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Pros: Very good cooling performance versus my stock Intel cooler. Noise levels were pretty good - better than stock, but not as quiet as my Noctua NH-U12 S.
The fans have arrows showing fans speeds, and this is something you should remember to check during installation. There is nothing worse than getting it all done and then finding out the fans are blowing the wrong way. The fan cables were just the right length for my CPU- & CHA-motherboard controlled fan headers. I had no RAM height problems even though I have some low-profile heatsinks on my regular-height memory modules. I also had no problems installing the fans inside my case with every other component already installed ahead of time. My backplate had a clear plastic film and soft gasket "feet" kind of things, I guess to prevent any shorting out or breakage that Kevin U was concerned with, below.
Cons: Installation was a bit of a bear. A little tougher than a few other (and more expensive) after-market coolers. After getting the backplate installed, you need to mount the heatsink itself on the CPU. With this cooler, you essentially just put the heatsink on top of the CPU, put the locking bracket down and try to screw the locking bracket into the backplate pieces. Problem is, the company makes the locking bracket so it can be used with a few different installation types, so the screws can be slid around some. This means that you can't just drop the bracket in place and tighten the screws - you need to shift and hunt around for the exact spot the screws screw into. This can be an issue because the heatsink isn't tight against anything while you're trying to move the bracket in place, and the heatsink just floats left and right and up and down maybe an eighth of an inch each time. I can't imagine what kind of mess this made out of my cooling compound. I eventually got it, but it was tough going and, for someone without any experience with aftermarket coolers, could be very, very frustrating. I imagine this was the cause of Kevin U's issues, below.
The fans did come with antivibration pads, but they were poorly installed and half off of the fans.
It was hard to get the fans on the heatsink after installation, but that isn't really a "con" since it's par for the course for a lot of aftermarket coolers.
The cooling compound was a big issue. It's just in some kind of random squeeze pouch with absolutely no instructions on proper placement on the CPU. I recommend doing an internet search for Arctic Silver instructions and following along with what you find out. For someone who doesn't know anything about compound installation, you could cook your CPU, motherboard, or entire computer with improper installation. I can easily imagine a kid doing this for the first time dumping the contents of the entire squeeze pouch on the CPU and making a big mess of everything. I docked an Egg for this since it's such a big deal that can lead to bad performance, at a minimum, and a burned down house, at a maximum. Yes, processors and motherboards have temperature thresholds that shut everything down once it gets too hot and before any damage occurs, but I've experienced firsthand just how hot a small metal case (yes, the case itself) can get with improper CPU heatsink installation.
Other Thoughts: I'm not sure what kinds of problems Kevin U. had with his unit. Any after-market cooler can be a pain in the rear to install, especially if this is your first time, but if you take it slow and steady, have plenty of light to go by, and just think everything through instead of trying to throw it all together, you'll figure it out. I have the advantage of having swapped out CPU coolers a couple of times in the past, so I knew what I was getting in to. One big thing to remember is everybody's configs are different, so what works for my computer might not work for yours. Before buying any after-market cooler, check your setup and see if you have RAM modules with high heatsinks. Check the height clearance of your case to see if this fits (this is 159mm with the fans + any legit case manufacturer will list their case height clearances somewhere). Check to make sure your motherboard has headers for two fans (this can technically be operated with one fan, albeit with slightly degraded performance). Etc, etc.
Summing up - yes, I do recommend this unit. It does a good job with cooling, and the noise levels are acceptable. Installation can be tricky, but just about any cooler you're looking at can also be tricky, depending on your individual circumstances. Take your time, envision the next step before you do it, and you'll be fine. Now for my testing results:
I decided to put this guy into one of my BOINC desktops running WCG & SETI. This is the hottest desktop in my lineup, mostly because it still has the stock Intel cooler installed on a slightly older processor generation (Sandy Bridge). Full specs are at the very bottom of this section.
All temps are from CPUID's HWMonitor program and are averaged out after 24 hours of idle time (nothing running on the machine other than Windows) and 24 hours of load time (running BOINC 7.2.42 x64). Motherboard CPU & CHA fans set on ASUS motherboard-controlled "standard" auto speed (as opposed to "silent" or "turbo" since most people leave their fans on standard in my experience).
IDLE temperature averaged over 24 hours
Stock Intel Cooler
Core 0 - 27 C, 80 F
Core 1 - 32 C, 89 F
Core 2 - 28 C, 82 F
Core 3 - 31 C, 87 F
Package - 35 C, 95 F
DEEPCOOL NEPTWIN V2.0
Core 0 - 30 C, 86 F
Core 1 - 30 C, 86 F
Core 2 - 29 C, 84 F
Core 3 - 29 C, 84 F
Package - 30 C, 86 F
Not much of an improvement, but at idle, there isn't much room to improve since the CPU isn't doing much.
LOAD temperature averaged over 24 hours
Stock Intel Cooler
Core 0 - 79 C, 174 F
Core 1 - 85 C, 185 F
Core 2 - 84 C, 183 F
Core 3 - 82 C, 179 F
Package - 84 C, 183 F
DEEPCOOL NEPTWIN V2.0
Core 0 - 43 C, 109 F
Core 1 - 46 C, 114 F
Core 2 - 44 C, 111 F
Core 3 - 47 C, 116 F
Package - 47 C, 116 F
A nice improvement! Very nice, indeed!
My rig used in this test:
OS - Windows 8.1
CPU - Intel Core i7-2600 Sandy Bridge 3.4GHz
Mobo - ASUS P8H67-M EVO
RAM – 2 x PNY Optima 8GB (2 x 4GB) MD8192KD3-1333 (
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