ThermalTake SpinQ: Unique Blower-fan Heatsink

Cooling
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PHYSICAL DETAILS

The SpinQ is an odd looking beast— like a typical radial cooler flipped 90 degrees. The overall appearence is menacing, resembling a series of circular saws or a drill-bit designed to burrow into the center of the earth. It is quite easy to cut oneself on the SpinQ, not because of the fins are sharp, but because there are so many pointed edges. (Editor's Note: It got me in seconds!)



The SpinQ is designed to transfer heat from the base to the heatpipes and then to the rest of the cooler. The blower fan pulls cool air in from the sides to cool the fins, exhausting the air radially.



The cooler is composed of 50 thin aluminum rings friction-fit to six nickel-plated copper heatpipes. Though the fins have the appearance of a continuous spiral, it is an illusion — the fins are identical, only fanned out at equal intervals. Manufacturers often use a non-uniform surface to face incoming airflow to improve cooling with added turbulence, but here, with the fan in the center, this pattern on the outside edges has no value outside aesthetics. In contrast, the inside edges which does face the airflow from the fan are perfectly even.



The blower fan, 80mm in diameter and 85mm long, takes up a considerable amount of volume in the center and extends almost the entire length of the cylinder of fins. The fins are fitted quite close together, which can impede airflow, but the higher pressure of the blower fan could well compensate. The six holes in the fins are for positioning or stabilizing rods.



The fan assembly's plastic frame is bolted to the heatsink with screws. It has a 3-pin connector and is wired to an internal manual fan speed controller like most other Thermaltake CPU coolers. The fan blades are transparent to enhance the glow of the blue LEDs. The large diameter of the fan is easily apparent here; it leaves a ring of just ~2cm width.



The heatpipes are secured to the base with a very small amount of solder. With top cover plate off (by removing four tiny screws), the base stayed affixed to the heatpipes, but only a trace of solder could be seen.

STRUCTURAL ANALYSIS

The radial blower fan is obviously integral to the design of this unusual heatsink. Even without turning the fan on, it's clear to see that every fin surface will benefit from a greater, more even airflow than with typical box fans. Despite it's height, the airflow is not like any other tower heatsink; it is more like a classic blow-down fan heatsink, as the intake is bi-polar, while the exhaust is almost omnidirectional. With socket 775, the heatsink can be set up so that the intakes of its fan face the back and front of a tower case, or the top and bottom. Which alignment would work better? It's difficult to guess.

Given that the fan required a hole of >80mm cut from each fin, just how much surface area does the heatsink actually have? This requires some simple math to calculate: Imagine each fin as a circle without a hole and calculate its area, then caclulate the area of the hole and subtract the second number from the first. This would give the surface area on on side of each fin.

  • The outer diameter of each ring is about 112mm, taking into account the "wave" pattern around the outer edge.
  • The inner diameter is 82mm.
  • The area of a circle is Pi * r².
  • Moving to cm, the area of a 5.6 cm radius circle is 98.56 cm², and a 4.1 cm radius circle is 52.83 cm².
  • Hence, the area of one side of each fin is about 46 cm².
  • There are 50 fins, each with 2 sides, so the total cooling surface area is 4,600 cm².

How does this compare with other heatsinks tested by SPCR? Recently tested models with surface area specified:

The 121.63(L) x 90(W) x 151.85(H)mm SpinQ takes up about as much room as any of the above heatsinks, but because of the cavity taken up by its fan, the cooling surface area of the fins is distinctly smaller. The question is whether this can be compensated by the more even, higher pressure, enveloping airflow of the radial blower fan.



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