Arctic Cooling Super Silent 4 Ultra TC heatsink/fan

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January 12, 2005 by Devon Cooke with Mike Chin

Arctic Cooling Super Silent 4 Ultra TC heatsink/fan for socket 478 (P4 and Celeron)
Sample Supplier
HD Audio Visual, Australia

The Super Silent 4 Ultra TC is a new heatsink in the Arctic Cooling Super Silent line. SPCR has reviewed three other Arctic Cooling heatsinks: The Super Silent Pro TC, the Copper Silent 2 TC for Socket A, and the Super Silent 4 Pro TC. So what's new in the "Ultra" version? The difference is evolutionary rather than revolutionary; the main changes appear to be the introduction of a 92mm fan and a new mounting system.

While the previous versions of this heatsink have never been contenders for the cooling throne, they have always provided adequate cooling and, more importantly, tend to be reasonably quiet right out of the box. The "TC" stuck on the end of the model name is significant. It stands for "thermally controlled", a crucial factor in the ability of these heatsinks to remain quiet without risking CPU damage.

One point about the Super Silent series should be made clear right from the beginning. This is not a performance heatsink, and for US$20 it shouldn't be expected to be. Even the spec sheet for the Ultra TC admits that the its thermal resistance is 0.02 °C/W less than the stock cooler that Intel ships with the P4 3.06 GHz Prescott CPU.

So, why would you want to buy a heatsink that's less effective than one already shipped with your processor? The answer is in the next statistic on the spec sheet: Noise level. The claim that Arctic Cooling makes is that the Ultra TC is between 3 and 13 times quieter than Intel's stock heatsink. This is quite a claim to live up to, and it is one that we cannot easily verify as the noise specification is given in sones, an alternate acoustic measurement that we are not willing to introduce to SPCR at this point. Still, we should not consider this numerical claim as important as how this heatsink sounds subjectively. After all, from a silencing point of view, what matters is how it sounds, not some numerical approximation of its noise level. Our sample supplier HD Audio Visual says pointedly that the Arctic Cooling Super Silent 4 Ultra TC is "The most affordable silent cooler for Intel processors!"

Without further ado, the Super Silent 4 Ultra TC:

SPECIFICATIONS for Arctic Cooling Super Silent 4 Ultra TC
Heatsink Dimensions
92 x 92 x 42 mm
Fan Dimensions
87 x 87 x 33 mm
Overall Dimensions
92 x 92 x 75 mm
Rated Fan Speed
1000-2300 RPM
Power Consumption
0.13 A
18-46 CFM
374 g or 448 g
Noise Level
0.4-1.4 sones / 12-23 dBA
Thermal Resistance
0.30 °C/W

Arctic Cooling claims the ceramic bearing used in the new fan will last 15 years and backs it with a three year warranty. They also claim extremely low noise, 0.4-1.4 sones, which HD Audio Visual has converted to 12~23 dBA (presumably at 1 meter).

For your information, this HSF is available in two other Socket 478 variants: One with a fixed speed fan, another with a TC LED light fan. The same three fan variants are also available on K8 AMD A64 versions of this heatsink named Super Silent 64 Ultra. These HSF use the standard, very positive six-lug A64 retention bracket.

Compared to the performance heatsinks that we usually review, the Ultra TC is a featherweight, weighing in at either 374g or 448g depending on which spec sheet you believe. It is probably reasonable to assume that 374g is the weight of the actual heatsink itself, while 448g is the total weight with the fan. Even at 448g it manages to squeak under Intel's maximum recommended weight for heatsinks — a rare distinction in the aftermarket heatsink market. Its overall dimensions are also quite conservative; at 92 mm square, motherboard compatibility is a non-issue. Arctic Cooling advertises the Ultra TC as a low profile heatsink for use in low profile cases, such as home theater PCs.

A simple, environmentally-friendly box that is no larger than it needs to be.

The Ultra is slightly larger than the last revision, with 38 aluminum fins.
Same frameless fan design as the last one, just a bit bigger.

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