Thermaltake Silent 1156 Review

ccokeman - 2008-10-05 12:14:54 in CPU Cooling
Category: CPU Cooling
Reviewed by: ccokeman   
Reviewed on: March 21, 2010
Price: $29.99

Introduction:

One of the most important items to consider when building a computer is what you are going to use to keep your expensive processor nice and cool so that it does its job and does it well. CPU coolers come in many shapes, sizes and types, such as large air cooled heat sinks or complex liquid cooled setups, all designed to keep your processor within its operating temperatures while pushing your system to the limits. To keep your system cool, you need a good transfer surface and good air flow/pressure. However, you do not want that jet engine blowing right next to you either. It is tough to find a CPU cooler that offers good cooling with low noise for newer sockets, such as the Socket LGA 1156 platform, until now. Thermaltake has designed a cooler for Socket 1156 platforms that is supposed to keep temperatures in acceptable levels while keeping the noise down to a low 22dB. This cooler uses a heat fin and heat pipe design with a specially designed low noise fan that funnels air over the cooling surface to lower your temperatures, while keeping you from grabbing some ear plugs. Will the reduction in speed of the fan hurt this design or will Thermaltake hit a sweet spot with the Silent 1156 cooler and surprise us all? Let’s take a look and see.

 

Closer Look:

The packaging of the Thermaltake Silent 1156 uses the same black and white scheme we have seen its products coming in lately. On the front of the box, there is a picture of the cooler so that you get a nice look at the design before you purchase it. It also shows the two heat pipes, as well as being only Socket LGA 1156 compatible. The back of the box lists the highlights of the Silent 1156, such as the design features and an air flow diagram. On the sides of the packaging, you'll find the specifications of the cooler and the fan so that you know exactly what to expect from the performance of the cooler.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When you open the package, you find another box that encloses the cooler and has the accessories underneath it. This keeps the cooler from having damage done to it and its delicate parts. Everything comes pre-assembled so there are no pieces that are disconnected that might rub against another causing damage or bending any of the parts.

 

 

Since this is a Socket 1156 cooler, there is no other socket parts included, which keeps down on the waste of the cooler. Included with the Thermaltake Silent 1156 cooler is the Socket 1156 retention clips, thermal paste, and the instructions, with a case badge. The retention clips used for the Silent 1156 are the quick push-pin design, which makes installing and removing the cooler a tool-less effort. The clips are the same design as we have seen on stock Intel Coolers, which are a great feature. However, in the past, I have had clips like these break, which renders the cooler useless.

 

 

Now let's see how the design of the Silent 1156 helps.

Closer Look:

The Thermaltake Silent 1156 is a heat pipe and fin type cooler, which uses copper heat pipes to transfer heat away from the processor to the aluminum fins, which are then cooled with the airflow of the fan and dissipated into the case. The Silent 1156 cooler stands 140mm high and has a width from side-to-side of 110mm. The depth of the cooler from the front of the fan to the back of the fins is a thin 72mm, so there should be no interference with any of the components of the system when the cooler is installed. The heat pipes are two large Φ8 copper pipes that are rather thick so that there is more surface area to whisk the heat up to the fins. The fins are stacked close together so that there is more disruption in the airflow, which causes more heat to be taken off the cooler and sent out into the natural airflow of the case.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The base of the Thermaltake Silent 1156 cooler is made of pure copper and attaches to the copper heat pipes to maximize the transfer of heat to the fins. There is a sticker protecting the base, so be sure to remove it prior to installation. The copper base, while flat, has noticeable grooves that cause gaps between the CPU and the cooler, trapping heat. I would have liked to have seen a more polished finish, with the grooves smoothed out. While no surface is every truly flat - and that is the point of thermal paste - the grooves on the Silent 1156 are very noticeable and may hinder its performance.

 

 

With the fan removed, you can get a better look at the main part of the Silent 1156 cooler, which is the fins and pipes. The cooler is pretty thin overall, which reduces the amount of cooling space. However, this attributes to its silent features because there is less surface for the air to flow over, causing less noise. The shroud of the fan, which holds it to the cooler, is removable and can be used without the fan if you want complete silence by sacrificing lower temperatures. The design of the fan shroud makes attaching the fan a tool-less endeavor, so it is quick and easy to add and remove.

 

 

 

The fan itself is made by Thermaltake which is model number TT-9025A. The fan has a rated speed of 800 - 1700RPM with a maximum air flow of 26.2 CFM and a maximum air pressure 1.22 mmH2O. The kicker behind this fan is that the noise that is produced from it during cooling is only a low 22dB which is fairly quiet. While this means a bit warmer temperatures the trade off is low noise emanating from your system which we all know can get very annoying especially when your computer sounds like a jet engine when turned on. Every corner you can cut on noise is helpful and the fan on the Silent 1156 cooler surely does it part. The power connector on the fan is a 4-pin which allows information to be sent back to the motherboard about fan speed and then works in tandem with the thermal sensors of the CPU and board to regulate the fan speed based on temperatures. This allows you to set thresholds based on these temperatures to tell the fan how fast to spin during these preset thresholds.

 

 

 

To install the Thermaltake Silent 1156 cooler, you attach the connectors to the base of the cooler with the four included screws, line the cooler up on the board, and push the pins into the board until they lock. That is it, and it can’t be any simpler than that. To remove, just turn the push pins to the unlocking position and pull them away from the board until the cooler comes loose.

Now that we have taken a better look at the Thermaltake Silent 1156 cooler, we can install it and see how it performs.

Specifications:

Compatibility
Intel Socket LGA 1156
Heatsink Dimension     
110(L)*72(W)*140(H)mm
Heatsink Material   
Cu_Base + Al_Fi
Heatpipe   
Φ8 * 2 PCS
Fan Dimension   
92(L)*92(W)*25(H)mm
Rated Voltage
12V
Started Voltage
7V
Power Input
1.44 W
Fan Speed
800-1700 RPM
Max. Air Flow
36.2 CFM
Max. Air Pressure
1.22 mmH2O
Noise
22 dB
Life Expectation
50000 hr
Connector
4pin
Weight
382g

 

Features:


All information courtesy of Thermaltake @  http://www.thermaltake.com/product_info.aspx?PARENT_CID=C_00001496&id=C_00001497&name=Silent+1156&ovid=n#P_00002271

Testing:

To put the Thermaltake Silent 1156 to the test, I will be making a comparison of the temperatures at idle and under load, both while the CPU is at stock voltages and clock speeds, as well as when the CPU is overclocked and over-volted. Doing so will show what kind of cooling performance the cooler has to offer when compared to other socket 1156 compatible heat sinks. These heat sinks will be tested head-to-head as they are delivered from the manufacturer. I could throw in a bunch of testing variables, but it is not what the products are capable of as delivered. To test the idle temperatures, I will allow the computer to stay idle for 30 minutes and take the idle temperature at this point. For the load testing, I will use Prime95 version 25.9 and choose the blend testing and allow the processor and memory controller to heat up to the maximum temperatures. The time frame is a fourhour run to allow the temperature to peak, usually in the 14K test. I will use Real Temp 3.0 to take the high and low temperatures and average the temperatures generated over the four cores as my reported temperature.

Testing Setup:

 

Comparison Heat sinks:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Testing of the Silent 1156 reveals that it provides a reduction in temperatures when compared to the stock Intel cooling solution by 8 degrees Celsius at stock speeds and 12 degrees with a modest overclock. When compared to the rest of the field, it is not the highest performer, but does excel at doing its job with a low noise signature.


 

Conclusion:

The Silent 1156 is built to do a couple of things - cool down your precious piece of silicon, and do it with as low a noise penalty as possible. It does succeed at these two things. When you look at this cooler initially, the first thing that stands out is the size of the heatpipes - at 8mm, they are large enough to carry the thermal load to the fin array to be dissipated by the 92mm PWM controlled fan. The use of the larger heatpipes and aluminum fin array allow it to outclass the stock Intel cooling solution by between 8 and 12 degrees Celsius under load. If you compare it to more robust designs though, it falls a bit short on the performance factor. This is in no small part to the other part of the performance equation - the fan used on the Silent 1156. Rated at 22dBa and 36.2CFM at the 1700RPM maximum fan speed, you could conceivably gain some cooling performance. Doing so, however, would cause you to sacrifice the noise, or lack thereof, that makes this cooler appealing. The finish on the contact surface was slightly ridged, but is nothing to be concerned about, as the contact pattern created by the TIM was even across the surface. The push-pin mounting mechanism makes the installation of the Silent 1156 an easy swap, since the motherboard does not need removal for installation. Remove the Intel cooling solution, clean off the old thermal compound, put on some new thermal compound, and mount the Silent 1156 in five simple moves. It's not for the high end overclocker, but does provide a nice low cost. It's a good looking, silent operating and easy-to-install stock replacement cooler that won't break the bank.

 

Pros:

 

Cons: