Silenx Effizio Extreme Reviewccokeman - August 16, 2010
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The SilenX Effizio is a tower style heat sink that uses five heat pipes to remove the thermal load from the CPU and transfer it to the large aluminum fin array. This set of heat pipes is arranged in a V shape in the fin array to allow the most surface area to contact the aluminum fins while still presenting a large part of the heatpipe surface to the airflow from the attached fan. The shape of the Effizio is most visible from the top view and resembles a "Tribal" design that sets it apart from the vast majority of tower style heat sinks. This visual cue is more attractive than just a rectangular set of fins. Under the fin array and on top of the aluminum base is an additional heat sink that makes use of the airflow that flows under the Effizio. The base of the Effizio is dominated by the five heat pipes running through the base and uses a direct contact design to provide a more direct path for the thermal load to reach the heat pipes and fin array. This heat sink from SilenX measures 105x131x153mm, so it is not among the smaller heat sinks out there. With size comes weight - the Effizio tips the scales at 863 grams, in part, due to the copper heat pipes.
At first glance, the base of the Effizio looks relatively smooth in relation to many of the direct contact style heat sinks I have looked at previously. When you take a closer look, it suffers from the same malady as most of this design in that the aluminum base and copper heat pipes are of slightly differing heights, with a gap between the copper and aluminum. This causes the application of the TIM to not spread out and cover the CPU once the heat sink is tightened down securely. The differing heights of the aluminum and copper create channels that the thermal interface material feeds into and results in a less than adequate application. This means using a thicker, less efficient layer of TIM to get the correct coverage. The contact patch I ended up with is indicative of this problem and you can see how the TIM spread along the channels between the aluminum base and copper heat pipes.
The fan mounting system used by SilenX should be familiar to anyone who has purchased a high end silent fan recently. SilenX employs a rubber isolator / mount to attach the fan(s) to the Effizio. These rubber isolators slide into grooves on the face of the heat sink instead of using clips. This method makes the fan connection silent. In doing this, the fan falls about an eighth of an inch from the face of the heat sink, allowing airflow around the cooler instead of through it. The fan used on this heat sink pushes 102 CFM, so there may be a bit of airflow to spare.
The surface of the Effizio's fins is covered in a series of dimples that promote air turbulence and allow for more surface area to be impacted by the fan's airflow. With 102 CFM on tap, the Effizio can make good use of this design element.
The fan included with the Effizio makes use of a fluid dynamic bearing for years of trouble free service. The fan that comes with this cooler is rated between 800 and 2000 RPM and pushes between 34 and 102 CFM at 8 to 28 dBA - so you can get silence and performance from one fan with the included fan controller. This fan comes with a 3-pin connection so it can be plugged into either the motherboard or into the supplied fan controller to modulate the speed of the fan. The wiring is silver in color for a little flash inside the chassis.
The installation process for the SilenX Effizio is much like that of any other bolt-in heat sink - attach the screws to the baseplate, push the screws up through the motherboard, flip the board over, and attach the heat sink using the included spring-loaded screws. The mounting hardware on this heat sink from SilenX does provide for a positive stop so you do not over tighten one side or the other creating a less than optimal mount. When installed, the Effizio does clear the memory and all the motherboard's heat sinks without any trouble. Once in the chassis, there was plenty of room to expand the performance by adding a second fan. Of course, your case may be different - if you have a smaller chassis, then measure carefully if you plan on installing a second fan.
The direct contact heat pipe heat sinks have been a proven commodity. Let's see if this example from SilenX can deliver performance or if it is just another middle-of-the-road heat sink.