140 heatsink. Although the design of heatsinks is very straightforward, there is a lot of science and development behind it. Things such as material composition, fin spacing and construction, heatpipe materials, and other things play a major role in the way that a heatsink performs. A manufacturer must consider each of these things and hundreds of additional variables all while constraining weight and noise to a desired level.

That being said, designing a high-end heatsink at an affordable price is not something that is simple! I have a feeling that with NZXT's current product line up and previous manufacturing practices, designing a heatsink should be nothing new, but I'm sure that some "thinking outside the box" was necessary. I am very excited to be one of the first folks to have my hands on NZXT's first production heatsink. I have always liked NZXT's products and I have generally been far from let down! NZXT's engineering never ceases to please me, as it seems that these individuals never leave anything unthought-of and nothing gets left out. That being said, I'm ready to get down and take a look at this cooler! In this review, I will provide a complete evaluation of the NZXT Havik 140, from unboxing and exterior commentary, to an intense stress test with results compared to other heatsinks currently on the market. Without further ado, let's get started.

 

Closer Look:

Unlike most, if not all products from NZXT, the Havik 140 is not packaged in a plain brown cardboard box with black printing. The packaging for the Havik 140 is derived from high gloss white printing, illustrating (in color) the heatsink and the features that it offers. The front of the box features the NZXT logo along with an angled picture of the heatsink, probably showing "its good side." Moving on from that bad joke, the backside of the box provides just about every specification that a user would like to know. These figures include materials, dimensions, weight, fan information, and other things. Also located on the back of the box are six different pictures of different areas of the Havik 140 showing off different features that it offers, such as the unique fan design, construction, etc. One side of the box shows CPU compatibility and the other side contains a short pep-talk about why your CPU needs to remain cool and how the NZXT Havik 140 can help you achieve that.

 

 

 

After opening the box, the first glance of the inside is of a styrofoam padded interior with the user's manual covering up one of the fans located in this padding. This "level" is then removed, which exposes the heatsink and the accessory box, which contains all of the mounting hardware for both AMD and Intel sockets. Finally, the third level contains the second fan. With the mounting hardware spread out, I can say that it looks fairly typical and the design does not look over-complicated. Included in the accessory box is a Y-cable that will allow the two fans to be plugged into one source which can be very convenient for some.

 

 

With the NZXT Havik 140 out of the box, it reminds me a lot of other coolers on the market — such as dimensions, shape, heatpipe configuration, and overall design. As I stated in the introduction, this isn't entirely unexpected as this design is proven to work well. All it takes is a manufacturer to tighten up the tolerances, apply some more science to it, and improve not necessarily the outside of it, but the inside. That being said, the performance is generally all up to the build quality and not the fact that it has an original shape. Anyways, let's take a look at the cooler itself and move on.

Closer Look:

The first thing that I notice about the Havik 140 is the routing of the heatpipes and the paths they take. Instead of locating single-file to the direction of airflow, NZXT has placed them perpendicular to the direction of the airflow. This does two things, one is that the first heatpipe doesn't block the other five, and it also distributes the heat in smaller "bursts" along the width of the cooler, rather than concentrating it all in one spot. The latter allows for more of the fin surface to be utilized. Taking a look at the sides of the Havik 140 will make it obvious that NZXT has fit the maximum number of 6mm heatpipes into the base, which is six. These heatpipes are sandwiched between the base and a plate that is screwed to the base. This means that this cooler does not use a direct contact base, which allows for a very fine machining process to be done here to make have a near-mirror reflection. Not all bases are perfect, so we'll take a look at the Havik 140's shortly.

As you can see, opposing other heatsinks, NZXT chose to keep the exterior of the Havik 140 simple. There are no fancy designs or plastic pieces that have no function other than to look cool. In my opinion, manufacturers who follow that principle are true engineers of their product, rather than marketing a model by screwing colored plastic pieces to it and gluing some lights in it to make it look cool. A lot of recent heatsinks, cases, and other hardware are getting back to these basics and I've enjoyed seeing that transition back to function over form. In my opinion, there are a lot of things that belong in that realm and idea of thinking.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Taking a look at the top of the NZXT Havik 140 will show the heatpipe layout that I was talking about above. Instead of collecting into one spot by having nearly uniform bending coming out of the base, each pair is bent at a different radius (the inside heatpipes are wrapped nearly 180° for placement). Other similarly styled heatsinks such as the Noctua NH-U12P and the Thermalright TRUE place the heatpipe's terminations closer together which can block airflow and create a hotspot in this area. So to me, having them line up this way is beneficial in a few aspects. A closer look at the heatpipe-base interface shows that there are little gaps here between the two surfaces, which means a good interface for conduction. The base, however, could have used some polishing as it's clearly quite far from a mirror sheen. Having the base as flat as possible maximizes the surface area of the interface between the integrated heat spreader (IHS) of the processor and the heatsink base itself. The more surface area in direct contact allows for a faster heat transfer rate, which is obviously desired.

 

 

 

The two fans are constructed from black plastic with a black, rubberized coating. They each have nine, highly-pitched white blades that are wavy in shape and have the NZXT logo on a sticker in the center of the fan itself. According to the label on the rear of the fan, these fans operate at 12VDC and pull 0.30A each, making them 3.6W fans. They are specified to move 90CFM of air at 28dBA, which will be a noticeable whirr. No fan controller is provided. However, if it's too loud, the user can install one on their own, or use a software utility to control it manually. The fans are fastened to the heatsink by a set of rubber straps, unconventional from the typical metal clips. We'll see how these work out!

 

 

 

Installation of the NZXT Havik 140 is simple and self-explanatory. Since it will be tested on an Intel 1366 board, I will be demonstrating the Intel side of putting it together. First, the backplate is placed on the back of the motherboard with the threaded portions through the mounting holes in the motherboard. Each threaded rod gets a spacer, and then the two brackets are secured to the rods by a set of thumb-nuts. From there, the heatsink is placed into position, and a crossbar applies pressure on the top of the base. The first picture below illustrates what the crossbar does and how it is positioned. Here again we see that NZXT chose a well-proven method for mounting the heatsink.

 

 

With the heatsink in place, there's not much else to say other than it fits! By "fit" I mean that it has generally good clearance between other motherboard components such as possible interference between heatpipes or fans and RAM or other heatsinks. That being said, let's get a move on! The next page will show manufacturer specifications and features of the NZXT Havik 140, followed by an intense testing session where its performance will be compared to other coolers on the market.

Specifications:

Materials
Aluminum / Copper Nickel-Plated
Dimensions
140 (W) x 166 (H) x 120 (D) mm
135 (W) x 160 (H) x 60 (D) mm (no fans)
Weight
1035g
760g (no fans)
Mounting Pressure
55-60 lbs
Fan Size
Dual 140 (W) x 140 (H) x 25 (D) mm
Fan Bearing
Long Life (Oil-Leaking Prevention) + Shaft with copper sleeve
Fan Speed
1200 +/- 10% RPM
Noise Level
25 dBA
Airflow
90.3 CFM
Connector
3-pin
Input Power
3.6W
Life
30,000 Hours

 

Features:

 

Information provided courtesy of NZXT @ http://www.nzxt.com

Testing and Setup:

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 22.5 °C throughout testing of the NZXT Havik 140, as well as the comparison units. All the data shown in the graphs below is in degrees Celsius. The included thermal paste from NZXT will be used during testing and thermal pastes on other heatsinks from their respective manufacturers will be used. The fans on each cooler will be run at full speed for these tests.

Testing Setup:

 

Comparison Heatsinks:

 

 

 

 

 

Well, I can definitely say that the results from the NZXT Havik 140 are very impressive! In every test it remained second only to the Noctua NH-D14, which still remains undefeated. I won't say much more here, and I'll save the rest for the conclusion.

Conclusion:

Well, the results from the testing session do not lie. The NZXT Havik 140 hung at the #2 spot for every single test. For an introductory model from NZXT, that's a good mark on NZXT's record for sure. For the cooler itself, I can say a few things. The heatpipe layout is ideal, and the construction is solid. I wish that the base was finished to a finer surface, as it could use a good polishing to reach that mirror finish. The rubber fan straps could be a little clumsy if the install was done in the case, as they have to stretch around the corners. With metal clips, you can easily "hook" the hard to reach areas first, and then place them around the opposite corner. This isn't the case with the rubber straps, but it's cool to see something different. I wouldn't have made it my first choice if I was handling the design, but it works!

The NZXT is currently available at a couple of retailers for $74.99. At a cheaper cost than the Noctua NH-D14, it's a viable option for those who want a top of the line cooler but still want to save a few dollars. It is quiet, easy to install, and compatible with a wide range of sockets. It's a simple design that is very effective and can stand up to the extreme heat output from the latest hardware. This is a cooler that I would certainly recommend to fellow overclockers, gamers, and anyone else who wants the best air cooling setup for their hardware. Overall, I give the NZXT an A+ for this being its first marketed attempt at a CPU cooler, and having it perform so well.

 

Pros:

 

Cons: