Thermaltake ISGC-400 CPU Cooler Review

ajmatson - 2009-04-30 16:33:06 in CPU Cooling
Category: CPU Cooling
Reviewed by: ajmatson   
Reviewed on: May 24, 2009
Price: $47.99

Introduction:

Recently, we took a look at a new series of coolers designed by Thermaltake, the ISGC-300, made to push the limits of efficiency and noise reduction. ISGC, which stands for Inspiration of Silent Gaming Cooling, uses the unique design of its fans to increase air flow while reducing operating noise. With the varying types of processors, and their thermal limits, you need a cooler that keeps the temperatures down yet is versatile enough to work on a variety of platforms. Thermaltake has taken years of experience and research to develop the ISGC series coolers, to provide the best solution to the rising temperatures that modern processors put out. This time we are looking at another one of the ISGC series coolers - the ISGC-400, which uses the same quiet technology, but a different design approach from the ISGC-300.

 

Closer Look

The Thermaltake ISGC-400 comes packaged in a sturdy black box to protect the precious innards. The front of the box shows a sneak peak at how the cooler looks. There's also a picture of one of Thermaltake's mascots, Zoe. The back of the packaging has a top view showing the unique features of the ISGC fan design, as well as features of the cooler. On the sides are expanded lists of features and specifications.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When you open the packaging, the insides slide out, revealing a well packaged product. I really appreciate how well the cooler was cared for, since it is fragile and important to your system. The cooler and the fan are surrounded by foam and cardboard to keep them steady and safe. On the top layer is the ISGC 12 fan, and underneath is the cooler itself, and the accessories. The ISGC-400, like the ISGC-300, supports current sockets including AMD AM2+, AMD AM3, Intel 775, and Intel 1366 (i7). Included with the cooler are setup guides and instructions, as well as the mounting hardware for each socket, the fan mounts, and a syringe of Thermaltake thermal paste. 

 

 

 

Now that we have everything out of the box, we can take a better look at the workings of the ISGC-400.

Closer Look:

Unlike the tower design that the ISGC-300 uses, the ISGC-400 changes the direction of airflow to help keep the surrounding areas cooler, thus lowering temperatures overall. The ISGC-400 is comprised of an aluminum body with 33 aluminum sawtooth fins, which are designed to make the cool air intake smoother, which maximizes cooling performance. Attached to the fins are six copper heatpipes that start from the all-copper base. Since copper is a great conductor of heat, the base and pipes quickly whisk away the heat to the aluminum fins, where the fan takes care of the rest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The fan that is included with the ISGC-400 cooler is the ISGC 12 fan, model number TTB122512LS. It is rated to push a maximum 58.3 CFM of air, all at a noise level of 16 dBA. The fan measures 120x25mm, and is rated at 12v for operation. The blades of the fan are designed to be like flower petals to decrease the noise created when operating, in conjunction with other features, such as the Hydro Dynamic Bearings. Thermaltake claims an airflow increase of up to 15 %, while decreasing noise by 3%. To also aid in cooling and noise during operation, there's a fan speed controller that gets connected to the power lead of the fan. This controller allows you to adjust the RPM of the fan from 800 to 1300 RPM.

 

 

 

Now let's mount the ISGC-400 and see how well it holds up.

Specifications:

Model
CLP0540
Compatability
Intel Socket LGA 1366
Core i7
Intel Socket LGA 775
Core 2 Extreme
Core 2 Quad
Core 2 Duo
Pentium D
Pentium 4
Pentium
Celeron D
Celeron

AMD Socket AM3 /AM2 / AM2+
Phenom II x4
Phenom II x3
Phenom
Athlon 64 FX
Athlon 64 X2
Athlon 64
Sempron
Dimension
126(L) x 71(W) x 60(H) mm
Heatsink Material
Aluminum Fins Al Cover + Cu Base
Heatpipe
Ø 6 mm x 4PCS
Fan Dimensions
Ø 120 x 25 mm
Rated Voltage
12 V
Started Voltage
 7 V
Fan Speed 800 ~ 1300 RPM
Max Air Flow
58.3 CFM
Max Air Preassure
1.4 mmH2O
Noise
16 dBA
Life Expectation
50,000 hrs
Fan Connector
3 Pin
Weight
697g

 

Features:

 

All information courtesy of Thermaltake @ http://www.thermaltake.com/product_info.aspx?PARENT_CID=C_00001389&id=C_00001390&cid=C_00000010&name=ISGC-300&ov=n&ovid=

Testing:

The tests for the Thermaltake ISGC-400 are twofold. First, I will test the temperatures while at stock, and the second set will be overclocked to 3.8GHz (205x18.5) at 1.5 volts. During testing, the computer will be left to sit idle for 30 minutes and the temperature will be recorded. Then I will run Prime95 for 30 minutes and again take the temperature. To monitor the temperature, I will be using AMD Overdrive's system monitor, as well as CoreTemp .99 to make sure the temperatures are accurate. All testing will be done in a Thermaltake V9 gaming case to show a real world environment for users, not an open system. The ambient room temperature will be kept at 24 degrees Celsius to ensure correct readings throughout the testing.

Testing System:

 

Comparison Coolers:

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

For the stock tests, the ISGC-400 ran a bit hotter than the ISGC-300, but still better than the stock AMD heatsink. Overclocked, the ISGC-400 showed a bit more improvement when idle, but was passed up by its partner, the ISGC-300. When overclocked, the stock AMD heatsink could not handle the thermal load.

 

Conclusion:

When it comes to CPU coolers, every degree counts - especially when overclocking comes into play. While it might seem like a small difference, that little bit can mean having a stable overclock or a fried processor, which no one likes. The ISGC series coolers have great cooling designs and do their jobs well. The ISGC-400, when compared to a stock AMD heatsink, blows it away - especially on the overclocked tests, where the stock heatsink did not cool the processor well enough to keep the system stable. When comparing the ISGC cooler to other aftermarket coolers, it came in around the same. However, when compared to its kin, the ISGC-300, it did fall behind just a bit; which, like I mentioned above, when dealing with temperatures every degree counts.

Because of its design, the ISGC-400 also restricts tall memory from being installed with it, in any of the memory slots. However, with the lessened height of the ISGC-400, compared to the ISGC-300, you will have no problems installing it in a mid-tower case that has fans on the side panel. During testing, the cooler was nearly silent - even at the highest RPM. Overall, this is a very nice CPU cooler and will do a great job keeping your precious components cool during those long frag fests.

 

Pros:

 

Cons: