Thermalright Venomous-X The Empire Strikes Back

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OFFICIAL SPECS, ON-LINE RESOURCES & INSTRUCTIONS

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  • All new patented multiple support pressure vault bracket system, allow users adding pressure to the bracket system (40~70 lbs.), and have a more efficient and secure mounting.(1366 / 1156 / 775).
  • Mirrored copper base increasingly upgrade the quality and the performance of the heat sink.
  • Special bent winglet design, allows hot air to pass the heat sink more rapidly.
  • Heat sink are all nickel plated to ensure the best quality and performance and could last for years.
  • Soldered heat pipes, copper base and fins, to ensure the best thermal conducting efficiency.
  • Six sintered heat pipe design, all heat pipes are nickel plated. To slow the oxidation deterioration to the heat pipe, to ensure longer usage and performance of the heat sink for the CPU.
  • Including 2 sets of 120 x 25mm fan clips and Chill factor II thermal paste.
  • Convex copper base design, to ensure the highest thermal conducting thermal efficiency between the CPU and the heat sink.

I was pleasantly surprised to see how well Thermalright has designed their Venomous-X page. The flash animation clearly shows the installation process. The FAQ section covers potential problems with extra tall memory stick heat fins. The step by step installation guide is also very well done. They still have some work to do before that can catch up with their competitors. This however has more to do with “aesthetics” than actual content. Perhaps rather than calling the downloadable installation manual “PDF” they should simply call it what it is. They can also do with creating a link for all the reviews and rewards for this product rather than putting it on the same page. They can also add a lit of compatible motherboards. Most of this is nit picking, but when you want to be the absolute best, you have to be better than your competition.

The unit is very easy to install. Even if you haven’t done a lot installation, installing Venomous-X is a very pain (and frustration) free experience. There is a well illustrated instruction leaflet as well. Those who have not done this before will find the instructions easy to follow. Changing the settings on the pressure knob is detailed as well.

INSTALLATION

The cooler is installed in a Core i7 (920) based system. The instructions on the website (in form of flash animation) are good enough for those who are tech savvy. The installation manual will do for the rest of us.

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The test system does have “extra” tall Dominator memory and I did run into problems with installation of the cooler parallel to the expansion slots as well as installation of the fan in the more “standard” installation. The fins on Dominators had to be removed to accommodate the cooler (as well as the fan). Though this applies to the first memory slot only in this case, the rest of the memory slots are in the clear. Thermalright does provide an extensive list of memory sticks that are compatible with the cooler. However they don’t provide a list of motherboards which might have issues with the cooler’s installation. Provision of such a list can certainly be advantageous as potential issues can be identified before purchase.

The Mounting Mechanism

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The installation is very straight forward, thanks to the well designed mounting system. The motherboard needs to be taken out of the case unless your case has a cut out in the tray to expose the area on the motherboard where the back plate goes. Most new cases have this and really it is a god send!

The universal back plate is set to the correct socket type (in this case 1366). The threaded pillars are passed through the holes in the motherboard.

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The board is flipped around and 4 screw pillars are used to place the anchoring bracket (With a rubber washer in between).

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The bracket is held down with 4 thumb screws.

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Thermal paste is applied on the heat spreader. To allow for a fair comparison (all our previous tests were done with AS 5) I used Arctic Silver 5 (AS 5) rather than the provided thermal paste. The standard curing time was allowed to pass before testing.

The cooler leaves a pretty uniform impression, with the central (which is convex downwards) emphasis.

*A detailed comparison of various thermal pastes coming up soon!

The Cooler

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Finally the cooler is fixed to the anchoring bracket using the pressure adjustable mounting plate.

The cooler can be installed vertically or horizontally (either parallel or perpendicular to expansion slots). Thermalright recommends that the cooler be installed in a “standard” position where it is perpendicular to the expansion slots. The other possibility, where it is parallel to slots yields results that are consistently at least 1°C better. This is probably because the heat pipes are parallel to the processor die which results in better heat dissipation.

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As has been mentioned before, the Corsair RAM interfered with the assembly of the cooler in a vertical fashion.

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The heat fins on memory stick in the first slot had to be removed in order to accommodate the cooler. Installing the cooler horizontally also is not without issue. This time the front fan was the culprit. Again the heat fins had to be removed in order to fit the fan.

Once the cooler is secured to the board, the knob can be used to adjust the pressure.

Fans

Finally the fans are fixed to the cooler using the provided wire clips and anti vibration silicon strips. Two pairs are provided to place two fans on the cooler for a pull-push configuration.

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INSTALLATION TIPS

  1. The cooler should be installed parallel to the expansion slots (heat pipes parallel to the processor). This results in better cooling of the CPU.
  2. The fans have to be installed after the cooler is screwed on to the base. The access to the screws would otherwise be blocked.
  3. When installing the cooler tighten each screw in turn. This prevents the cooler from slipping. Do not over tighten! These are spring loaded screws. When you can’t turn them any more, the desired end point is reached. Don’t use brute force!
  4. When changing the pressure, hold the cooler. It is possible for it to twist when turning the knob.
  5. Make sure your memory modules (or your board) doesn’t interfere with the cooler (or its fan). If your memory has (removable) fins, chances are you’ll need to remove them.

Despite the fact that I had to remove the heat sink fins, this was probably the easiest and quickest installation I have ever carried out. Thanks to a very well designed mounting system. As this cooler isn’t humongous it is very very easy to install. At no point was I in an awkward position. In fact the cooler can be installed inside a case (provided your case allows that) in less than 10 minutes, provided you know what you are doing!

TESTING

The system specs for the test bed are shown in the table below. The ambient temperature for all tests was 20°C.

OCCT V3.1.0 was used. Linpack test was selected and run for the default duration. Linpack is developed by Intel itself and is used in its burn tests. It generates a lot of heat. Temperature monitoring was done by OCCT. Hyper threading was turned “ON” for all tests.

System Specs

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*Original TRUE-120 Design

** Pressure knob was left at its default of 40lbs

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Thermalright were kind enough to ship a pair of 1600 and 2000 rpm fans. These are the Thermalright FDB-12 -1600 and -2000 fans. They are rated for 64 and 81 cfm airflow and 28 and 38 db/A noise levels respectively.

The coolers were also tested using Noctua NF-P12 and NF-P14 (only for NH-D14) Fans.

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