Titan Fenrir Siberia Edition Review

airman - 2012-02-20 22:01:45 in CPU Cooling
Category: CPU Cooling
Reviewed by: airman   
Reviewed on: March 26, 2012
Price: $79.99

Introduction:

This past year has been quite a busy year for heatsink manufacturers, but for Titan it has been rather quiet. Although the popularity of Titan's Fenrir coolers hasn't been as high as it was with the onslaught of newer coolers, the Fenrir line showed us that Titan is still around and that it knows how to make a good cooler. The Fenrir performed spot on with more expensive coolers of its time and is still in use in many systems today. It's hard to believe that its debut occurred about 3 years ago, and its use of direct contact heatpipes set it apart from many other coolers at the time where "D.C." (direct contact) coolers were still rather uncommon. About a year later came the Titan Fenrir Evo, targeting a higher TDP (wattage capability) and lower noise levels. Early in February, Titan launched a new version of the Fenrir deemed the "Siberia Edition". Though it has a similar name, the Titan Fenrir Siberia Edition is very dissimilar from its older brothers, even compared to many other coolers available today!

The Titan Fenrir Sibera Edition is an asymmetric cooler that has a vertical fin tower and a horizontal fin tower. This uncommon design can still be just as effective as a single tower cooler, but it provides more clearance underneath it since an entire fin group is suspended far above its base. The construction and form of the Titan Fenrir Siberia Edition is not wasted energy just to make something look exotic — it is there for a reason! I'll be sharing this and more with you further on into the review. This article will provide a thorough evaluation of this cooler along with results from an intense testing scenario where it will be compared in performance to other coolers on the market. With that being said, let's get started!

 

Closer Look:

The box of the Fenrir Siberia Edition follows the typical theme of Titan's packaging, which is a white background with mostly blue text and logos. A picture of the cooler is featured on the front of the box and shows its construction and geometry along with its four bare-copper heatpipes that hold everything together. The box itself is of fairly good size, but I can't speak for its overall size until I get the box open. The rear of the box is for the international folks, with eight other languages expressing what features were described on the sides of the box.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Opening the box from the top will expose the packaging components inside that hold everything together. Everything is well protected from the potential damages that can occur from its transport. After taking off the top tray and exposing the cooler itself, the size of the box is actually appropriate to the size of the cooler. It's huge!

 

 

Included in the box is a separate package of all of the mounting hardware and accessories. The fans (one 120mm and one 140mm) are also situated here. The included mounting hardware includes everything you will need to mount the cooler on any "current" CPU socket, including Intel's most recent Socket 2011. The cooler's unconventional geometry makes it fun to look at and to study. The cooler is much bigger than an original Fenrir and it is so different altogether that I'm not sure why Titan kept the Fenrir name. The five, 8mm heatpipes and its unusual construction may make it do pretty well — not only for the processor, but for the case temperature as well.

 

 

Now that everything is out of the box, let's take a closer look at the cooler itself and move further on in this review.

I can tell that the mounting hardware for this cooler is very similar if not the same as earlier Titan coolers, which I am a little wary about. Since the mounting posts are "un-sprung", it can take extra adjustment and tuning to get the cooler's surface tightened evenly onto the CPU die. Hopefully with properly machined components, this won't be an issue. I will find out for sure soon enough when I go to install it! Anyways, onto the cooler itself. Its packaging doesn't exaggerate its actual size; it certainly isn't compact. Overall, the scheme and look of the Titan Fenrir Siberia Edition is simple. There are no unnecessary, flashy plastics, colors, or design anywhere on the cooler and is as simplified (cost-effective) as it can be! This is the characteristic of Titan and its coolers. The most obvious characteristic of the cooler is the two, perpendicularly-oriented fin groups. The vertical fin group is roughly the same dimension as the horizontal group.

The contrast between the two colors, copper and aluminum, is rather even — usually exposed heatpipes are much less prominent which gives a unique characteristic to the Titan Fenrir Siberia Edition. The bottom half of the base is copper while the top plate is aluminum. The heatpipes for the horizontal fin group leave the base at a 90° upward angle, continue for about 30mm, turn back outwards, and then arrive at a 180° angle into the horizontal fin group. The other side of these five 8mm heatpipes exit the opposite side of the base at a more gradual angle of no more than 90° in total and reside in the vertical fin group. The [narrow] sides of each fin group are folded inwards which assists in channeling the air through these narrow gaps. From a top-down perspective, the footprint of the cooler is larger than what is typically seen in even high-end coolers. However, the heatpipe arrangement for the horizontal fin group accommodates a lot of ground clearance — even within a couple of centimeters within its base. Its height, on the other hand, is no more than what is found of other 140mm coolers that are currently on the market.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An up close look at the fin pattern shows its minute details, including small serrated edges through the middle of the array and a channel near each edge that will hold the rubber fan dampening strips. Additionally, the inward curvature of the fan mounting surfaces is said to reduce potential flow stagnation of the air current produced by each fan; reducing this potential increases the effectiveness of the fans. A stamped design is visible on the surface of the exterior fins and imitates similar geometry to that of Titan's logo — which kind of reminds me of the Transformers logo, but maybe that's just me. The bends in the heatpipes are acceptably uniform and I cannot detect any surface defects that may have been caused by their bending.

 

 

As I pointed out earlier, the base is constructed from a copper section and an aluminum section. The copper section will be in contact with the CPU die, and the opposite aluminum half sandwiches the heatpipes between itself and the lower half. The heatpipe-base interface, at least as viewed at the edges, does not perfectly contact the interior machined surfaces through which the heatpipes pass. To alleviate the point and line contacts of this interface, Titan has placed some sort of thermal epoxy or other compound similar to that of thermal paste, but it's rather sloppy-looking from what I can see from the outside. Since heat transfer through conduction is solely dependent upon the contact area, performance may be decreased slightly by this interface not being any better. Distances between heatpipes as they exit the base is minimal and shows the optimization of the usable dimensions of the base.

 

 

The base itself is of decent quality. Bare copper bases (most bases are still copper, but are plated which turns them silver) are becoming less common, just as flat, high-quality bases are as well. The base on the Titan Fenrir Siberia Edition is nothing to complain about — the surface finish is smooth and doesn't display any noticeable amounts of curvature. Going back to what I mentioned earlier, conductive heat transfer is directly rated to interface surface area and is the reason why having a smooth, flat base is important!

 

 

The two fans provided are a single 120mm fan and another 140mm fan. Both are a branded as Titan Kukris and are individually listed to use 0.32A and 0.4A, consume 3.84W and 4.8W, at 24~66CFM and 35~90CFM with noise levels of 15~35dBA and 8~29dBA for the 120mm and 140mm fans, respectively. The Kukri design and blade geometry is known to increase efficiency and reduce noise. Each fan uses a 4-pin PWM connector. In order to connect both fans to motherboards that may only offer a single PWM connector, Titan kindly provides a 4-pin Y-adapter to accommodate both fans on one power source that is still PWM.

 

 

 

The overall installation of the cooler seems simple on paper, but before I got started I thought about the difficulties that may be introduced in tightening the mounting hardware that resides directly in the large shadow of the horizontal fins. As so, it's definitely not easy — especially working inside of the case. Luckily I was able to tighten the one that I could not get to at all with a screw driver by locking it down all the way with a pair of small pliers that I fit back in there. Other than that, installation is simple. Backplate goes on, standoffs hold it in place, X-bracket comes in and clamps the heatsink to the CPU. Aside from the difficulties of getting everything buttoned up on the mounting, the fan clips left a lot to be desired too. The grooves in the fins that hold the clip are far too shallow for the clips to "get a grip", so to speak. I think a sneeze close enough to the case would cause the fans to come crashing down.

 

 

 

Now that the Titan Fenrir Siberia Edition is installed onto the motherboard and is ready to go (it is quite large to say the least), it's time to power up the machine and get a move on with obtaining some performance results! A full description of the testing methodology and results will be provided after the following page: Specifications & Features.

Specifications:

Overall Dimensions
200 x 130 x 162 mm
Fan Dimensions
120 x 120 x 25mm
140 x 140 x 24mm
Rated Voltage
12V
Rated Current
0.32A (120mm)
0.40A (140mm)
Power Consumption
3.84W (120mm)
4.8W (140mm)
Rated Speed
800~2200 RPM (120mm)
700~1800 RPM (140mm)
Airflow
24.23~66.62 CFM (120mm)
34.78~89.43 CFM (140mm)
Static Pressure
0.02~0.14 InchH2O (120mm)
0.01~0.09 InchH2O (140mm)
Noise Level
15~35 dBA (120mm)
8.3~28.8 dBA (140mm)
Connector
4-pin PWM function
Life Time
60,000 hours

 

Features:

Information provided courtesy of TITAN COOLER @ http://www.titan-cd.com/product/showProcpui2011_en.asp?ProID=889#2

Testing:

Testing of this heatsink will involve applying a load simulated by Prime95, using small FFTs in stock and overclocked scenarios, where both idle and load temperatures will be recorded. Load temperatures will be the maximum value displayed in RealTemp after running eight threads in Prime95 for one hour, and idle temperatures will be the minimum recorded value by RealTemp with no computer usage during a period of one hour. The temperature values for each of the four cores will be averaged and displayed in the graphs below. The ambient temperature is held at a constant 23 °C throughout testing of the Titan Fenrir Siberia Edition as well as the comparison units. All the data shown in the graphs below is in degrees Celsius. The included thermal paste from Titan will be used during testing and thermal pastes on other heatsinks from their respective manufacturers will be used. The fans on each cooler will be run at full speed for these tests.

Testing Setup:

 

Comparison Heatsinks:

 

 

 

 

I can't really say that I'm surprised with these results. To be honest, they're exactly what I thought they would be! Check out the next page for my conclusion and the wrap-up to this review.

Conclusion:

When I get any product to try out for the first time, I usually expect to see something that makes sense, is easy to use, and works well for its value. Sometimes I get what I expect, sometimes my expectations are exceeded, and other times I get let down. Now usually, I get what I want, and it's rare that I get let down. With the Titan Fenrir Siberia, I can say that I got a little bit of a surprise and a little bit of a letdown. While doing preliminary research of the cooler, it doesn't look nearly as big as it does in pictures than it actually is in person. The construction of the cooler is good, and it's design is simple. I like the elevation difference between the horizontal heatpipes and the motherboard which leaves plenty of room for tall memory heatsinks. On paper, the heatsink works well and I'm sure in ideal situations it can handle loads of heat — which it shows us a little bit by its results. When I mean that it works well on paper, I mean that it looks good on the designers' computer screens and in whatever raw heat analysis/baselining that Titan may do for new products. However, when you go to put that in a case where there may be limited access to install it, the user-friendliness level goes down by quite a few notches!

I really wish I didn't have to see new, promising products that have such big (no pun intended) flaws. Yes, the cooler fits in the case. However in order to make that happen, I had to remove the rear exhaust fan for it to fit at all and the video card and memory modules had to go so I could get my hands in an area where I could contort them enough to tighten the mounting hardware down. Only one nut can be barely accessed by a screwdriver without the need for some fancy, swivel/knuckle tools and all sorts of extensions. The fan clips barely hang on to the cooler at all, and I was lucky to not have any of the fans try to fly away during the Siberia's testing. I feel like a lot was overlooked and hurried in the development of this cooler.

Typically speaking, I can generally justify the purchase of most any product, as products are designed with the requirement to satisfy a need. In the case of the Titan Fenrir Siberia Edition, it's main selling point, or need-solver, is that a product of its operation is airflow supplied to motherboard components. This airflow keeps components cooler than they would usually be which is true. But by how much does it help? Is the massive size, clunky installation, and mediocre performance worth it for a little bit of warm air to blow outwards from the CPU socket? Maybe for some people! In reality, the only thing that makes this cooler so huge is the horizontal fin group. By using the same exact fins and making groups both vertical, installation would be drastically easier, its size and overall footprint would be much smaller, and would require must less production cost (bending those heatpipes at so many angles can be costly).

Overall, I like the idea of the Titan Fenrir Siberia Edition, I merely wish that it could be a little smaller and easier to install. I also think a higher quality heatpipe to base interface (large gaps between the interior surfaces) could have improved the performance. For a price of $79.99, it's a big pill to swallow — especially with something that's not an outstanding performer (compared to other $80+ coolers), is heavy, and takes up every bit of room above and around the CPU. The main benefits with the Titan Fenrir Siberia Edition is that you can run a high-end cooler without worrying about ground-clearance and the additional airflow around motherboard components that you get. In the end, it's up to the buyer as to whether or not its worth the balance of price, performance, and ground clearance!

 

Pros:

 

Cons: