Intel's HSF for high-end Core 2 Extreme CPUs

Cooling
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Comparisons

Comparison: Intel FCLGA4-S vs. Other Radial Coolers
Zalman CNPS8700
Thermaltake MaxOrb
Intel FCLGA4-S
SPL @1m
°C Rise
SPL @1m
°C Rise
SPL @1m
°C Rise
33 dBA
17
35 dBA
17
36
22
28 dBA
19
29 dBA
19
34
23
24 dBA
23
24 dBA
21
25
25

Compared to radial aftermarket coolers, the FCLGA4-S doesn't do terribly, trailing the Thermaltake MaxOrb and the Zalman 8700 by 4-5°C. Normally we would rebuke a heatsink for such a poor result, but considering it comes bundled essentially for free with a CPU (admittedly a $1,000+ CPU) it's hard to criticize it for not matching a $50 product. We do however take issue with the chattering fins.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Intel's implementation of a vapor chamber cooler left us unimpressed, but it's hard to say whether the technology itself is to blame. It is just a stock heatsink/fan, after all, so the amount of time and money put into its design and manufacture is limited — it could be a case of poor execution. Without third party vapor chamber heatsinks to compare it to, we cannot draw any meaningful conclusions regarding its core design.

This Core 2 Extreme heatsink is more than capable of cooling a 130W TDP processor, but not quietly. While we were not expecting it to be silent, we had hopes. The jarring sound of vibrating metal would be annoying even for an average user. We like how the fan is easily removed but this does not make the fan any easier to replace. We would have gladly traded this feature for a more secure mounting that would transfer less vibration. There also should be some kind of mechanism to keep the fins from vibrating.

From a performance-to-noise standpoint, the FCLGA4-S is a mediore performer that cannot compete aginst most of the high performance coolers that SPCR reviews routinely. Althought it offers higher cooling performance, the Intel FCLGA4-S has the failings of a typical stock reference heatsink. The Thermalrights, Scythes, Xigmateks and Zalmans of this world need not worry about an imminent invasion of their niche by the Intel juggernaut.

Intel FCLGA4-S
PROS

* Good performance
* Light
CONS

* Fan too loud
* Loose fins and fan mounting method create metallic rattling

Our many thanks to Intel for the QX9650 processor and accompanying FCLGA4-S heatsink sample.

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Articles of Related Interest
Thermaltake V1: "Peacock Tail" Cooler
Thermaltake MaxOrb Heatpipe Cooler: Maximum Orbness
Two Big Top-downers: Big Typhoon VX & Xigmatek HDT-D1284
Xigmatek HDT-S1283 & SD964 "heatpipe direct-touch" CPU coolers
Akasa AK-965 socket 775 tower cooler
Zalman CNPS8700 LED CPU Cooler: Update of a Classic

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