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Thermaltake Volcano 9 heatsink review /w smart fan 2

Former staff writer    -   July 11, 2002
Category: CPU Cooling


Introduction

Thermaltake keeps coming out with something better and better. Its like when I got my Geforce 4 TI 4600 video card, I then hear that there will be a new ATI 9500 video card that will be able to benchmark 15,000 on 3DMark2001SE. Thermaltake had great success with their Volcano 7+ heatsink, and now they have taken the Volcano 7+ and made it more advance. Because of the new design and newer technology, they had to come up with a new name, what better than Volcano 9? The Volcano 9 comes stock with a huge 80mm fan that is capable of 4800RPM @ 75.7 CFM! This fan is something else that is very new at Thermaltake, and I will be talking more about that later on in the review. Can the Volcano 9 really cool or is it just something pretty to look at? Read on!




Specifications

Cooler Dimension 80x80x77.3 mm
Fan Dimension 80x80x25 mm
Rated Voltage 12VDC
Start Voltage 6VDC
Rated Current 0.20 - 0.70 AMP
Power Input 2.4 - 8.4 Watts
Fan Speed 1300 - 4800 RPM
Max Air flow 75.7 CFM @ 4800 RPM
Air Pressure 1.45 - 8.43mm H²O
Noise 17 - 48 dBa
Bearing Type Two Ball Bearing
Life Time 50,000 Hours
Connector 3 Pin


The cooler

As you can see from the picture, Thermaltake has included their signature fan grill. The fan on top of the Volcano 9 is called the "Smart Case Fan 2". This fan can be bought separately so that you can install it in your case. Because it's the same case fan they sell separately it's good for them because they only have to manufacture one fan that works on their Volcano 9 and in computer cases. Since it's cheaper for Thermaltake to manufacture just one fan, they can sell the fan and heatsink cheaper, which is good for us, the end user.



The fan on the Volcano 7 was really nice, but now that they have came out with this newer version, its a thing of the past. The older version had a little green sensor on the fan itself. This sensor detected the temperature, then depending on how hot it was it would automatically increase or decrease the RPM. This wasn't always efficient because it detected the "case" temperature. If your like me and have tons of case fans, keeping your case really cool, then the Volcano 7 fan would stay at a lower RPM, even though you were gaming and the CPU was hot. Thermaltake has fixed that problem with the new Smart Case Fan 2.

The Smart Case Fan 2 has three fan functions modes. You can set it up so that the fan is full speed (4800rpm) all the time. I'm really glad that they added this feature! This mode will be used mostly by overclockers and users cooling their cpu in a hot environment. Another mode you can set the fan to is temperature controlled mode. Included in the box of the Volcano 9 you receive a little thermal probe. This probe is very flat, so that you can place it between your CPU and your Volcano 9 heatsink. Simply place the probe under your heatsink you connect the other end up to the fan, then let the fan do the rest. This allows you to cool your CPU while reducing noise, without compromising cooling. As the temperature of your CPU rises, so does the RPM of the fan. This allows your CPU to stay around the same temperature all the time. The last mode you can set the fan to run in, is the manual adjustable mode. Included in the box you will find another wire. This wire has a little black knob on the end of it. This knob allows you to manually adjust the fans RPM from 1300 - 4800. This is good if you hate loud fans, you could just manually adjust it to the highest RPM that isn't too loud to you.





The fan on this heatsink was one of the most compelling features of the Volcano 9. However, a good fan isn't worth anything without a good heatsink. On the bottom of the Volcano 9, you see the copper base insert. This is the same design we saw on the Volcano 7. There is only one thing I saw different was that there wasn't any TIM! Usually Thermaltake applies TIM on the bottom of their heatsinks. However that is not the case with the Volcano 9. I guess they figured most users take it off anyway, and use something better like NanoTherm or AS3.



I love the clipping mechanism on the Volcano 9. Most heatsinks only have one hole in the middle, that clips on to your socket of your motherboard. However, on the Volcano 9 it has three and it will clip on all three hooks of the socket. This help prevents your socket from breaking. A socket broke on one of my old motherboards because the heatsink I was using and changing out all the time only had one hole, to hook on to the motherboard socket.



If your lost on how to wire the fan up, or which mode to set it to. Then you can check out the included color explanation sheet. You can see from example pictures how to do what.



Testing
Test Rig

  • Abit KR7A-133Raid
  • AMD 2100+ XP CPU
  • Samsung PC2700 DDR Memory
  • Geforce 4 ti 4600
  • SB Audigy X-Gamer
  • Windows XP

    Our testing method:

    I allowed the system to idle for 10mins to get the idle temperature.
    In order to get the load temperature, I ran two Seti@home programs while running SiSoft Burn in test.


    When I first saw the temps of my CPU after installing this heatsink, I really thought my thermal probe that was detecting the temperature, was broken or wasn't on the CPU good. So I took the heatsink back off and made sure, the probe was where it should be, and it was. Never the less, the temperatures at which this heatsink kept my CPU at was a lot better than I would have thought! Well.. see for yourself:

    I ran two tests, one test with the case panel off, and one with it on. If your case panel is off it allows more cool air in to the case. My case currently, doesn't have a lot of case fans in it. This test shows about what the temps would be like if I installed a few case fans.


  • This test, I put the Volcano 9 up against my Globalwin FOP 38, the heatsink I had installed on this CPU. The FOP 38 has a super load and super cooling Black Label Delta fan, spinning at 6800RPM. I never would have dreamed the Volcano 9 could beat my Delta fan :)



    Conclusion
    The box says "Smart & Silent volcano 9". Smart yes, but Silent not really. I found the fan to be fairly loud at 4800RPM. Its nothing compared to my Delta fan, but it's still worth mentioning that it is fairly loud. If you use the manual controlled knob or better yet the CPU probe, then the fan should rarely hit 4800RPM causing it to be loud. I like the new orange color of the fan on the Volcano 9, I bet it would look cool with a black light in the case with a window :) I think Thermaltake has done a great job with the new Smart Fan 2. It's just a shame they don't make 120MM fans, for cases. The box says the heatsink is rated up to Athlon XP 2600+ CPU's, so this heatsink should last you for a little while. I love the heatsink, fan, and clipping mechanism. That is why I'm giving this heatsink our "OverlcockersClub Recommended" award.

    We would like to thank Thermaltake.com for providing us this heatsink to review!

    Pros:
    • Easy to install
    • Very configurable fan!
    • Aluminum & Copper!

    Cons:
    • Fan is slightly loud at 4800RPM
    LEGACY - OCC Recommended



    1. Thermaltake Volcano 9 heatsink review /w smart fan 2
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