Gigabyte G-Power 2 Pro CPU cooler

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A SIMPLE MOD & A HOME IN SPCR'S GRAPHICS CARD TEST RIG

Now that the Gigabyte G-Power 2 Pro was stripped to its substantial bones, was there a way to mount a standard 120mm fan on it? Not without some modification. But why not? We knew we didn't want to use this heatsink in the lab in stock form; perhaps a better fan without the shroud could make it usable in one of our silent test rigs. The graphics card test rig's CPU cooling could use improvement...

The top and bottom mounting tabs for the shroud are attached by screws. They were removed. Then some leftover stiff steel wire clips for fans from Scythe and Thermalright heatsinks were cut and bent so that a fan could be clamped against the heatsink. It wasn't difficult to do, and in the end, a fan was securely mounted, as shown in the photo below.


Stripped and modded with a better fan.

Which fan did we choose? It's a Scythe SlipStream 500, one of a huge batch of 120mm fans awaiting testing in the lab. It's called 500 because it spins at 500 RPM, but that's all the speed we needed. It was mounted back on the test platform with a bit more cursing, and we obtained the following CPU stress test result:

Gigabyte G-Power 2 Pro w/ Scythe 500rpm 120x25mm fan
Fan Voltage / RPM
Temp
°C Rise
°C/W
SPL
(dBA@1m)
Stock fan, 5V / 680
43°C
23
0.29
20
Stock fan, 4V / 500
51°C
31
0.40
<18
SlipStream, 12V / 500
45°C
25
0.31
<18

This test leaves no doubt in our minds that without the shroud, and with a high quality, quiet fan, the G-Power 2 Pro would perform on par with the best giant CPU coolers we recommend. But then it would be a different product altogether. For one, it would be cheaper without the plastics, and two, you'd have free reign about which fans to use.

The modded G-Power 2 Pro sample did end up in our graphics card platform, which has undergone other substantial changes, enough so that we are writing up a new testing methodology / platform article about it. CPU cooling has definitely improved with the G-Power 2 Pro. The other option we were considering was our beat-up, original Ninja, but the modded Gigabyte is working out about the same as we expected the Ninja to. More on that in our new graphics card testing methodology article soon.

CONCLUSIONS

The Gigabyte G-Power 2 Pro is a difficult product. On the one hand, it had the potential to be a great cooler. The basic design concept is great: Nicely finished copper base, five long, thicker-than-usual heatpipes running through a big array of thin aluminum fins angled so that the air from the fan flows both onto the VRMs and towards the exhaust fan in a typical case. The problems are in the execution, specifically, the plastic shroud that secures the fan to the heatsink proper, and the very awkward installation system for socket 775.



The fan by itself turned out to be not that bad, even when still attached to the plastic shroud. But the combination of fan, shroud and heatsink produces a tonal noise that quite annoying at most fan speeds. When the fan speed is slowed enough to make the noise palatable (to us), the cooling performance is only mediocre. It's true that there are lots of less aurally sensitive people who will not find the noise a bother, especially when they're shredding their enemies with any number of weapons at >60 FPS. For them, the GP2P might be a reasonable option. But then, the installation procedure will bother just about anyone, though, and there will be questions about whether this big awkward heatsink will actually fit in their system, even if it's in a big gaming case, as techPowerUp! discovered.

Especially at the high anticipated retail price of US$69, it's difficult to recommend the Gigabyte G-Power 2 Pro. There are many better options at better prices for quiet, high performance CPU cooling.

As with the Gigabyte Volar (see the Editor's Postscript at the bottom of the linked page), we can't help but question the claimed acoustics. Where in the world did the "23 / 16 dBA" spec (at 12V and 5V) for the Gigabyte G-Power 2 Pro come from? Actually, that's not quite fair; the 16 dBA claim is believable, as our ambient noise is too high for measurement accuracy down to such low levels. We know that at 5V, the noise was below 18~19 dBA@1m, so OK, it's possible that at 5V, the thing measured 16 dBA in Gigabyte's very nice anechoic chamber. But 23 dBA? Sorry, that's just totally wrong, twice in a row now. Once more, and we'll have to believe that overstating of their cooling products' quiet characteristics is standard Gigabyte policy. It's not unusual, of course, as the industry is full of marketing exaggerations, especially about acoustics these days, but it is disappointing when we know what kind of sophisticated acoustic testing facilities and equipment Gigabyte has at their disposal.

Pros

* AMD mounting clip is easy and secure
* Very good cooling with fan at 12V
* Geometry and fan position helps cool motherboard VRM and evacuate heat from case
Cons

* Horribly awkward 775-socket mounting
* Noisy at most fan speeds
* Huge size may interfere with power supply and/or exhaust case fan
* Expensive

Much thanks to Gigabyte for the G-Power 2 Pro sample.

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Articles of Related Interest

Recommended Heatsinks
SPCR's Unique Heatsink Testing Methodology
Scythe SCNJ-1000 Ninja Heatsink
Thermalright Ultra-120 eXtreme
Zalman CNPS8700 LED CPU Cooler: Update of a Classic
Scythe Andy Master

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