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CoolerMaster X-Dream (HAC-V81) CPU Cooler Review

Former staff writer    -   January 28, 2003


Testing
I only had one HSF to put the X-Dream up against, and it was -gasp- my Swiftech MCX462-U w/ an 80 mm Vantec Tornado. You can see below, that the two HSFs are just a tad different.

The X-Dream (left) uses Aluminum fins with a copper plug, and the MCX462 uses a solid copper base with Aluminum pins. And of course the way the two HSFs mount to the motherboard are different.


As you can see the Vantec Tornado fan (on the left) which was used with MCX462 is a good deal larger than the CoolerMaster fan. The Tornado pushes a good amount of air, but also creates a good deal of noise, and it also can not be speed controlled without additional hardware. The CoolerMaster fan may not push as much air, however it does have the nice addition of the control knob.

The test system that I used is as follows:

  • Abit KX7-333R Motherboard
    • AMD XP 1800+ (1.53GHz) - Not overclocked
    • 1x 512M Cosair PC2700
    • VisionTek XTasy GeForce4 Ti 4600
  • Lian Li PC70
    • 6x Thermaltake 80x80x25 High Performance Fans (2x Intake, 4x Exhaust)
  • Windows XP Professional - SP1

To make testing as fair as possible, I used Artic Silver 3 when installing both heat sinks. I also ran the computer for 80 hours to allow the compound time thicken, as recommended by Artic Silver, Inc. Temperature measurements were taken by a CompuNurse with a probe placed next to the CPU. Thermal compound was cleaned off and reapplied between the use of the MCX462, and the X-Dream. Oh, and since we know that any 80mm fan will fit on the X-Dream, I decided to run a 3rd test while I was at it using the Tornado on the X-Dream.

To achieve the "Idle" temps, the computer was first shut down for 20 minutes and allowed to cool down. Then it was turned on and brought into windows. All services not needed for the OS to run were disabled, as was the screen saver. The computer then sat idle for 10 minutes, and then the temperature was taken from the CompuNurse. Load temperature was calculated by having normal windows services running, as well as normal daily applications (Trillian, Outlook, IRC, and Opera) running, then Folding@Home was started as was the SiSoftware Burn-in wizard "CPU Multi-Media Benchmark". Everything ran for 10 minutes, then the temperature was taken from the CompuNurse. Overclocked (OC'd) readings were taken in the same method, however the system had the FSB increased to 147 (this put the 1800+ @ 2000+ ) and the vCore of the CPU was increased to 1.85V.











Heat Sink
Idle
Load
OC'd Idle
OC'd Load
Swiftech MCX462
36.9°C
40.3°C
 
39.2°C
44.1°C
X-Dream (Fan on High Speed)
38.1°C
42.8°C
 
41.7°C
48.1°C
X-Dream (Fan on Low Speed)
41.4°C
47.3°C
 
44.8°C
51.6°C
X-Dream w/ Tornado
37.1°C
40.6°C
 
39.0°C
43.9°C

The results clearly show the MCX462 out preformed the X-Dream. Adding the Tornado to the X-Dream helped some, but it would appear as if the X-Dream just couldn't dissipate the heat fast enough. The 2 - 4°C difference really isn't something most people are going to be worried about. Even at the 51.6°C temp that was reached, your CPU is still safe. Of course, if you plan to be overclocking, you are going to want a heat sink that performs better.

 

Conclusion
As with every product we review, there are ups and downs of the item. Though it may have lacked a bit in the "performance" testing, the price/performance for the X-Dream can't be beat - The $20.00 X-Dream was only beaten by the $47.00 MCX462 by 2 - 4°C, and that doesn't even include the price for a fan to use with the MCX. The clip is a wonderful feature, as I mentioned before. Just keep in mind, that some cases/motherboards may have a problem with the X-Dream. The ability to adjust the fan speed is nice, no matter what.

 

Pros

  • Installs easy - Clip
  • Aluminum / Copper Heat sink
  • Cheap
  • Adjustable Fan

Cons

  • Clip gets in the way of some cases/motherboards
  • Takes up a PCI slot for fan control
  • No Extra screws

 

With the price / performance value, I can't help but give this the X-Dream the OCC seal of recommendation.

LEGACY - OCC Recommended



  1. Introduction & Specifications
  2. A Closer Look
  3. Testing & Conclusion
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