Take a quick glance at the V60 and you're unlikely to be impressed by its humble appearance. With the name Asus on the top - suggesting a company that knows its motherboards, laptops and graphics cards but not necessarily coolers - you could be forgiven for assuming this early effort doesn't hold much promise. The surprising reality is that Asus is on to a clear winner with the V60.
The last few years have seen a renaissance in cooling, with the heatsink block evolving from a solid chunk of metal to a design made of multiple thin wings, which increases surface area and heat dissipation. The trend, as seen from the likes of Scythe and Noctua, is to create a tall tower out of these wings, with the attached fan positioned vertically to expel air directly from your case.
The Asus V60 follows this design, but an 80mm fan runs within the centre of the heatsink tower, rather than the less efficient method of attaching a 120mm fan to the side. The results speak for themselves.
Our test system with a Core 2 Extreme was running at 32 degrees idle with the stock Intel fan, which then dropped to 23 degrees when the heatsink was replaced with the Asus V60. With the system running at full load in a well-ventilated case, the V60 remained as efficient as before, reducing the temperature by eight degrees. For a cooling system relying only on moving air, these are impressive results.
The V60 is also remarkably easy to install. You first attach a one-piece back plate, then screw the custom spring-mounted connectors into the motherboard to form a strong bond. By comparison, Intel's stock coolers are always difficult to fit, and if you make a mistake, their fiddly plastic clips are liable to break. The V60 took less than two minutes to install, even though there was a particularly large heat spreader obscuring CPU access on the Asus Striker motherboard we used. Anything bigger and you might have problems.
Nonetheless, it isn't often a cooling product can generate this level of interest in the office, and it is testament to this cooler's efficiency, quietness and ease of use that it has gained such attention. Brilliant.