SilenX Effizio EFZ-120HA5 Reviewairman - May 27, 2012
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The SilenX Effizio EFZ-120HA5 is not unlike many coolers I have already seen. At this point in standard designs, this cooler follows the basic "rules" of mid-range heatsinks. It has copper heatpipes, an aluminum base through which the heatpipes directly contact the CPU die, fins on the top of the base, and a single tower of aluminum fins. The wavy, alternating pattern of the fins gives it an interesting look and kind of messes with your eyes if you stare at it for too long — it almost starts to look like the fins are transparent. There are dimples that cover all of the fin surfaces, which are said to increase turbulence of the air flowing through it and provide more surface area between the fin-air (fluid) interface. The dimples themselves are VERY small (<0.005") and I do not see them doing much to increase the effectiveness of the cooler. On a very large scale — perhaps — but not so much on something the size of a computer heatsink. The top fin is colored black and has raised lettering of the PCCooler logo. The edges of the fins are folded over and locked together and creates a sealed cavity for the air to pass through.
The three 6mm heatpipes are pressed tightly into the aluminum base. Between the top of the heatpipes and the aluminum base are almost no visible gaps, indicative of a well-planned process in that respect. The fins themselves are layered onto the heatpipes and pressed into place. I don't see any evidence of the fins being soldered to the heatpipes, but I wouldn't immediately expect that out of a $30 heatsink. On the base was a plastic film to protect the surface from scratches and to be removed just prior to installation; it has been removed already. The base itself has evident machining marks, though it is still rather reflective. It is important to understand that a reflective base does not always signify a good conducting surface. Depending on the machining process, the surface can be left very shiny even though the surface roughness (Ra) is large. To the contrary, a very smooth surface with a small Ra value may appear as a matte finish even though it is superior. The gaps on the CPU-side of the base between the aluminum and the copper are acceptable — though the exterior gaps are noticeably larger than the four gaps in the middle. The drawback to direct-touch heatpipes coolers is that gaps are difficult to avoid.
The fan itself is a 120mm fan that has a black casing and red blades. The fan blades themselves seem to be thicker than what I am normally used to; this may be part of the design improvements to make the fan be as silent as possible. It can operate between 5-12V and pull a maximum of 0.16A which makes it a 1.92W fan. Its speed (depending on voltage applied) ranges from 800-1600RPM which is specified to produce an airflow of between 23-86 CFM at a miniscule 8-24dBA, respectively. It uses a 3-pin connection (non-PWM), and a fan controller is not provided meaning it will run at 12V all of the time unless a voltage reducer is in place. However, at only 24dBA at its maximum speed, it will be hardly audible, especially inside a case. The heatsink itself has notches along each of the four sides for a rubber fan mount to attach. I have never really liked rubber fan mounts (I prefer metal clips as they make installation and removal much quicker). When putting the fan on I noticed that the fan mounting height is slightly taller than the available height of the fins, meaning that the mounts may hang outside of the fins a little bit. As long as the fan stays put, there won't be a problem!
Now, it's time to try to figure out the installation process of this cooler. Luckily, the installation manual is clear and does not seem to propose anything in "Engrish". First, a mounting bracket must be attached to the heatsink's base using two provided screws. Intel sockets require the one-piece bracket, and AMD sockets will require two individual pieces. Next, the universal backplate must be configured (Intel vs AMD) and placed into the motherboard. With the backplate assembled and in place, thermal paste is applied and the heatsink is secured using the four supplied spring thumb nuts. A flathead screwdriver will be required to tighten these all the way down unless you have very strong yet very small hands! With the heatsink mounted, we slip the fan on, and we're ready to go.
With the SilenX EFZ-120HA5 successfully installed, it's time to fire up the test bed and get this cooler cooking. First, however, I will provide the manufacturer's list of specifications and features that describe the heatsink in technical detail.