CoolerMaster X-Dream (HAC-V81) CPU Cooler Review
Reviewed by: Admin
Reviewed on: January 28, 2003
Around here (East TN) the temps have been in the low teens (°F) for the past week or so... and with outside temps like that, keeping my computer cool, really isn't that hard to do. However, in the summer when things get up into the 90's I'll be more concerned about keeping my precious CPU cool. My family doesn't much care for my Tornado powered MCX462, so I've been looking for a new HSF that'll keep things cool and allow me to tone things down a bit when the computer isn't being used. That's where Cooler Master's new heat sink, the X-Dream, comes into play. An Aluminum/Copper heat sink with an adjustable speed fan.
|Fan Dimension||80 x 80 x 25 mm|
|Rated Speed||2500 ~ 4800 rpm|
|Air Flow||31.4 ~ 62.8 CFM|
|Rated Voltage||12 VDC|
|Adjustable Voltage Rate||7 ~ 13.2 VDC|
|Acoustical Noise||25 ~ 46 dB(A)|
|Heat Sink Dimensions||80 x 69 x 45 mm|
A Closer Look
Included in the package was:
- 1x Heat Sink
- 1x Fan w/ Black Fan Guard
- 3x Screws to mount the fan (?? Shouldn't there be 4?)
- 1x Controller Knob
- 1x PCI Bracket Cover w/ Hole
- 1x Thing of Thermal Goup (Silicone Compound)
- 1x Instructions (Located on back of package)
- 1x Package of Silicagel to keep things dry...
Coming from the fan, we have a black wire that connects to the rheostat (turn knob) that will be used to adjust the fan's speed, by lowering/increasing voltage to the fan. We have the normal yellow wire, which will connect to the motherboard and give us the fan's RPM speed. And to power it, we have a split large 4-pin molex connector.
Here is a look at the controller for the fan, completely put together. Rheostat -> PCI bracket -> Knob
Though, this picture shows the rheo together outside of my case, if you plan on putting this in a PCI slot, put the knob on last otherwise it won't fit.
The heat sink itself is Aluminum with a copper plug. We've seen this design and ones similar to it before used in the Thermaltake Volcano 9 and Volcano 7 heat sinks, as well as in the Zalman CPN6000-CU. It may not be revolutionary, but it works for others, so why not go with what ya know works?
The thing I loved most about this heat sink, is the socket clip. The six holes allow the heat sink to secure to the socket and keeps it in place, better than the old heat sink we use to see that only used two holes. For someone like me, and others who are always removing the HSF, this clip is a godsend. Most heat sinks today fasten through the motherboard which means you have to completely disassemble you computer just to remove the HSF. With this, you don't. Since I already had my computer apart to remove the Swiftech MCX462 HSF I had, installing the X-Dream was a snap... Literally.
However, I did notice once I started putting my computer together again, there was a slight problem with the clip.
It gets in the way. I actually had to press up on my Lian Li PC70 PSU bay to get the HSF in so the motherboard could be secured back into place. While I was able to get everything back in, with out much of a problem, it would appears as if one of our forums readers didn't have as much luck. Bab, writes in this thread:
This is something most people should probably consider if they are looking at getting the X-Dream. Of course, a little work with the dremmel would fix things right up.
Another nice thing about the X-Dream is the fan clip that is used to mount the fan to the heat sink, will work with just about any 80mm fan. In the image below, I have my 80 mm Vantec Tornado attached.
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.
X-Dream (Fan on High Speed)
X-Dream (Fan on Low Speed)
X-Dream w/ Tornado
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.
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.
- Installs easy - Clip
- Aluminum / Copper Heat sink
- Adjustable Fan
- 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.