OCZ Gladiator MAX Review

gotdamojo06 - 2008-10-23 11:47:28 in CPU Cooling
Category: CPU Cooling
Reviewed by: gotdamojo06   
Reviewed on: October 29, 2008
Price: $45.99


Are you big on overclocking your processor? Well if you are, you know exactly how important it is to make it run as cool as possible. This is where the role of a CPU cooler comes into play. We are all looking for that perfect cooler that is going to allow us to get that last MHz out of our processor, but how can we do it when we are sitting at very high load temperatures? OCZ may have a solution for you with the release of their Gladiator MAX CPU Cooler. OCZ has always been a trusted name when it comes down to the CPU cooling business, and they have come out with the Gladiator MAX that has the heatpipes bare on the base for direct contatct with your CPUs IHS. I am very curious to see how well it's going to be able to cool my processor when overclocked and put up against some of the already proven coolers out on the market.

Closer Look:

The packaging for the OCZ Gladiator MAX is a very intersting looking package; the front allows you to see the OCZ fan that you are able to mount on the Gladiator to help cool it through a cut-out covered by a clear plastic. The OCZ logo is in the upper left hand corner. The right hand side of the front has the description of the cooler as being a "High performance CPU Cooler", while the bottom of the package is where you are going to find the Gladiator MAX name printed. There is a small picture of the Gladiator on the front down in the lower left-hand corner of the cutout. When you look at the back of the package, you are going to see a picture of the cooler without the fan installed on it with the Gladiator MAX logo printed under it. There is a bunch of contact information printed at the bottom of the back as well. Taking a look at one of the sides, you are going to find the key features while the other side is where you are going to find the specifications along with the different applications for the OCZ Gladiator MAX.











The way that the Gladiator MAX is packaged is different; the cooler is packaged in a foam protector to keep it safe during transportation, and the fan is in its own molding to keep it separate from the cooler and safe from hurting the fins. There is a bag of goodies tucked away in the molding for the cooler and a user manual floating around outside the moldings.


Inside the bag of goodies is where you are going to find everything you need to mount the OCZ Gladiator MAX to your motherboard, to cool your processor as well as everything that you are going to need to mount the fan to the heatsink. There are two different brackets for different socket types, making the heatsink able to be mounted on different motherboard and makes. There are four black rubber pieces that you slide between the fins on the heatsink and then press through the screw holes to mount the fan to the Gladiator; this helps reduce the noise of the setup.



Now that we know how the OCZ Gladiator MAX was packaged and what comes with it, the next step is to take a close look at the cooler itself.

Closer Look:

Taking a first look at the OCZ Gladiator MAX, you are going to see that it is a tower shaped heatsink that takes advantage of copper heatpipes and aluminum fins. You can also see that the fins are placed nice and closely together, to increase the surface area to be cooled during usage. This reduces the amount of heat on the heatpipes, which increases the amount of theat to be trasfered to them from the IHS of the processor. The fins are not completely straight, as they have a dip in the middle of them to add some movement to the air that is passing through to cool the fins more effectively. The copper heatpipes come all the way up from the base through all of the fins dumping off the heat that they are passing to the cooler fins. There are a total of four heatpipes that pass through. They are spaced apart from each other, so they can all grab the maximum amount of heat that they can from the processor. The front of the heatsink is flat, while the back side of the fins are angled outwards to form a mound. This is so that the air passing through the fins can grab as much heat off the fins as it can. The overall design of the heatsink is quite aerodynamic in design.














The fan that you can install is an OCZ brand fan, 120mm in size. It operates from 19-26dBA depending on its speed, which can vary from 800-1500RPM. The bearings inside of the fan are Rifle bearings, allowing the fan to be able to run for around 40,000 hours, or four and a half years non stop! OCZ has payed attention to every detail of their Gladiator MAX cooler. The wires coming out of the fan are wrapped in a black heatshrink, making it look nicer.



The base of the cooler is quite unique, as the base that is usually made up of copper and encases all of the heatpipes is thinner than most bases out on the market. This is for the simple fact that the heatpipes have direct contact with the IHS of the processor. This is going to allow for a better heat transfer from the IHS to the heatpipes, that then move all the way up to the top of the cooler passing through all of the fins on their way up. There are two screw holes on either side of the base, which is going to allow you to connect your mounting hardware of choice. I used the Socket 775, as I will be testing using an Intel based system. The base has been machine polished to give it that shiny look, as well as making it flatter, in order to give it better contact with the processor. The top of the cooler looks very simple, however, you are able to see the way that the cooler has been angled back quite nicely. The OCZ logo is in the center of the cooler, just so you remember who made it.



What would be the point of looking at the cooler without the fan installed on the unit, as most everyone will be running the Gladiator with it installed for lower temperatures. As you can see, adding the fan to the Gladiator, makes it take on a whole different look. It looks like something that will actually be able to cool one of our newer processors that get quite warm. With the fan added, you can see that it covers all of the fins, and extends above them a little bit. This ensures that every fin that is on the cooler is going to be able to get the proper airflow to cool down. The fan does attach to the front of the cooler in either a push or a pull configuration.




Now that we know what the cooler looks like, it's time to see what she can do! 



Socket Type

Intel: LGA775
AMD: 754/939/940/AM2/AM2+

Heatsink Material

Pure Copper heatpipes & Base; Aluminum Fins

Heatsink Dimensions

165 x 120 x 63mm

Heatsink Heatpipes


Fan Dimensions

120 x 120 x 25mm

Fan Speed

800-1500RPM (10% Varrance)

Fan Bearing Type


Fan Noise Level

19~26 dBA

Fan connector

4 pin PWM

Fan Color


Total Weight





To properly test the OCZ Gladiator MAX, I will be monitoring the highest temperature of the processor at Idle (little to no CPU usage), and at full load (100% CPU usage). My idle test will be done by running the computer for thirty minutes and recording the maximum temperature during that time. I will be using OCCT:PK to simulate a full load. I will run a torture test for 30 minutes with the mixed (CPU and RAM) mode turned on, and gather the maximum temperature during this time. The temperature monitoring software that I will be using is Real Temp 2.60, as it reads all four cores, documents the maximum temperature for a period until you reset it, and most importantly, it reads the 45nm processor's temperatures correctly. I will be taking the four highest temperatures that were produced during the test, and report the average of the four cores. The stock test will be done using all of the stock settings for the Q9450 @ 2666MHz. During the overclocked tests, I will be using 410MHz FSB with an 8x multiplier to give me 3280MHz overclocked speed, with a vCore of 1.34v. All of the temperatures are measured in degrees Celsius.

Testing Setup:


Comparison Heatsinks:

NOTE: Some of the listed heatsinks were originally tested using an E6600; I recently re-tested and gathered new data after the switch from the E6600 to the Q9450. The new temperatures are represented in the graphs below.






As you can tell from the graphs, the OCZ Gladiator MAX did quite well for itself and the usage of direct contact heatpipes. It was only beaten out by a few of the other coolers, such as the GeminII, the TRUE and the V8 during the overclocked load testing.



The OCZ Gladiator MAX takes the OCZ name to a new level with the usage of the direct heatpipe contact, which allowed it to cool the Q9450 to a nice level. The towering look, which seems to be very popular, seems to be how every cooler out on the market is designed here lately. I really liked the fact that OCZ decided to use a large 120mm fan for the active cooling part of the cooler and the fact that it is powered by a 4 pin PWM connector, allowing the cooler to adapt to the heat load being pushed on it, for those who want a quiet case. I really liked the usage of the push-pin mounting hardware, as this makes changing the cooler you have installed quite easy, as well as making sure it's sturdy and locked onto the motherboard. There is the lever design mounting hardware for the AMD side of things, which adds more value to the cooler. The amount of heatpipes is sufficient for the load, but some of the coolers out there are using more and more heatpipes to cool the processor. However, four have been proven to work quite well. The price of the cooler is a bit higher than I would have expected, especially for the performance and the fact that the cheaper GeminII was able to achieve lower temperatures by comparison.

Overall, I would suggest this cooler to someone who is looking for a nice silent cooler to use for their dual core build. I would probably lean more towards a different cooler for one of the Intel Core2Quad processors for the simple fact that they push out a higher amount of heat than the dual cores do. The cooler not only looks great, but it is able to cool the processor to a reasonable temperature while staying quite silent.