ZEROtherm BTF90 CPU Cooler

Admin - 2007-05-22 18:22:54 in CPU Cooling
Category: CPU Cooling
Reviewed by: Admin   
Reviewed on: May 28, 2007
APACK
APACK
Price: $39.99 USD

Introduction:

So you want to build a new gaming PC do you? There are lots of things to take into consideration before you start picking out the pieces that you want to put in it.

There are many different segments of a computer system. Each part of the system can make or break the optimal results that you may be looking for. One such segment is the cooling that will be used on your CPU. Whether you plan on overclocking your CPU or not also makes a huge difference as to which cooling hardware you will use.

For this review I will be looking at an air CPU cooler. This cooler was made by a company by the name of APACK. It is the ZEROtherm BTF90 CPU cooler to be exact.

There are a number of companies making CPU coolers these days and APACK seems to be a very aggressive one at this time. The company is only eight years old and already has some big name clients on board such as Samsung, Dell and LG. It was founded by three engineers and has expanded to be staffed by a number of top engineers. It has backing from Intel Capitol, and currently is trying to become one of the top players in the market to provide thermal solutions for cooling devices. APACK is located in Daejeon, Korea, which has its own form of California’s Silicon Valley.

ZEROtherm’s goal is to provide a solution to cool your CPU as efficiently as possible while still keeping the noise levels as low as possible. Hence, the “ZERO” part of the name.


Closer Look:

The box I received was slightly damaged in shipping because the shipping box was almost the same width as the product box and I had concerns for the product inside. As it turns out, all was fine with the product itself. The product box was very elaborately decorated. It has a window in the front through which you can see the cooler.

 


On the left side, there are several pictures of the product with descriptions of the individual parts of the cooler.


The right side of the box contains a chart with the specifications of the cooler.


Last, but not least, the rear of the box has not only the window in it, but also a graph showing the performance of the BTF90 and other coolers for reference.


Upon opening the box, the first thing you see is a small box. Underneath it is a plastic container which houses the CPU cooler.


Once everything that comes with the package is laid out, this is what you get: there are brackets that will allow this cooler to be installed on socket 775, 939, 949, AMD K8 and AM2 systems. Also included is an instruction manual in multiple languages and a performance thermal grease.


Now, let's take a better look at the cooler itself. If you haven’t already noticed, the top-down view of the cooler is shaped like a butterfly. The butterfly shape actually has a significant meaning. The shape represents ZEROtherm’s “first flight” of making a product for the retail market.

This cooler is using heatpipe technology to draw the heat from your CPU and expel it into the air. There are a total of eight pipes doing the heat drawing. That is actually quite a lot considering the size of this cooler. The pipes are connected to an array of copper fins that absorb the heat from the pipes. These fins represent more than 4,000 cubic centimeters of surface area. Blowing air across these fins to remove the heat into the air is a PWM speed controlled fan with a variable speed that covers the 750 to 2500 RPM range. There are also two bright red LEDs in the fan. The base of the cooler is polished copper to enhance contact with the CPU.

 

 

Installation:

Installation of this cooler is very much like that of so many others out there, but with one exception. In order to get access to the mounting screws on the fan side of the cooler, it is necessary to remove the fan from the cooler. This is done by removing two screws from the top, and then lifting up on the orange fan bracket that traverses the depth of the cooler.

 


For the socket 775 system that I am installing this on, it is required that I first attach a bracket to the bottom of the CPU cooler, which is held on by four included screws.

 


This mounting scenario also requires the use of a back plate to hold the cooler to the motherboard. It has an adhesive coated insulating pad attached to it to prevent the bracket from grounding out on the board. Line this bracket up with the holes on the board from the bottom side and stick it to the board. This will keep it lined up as you flip the board over for the next step.


Before we go further, now is the time to coat the CPU with a thin layer of the included high performance thermal paste that came with the kit. With this step done, you just need to lower the CPU cooler down onto the board while you line the bracket holes up with those on the board. Now it is just a matter of tightening the mounting screws and replacing the fan assembly that we removed earlier.

 


And here we have the finished assembly. Be sure to connect the fan power line to the four-pin header on the motherboard.

Specifications:



Support CPU list

Intel CoreTM 2 Exterme(Socket LGA775)

Intel CoreTM 2 Duo (Socket LGA775)

Intel Pentium Extreme Edition (Socket LGA 775)

Intel Pentium D (Socket LGA 775)
Intel Pentium 4 (Socket LGA775)

Intel Celeron D (Socket LGA775) AMD Athlon 64 X2 (Socket 939, AM2)

AMD Athlon 64 FX (Socket 939, AM2)

AMD Athlon 64 (Socket 754, 939, AM2)

AMD Sempron (Socket 754, AM2)

Dimension
100(L) x 94(W) x 77(H) mm

Heatsink Material
Fin : Copper
Base : Copper
Heatpipe : Copper

Heat Dissipation Area
4,400

Cooling Capacity
Over 150W

Fan Dimension
92 x 25 mm

Fan Speed

Automatic fan speed control by PWM
750~2,500 rpm (± 10%) normally under 1,500 rpm


Acoustical Noise
Max. 27 dBA (± 10%), normally under 18 dBA

Air Flow
Max. 42.8 CFM

Fan Connector
4-pin, 4-wire (PWM)

Rated Voltage
DC 12V

Power Consumption
Max. 1.56W

Weight
678g (w/o optional components)

Testing:

For the testing section of this review, I will be putting the ZEROtherm BTF90 up against an Intel stock CPU cooler, a Scythe Mine III cooler with a 120 mm fan, and the ever popular Tuniq Tower cooler, which also has a 120 mm fan. There will be four scenarios tested here. I will install the individual cooler and let the system idle at stock CPU speed for 15 minutes and record the temperature. I will then run Prime 95 to load the system to 100% of CPU usage and let it run for an hour before recording its temperature. Since I am using a CPU that has two cores, I will run two instances of Prime 95 and set the affinity within the program so that each core is assigned to a specific instance of Prime 95.

I will then put a modest overclock on the CPU and repeat the above tests at idle and 100% load. All values will be in degrees Celsius with an ambient temperature of 22 degrees Celsius.

Testing Setup:



These results are with just a moderate overclock on the CPU. If I were to push the overclock further, we may see a wider margin of differences, but due to the Intel stock cooler not being able to handle much more, this is as far as I went.

Conclusion:

From the first look I got of this cooler, my initial impression was that it was just another cooler. When I saw the butterfly design, my impression dropped further. I was thinking that if you need to make it look like something that has nothing to do with its intended purpose, I consider that a marketing gimmick. It turns out that this is not the case here. It actually has meaning behind it and I can see why it would be important for them. In no way did the look of the cooler seem to affect its performance.

In fact, when I lined it up against the Scythe Mine III and the Tuniq Tower and saw the size difference, I figured it would get blown out of the water. Boy was I wrong. It did not take top honors here in this contest, but it held its own in astonishing form. When you take into account that it is so much smaller in its dimensions, uses a smaller fan, costs less, runs quieter and still cools exceptionally well, I would have no problem using this in any of my system builds. It has a very easy install method and uses less room inside your case. Here is a picture for size comparisons.


For the “first flight” into the retail market with the ZEROtherm cooler, I think we may have a new contender to watch out for that may take the crown of the ultimate CPU cooler in the near future. I have absolutely no problem recommending this product to anyone looking to cool their overclocked or stock CPU.

While this cooler did not take the top place in the test score that I ran, I can find nothing negative about this cooler. It is a well made and well designed cooler that makes excellent use of the technologies that are incorporated into it. For the price that they are asking for this cooler, you really get your money's worth.



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