Sapphire Vapor-X Universal CPU Cooler Reviewccokeman - December 4, 2012
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Sapphire Vapor-X Universal CPU Cooler Closer Look:
Once out of the box it is clear this cooling solution is built for performance. Sapphire's Vapor-X Universal CPU Cooler is a tower design heat sink equipped with a vapor chamber contact plate, four 7mm heatpipes, and a large aluminum fin array. Measuring 135 x 110.4 x 163.5mm (5.3 x 4.3 x 6.4 in) it appears to be fully capable of meeting its 200W rating. This size comes with a weight to match at 925 grams bare and up to 1525g fully dressed. Dual Dual-X PWM fans in a push/pull configuration are used to drive air through the fin array. The top of the fin array is covered with a decorative cap that lights up the Sapphire logo when the Vapor-X Universal CPU cooler is in operation. Power is supplied to the lights in the cap through cabling from one of the PWM controlled fans. Both fans are attached to a 4-pin Y connector allowing both fans to connect to a single PWM-controlled CPU fan header on the motherboard.
Peeling off the clip on the fan shrouds gets us to the base assembly of Sapphire's Vapor-X Universal CPU Cooler. From the front the Sapphire Universal CPU Cooler has all the features one would expect from a tower style heat sink. In this case a vapor chamber equipped base-plate with four 7mm heat pipes rising into an aluminum fin array, sized to take advantage of the Dual-X 120 x 120mm fans. The sides of the fan array are folded together driving the majority of the airflow generated by the Dual-X fans through the aluminum fin array instead of around or out the sides, increasing the cooling potential of the solution.
What makes this cooler unique is that it uses a direct contact vapor chamber. This design is used in Sapphire's Vapor-X line of video cards and has proven quite successful in managing the thermal load when tasked with removing the heat from a GPU. If a vapor chamber on a video card is capable of handling up to a 400 watt load the technology is there to handle the 200 watt rating of the Vapor-X CPU Cooler. The base of the Vapor-X Universal Cooler is the direct contact vapor chamber with an aluminum block located above the chamber. This aluminum block serves to locate the four 7mm heat pipes that pass the thermal load up to the aluminum fin array as well as being the location of the mounting mechanism.
As with most aftermarket heat sinks a warning label has been affixed to the CPU contact surface to alert the end user that a protective cover is on the mounting surface. We all know someone who has found out the hard way what the results are when in a rush to install that shiny new heat sink when the warning label was left in place. The mounting surface is smooth to the touch . There appeared to be a slight blemish on the surface but proved to not be anything when cleaned. Minor machining marks are left behind that do not seem to impact performance and are no different from any non-polished base.
Creating the airflow to discharge the thermal load is the job of the Aerofoil blade Dual-X fans. This fan solution is much like what is used on Sapphire's latest line of Vapor-X equipped video cards, just with 120mm fans in a push/pull configuration. The fans mount to the Vapor-X Universal CPU Cooler by means of a pair of brackets used on each fan. These brackets are equipped with clips that wrap around the side of the aluminum fin array and lock into the notch holding the assembly in place. The top is contoured to meet the lighted top cap. Sapphire's Dual-X fans are attached to the brackets with screws. These screws are covered with rubber vibration dampeners to reduce unwanted noise from the equation. In practice this solution works as it should with no vibration induced noise noted during testing.
Sapphire Dual-X fans are used on the Vapor-X CPU cooler. If you have seen Sapphire's latest Vapor-X video cards you know that using the Dual-X fan has advantages in terms of the noise generated for the airflow moved. The Dual-X fans are 120mm x 120mm x 25mm in size and are Martech model DF1202512SEUN. Rated for operation between a PWM-controlled 495-2200RPM the sleeve bearing fans push 77 C.F.M. at a maximum of 40 dBA, and provides higher static pressure than the fans on the comparison NH-U12P at 2.6 mm H2O. Four pin power connections are used to provide PWM control for the fans. This aerofoil fin fan is used on both sides of the Vapor-X CPU Cooler is a push/pull configuration to provide the most usable airflow through the fin array.
At 163.5mm tall the Vapor-X Universal CPU Cooler should have no problems fitting into the myriad of mid tower chassis on the market. Installing it into the Corsair 600T was no more troublesome than installing any other heat sink of this type. The mounting system ued by Sapphire is very sturdy and does not flex. An insulated backplate is used to tie the four posts together forming a strong base for the universal mounting bracket to mount on. Here is where I finally ran into some issues with the mounting mechanism employed on this solution. I went through a few socket 1155 motherboards to find one that the cooler could be mounted to. The concern is that the universal mounting plate hits the VRM heat sinks both top and side when mounted for horizontal or vertical operation on all three of the upper end boards I checked the fit on.
It does however fit just fine on the Gigabyte Z68 board in my test rig, but this board does not have a heat sink on the VRM circuit over the CPU socket. Just like the majority of large air cooling solutions on the market the DIMM sockets closest to the CPU socket are going to require low profile modules to allow all four sockets to be populated. Sapphire has made sure you get that Sapphire blue glow emanating from the chassis. The Vapor-X logo and Sapphire blue accents light up a bright blue while the fans have blue LEDs around the perimeter to add to the view.
As a large air cooling solution the Sapphire Vapor-X Universal CPU Cooler is rated to handle up to a 200 watt thermal load. On paper and in the pictures it looks well equipped to do so. Let's see just how well it can handle the heat. I have no doubt that Sapphire's technology will impress.