Gigabyte Volar CPU heatsink/fan

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November 24, 2007 by Devon Cooke

Gigabyte Volar GH-PSU21-FB
Socket 775 / K8 / AM2 CPU Heatsink
Market Price

Like many other Taiwan-based manufacturers, Gigabyte is fighting stiff competition and outsourcing by diversifying its offerings.  In addition to its motherboards and other PCB-based cards, Gigabyte has expanded its offerings to encompass several other markets — including heatsinks. These and several other product categories are the result of Gigabyte's Thermal Division, whose labs in Taiwan were visited by SPCR editor Mike Chin in June 2007.

The Volar is the first heatsink we've seen from Gigabyte, but it's far from their first. Their web site currently lists eight different heatsinks plus one in development.  The oldest dates from the days of Socket 478, so clearly the Gigabyte Thermal Division is here to stay.

The Volar caught our eye because of its highly unconventional design, which is somewhere between a classic top-down design and the monstrous high-rise design that dominates the high end market.  It borrows from many others — a frameless fan that resembles Arctic Cooling's fans, a tilted design borrowed from the Scythe Katana, and extruded aluminum fins that look like they came from the same factory as Intel's stock heatsinks.

A plastic blister pack shows off the heatsink inside the box.

Like most other heatsinks these days, the Volar is billed as being both cool and quiet.  In support of the quiet claim, Gigabyte includes a simple resistor grafted into a pass-through cable to drop the fan voltage down from the base 12V.  Noise is specified at 23 dBA or 18 dBA with the low-speed cable.  This would be excellent, if it's true.

Heatsink, two styles of mounting clips, fan control cable, some screws, thermal interface, and a small-print instruction sheet

The small, single sheet of instructions is well illustrated and easy to follow, but, as is usual for the tech industry, the text is small and the English poor. In addition to the installation instructions, the sheet begins with a list of nine exceptions to Gigabyte's warranty policy. Oddly, neither the length of the warranty nor warranty terms are mentioned. Apparently, Gigabyte's warranty policy differs around the world. Item number six — malfunction arising from casualties — deserves special recognition as the only warranty clause we've seen that mentions death as a possible reason for a warranty claim.  Perhaps they meant "catastrophes"...

Gigabyte Volar: Feature Highlights (from the product web page)
Feature & Brief Our Comment
Universal design for both LGA775 and AMD AM2/K8 platforms Wide compatibility, though size may be more limiting than mounting hardware.
Copper base and heat sinks with aluminum fins Unusually, the fins are one piece of extruded aluminum rather than multiple thin sheets.
Angular conical airflow ensures maximum cooling of MOSFET areas The fan is angled down slightly to direct exhaust air towards the CPU socket.
Spiraling fin design for increased surface volume ventilation The same design as Intel's stock heatsink ... but with heatpipes.
Omni-directional high-conducting heat pipe for maximum dissipation in any mounted position A prerequisite for any aftermarket heatsink these days.
Large 120mm fan with fan speed control cable Control in a very loose sense; the cable can only drop the fan speed by a single constant amount.
Easy installation Not tool-free, but there's plenty of room to work around the base.

Gigabyte Volar: Specifications (from the product web page)
Heatsink Dimensions 122 x 125 x 141 mm (W x L x H)
Fan Dimensions 120 x 120 x 38mm (L x B x H)
Number of Heatpipes 3
Base Composition Copper
Fin Material Aluminum
Rated Voltage 12 V
Rated Current 0.2 Amp.
Fan Speed 2,000 rpm(default) / 1,500 rpm(low speed)
Acoustic 2,000 rpm, 23dBA (default)
1,500 rpm, 18dBA (with fan speed control cable)
Bearing Type EBR
MTBF 30,000 h
Total Weight 640 g
Supports Intel® CoreTM 2 Extreme Processor Series
Intel® CoreTM 2 Quad Processor Series
Intel® CoreTM 2 Duo Processor Series
Intel® Pentium® Extreme Edition Series
Intel® Pentium® 4 Processor Series (LGA775)
Intel® Pentium® D Processor Series
AMD AM2 Series
AMD AthlonTM FX Series
AMD AthlonTM 64x2 Series
AMD AthlonTM 64 Series
AMD Sempron Series

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