ZEROtherm Core 92 ReviewRHKCommander959 - July 20, 2009
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The ZEROtherm Core 92 heat sink is all silver, with even the copper heat pipes being colored to match. The fan has decent coverage over all the fins, and the fins are spaced out well enough for moderate to low-CFM fans to get the job done well. The fan is encased by the fins and so cables likely won't get tangled in the fan, although the unique design of the fins increases the likeliness of the heat sink itself hooking onto any Molex wires that are not sleeved, along with any other small cables or wires, like fan wires. The fan cable isn't sleeved, but all four wires are attached to each other making cable management easier. The Power Logic fan is a clear plastic fan with blue LEDs, which barely poke out of the heat sink at the bottom. The fins were all in good shape and didn't need any straightening. The push-pins have some clearance from the last fins, making it easier to install the heat sink. A side view shows the 25mm-thick fan well, with a good amount of clearance over the thin aluminum base plate. The view also shows the unique design of the fin grooves.
The top view shows the plate that is held onto the heat sink with screws that thread into the higher fins. The four mounts are punched out from the face plate, and the center is raised witha ZT cutout in the center. With the fan on, the heat sink glows blue through all the holes and fins. The bottom had a few faint scratches on it, with two screws that hold the mounting arms to the heat sink. However, the base was pretty good and smooth, and the gaps between the heat pipes and base are very small (not as drastic as some direct-touch heat sinks I've seen), but generally it is still a good idea to fill the gaps with paste for the optimal heat transfer.
The ZEROtherm is a petite performance cooler with good looks and a well laid out design. The push-pins are a win/lose because they are easy to install, but lack the pressure and rigidity that bolt mechanisms can offer - with vertically mounted cases it can serve a problem for heavy tower heat sinks, which can sag or pull away from the board and processor. Not to mention that newer users often have trouble with the push-pin installation method, although the manual should make it very clear on how to properly install them. The push-pins can be slid up and down an elongated hole on the mounting arms with small notches to help keep them in either LGA775 or LGA1366 position. The heat sink is simple, but elegant.
The heat sink has no problem in a mid-ATX case with plenty of room all around, not coming close to the side panel, motherboard components, or case fans. All four push-pins are easily reached.
Now that we are done checking out the goods, let's get technical information out of the way before we test this heat sink!