ThermalTake SpinQ: Unique Blower-fan Heatsink

Cooling
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MP3 SOUND RECORDINGS

These recordings were made with a high resolution, lab quality, digital recording system inside SPCR's own 11 dBA ambient anechoic chamber, 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 to these MP3s. They represent a quick snapshot of what we heard during the review.

These 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 of the subject. Be aware that some of the sounds that you can hear in these recordings may not be audible in actual use! The ultra-low ambient noise level of the anechoic chamber (and our recording gear) allows us to record quiet sounds that would be overwhelmed by the higher ambient noise in a normal room!

The recording starts with 10 second segments of room ambience, then the fan at various levels. For the most realistic results, set the volume so that the starting ambient level is just barely audible, then don't change the volume setting again.

FINAL THOUGHTS

The Thermaltake SpinQ is a noble attempt. Its performance is poor compared to similarly priced competitors, whether they be traditional towers, top-downers, or radials. (The price is currently between $60 and $65 at most sites we've checked — though this is a lot lower than the $80 MSRP listed on Thermaltake's site.) While the quality of SpinQ's acoustics are improved compared to Thermaltake's previous offerings, it's not good enough to challenge the best.

The main problem is the SpinQ's relatively low cooling surface area. The fins are thin rings, rather than broad, expansive sheets like traditional tower coolers. The space taken up by the fan, by comparison, is quite large. The cooling performance had a spread of only six degrees between the fan at 12V and 5V, suggesting that airflow is not the limiting factor, despite the dense fin alignment. With larger rings and a more compact fan, it probably would do much better.

Other execution and design factors that could contribute to the less than stellar performance:

  • Fins only press-fitted, not soldered, to the heatpipes.
  • Too little solder on heatpipe-to-base interface?
  • Only one end of the heatpipes run up into the fins (unlike, for example, the Zalman 9000 series heatsinks, but like most top-down heatpipe coolers).

The SpinQ is the latest in a long line of Thermaltake CPU coolers with interesting designs and eye-catching aesthetics that don't quite achieve the performance they promise. Still, we applaud the innovations in the SpinQ and encourage Thermaltake's engineers to go back to the drawing board to remake it with larger fin area, a smaller diameter fan, and perhaps add fin-heatpipes soldering in the manufacuring process.

Thermaltake SpinQ
PROS

* Generates top-down airflow
* Excellent, even airflow
* Integral manual fan controller
* Innovative design
* Light enough to make special mounting hardware unnecessary
CONS

* Fan too loud
* Cooling not competitive
* Expensive

Our thanks to Thermaltake for the SpinQ heatsink sample.

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