Technology, tested
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PC cooling

Coolermaster V10 review

6

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.

Coolermaster V10 review

Xigmatek Gaia SD1283 review

9

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.

Xigmatek Gaia SD1283 review

NZXT Sentry LXE review

8

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.

NZXT Sentry LXE review

Spire Thermax Eclipse II review

10

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.

Spire Thermax Eclipse II review

Titan Fenrir TTC-NK85TZ review

8

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.

Titan Fenrir TTC-NK85TZ review

Xigmatek Thor's Hammer S126384 review

8

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.

Xigmatek Thor's Hammer S126384 review

Scythe Yasya SCYS-1000 review

6

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.

Scythe Yasya SCYS-1000 review

Thermaltake Silent 1156 review

6

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.

Thermaltake Silent 1156 review

CoolerMaster Hyper 101 PWM Universal review

6

This isn't exactly fair. CoolerMaster's Hyper 101 isn't really designed for the full fruitiness of an i7 920's LGA 1366, but it fitted our test system and was in the office, so we stuck it in. It's really meant for AMD K8, AM2/3 and LGA 755 and 1156 boards, hence the 'Universal' tag. It's a popular cooler and it's easy to see why given the price. The main rival is Arctic Cooling's Freezer 7, a similarly sized and similarly popular.

CoolerMaster Hyper 101 PWM Universal review

ARCTIC Freezer 7 Pro Rev. 2 review

8

The Revision 2 nomenclature for ARCTIC's Freezer 7 indicates that LGA 1156 compatibility has been added, alongside pretty much every other standard. On paper, it should cope with our i7 920 test system, despite the cooler's relatively diminutive size. It has three 6mm heat pipes and we did wonder if it was really up to the task. The 9cm PWM fan fits neatly over one side and is mounted on rubber springs, a patented technology apparently. Its most obvious rival is the popular Hyper 101 from CoolerMaster.

ARCTIC Freezer 7 Pro Rev. 2 review

Noctua NH-D14 review

10

One look at the Austrian-designed Noctua and you know it means business. For a start, it's something of a giant, featuring two fin stacks and two fans. The quality of engineering is superb, right through to the colour instructions. Even the thermal paste is 'award-winning' thermal paste. It looks the business, in a no-nonsense way. Only the hospital beige-coloured fans spoil the party here. Compared to the design excesses of Fenrir, Yasya and Thor's Hammer it looks positively clinical.

Noctua NH-D14 review

Gelid Tranquillo review

10

The Tranquillo is a big tower cooler with four 6mm heat pipes (without Direct Touch, though) and a fin stack which, for once, didn't feature blood-letting edges. It fits the usual suspects of AMD and Intel chips. You get a lot of hardware for your money here. Unlike Titan's Fenrir and Xigmatek's Thor's Hammer we are not in the world of heavy-metal casings. This is a workmanlike cooler without frills.

Gelid Tranquillo review
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