Two Big Top-downers: Big Typhoon VX & Xigmatek HDT-D1264

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Comparables

Compared with other top-down cooler's we've tested in the past with our reference 120mm fan, the Big Typhoon VX comes in dead last, behind the Thermalright SI-128. The VX is also the heaviest and most expensive of the five, making its performance even more disappointing. The HDT-D1264 fared much better, especially with low airflow, placing right in the middle of the pack, ahead of the SI-128, but behind both the Scythe Andy and Asus Triton 75. However it was only out performed by Asus Triton 75 by one or two degrees at each fan speed, well within margins of error. We consider them tied for second place.

Top-down Cooler Showdown:
Thermal Rise Comparisons using reference 120mm fan
Fan Voltage
SPL@1m
Scythe Andy
Asus Triton 75
HDT-D1264
TR
SI-128
Big Typhoon VX
12V
22 dBA
16
18
20
21
21
9V
~19 dBA
20
20
22
26
24
7V
<19 dBA
24
23
24
29
31
5V
<19 dBA
29
30
31
34
40

MP3 SOUND RECORDINGS

These recordings were made with a high resolution, studio quality, digital recording system, then converted to LAME 128kbps encoded MP3s. We've listened long and hard to ensure there is no audible degradation from the original WAV files. It represents a quick snapshot of what we heard during the review. The recordings contain ~10 seconds of the heatsink fan sound at each speed tested, with 5~7 seconds of ambient between each level.

The recording begins with the ambient noise of the test room. Please set your playback volume so that the ambient noise is almost inaudible.

Xigmatek HDT-D1264 with stock fan at 5V, 7V, 9V and 12V at 1m (For best results, save the sound file to your own PC, then listen.)

Big Typhoon VX with stock fan at 5V, 7V, 9V and 12V at 1m (For best results, save the sound file to your own PC, then listen.)

Reference Comparatives

Nexus "Real Silent 120mm fan" at 5V, 7V, 9V and 12V at 1m

Scythe Andy Samurai Master w/stock fan at 5V, 7V, 9V and 12V at 1m

The recordings are intended to give you an idea of how the product sounds in actual use — one meter is a reasonable typical distance between a computer or computer component and your ear. The recording contains stretches of ambient noise that you can use to judge the relative loudness. For best results, set your volume control so that the ambient noise is just barely audible. Be aware that very quiet noises may not be audible — if we couldn't hear it from one meter, chances are we couldn't record it either!

More details about how we make audio recordings can be found in our article: Audio Recording Methods Revised.



FINAL THOUGHTS

The power consumption of the test system did not drop with these heatsinks compared to when we tested traditional tower heatsinks. So the idea that inadequate motherboard component cooling contributes to overheating and decreased efficiency was not borne out in our tests. But this is only one platform, and it's an open bench system; nothing conclusive can be said about top-down versus cross-board airflow. The bottom line is that if you're concerned about component longevity, the better top-down coolers are good enough for use with all modern desktop CPUs.

While it cannot compete with the heavyweight towers, the Xigmatek HDT-D1264 isn't exactly chopped liver. The direct touch technology didn't perform quite as well here as it did in the S1283 or SD964, but it's still easily one of the best top-down heatsinks you can buy. With moderate airflow, it is only marginally outperformed by some popular tower heatsinks, like the Scythe Ninja Copper. The stock fan is quite decent, becoming very quiet when undervolted. The mounting system is also very secure, though it still worries us to have that much weight held up by plastic pushpins. Depending on the price, the D1264 could be a good buy; note that the Scythe Andy and Asus Triton 75 can be found online for as low as $35 USD.

The Big Typhoon VX is improved over the original with a simpler, more effective mounting system. However the fan was born in the depths of hell. Even the mention of the word "quiet" on the VX's product page is offensive. 16 dBA is its listed SPL at 1300 RPM, but the only way it could measure this low is from several rooms away. The nasty noise signature drives the nails into the coffin. As a low airflow heatsink, it's pitiful. With high airflow it performs well, but there are many alternatives that can match its performance without resorting to a 40 dBA fan. The word that best describes it is "inefficient." One would expect a cooler of its size to be a tour de force, but this behemoth turned out to be a puits de insuffisance. It also costs a pricey $55 USD so it's impossible for us to recommend — there are many much better choices.

Xigmatek HDT-D1264
PROS

* Excellent cooling
* Very tight mounting
* Anti-vibration fan isolators
CONS

* Fan is a bit louder than necessary
* Only one orientation for AMD

Thermaltake Big Typhoon VX
PROS

* Fan speed controller
* Easy to install
* Good performance with high airflow
* Better than original Big Typhoon
CONS

* Poor performance with low airflow
* LGA775 mounting seems loose
* Only one orientation for AMD
* Stock fan is atrocious
* Expensive

Our thanks to Thermaltake and Xigmatek for the heatsink samples.

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Articles of Related Interest
Xigmatek HDT-S1283 & SD964 "heatpipe direct-touch" CPU coolers
Akasa AK-965 socket 775 tower cooler
Ninja Copper: Scythe's 5th Year Celebration
Arctic Cooling Alpine 7 Pro: The Alpine 7 Revisited
Asus Triton 75 CPU Cooler
Scythe Andy Samurai Master CPU heatsink/fan

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