Thermaltake Volcano 7+ Copper Heatsink and Fan Review
Reviewed by: Bosco
Reviewed on: October 24, 2002
: GF City Computers
Price: $23 USD
Before I start, you guys are probably wondering: "Why would I review a Volcano 7+ when there are superior models already out for quite some time now?" Of all the reviews that I've seen so far on a Volcano HSF, I've yet to find one that is tested against a Pentium 4 CPU. Even if a Volcano 9+ is released, it will most likely be tested using an AMD processor, since up to this point and a little beyond the latter CPU is the one that requires more cooling power. Thermaltake also has another solution for the Pentium 4, known as the Spark 7, but from what I know, availabilty on that particular item is very low, and as such not very many people have actually heard about it. Because of these reasons, I've decided to bring back an older item and put it to the test using a socket 478 environment.
For those who have not yet seen a Volcano 7+ before, here it is, in a very attractive package.
The package comes with the copper HSF unit itself, a fan speed setting cable, and a small bag that contains extra screws and parts for the socket 478 retension mechanism, as well as thermal compound and a Thermaltake case badge. Oh, and there's no need to fret! The instruction pamphlet is bilingual, with the other language being English.
This item is initially intended for a socket 370 or socket A processor, so you will find that you cannot install this unit directly on to a s478 system out of the box. You will first need to detach the heatsink from the fan so you can remove the s370/sA metal clip. You can then put reattach the fan and heatsink together, and begin installing the s478 specific parts. Not too difficult, but 6 screws were used just to get the retention clips installed, but it certainly does feel very sturdy, and if you screwed it in tightly, there's no worry that it will come loose anytime soon.
After prepping it up for the s478 system, installation is as simple as placing the unit into the bracket that came with your motherboard and pressing the 4 clips to secure it into place, after you have cleaned your CPU of the old thermal compound and applied a fresh layer on it.
Now let's test this baby!
Using SiSoftware Sandra, I used the Burn-in Wizard and ran the CPU Arithmetic and Multi-Media benchmarks at 100% utilization for 15 minutes once using the stock Intel HSF, and once with the Volcano 7+ at each speed setting. For the Idle temperatures I let it sit at the login screen for at least 15 minutes for each session before taking a reading.
I'm just as surprised as most readers are! Why is the High fan speed setting warmer than the Medium speed setting? After doing a little diagnosis, I found out that because the fan speed is so high, it's pulling so much air through its fins that the surrounding air inside the case is blown violently enough to disrupt the ordered airflow from the front of the case out to the back. This means that some of the warm air could not be exhausted by the rear fans and as such the V7+ would recycle the warm air back to the heatsink. This internal circulation caused a build up of the internal ambient temperature, making the entire system, including the CPU, to become warmer than usual.
This problem could be remedied by using a more powerful exhaust system, such as a faster or larger fan, or for those with the large server cases, use two or more exhaust fans instead. I'm sure that if I was using a server tower, the High speed setting would've shown more acceptable results.
Just because this item is an older one doesn't mean that it wouldn't be effective. The current Volcano 9 does not even support a socket 478 configuration out of the box, leaving the Volcano 7+ as the most effective socket 478 cooler out there. Even from my results, you can tell that this is an overclocker's fan, and its best features can only be utilized effectively with an environment needed by the overclocker, such as a roomy case, complete with a strong airflow system. Until a Volcano 9+ comes out, I would recommend this item to anyone who is in need of an overclocking HSF.