Sub-$20 CPU Coolers: A Reader's Roundup

Cooling
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Logisys MC2002GX / Deep Cool GAMMAXX 200

Now for the dark horse. The no-name, $15 tower heatpipe cooler. Is it worth the money? A line has been drawn in the sand by the $17 Arctic Alpine 11 Pro and $17 Cooler Master Hyper T2. Will the Logisys / Deep Cool cut it?

However, Arctic and Cooler Master have lucrative high-end cooler businesses to protect, though, while Logisys is a practically unknown brand. Deep Cool has zero presence in North America, and so has less to lose by trying to undercut the big names in cooler tech.

Let's take a closer look at the MC2002GX / GAMMAXX 200.

The Deep Cool comes packaged in a pretty standard shiny white box with some components included separately within the packaging. Again, it's a cross-platform cooler, with Intel and AMD mounting hardware.

I'm going to refer to it as the Deep Cool Gammaxx 200 from here on out, as the only thing to clue you into it being a Logisys-imported product is a single sticker on the packaging. All of the documentation, even the fins on the heatsink itself (every single fin!) are branded Deep Cool. It's a Deep Cool.

It includes a very blue 92mm PWM fan. Looks pretty standard. Decent little radiator fins on the heat block at the bottom of the cooler to catch stray heat not absorbed by the heatpipes.

The fin stack is pretty skinny, and the fins are just pressed onto the heatpipes, rather than being soldered. Of course, this is par for the course at the $15 price level. (Editor's note: Actually, this is the norm even for $100 tower coolers.) Notable features include the slightly wavy profile of the cooling fins in the fin stack and the fact that the two heatpipes are offset in the stack, unlike the Cooler Master's, which were inline.

The business end of the Gammaxx. I was surprised, honestly, to see two direct-contact heatpipes on a cooler this cheap. This promises good things. I scraped off the included (crappy) thermal compound and got to testing.

Sound Characteristics

There's a pronounced "whoosh" from this cooler at full tilt, accompanied by motor noise and some blade harmonics. It's noisy, but not as noisy as the Rosewill. The FanMate alone wouldn't get the fan down to a "silent" level, so I added a resistor to it to try and get it to a manageable speed. Turns out, the motor starts clicking below 1050 RPM. It starts slowly and increases in frequency as the fan is slowed more. Beyond irritating. I set the motor to the lowest speed I could get it to without clicking and ran the low-noise test that way. It was pretty darn quiet, but like the Rosewill, not quite silent.

Performance

Well, well. This is interesting. I had to double-check these numbers before I believed them. Looks like we have a new champ.

The "quiet" temperature is the most impressive, I feel, because if you were to slow the fan to this speed and stick the cooler inside your case, you'd never hear it. And you'd have no temperature problems, either. Very impressive.

Logisys MC2002GX / Deep Cool GAMMAXX 200
Quiet
Max
RPM
Idle
Load
Rise
RPM
Idle
Load
Rise
1100
25°C
50°C
25°C
2143
25°C
45°C
20°C


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