Every PC gamer knows that cooling your expensive components is of utmost importance. There are various products available to choose from when it comes to keeping temperatures at an acceptable level in your rig.
This week we have the Coolermaster TPC 812 heatsink to review. Priced at R699, the heatsink sports novel vapour chamber technology that claims to be more effective in dispersing heat away from the CPU. This proved to be mostly true, but more about that later.
It is big. When I showed it around the office the general consensus was that this is a motherboard breaker. We fully expected that we would have trouble fitting it in the smaller of our two testing rigs, and that we would have to lay the chassis flat, instead of having it upright.
Impressively, neither was necessary. The Coolermaster heatsink fit snugly in our Intel Core 2 Duo setup; an older machine with a standard desktop case, but it fit nonetheless. Our AMD Phenom Hexa Core rig had no trouble swallowing the monster heatsink.
Additionally, Coolermaster included some really clever braces that made sure the weight of the unit was evenly spread on the motherboard, and made it relatively easy to install once all the bolts and bits where figured out. The brackets ensure that it is compatible with Intel socket LGA2011/1366/1155/1156/775 and AMD socket AM2/AM3/FM1 processors.
It even includes a custom socket for the bolts that fits over a standard Phillips screwdriver head, as well as an extra bracket to fit a second cooling fan to the cooling tower.
I tested the Coolermaster with two desktop rigs, an older Intel Core 2 Duo with Nvidia Graphics and 8Gig RAM that used to be a graphic designer’s machine, and a new AMD Phenom II X6 with dual ATI Graphics Cards in a crossfire setup.
The rigs were set up in our workshop which shares space with our in-office server room and is kept at 18° Celsius.
The low ambient temperature meant that we hardly hit the high end of the CPU temperature range, even with the stock heatsinks, and led to a surprising result with the AMD test.
We used the motherboard manufacturer’s software to push the CPU’s to maximum load.
|Test Rig||Stock Heatsink Idle||Stock Heatsink 100% CPU||Coolermaster Idle||Coolermaster 100% CPU|
|AMD Phenom II||36°||51°||39°||54°|
The results above show the Coolermaster TPC 812 CPU heatsink operating under real-world conditions. To see how it measures up against the competition in synthetic tests, it’s best to turn to experts such as FrostyTech.
FrostyTech performs synthetic tests to simulate the upper- and average-limits of heat load.
For AMD Phenom II, Athlon II/64/FX/X2, Sempron class heatsinks, the Coolermaster TPC 812 CPU heatsink sits at number 10 on FrostyTech’s list. 1
For Intel Core Extreme/Pentium D & Quad Core class heatsinks tested at 150W, and Intel Core i5/Core i3/Core 2 Duo/Pentium 4/Celeron class heatsinks tested at 85W, the Coolermaster TPC 812 CPU heatsink comes in at number 4 on the list. 2
The table below shows the temperature results of FrostyTech’s synthetic tests.
|Platform||Fan Speed||Temperature results||Noise Level (dBA)|
|Intel||High||150W Test – thermal Test = 13.9°C||85W Test – thermal Test = 8.3°C||52.4|
|AMD||High||125W Test – thermal Test = 11.9°C||52.4|
My AMD results were surprising. I fully expected it to run hotter with the stock AMD Copper Heatsink, but overlooked the air inlet pipe that fits over the CPU fan and allows cool air to be drawn from outside the chassis directly onto the CPU.
The coolermaster could not make use of this, and had to contend with the heat generated inside the chassis by the dual graphics cards. The Coolermaster advanced design resulted in a similar idle performance, but as soon as the rig was pushed the heat generated inside the chassis really had a negative thermal effect.
On a positive note, the Coolermaster ran a much lower fan speed than either of the stock heatsinks, and this resulted in a much quieter setup, even under high load. If you have an older machine that you want to use for a media centre setup, the Coolermaster would work perfectly with its quieter fan and solid cooling performance.
Keep in mind that a high performance heatsink is not a magic bullet; you have to invest in extra fans to extract the warm air from your chassis in a high performance machine in order to get the best from your heatsink, the AMD test results showed this very clearly.
Coolermaster TPC 812 CPU specs
The Coolermaster TPC 812 CPU heatsink review unit was supplied by Sonic Informed – Computer component importer and distributor.
Model No.: TPC-812.
Materials: nickel plated aluminum fins & base cap, copper heatpipes and copper base plate.
Fan Mfg: Coolermaster A12025-24RB-CP-F!
Fan Spec: 2400-600RPM, 12V, 0.37A.
Fan Airflow: 19-86 CFM, 0.3-4.1mmH20.
Fan Dim: 25x120x120mm.
Heatsink & Fan Dim: 164x139x102mm.
Weight: 1044 grams.
Includes: Mounting brackets, thermal compound, fan speed reducer cable, instructions.
AMD – AM2/AM3/FM1.
Intel – 775/1155/1156/1366/2011.