Apack ZeroTherm BTF80 & BTF90 CPU Heatsink/Fans

Cooling
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FAN DETAILS

Although the specifications list the fan dimensions as 92 x 25 mm, a quick look at the fan shows that this is not the case; it is not possible to simply drop in a 92mm fan as a replacement. Although the rotor itself may be the same size and thickness of a more conventional fan, the highly unusual frame is one of a kind.

The wedge shaped base fits snugly between the two wings, where it is secured with two machine screws. It can be easily removed by undoing the screws and pulling the frame up out of the heatsink.


The fan is removed by sliding it up between the wings of the butterfly..

The fan itself is branded with Apack's ZeroTherm logo, and lists the model number SFC9225LU-12P, the words "Silence Innovations", and a link to www.zerotherm.co.kr, which yields an "Invalid Hostname" error when typed into a browser. No information about either the model number or "Silence Innovations" could be found, so we are left with APack's specifications for information: 750~2,500 RPM, 43 CFM, and 27 dBA. We find it unlikely that the fan is 27 dBA (at what distance?) at 2,500 RPM, but you can see our own SPL measurements later in this review. In any case, the fan is not expected to be run at full speed; it comes with a four pin fan connector that assumes the motherboard will control fan speed.


The unusual frame is specifically designed to fit the BTF heatsinks.

INSTALLATION

Socket 478 is rapidly fading into computing history, so it is no surprise that it is not supported. K8 sockets, including AM2, are supported using AMD's standard retention bracket, while Socket 775 systems use a backplate and four screws through the motherboard. A separate bracket for each mounting system is included, and the appropriate one must be screwed on to the bottom of the heatsink using four screws. Both mounting clips can be rotated 90 degrees(in fact, 360 degrees in 90 degree increments), which means that the heatsink can be mounted with the fan blowing towards any direction, physical impingements from motherboard components notwithstanding. The ideal setup of the fan blowing towards the back panel (so that the heated air from the CPU can be evacuated by the back panel exhaust fan) can be achieved with just about any motherboard.

Both mounting systems have their problems, but neither is difficult to figure out. The K8 bracket suffers from an issue that is common with clip-based heatsinks: The tension is too high for easy removal. Installation is not a problem, since it's really just a matter of pressing down on the clip and letting it click into place. However, removal is difficult since the clip must be unhooked from the retention module while simultaneously holding the clip under pressure. We found that a pair of pliers came in handy for this purpose. Keep in mind most users do not often install or uninstall their CPU heatsink.

Socket 775 has a different problem: Two of the mountings screws are partially blocked by the fan blades. There are two ways of getting around this. One is simply to hold the screwdriver at an angle, avoiding the fan. This is the lazy-man's solution, but it does make it more difficult to tighten the screws fully. A better solution is to simply remove the fan during installation; it's only a couple of screws.

We were pleased to note that the mounting screws on the Socket 775 bracket are spring-loaded and permanently attached to the bracket. This means no worries about correct tension. The ease of installation cannot be better: Screws only needed to be tightened until they stop turning. Spring-loaded bolts were first implemented years ago by Alpha Novatech (we reviewed their S-PAL8952 a couple years ago), but still rarely seen, and captive spring-loaded bolts goes one step better. In a perfect world, all heatsinks would use this type of tensioning system.



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