Sapphire Vapor-X Universal CPU Cooler Reviewccokeman - December 4, 2012
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Sapphire Vapor-X Universal CPU Cooler Conclusion:
Sapphire has nurtured its Vapor-X technology into a well known and respected brand over the past five years and was first seen here on OverclockersClub with the launch of Sapphire's HD 3870 Atomic. Leveraging the cooling efficiency of the technology it successfully employed on its video cards has paid dividends with the move to putting together a high performance CPU cooling solution for the enthusiast market. As the only direct contact vapor chamber cooling solution on the market Sapphire has put together a cooling solution with very few flaws. By far the largest of them is the method used to hold the Vapor-X cooler onto the motherboard. The standoffs and insulated rear mounting plate are incredibly rigid and easily able to handle the weight distribution quite well.
The part that causes the most concern is the retention plate. As a universal design it is meant to be used across a wide variety of sockets and motherboard layouts. To manage that there are compromises that need to be made to reach that wider audience. I found that when I tried to mount the Vapor-X cooler on one of my upper end boards the retention plate could not be secured either horizontally or vertically. This played out across a couple more boards between P67, Z68, and Z77 platform boards; all with robust cooling on the power circuits. By comparison the Vapor-X fit just fine on my Z68AP-D3 motherboard. The interference comes from the design of the plate and how it accommodates AMD's sockets. A back yard solution would be to just clip this section off and move on to enjoy the performance the Vapor-X is capable of delivering.
Absent the backyard solution a redesign would fix this concern but add cost to fit the largest pool of motherboards. Not being able to use the memory slots closest to the CPU socket is not a problem exclusive to Sapphire. Low profile modules should alleviate that problem if you must populate all four sockets on an Intel socket 1155 motherboard. With just two DIMM slots populated there is no concern as even Corsair's GT8 modules will fit.
Mounting problems aside, the Vapor-X Universal CPU Cooler met and exceeded my expectations when it came to cooling performance. It was able to outperform what I consider one of the best tower designs on the market, the Noctua NH-U12P, by two degrees both at stock speeds and when overclocked. Sapphire's PWM-controlled Dual-X high static pressure fans employed on the Vapor-X Universal CPU Cooler are used to force the airflow through the dense fin array delivering great cooling performance without a massive noise penalty. The aerofoil shape of the fan blades contributes to the low noise operation yet still delivers high static pressure throughout the operating range. Load temperatures of 52 °C running stock speeds and 72 °C overvolted and overclocked were seen with this cooler.
Visually the Vapor-X Universal CPU Cooler is easy on the eyes, The cooler looks good when idle and really shines when you power it up. Pairing this cooler with one of Sapphire's Vapor-X video cards in a chassis with a large window will allow all comers to see just who you support by means of the logos and accents that light up.
Priced at $69, Sapphire's entry into the enthusiast market is at the upper end of the $50 to $75 price bracket and performs as it should for that price point, beating out a cooler that is priced higher. Mounting concerns aside, Sapphire has a viable option to increase its portfolio after expanding into motherboards, mini PCs, and now CPU cooling solutions.
- Excellent Cooling
- Low Noise
- Fit and Finish
- Sapphire Vapor-X Technology
- Sapphire Reputation
- Mounting Plate Interference