Sapphire Vapor-X Universal CPU Cooler Reviewccokeman -
Category: CPU Cooling
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Sapphire Vapor-X Universal CPU Cooler Introduction:
Overclocking is a game of balance. You can go all out with liquid nitrogen cooling, a custom liquid cooling system, any of the self contained liquid cooling solutions, or you can look around to find the best air cooling solution for the budgeted amount of cash in your pocket. Either way the end game is to increase the performance of the system by increasing the size of the cooling solution and level of thermal dissipation. Using the stock cooling solution (unless the cooling solution you own is one of the self contained units AMD and Intel offer) is going to result in a lower overclocking margin than just about any cooler on the market. The root of the problem is that the stock CPU cooler just cannot handle the thermal load when the CPU is overclocked.
Liquid Nitrogen is limited in its practical use to extreme benchmarking sessions. A custom liquid loop will most certainly offer excellent cooling while the self contained loops have come a long way in terms of reliability and cooling improvement. Even with all the upside to liquid cooling solutions, a larger air cooling solution is almost always the most cost effective way to both improve cooling at stock and overclocked speeds. Add in the reluctance to put liquid and electronics together in the same package and that air cooler looks mighty appealing.
Just about everyone has heard of Sapphire; if not you must be hiding under a rock. It is not only a video card company but one that is branching out in many directions to diversify the user base. We have seen not only some truly unique video cards and small form factor PCs but motherboards for both AMD and Intel processors. To cool many of its high end Toxic or Vapor-X based video cards, Sapphire has pioneered the use of Vapor chamber cooling solutions first seen here on OCC with the introduction of the HD 3870 Atomic Edition. Using vapor chamber equipped cooling solutions, Sapphire has proven its worth with the enthusiast consumer.
Now Sapphire has jumped feet first into the crowded CPU cooling market with its all new Vapor-X Universal CPU Cooler. Priced at $69 this is not your bargain cooler but a large tower style cooler equipped with a large vapor chamber base, dual fans in a push/pull configuration, four large heat pipes, and a universal mounting system for both AMD and Intel. This design is touted as having the ability of dissipating upwards of a 200 watt thermal load. Let's see how it fares by comparison.
Sapphire Vapor-X Universal CPU Cooler Closer Look:
The box is fairly representative of a retail package for a tower cooling solution. A large section of the box is left open to show off the aero foil fan-equipped Vapor-X Universal CPU Cooler solution. The front panel of the packaging is a lighter blue and has the Sapphire Vapor-X emblem just under the opening with the name of the product in bold lettering under the logo. The back side of the box holds the specifications and uses a technical drawing to illustrate the measurements of the Sapphire Vapor-X Universal CPU cooler. Popping the top shows that the cooler is packed in a large plastic shell along with a box that carries the mounting hardware and accessory bundle.
Never one to skimp on the accessories, Sapphire has included all of the mounting hardware that will be needed to install the Vapor-X Universal CPU cooler on all current sockets from AMD and Intel including FM2, FM1, AM2/AM2+AM3/AM3+, LGA 775/1155/1156/1366, and 2011. The documentation includes a registration pamphlet and comprehensive set of instructions. Outside the normal standoffs, thermal paste, and screws, Sapphire has included a small socket to tighten and loosen the main standoffs.
Having seen first hand what Sapphire's Vapor-X technology is capable of on hot running video cards, it should prove interesting to see just how potent a CPU cooling solution this technology can make. Capable of dissipating 200 watts of thermal load Sapphire's Vapor-X Universal CPU Cooler might just be the next big thing in air cooling.