Noctua sent us a set of LGA1366 mounts to adapt the NH-C12P cooler for Core i7 duties as it was originally intended to work with AM2 and LGA775 motherboards. You need to remove the motherboard to install the "SecuFirm" base plate, drop four spacers on their mounting studs, attach two brackets and then mount the cooler to the brackets with captive nuts. The six heatpipes curve through 90° to lay the body of the heatsink down horizontally and keep it reasonably low in profile with the 120mm NF-P12 fan secured on top.
The 1300rpm fan is very quiet but it has a three-pin connector and can't be automatically controlled. Noctua includes two in-line resistors that allow you to fix the speed at either 1100rpm or 900rpm which reduces noise levels even further.
With the Core i7 920 at standard speed the NH-C12P coped easily but the temperature rose steeply when we overclocked to 3.2GHz and was worryingly high at 3.8GHz. The quality of the Noctua is undeniable but you pay a high price and the cooler doesn’t cope too well with Core i7.
Reg Rating 60
More Info Noctua's NH-C12P page
The Thermaltake SpinQ is incredibly shiny and packs more bling than your average CPU cooler. The base is connected to the cooler with six heatpipes that bend through 90° such that the cooler lays horizontally. The cooler is constructed from a stack of shiny plates with an 80mm cylindrical dust-buster fan that fills the centre of the cooler. You also get three blue LEDs in the centre of the cooler which add yet more bling.
The power connector for the fan only has three pins and there is a variable speed controller on a separate cable. It sits inside the case and can be used to adjust the fan speed between 800rpm and 1300rpm. Low speed is effectively silent but we had to increase the speed to get effective cooling.
The base of the cooler is also very shiny but reflections are distorted so it clearly isn't especially flat which presumably reduces the effectiveness of the SpinQ. We found it easy to install the cooler using the Intel-style quarter turn fasteners but the performance really let the side down. It’s OK at standard speed but once you start overclocking your Core i7, the SpinQ suffers badly.
Reg Rating 60
More Info Thermaltake's SpinQ page
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@Radiated heat commenters
Wouldn't a CPU cooler be better off with low radiated heat and high conducted heat? I mean radiated heat would go into heating the surrounding case and electronics (which is bad as the heat ends up in non-actively-cooled components), but conducted heat only heats up the air being pulled through by the fan (which, with proper case airflow, is good as the heat's pulled out quickly afterwards). So the best cooler designs would be those with huge surface area (i.e. many vanes) and a big fan.
The best case designs, however, would radiate heat- they're (typically) radiating to a whole room (so radiated heat is spread over a massive surface area) rather than blasting the heat back at whatever you're trying to cool in the first place.
Saying that, the most important thing to start with is good case airflow. Otherwise you just end up recirculating the hot air...
This is without a doubt one of the best coolers on the market fish around for reviews...it costs less than £35 delivered and is in my experience the best you can buy for a air cooled cpu. Water cooling is such a farce...I have had the Zalman 8700 and 9700 models as well as the scythe coolers...min cpu i have had them on is a Q6600 my QX6700 runings @ 40c under load @ 3.2Ghz with the Xigmatek HDT-S1283.... FIVE STARS!
I want a gold plated IEC mains lead too
@refined chap and others
It is indeed largely about "bling". But roughened matt black, whilst good at losing the heat, wouldn't look so good in comparison with superprettified polished chrome would it.
The eejits these things are aimed at are the same eejits that gold plated fuses for the car stereo are aimed at. Fuses. Gold plated. Think about it.
Respect is due also for the EMC comment re see-through PC sides, not that anyone in authority in the UK cares much about EMC regulations anyway (otherwise the market for powerline ethernet (Homeplug etc) would be just as dead as the market for SSE Telecom's powerline broadband).
kinda wished you had also based results on the stupid special fans that need lots of cable ties if the clips ever break or fan needs replacing
i use a mini ninja on my case with 3 fans loaded on it and nootice only a 4 degree cahnge under load and idle :D
but its louder than a bloody 747 at take off :/
The "Titan TTC-NK85TZ Fenrir" is better than these
I have one, it's huge, but cools damned well, and can even cope with tall DDR3 (you mount the fan higher up the heatsink.