nMedia Icetank: More than a Cute Name?

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Despite nMedia's description, the Icetank is not particularly small or light. It is shorter than many of the tower heatsinks on the market, which is important for HTPC cases, but at just over four inches, it's still on the tall side. The other dimensions are about average: Just a little wider and longer than the 92mm cooling fan. Both Intel and AMD's most recent socket designs allow for at least this much room around the CPU socket, and most of the width is elevated above the base, so there are unlikely to be any motherboard compatibility problems.

A hybrid aluminum and copper construction is used to strike a balance between weight and cooling efficiency. The Icetank weighs in at just over 600 g, which is heavier than Intel's recommended 450 g weight but not unusual for an aftermarket heatsink.

The standard 92mm fan is easily replaceable.

The bulk of the cooling is done by the "tank" of press-fitted fins that hang from four heatpipes above the base. The fan blows down through these fins in the traditional top-down configuration; this is not a tower heatsink. The tank is quite thick, especially at the center, which means that getting enough air pressure from the fan at low speeds could be an issue. Fin spacing is a little wider than average but still much closer than heatsinks specifically designed for good performance with low airflow.

A smaller aluminum heatsink the size of a northbridge heatsink is attached to the base, providing a limited amount of secondary cooling. Its surface area is tiny in comparison to the tank, but every little bit helps. Its position under the thickest part of the heatsink means that it will probably be starved for air under low airflow conditions. The fins are too closely spaced to be effective without some airflow.

The body of the heatsink hangs from four heatpipes that suspend it above the base.

A secondary heatsink dissipates heat directly from the base.

The base is made of copper and is screwed to the aluminum heatsink, wedging the four heatpipes in between. The base on our sample was quite discolored, and didn't seem as smooth as it could have been. Perfectionists willing to take the time and effort to lap it may be able to squeeze out an extra degree or two of cooling.

The base on our sample was a little discolored and not especially smooth.

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