Corsair gets progressive in the battle to lower case temperatures
In its attempt to bolt as much on as possible, we think Cooler Master has lost sight of simple efficient cooling. Installation is tricky and causes issues with memory. It's also overly noisy for the level of cooling it provides.
There's little we have to criticise on the Xigmatek Gaia SD1283, it is out performed a little by more expensive units but that's why you pay your money. We're not massive fans of the mounting system but it is highly flexible.
With no less than five temperature probes and five fan controllers the NZXT Sentry LXE sets itself up to be the environmental control centre for your PC.
Intriguingly, the first batch of Spire's Thermax Eclipse II CPU cooler hit online retailers in the wrong packaging. We mention this because we received one of these, and were a little confused as to which it was. A squint at Spire's website sets the record straight, since the Eclipse II has black nickel-coated fins, something that immediately separates it from the sea of silver aluminium you're faced with when you browse CPU coolers on any etailer's site, and those looks will definitely appeal to people with a windowed chassis.
If you're going to stress Intel or AMD's latest processors then you'll need a heavyweight cooler. Named after the monstrous wolf from Norse mythology, Titan's Fenrir sports a suitably heavy-metal wolf-head motif and certainly looks like it means business. The heavy-metal theme is not uncommon with coolers – witness Scythe's Yasya and Xigmatek's ridiculously-named Thor's Hammer. Fenrir is big beast too, standing 165mm proud of the motherboard. The width means you'll need to watch it fouling your RAM, especially if your sticks have heat spreaders on top.
The Hammer is a wonderful gothic-looking creation, with a very fetching gloss black nickel-plated finish complete with an usual design of interlacing fins. Thor's Hammer tops other big towers such as Titan's Fenrir by carrying a lot of pipe-work, with four main 8mm heat pipes with Direct Touch, where they're in direct contact with the top of the processor, and another three inner 6mm pipes. It's something of a monster, too, at over 160mm tall. It won't suit crowded boards, and if your RAM has heat spreaders on top you could be in for a disappointment.
The aggressive-looking Yasya features a set of cooling fins that could have been designed to draw blood. It sits well along side other gothic-style rivals, such as Titan's Fenrir and Xigmatek's Thor's Hammer. The Yasya has six 6mm heat pipes, rather than the more usual 8mm jobs in tower coolers this size, which is big. It only fits one way around, so can foul your RAM slots on crowed boards. If you've got heat spreaders on top of your sticks, it could all end in tears.
For an i7-compatible cooler, Thermaltake's Silent 1156 is a compact beast, with a svelte fin stack that's smaller that the 9cm fan housing. It's main rivals are the well established CoolerMaster Hyper 101 and Artic Cooling's Freezer 7 (see a theme with these names?). The Silent 1156 has just two 8mm heat pipes. As you might guess from the name, it fits Intel's LGA 1156 boards only, but it fitted onto our 1366 test board, so what the heck. If space is an issue, then this will do nicely.