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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
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
The heatsink installs easily without needing to change anything on the motherboard.
It's a two step process:
- Slip the mounting bracket over the base of the heatsink.
- 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
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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