AMD Wraith: Upgraded Stock Cooler

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AMD Wraith: Upgraded Stock Cooler

February 22, 2016 by Lawrence Lee

AMD Wraith
CPU Cooler

Most retail processors ship with a simple down-blowing stock heatsink/fan that provides adequate CPU cooling and nothing more. They're fairly compact which is good if you need to fit one in a small case, but the lack of mass and surface area equates to dismal performance compared to aftermarket coolers. Enthusiasts immediately toss them aside as they cannot handle the temperatures associated with heavy overclocking. Silent PC fanatics share their disdain as little consideration is placed on acoustics and high fan speeds are required under load which guarantees loud operation.

The Wraith bundled with new FX-8370.

AMD recently unveiled new improved stock cooling units including a flagship cooler dubbed "Wraith" for their next generation Zen processors and included as sort of a preview with the 125W eight-core FX-8370. The current stock of FX-8370s with the older heatsink/fan are now discounted so the new improved cooler won't cost you anything extra, though the SKU still carries a significant US$40 price premium over the FX-8350, which is the same chip with a 100 MHz slower Turbo frequency.

According to AMD, these new coolers "generate less than one-tenth the noise of their predecessors – running at a near-silent 39 decibels, about as quiet as a library" while the Wraith "delivers 34 percent more airflow and 24 percent more surface area for heat dissipation than its predecessor." 39 dB is certainly not "near-silent" in our books but it's clear just by looking at the Wraith that it's a substantial improvement over the stock heatsinks we're used to seeing.

An old Phenom II X6 stock cooler.

Unfortunately we don't have a FX-8370 stock cooler on hand for a direct comparison but it's physically similar to the cooler pictured above. The basic anatomy of AMD boxed heatsink/fans has not changed in over a decade, featuring a boxy top-down design, a small fan clipped onto a plastic frame, and a spring clip mounting mechanism. The fins are tightly packed, dispersing air toward the sides toward the memory slots and VRM circuitry. The use of a copper base and heatpipes has been employed on hotter models since the days of the Athlon X2.

Wraith mounted on today's test platform.

The Wraith has a similar two-heatpipe design but it's noticeably taller than the older model (82 mm vs. 62 mm) and is equipped with a full-sized replaceable 92 mm fan and a fan shroud with LED lighting.

More updated cooling solutions.

Two more stock coolers have also been announced alongside a crop of new AMD FM2+ CPUs/APUs, though their particulars have not been announced. The Athlon X4 870K/860K and A8-7670K/7650K (95W TDP) will be cooled by the heatsink picture above left, while the A10-7860K and Athlon X4 845 (65W TDP) will ship with the heatsink pictured on the right.

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