Titan Skalli Review

ccokeman - 2009-09-22 17:04:46 in CPU Cooling
Category: CPU Cooling
Reviewed by: ccokeman   
Reviewed on: October 4, 2009
Price: $29.99

Introduction:

When it comes to cooling your hot new quad core processor the stock heatsink just won't do now, will it? As seen countless times the stock cooling solutions just do not have the capability of keeping a processor in a temperature range that is what we as enthusiast consider, “safe”, even though millions of these little wonders of the silicon age are running with stock heatsinks, in cramped, less than adequately ventilated cases, stuffed in a cabinet under a desk. Well, they still run and who knows how much horsepower is lost running with the processer throttling while updating a facebook page? To keep that little gem cool you need a heatsink that can keep the temperature down while still meeting the noise requirements of the masses.

The Titan Skalli is a way to decrease the temperature as well as drop the noise. The Skalli is a tower style heatsink that uses two large 8mm heatpipes to direct the thermal energy to the fin array where the fan pushes air through it to keep the CPU cool. It does this in a package size that is not altogether unrealistic. While heatpipes are not new and neither are heatpipe direct contact coolers, it’s the size of the heatpipes and the amount of pipes used. With only two heatpipes will the Skalli stand up to the pressure, or will it languish in mediocrity? Let's find out.

Closer Look:

The Skalli comes in a retail box that goes out of its way to let you know as much as possible about it. The front panel is open to show off the heatsink and fan used . The sides and rear panel are filled with information on the cooler from the fan specifications, to the HDC technology and the 10cm PWM controlled fan.

 

  

 

 

 

Pop the box open and you are greeted with the Skalli packed in a protective clamshell to keep it all in one piece during transit. Included with the Skalli is the instruction manual and the mounting hardware for alternate sockets as this cooler is natively set for socket 1156. Socket 775, AMD Socket AM2/3 hardware is included as well.

 

 

 

Let's see if this representation of a Norse mythological entity is the strong silent type or howls like the wind!

 

Closer Look:

The Titan Skalli Is a tower style heatsink that uses heatpipe direct contact technology to increase the conduction of heat away from the CPU by 20% over a non HDC equipped cooler. The fan used on the Skalli is a frameless design that is 10cm in size and uses a built in PWM controller to manage both the noise and cooling capacity. Measuring 110x95x152 mm it is far from the largest heatsink out, but Titan is claiming the Skalli can dissipate 130 watts of thermal energy. The PWM controlled fan and socket 1156 hardware come pre-mounted so you are plug and play ready for installation on this socket. The top of the Skalli contains the Titan logo while the fins look to be embossed to add surface area to improve cooling. On the side opposite the fan are holes to mount additional fan clips so adding a second fan to the Skalli is a possibility for improved cooling performance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 10 cm frameless fan is held in place by a set of clips that lock the fan positively into place with no chance of loosening up. The clips slide into holes on the top and bottom of the fin array. What is unique is that the clips slide into a bushing that will keep the clip from causing any noise during operation - a touch that I have not seen before on a CPU cooler. What appeared to be the heatpipes coming out of the top of the Skalli are actually caps to cover the actual heatpipes. The only function they provide is to beautify the cooler. When this cap was removed the useable area of the heatpipe actually fell just below the top fin in the array.

 

 

The Intel heatsink retention mechanism is held in place by a series of two screws per side, so making a change between socket 775 and 1156 is just a matter of removing the screws and swapping the hardware. The reason is that the heatsink spacing for socket 775 is 75mm while the new socket 1156 spacing is 77mm. The Skalli comes with a protective film on the contact surface that obliges you to remove it before you mount the heatsink. The surface of the Skalli is much better than that of the Coolermaster Hyper TX3 we recently looked at as the whole assembly looks as if it was machined as one piece rather than a heatpipe just pushed into a block. The machining marks are still evident but could be cleaned up easily.

 

 

The fan used on the Skalli is a 10cm PWM controlled frameless fan. The fan is rated to run between 800 and 1500 RPM pushing between 25 and 47 CFM. The fan uses Z axis bearings with a MTBF of 60,000 hours. Just in case you don’t want to do the math that’s close to 7 years with 24/7 operation. In the process of running the maximum amount of noise the Skalli will make is 29dBA. Another tactic to reduce the noise penalty of the Skalli is the use of rubber isolation pads on each corner of the fan. The chrome finish is nice but looked as if it was already peeling off on the sample I have.

 

 

 

Looking like it has some strong potential I’m curious as to how the two 8mm heatpipes will perform against the proven four heatpipe designs.

Specifications:

Outline Dimensions
110x95x152mm
Fan Dimension
100x100x25
Rated Voltage
12v
Rated Current
0.14A max
Power Consumption
1.68w
Rated Speed
800-1500RPM +/-10%
Airflow
24.84-46.58 CFM
Static Pressure
0.01~0.5 Inch H2O
Noise level
<15~<29 dBA
Bearing type
Z Axis bearing
Lifetime
60,000 hours
AMD socket compatibility
AM3/AM2+/AM2/940/939/754/K8
Intel socket compatibility
1366/1156/775

 

Features:

Testing:

To put the Titan Skalli to the test I will be making a comparison of the temperatures at idle and under load, both while the CPU is at the stock voltages and clock speeds, as well as when the CPU is overclocked and over-volted to show what kind of cooling performance that the Titan Skalli has to offer, when compared to other socket 1156 compatible heatsinks. These heatsinks 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 four hour 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:

 

 

 

 

 

 

When you look at the results delivered by the Skalli you can see that the results compare favorably with the Hyper TX3 in the stock testing. The Skalli performs 27 degrees Celsius better than the stock Intel cooling solution at the as delivered clock speeds of 2.66GHz on the Intel Core i5 750

When it came to the overclocking section we are not shooting for the moon, but testing with an easy to achieve overclock. In the overclocked testing the Skalli flipped the results when compared to the Hyper TX3 and shed heat more effectively to drop the temperature to 55 degrees Celsius or 28 degrees Celsius lower than the stock cooling solution. Much better results than I had anticipated from a two heatpipe cooler.

 

 

Conclusion:

The Skalli from Titan does an admirable job of keeping the i5 750 cool. While not as effective as the Noctua NH-U12, it is not equipped to perform at that level. With only a single fan it performs close to the level of the MUX-120 and outperforms the stock Intel heatsink by a wide margin. This it should do and it does with the greatest of ease. When compared to the Coolermaster Hyper TX 3 the better construction and larger heatpipes end up allowing the Skalli to perform better when the heat is on. By better construction, what I am talking about is the heatsink base. The Coolemaster looked like the heatpipes were just pressed into the aluminum base with no leveling of the heatpipes and base, while the Skalli looks as though the base and heatpipes were machined as one piece to make sure this was not an issue. If I had to find a fault in its construction, I would have to lean towards the beauty caps for the heatpipes. They were held on by a rubbery adhesive packed into the cap instead of an epoxy or something more durable that won’t allow the caps to fall off with just casual contact. This I can somewhat look past as I prefer performance over looks, but for those that have case side windows and like their bling, it does matter. While there is that fault, the positives far outweigh the negative. Simple things that you don’t see all the time such as putting rubber feet on the fan and bushings for the fan retention brackets to reduce the noise penalty to almost nil. Even though the Titan Skalli is not the biggest or baddest kid on the block, it does well when it comes to cooling and just a well with the noise footprint it has. You've got to give Titan props on the efforts to reduce the noise, since I could not hear this cooler running in my case.

****Update Oct 9th 2009****

Titan has made changes to the beauty cap issue and that will be corrected on new heatsinks that are produced. 

Pros:

 

Cons: