Thermaltake NiC-F4 Reviewccokeman - October 20, 2013
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Thermaltake NiC-F4 Closer Look:
Measuring 155H*140W*50L mm in size and weighing in at 688g, the Thermaltake NiC-F4 is fairly robust in size yet is light enough not to cause a concern about overloading the PCB. The 50mm thick dimension is what makes this concept work as we see in the installation pictures. Thermaltakes NIC-F4 uses a pair of 120mm PWM fans to provide the airflow needs of the 4-heat pipe equipped tower. The red and black fans used to provide the airflow are well suited for use on any board but match up particularly well with the likes of the ROG series from ASUS and the Gaming series boards from MSI.
Stripped down to its essentials the Thermaltake NiC-F4 is a tower-style heat sink that uses a quartet of nickel-plated copper 6mm heat pipes to carry the thermal load from the contact face of the cooler to the aluminum fin array. The fin array surface is concave, directing airflow towards the center of the array. Mounting holes are situated along the outside edges of the fin array. At 140mm wide the array looks like it will support fans up to 140mm in size with the included fan brackets. Each of the four 6mm heat pipes is neatly capped at the top of the fin array for improved aesthetics. On top of the contact surface the heat sink base has large blocks that help locate the retention hardware.
Thermaltake's NiC-F4 uses a direct-contact heat pipe design allowing the thermal load to take a more direct route to the large fin array. The surface is not smooth, but most direct contact designs usually are not. Depending on the size of the gaps between the heat pipes and base material you may need to use more thermal paste than normal when mounting the cooler. DIrectly from the factory the contact face is covered with a protective film that needs to be removed before using the NiC-F4.
A pair of interconnected 120mm PWM sickle blade fans are used to provide the airflow needs of the NiC-F4 and run in a Push-Pull configuration. By connecting the two fans together you only need one connection to the motherboard to have the fans function fully. The fans are rated to run between 800-1600RPM at 12V using 0.17A to consume 2.04W. Rated at between 18.0~30.2 dBA these fans are quiet enough to keep you from annoying the household while stll providing 79.28CFM at an air pressure rating of 1.911 MM-H2O. The cables are sleeved for a sleek look and terminate in a 4-pin fan header connector.
When it came time to install the NiC-F4 I was pleasantly surprised at how easy the mounting system has become over the past few generations. No longer was it a fight to get the heat sink installed and connected to the mounting hardware. The mounting system has evolved to a system much like what Noctua is using to more accurately clamp the heat sink in place. Looking at the space around the heat sink in my chassis you can see that it fits well in the test chassis and provides the benefit of fitting the fans into place without any tweaking to make the mounting system and fans work as intended. I was concerned initially with the large gaps in the contact surface that need to be filled with thermal paste to allow the cooler to function as intended.
Solid construction and a new mounting system are in Thermaltake's favor on this latest line of heat sinks in the NiC series.