Thermolab Baram CPU Cooler Review

gotdamojo06 - 2008-11-24 19:29:20 in CPU Cooling
Category: CPU Cooling
Reviewed by: gotdamojo06   
Reviewed on: December 23, 2008
Thermolab
Price: TBA

Introduction:  

Have you been looking for a new cooler for your system? Maybe you are into overclocking and know the dangers of high temperatures of your processor's core(s), or maybe you are just building a new computer for your first time and you want something that is going to be silent or cool well. What ever your reason for needing a cooler for your processor, Thermolab may just have the solution you are looking for with their Baram CPU Cooler. This cooler is not only designed to work for the Socket 775 processors, but the AMD side of things as well, so no matter what system you have, this cooler may just work for you. I am interested to see how well this cooler is going to work when it is compared to the others that are out on the market.

Closer Look:

Thermolab has always used very simplistic packaging, this idea makes the package look more professional and less like something that you would find as a cheap knock off brand. The Thermolab Baram CPU Cooler is packaged in a brown cardboard box that has very little writing on it, just the information that you are going to need to know, such as the brand name, Thermolab, and the cooler's name which is Baram. Under the Thermolab logo on the top of the box, you are going to see their company slogan, which reads "Effective Thermal Management Solution", giving you the impression that this cooler is going to be a great solution to your thermal problems, such as heat on the processor. When you take a look at the two sides that have print on them, you are going to see that this cooler was made in Korea, which is where Thermolab is based out of. The name Baram is actually a Korean word that means "air flow", this is proudly displayed on one of the sides. This will also give you the impression that the Thermolab Baram CPU Cooler will be able to perform quite well. The final side is where you are going to find the specifications for the Baram Cooler, such as the dimensions and the socket types that it was built for.

 

 

 

 

When you open up the package and remove all of the items that come in it, you are going to see that there is quite a large amount of accessories that came with the Thermolab Baram CPU Cooler. The Baram cooler itself is wrapped up nice and tight in a plastic bag to keep it from obtaining any scratches from the accessories during the shipping process .

 

As I mentioned before, the Thermolab Baram CPU Cooler has a few different accessories that comes with it, included in the package is a tube of thermal paste, just in case you do not have any laying around, or if you wish to use their thermal paste that has been supplied to you. There also are four fan clips to clip a 120mm fan on either side of the Baram cooler in a push-pull configuration. The Baram cooler has been setup as a multi platform cooler, which means that there are two different types of backing plates as well as mounting hardware. The one on the left is the Intel LGA775 mounting hardware and backing plate while the one on the right is for the AMD sockets.

 

 

 

Now that we know what the Thermolab Baram CPU Cooler has packaged inside of its plain brown box, I am curious to see what the cooler actually looks like.

Closer Look:

The Thermolab Baram CPU Cooler is a tower style cooler, with the heatpipes coming off of the base and going straight up with the fins connecting all of the heatpipes. This style of CPU cooler has proven to work very well by other coolers out on the market. There are fifty four fins that make up the large fin array connecting all of the heatpipes, these fins as you can see are not all straight, they do criss cross, making an elongated "x" shape. This positioning of the fins is going to do two different things to the performance of the cooler. First, it is going to increase the surface area that the passing through air is going to be able to come into contatct with. The second thing that this design is going to do is allow more space for the air to pass through, allowing for a less powerful fan to push air through the fins as it is not a tight space. There are five different heatpipes that come out of the base of the cooler and travel upwards towards the top of the cooler, dumping off the heat to the fins as it makes its journey towards the top. The shape of the fins is also unique in the fact that they are not flat edged, again adding more surface area for the heat to be dissipated to.

 

 

  

 

 

 

When you install the fan on the cooler, you are going to see that the fan covers the entire front of the cooler where you have it installed. The fan that I used is a Thermaltake 120mm 12v fan. Thermolab did not include any fans in the packaging, however it does have enough clips that you can install a second fan on the backside of the cooler. This fan is the common 120mm fan size in being 120x120x25mm so you will be able to get the basic idea of what any fan is going to look like installed on the cooler. It does not stick out too far from the end of the cooler, and it does fit nice and snuggly in the grooves in the fins. The fan also does not extend past the fin array on any side, making sure that the air the fan is blowing does not go anywhere other than through the fin array.

 

 

 

Taking a look at the top of the cooler, you are going to see where the heatpipes are coming through and how they are positioned through the fins. They do not go through the fins right next to eachother, instead they make a pattern like the #5 on a set of dice, being evenly spaced throughout. This is going to ensure that there is an even amount of heat being transfered from one heatpipe to the surrounding fins. The base of the cooler is made of copper with a mirror finish applied to it to make sure it is flat and smooth, ensuring a close contact with the IHS of the processor. The mounting hardware for the LGA775 socket is held down by four screws, two on either side.

 

 

Now that we know exactly what the cooler looks like and how the mounting hardware is installed on it, I am curious to see how the Thermolab Baram cooler is going to perform when it is put up against some of the other coolers out on the maket.

Specifications:

 

Socket Type

Intel: LGA775
AMD: Socket AM2 & AM2+

Heatsink Material

Aluminum Fins + Copper Heatpipes & Base

Heatsink Dimensions

67 x 132 x 160mm

Heatsink Heatpipes

5

Fan Dimensions

Not Included 120mm Requied

Fan Speed

N/A

Fan Bearing Type

N/A

Fan Noise Level

N/A

Fan connector

N/A

Fan Color

N/A

Total Weight

625g

 

Testing:

To properly test the Thermolab Baram, I will be monitoring the highest temperature of the processor at Idle (little to no CPU usage), and at full load (100% CPU usage). If the cooler does not have a fan supplied, I will be using a Thermaltake 12v 120mm fan with all coolers that do not have one supplied. My idle test will be done by running the computer for thirty minutes and recording the maximum temperature during that time. I will be using OCCT:PK to simulate a full load. I will run a torture test for 30 minutes with the mixed (CPU and RAM) mode turned on, and gather the maximum temperature during this time. The temperature monitoring software that I will be using is Real Temp 2.60, as it reads all four cores, documents the maximum temperature for a period until you reset it, and most importantly, it reads the 45nm processor's temperatures correctly. I will be taking the four highest temperatures that were produced during the test, and report the average of the four cores. The stock test will be done using all of the stock settings for the Q9450 @ 2666MHz. During the overclocked tests, I will be using 410MHz FSB with an 8x multiplier to give me 3280MHz overclocked speed, with a vCore of 1.34v. All of the temperatures are measured in degrees Celsius. I will also be runnning these same tests with two fans added to the cooler to see if and how much of a difference is made.

Testing Setup:

 

Comparison Heatsinks:

NOTE: Some of the listed heatsinks were originally tested using an E6600; I recently re-tested and gathered new data after the switch from the E6600 to the Q9450. The new temperatures are represented in the graphs below.

 

 

 

 

 

The Thermolab Baram cooler with one fan installed was able to beat out a few of the other coolers on the market such as the Thermaltake SpinQ and the ASUS Triton 78, but did fall short of the big dogs such as the TRUE, the Cooler Master V8, and the Titan CoolIdol. When a second fan was installed, the Baram cooler did 3°C better during the overclocked load test, bringing it very close to the CoolIdol and getting the same result as the TRUE.

Conclusion:

The performance of the Thermolab Baram CPU Cooler was within 2 degrees Celsius of the vaunted TRUE when under load. When you add a second fan, however, you are going to see the exact same performance from the Baram as you do from the TRUE, pretty stout for any competitor considering the TRUE seems to be the standard all coolers are measured against. I really liked the overall layout of the Baram cooler, it uses the towering style of cooler that somewhat looks like the Thermalright Ultra 120 Extreme, however uses copper heatpipes. Thermolab decided to throw 5 total heatpipes on this cooler, which go from the base of the cooler all the way through the large fin array in a way that they are not too close together, allowing for the heat to be evenly dissipated from them to the surrounding fins. The mounting hardware of the Thermolab Baram cooler is both a positive and a negative aspect to the cooler depending on your point of view; sure it is very sturdy and is not going to fail and fall off of your processor, however it does make it a pain in the butt to get on. To install the Baram cooler, you have to remove the motherboard from the chassis and bolt it on from behind the motherboard, which for the average user would not be a problem, but for someone like me who changes their hardware and cooling solutions all the time, it can be a pain. The other complaint that I have with the Baram cooler is that there were no fans included with it, which can prove to be a pain if you do not have any extras laying around, but is nice as well as you can pick up which ever fan you want, allowing you to choose between high performance and low sound levels. The Multi platform design is always a good idea, making the cooler more valuable to people who upgrade their system and may want to use it on their next build, even if it's not the same socket. 

Overall, I liked the Thermolab Baram CPU Cooler. If you are looking for a good looking cooling solution for your processor and you do not want to spend a whole lot of money on a cooler, this one depending on the price when released could prove to be your best friend. The cooler was able to out perform some of the other coolers that are out there and even ended up equaling the load temperatures delivered by the TRUE, which if you have not figured it out by now has a big target on it with each manufacturer building a similar product.Some of them are getting close to that mark and beating it. The total spread between the overclocked load temperatures is just 7 degrees Celsius, not a big margin but enough to differentiate the performance and allow price to become a determining factor. I would definitely look at the Baram as a viable option to the larger coolers in this class. It delivers excellent performance in a really crowded segment.

 

Pros:

 

Cons: