Spire Gemini Rev. 2 Reviewairman - December 1, 2011
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The appearance of the Spire Gemini Rev. 2 is far from plain or simple. Like some other tower coolers, the cooler is bifurcated (split into two sides) on either end of the U-shaped heatpipes. The dimpled fins not only give the cooler a textured look but also increases the surface area of the cooling area which raises its effectiveness. On the opposite side of the CPU contact area is a small, passive heatsink - further increasing the overall working surface area of the cooler. I have seen this in a few other coolers previous to this one, so this is nothing new to myself or the market but is still an effective use of workable area. Two of the sides are sealed off due to the construction of the fins, keeping the air flowing from the entrance to the exit without any escaping. This too is a previously-seen feature, and keeps the air within the heatsink's volume before it exits the other side.
Checking out the top of the cooler shows a good picture of the dimpled pattern in the fins and the decorative caps on the tops of the heatpipes. Due to the way that heatpipes are constructed, the ends are generally unappealing visually, so some manufacturers put caps on top of them to clean up the overall look of the product. Looking at the bottom, the heatpipe layout can be observed to be a V-shape. This shape helps get more airflow around each heatpipe, rather than a linear design which can cause airflow blockages on later heatpipes. When laid on its side, another look of the passive heatsink on the top of the base can be taken. The fins themselves are actually milled into the base material itself, which means that it is all one piece and lacks any performance-hindering interfaces like glue.
When looking at the quality of the base, it is indeed flat — but the machining marks are quite evident. The less polished that a heatsink base is, the less contact area between the heatsink and the CPU which hinders performance. Thermal paste assists with this, but it's always better to have as smooth of a base as possible. In the case of the Spire Gemini Rev. 2, the base certainly isn't perfect. Having been plated over the raw machined copper base, this does smooth out the surface slightly. However by looking into the reflection produced by the base, a "ghosting", or duplicate image can be seen due to the micro ridges on the surface.
When looking closely at the fans, the material used to produce them is a semi-transparent, dark gray plastic. Both sides look rather similar due to there being an identical sticker on both sides, as opposed to them usually being different — I.e. the Spire logo on the front and one with specifications (voltage, current RPM, etc.) on the rear. On one side of each fan there is a foam-rubber damper in each corner. This pre-packaged addition will help silence vibrations produced by the fan, only producing a maximum rated noise level of 25dBA. The rubber dampers will quiet the fans further. Both fans use 3-pin, non PWM connectors and draw a current of 0.15A at 12V. Operating at a speed of ~1700RPM, each moves approximately 70CFM.
The fans are secured to both sides of the cooler using the supplied two pairs of fan clips. First I snapped the long part into the slots on the cooler, where they will stay on their own due to the way the slots are cut. Then the fans with the rubber side in are clipped in. It takes a little bit of effort to get them completely snapped in, so I would say the "fan side" of the clips could have been a few millimeters further out so it wouldn't take as much effort to pull them out far enough to hook them into the fans.
I noticed during installation that I thought I was going to have a problem getting the pressure even. With its true 4-point design, it's almost impossible to get all four corners at the same amount of pressure to allow an even contact patch over the entire surface area of the CPU itself. In order for 4-point setups to be as effective as possible, the nuts used to hold down the bracket (which is attached to the heatsink) must be able to bottom out at a specific point - every time. In the case of this cooler, the nuts are threaded too deeply and cannot bottom out before the mounting bracket itself deflects too far for my comfort. This is where good design and quality manufacturing and tolerancing come into play if we want a successful 4-point mount, but why would you? See the designs of the Noctua, Prolimatech, NZXT, and many other coolers. They use 1 or 2-point mechanisms that work beautifully and are completely repeatable with their results every time. I can say that I definitely tried my hardest to get this mounting as close to perfectly-installed as I could but we'll see how the thing performs here shortly. With the cooler put together and installed in the case, it's almost time to load up the testing gear and get started. First, we'll take a look at the manufacturer-provided specifications and features.