Asetek Vapochill Micro CPU heatsink/fan

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The basic design of the Vapochill Micro is a tower heatsink that dissipates heat through a stack of aluminum fins. As with any good product, the details make a difference. There are three things that set this heatsink apart from other tower heatsinks:

  1. The fan is mounted on a clear plastic duct so that there is a pocket of air between the fan and the fins.
  2. The heatpipes are much larger than usual, and they are all connected to the base, which serves as a reservoir for the coolant inside.
  3. The edges of the fins are rippled to increase their surface area.

A basic tower design with a fan duct and fancy heatpipes.

The duct is quite flimsy, and is only loosely held in place. It can be easily removed without tools by bending it around the heatsink in the right way. With the fan installed, it's a little more rigid, but there is still a lot of give. Flimsiness aside, the duct is adequate for its purposes: Supporting the fan and directing airflow. The bottom of the duct is intentionally open so that the components on the motherboard around the CPU also receive some airflow.

The clear plastic duct is press fitted onto the heatsink.

Most heatsinks use heatpipes that run through the base of the heatsink, typically a separate piece of metal. The heatpipes are usually clamped or soldered to the base. Transferring heat to the heatpipes is, in theory, a two stage process: Heat moves from the CPU to the base, and then from the base to the heatpipes.

The Vapochill Micro, on the other hand, uses a hollow copper base that serves as a shared reservoir for the heatpipes. This removes one of the stages mentioned above: Heat is transferred directly from the CPU to the heatpipes with no intermediate step, possibly improving the heat transfer.

Conceptually, the Vapochill Micro is more like an air conditioner than most other heatpipe heatsinks. The coolant reservoir is the unique feature that's reminiscent of Asetek's roots. Of course, an air conditioner uses a compressor to return coolant to the reservoir, whereas the Vapochill Micro uses gravity to do so.

All the heatpipes share a single reservoir, which couples directly with the CPU.

The heatpipes themselves are about half an inch in diameter, and are connected to a common pipe that runs across the bottom of the heatsink.

Heavy duty heatpipes are half an inch thick.
Note that the fins are not centered over the base.

The fins are a little off-center compared to the base. The reason for this became clear when we installed the heatsink. When it was installed with the fan blowing outwards, the fins did not hand over the top edge of the motherboard. But, if the heatsink was turned around, the fins protruded over the top edge, which would interfere with the power supply in many cases.

The fins are rippled along the edges to increase surface area.

The fins themselves have rippled edges that are designed to increase surface area and increase air turbulence, both of which help cooling efficiency. But, they are also very tightly spaced, which suggests that high pressure may be needed force much air between them.

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