Arctic Cooling Alpine HSF: A New Budget King?

Cooling
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July 21, 2006 by Devon Cooke with Mike Chin

Product
Arctic Cooling Alpine 7 & Alpine 64
Socket 775 / K8 CPU Heatsinks
Manufacturer
Market Price
US$15~20

Arctic Cooling may be the only company ever to admit that their heatsink is less efficient than Intel's stock heatsink. That's right, Arctic Cooling has the temerity to admit that the Alpine is outperformed by Intel's stock cooler. Not in words, but with a graph on their product page that shows the Alpine's cooling performance as 0.26°C/Watt, which is bettered by the stock Intel HS at 0.23°C/Watt. So, how on earth do they intend to sell it? By offering a much quieter product than the typical whiny buzziness of the stock Intel cooler.

We do not expect the Alpine to compete with the huge tower behemoths that rule the heatsink aftermarket. The Alpine is a modest heatsink designed for modest systems; it can be found for US$15~20, and it is meant to improve noise, not cooling.

The Alpine is the replacement for the Super Silent series, which saw four generations and seemingly dozens of minor variations before it was phased out. Except for the absence of built-in thermal fan speed control, very little seems to have changed; it's a little taller and it has a soft-mounted fan, but it is the same basic design taught in CPU Cooler Design Course 101.

Arctic Cooling is a little odd where compatibility is concerned. While most manufacturers include mounting hardware for most of the various socket types, Arctic Cooling tends to release a separate version for each socket. The Alpine holds true to form. Because it uses only one hook on each of the two clips, the Alpine 64 fits all K8 sockets — 754, 939, 940 and even AM2 — while the Alpine 7 is intended for use with Intel's Socket 775. Having separate versions is helpful because it means that installation tends to be simple and no superfluous parts need to be included. The downside is that retailers need to stock both versions, and it's possible to buy the wrong version by accident.


The box for the Alpine 64 is just a little smaller than the Alpine 7 box.

Arctic Cooling Alpine 7 / 64: Feature Highlights (from the product web page)
Feature & Brief (quoted) Our Comment
Extremely Quiet by Patented Fan Casing
- The low speed 92 mm fan reduces the noise level to a minimum.
- The patented fan holder is able to practically eliminate the typical buzzing sound of 92 mm fans.
- The PWM chip in the motor allows an exact fan speed control over the BIOS. (4 wire)
- The Fluid Dynamic Bearing keeps oil inside the bearing and thus reduce friction in between and keep the noise level to a minimum.
PWM fan is specific to the Alpine 7; the Alpine 64 has a standard 3-pin fan.

The fan is low speed and soft-mounted; both are good signs for noise.
Integrated Cooling of Voltage Converters
- Air is drawn in from the top.
- Some air is blown out to all four directions in order to cool the voltage converters and chipset.
VRM cooling is important and often overlooked by heavy-duty tower heatsinks. Some degree VRM cooling is pretty much standard for top-down coolers like the Alpine.
Patented Vibration Absorption
- The four rubber connectors on the fan case act as a vibration damper to absorb the vibration of the running fan and prevent vibration transfer to the heatsink and the case.
More about the soft-mounted fan.
Cooling Performance
- Alpine 7 / 64: 0.26 °C/W
- Intel Pentium 4 Box Cooler: 0.23 °C/W
- AMD Athlon 64 Box Cooler: 0.34 °C/W
Intel and AMD both change their heatsinks from time to time; it's not clear exactly which ones were tested by Arctic Cooling.
Easy Installation
- The cooler is to install within seconds.
OK.
Long Lifetime / 6 Years Warranty
- The Fluid Dynamic Bearing offers a unique 400'000 h MTTF at 40°C. Therefore we grant a unique 6 years warranty.
Six years is a long time in the tech industry. Many people upgrade long before six years have passed.

Arctic Cooling Alpine 7 / 64: Specifications (from the product web page)
Heat Sink Dimensions
78(L) x 98(W) x 56(H) mm
Fan Dimensions
113(L) x 101(W) x 47.2(H) mm
Overall Dimensions
113(L) x 101(W) x 91.7(H) mm
Rated Fan Speed
Alpine 7: 300 - 2000 RPM (controlled by PWM signal)
Alpine 64: 2000 RPM
Power Consumption
Alpine 7: 0.15 Amp.
Alpine 64: 0.17 Amp.
Air Flow
36 CFM / 62 m3/h
Weight
486 g
Noise Level
0.6 Sone
Thermal Resistance
0.26 °C/Watt
Thermal Interface Material
Pre-applied MX-1 Paste
Warranty
6 Years
Application
Alpine 7:
- All Intel Celeron D
- Intel Pentium 4 up to 650
- Intel Pentium D up to 940
- All AMD Sempron (Socket 754)
- All AMD Athlon 64
- All AMD Athlon 64 FX
- All AMD Athlon 64 X2

Alpine 64:
- All AMD Sempron (Socket 754)
- All AMD Athlon 64
- All AMD Athlon 64 FX
- All AMD Athlon 64 X2
- All AMD Opteron
Recommended Retail Price (excl. VAT)
Alpine 7: 17.50 USD / 14.50 EUR
Alpine 64: 15.50 USD / 12.90 EUR


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