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The Big Typhoon is a hybrid between the traditional top-down design,
and the "tower" style that currently dominates the high end. It is
a tower because the main body of the heatsink is elevated above the base by
six heatpipes, but because the fan blows downwards, not sideways, it retains
the look of a more conventional heatsink.
It's a good design; heatpipes, which allow heat to be spread across
more and larger fins, have proved their worth over and over in the high end
market sector. Furthermore, the Big Typhoon gets around two big downsides of
the tower design: Excessive height and poor cooling for motherboard components.
Seen through artistic eyes, the Big Typhoon resembles a large, industrial
It's a little unclear just how much vertical space the Big Typhoon requires.
The technical specifications list a height of 103mm, but that's too low, since
it doesn't include the 25mm thick fan. Thus, the effective height should be
approximately 130mm... but even that isn't quite right as the fan needs some
breathing room above it to be effective. Add in another two centimeters for
that, and the height difference between the Big Typhoon and many tower heatsinks
almost disappears. And, with most of the weight elevated about three centimeters
above the base, the torsion on the mounting system is not insignificant. Like
many large heatsinks, the Big Typhoon is probably at risk of breaking loose
if the system it is in is handled roughly.
...or perhaps a grove of metallic trees.
It's quite likely that the Big Typhoon could have been made shorter by using
shorter heatpipes, but the added height does confer a few benefits. First of
all, it makes is easy to work with, as there is plenty of room around the base
to fiddle with screws and mounting clips. Second, it reduces the back pressure
by allowing more room for air to escape underneath the fins. Given how much
the closely spaced fins impede airflow, keeping the back pressure at a minimum
is probably quite important to keeping low airflow performance at an acceptable
Dense fin spacing, as advertised.
Unlike most heatpipe-based heatsinks, each heatpipe in the Big Typhoon offers
only a single path for heat to travel. Heat goes from end to end rather than
from the middle to both ends. It's not clear whether this has any effect on
thermals, but it does have one nicety: It makes the area around the base more
open and easy to work in.
Heatpipes are terminated at the base rather than passing through on either
The copper base is not especially well finished, and a few ridges could be
felt by running a fingernail across it. Is that enough to make a difference
in performance? It depends; certain thermal interface materials seem to "like"
different surfaces, and although it is usually true that smoother is better,
it's not a universal rule.
The grain of the copper base can be easily seen.
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