Asetek Vapochill Micro CPU heatsink/fan

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The Ultra Low Noise and Extreme Performance packages both include a fan controller that can be installed in a spare PCI slot. The controller is nicely made, and allows the Fan RPM signal to be passed through to the motherboard. To prevent damage to the motherboard header, power is drawn from an external Molex connector.

The fan controller fits in a PCI slot.

The header on the left provides power to the fan and an RPM signal to the motherboard.
Power is provided through the header on the right...

...via this 2-wire 12V lead with 4-pin Molex + pass-through connector.

The adjustment knob feels solid and smooth throughout its three-quarter turn range. Unlike some controllers, the voltage varies smoothly with the position of the knob; the whole adjustment range is useful. The output voltage ranges from ~6.1V at the lowest setting up to ~11.4V, which is enough for most users.


The heatsink installs easily without needing to change anything on the motherboard. It's a two step process:

  1. Slip the mounting bracket over the base of the heatsink.
  2. Attach the bracket to your motherboard as appropriate: Metal clips for socket 478, plastic pushpins for socket 775, and screws for AMD-based sockets.

Step 1: Slip the bracket over the base of the heatsink (Socket 478 is shown).

Step 2: Clip / Screw the bracket onto the motherboard (Clip for Socket 478 is shown).

The round base makes it possible to install the heatsink in any orientation, but just because you can install it at a 45° angle doesn't mean you should. In fact, in an ordinary tower case, Asetek recommends only one orientation: Fan blowing up. This is a serious restriction because it means that the CPU heat will be blown upwards into the power supply. That in turn means the power supply will be expected to exhaust CPU heat, which means the fan will spin faster and louder.

The tower is tilted, and should be installed with the end pointing upwards.

The reason for this restriction is simple: The heatpipes rely on gravity to return the coolant to the reservoir and don't work unless the reservoir is lower than the ends of the heatpipes. Many other heatpipe-based coolers share this restriction, although some use wicks to draw the coolant back to the heat source in any orientation.

Thermal interface material is included.
PS - How do
you think they applied this pattern of goopy dots?

The base of the heatsink is polished copper, and comes with thermal goop pre-applied. The greasy substance can be easily cleaned off with rubbing alcohol. The base shows faint traces of machining, but was otherwise smooth. Dragging a fingernail over it did not reveal any hidden imperfections.

The base is quite smooth

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