In our continuing quest for the best top-end air cooler it has been interesting to see the heatpipe towers pull to the front of the pack. Coolers like the Thermalright Ultra-120 eXtreme and the Ultra-120, the Tuniq Tower 120, and the Scythe Ninja Plus 2 with push-pull fans have topped our all-time performance charts. They are all very similar in concept, with a vertical heatpipe array supporting horizontal fins with cooling from a side-mounted 120mm fan. More heatpipes have generally meant better cooling performance, at least in coolers from the same manufacturer.

Readers have pointed out that this cooler configuration probably is not the best for cooling motherboard components as well the CPU, and yet we find this type of cooler doing well enough in cooling the systems to consistently rise to the top of the performance charts. Logically a cooler with heatpipes and a fan blowing down should perform better, but our testing of the Cooler Master GeminII showed this was not the case. The GeminII is a decent cooler at stock speeds, but it just does not compete very well or cool well enough at higher Core 2 Duo overclocks.

The answer, according to some readers, is to test more of the down-blowing coolers, as the ones we've tested just can't be representative of a class that has to be better. So here we go again with the down-blowing coolers, and this time we are testing two of the most highly advertised on the market - namely the Scythe Andy Samurai Master and the Thermaltake MaxOrb.


As you can see in the side-by-side comparisons, both these coolers are fairly massive for CPU toppers. The MaxOrb is smaller and is similar in appearance to the older Zalman coolers like the 7000 and 7700. However, the MaxOrb is still large enough to mount an integral 110mm fan. As you will see in the specifications, the MaxOrb is also much lighter than the Andy Samurai, weighing in at a very svelte and moving friendly 465g.

Another significant difference in the two coolers is that any 120mm x 25mm fan should mount on the Scythe, where the Thermaltake 110mm fan is embedded and not changeable. To make up for this Thermaltake has thoughtfully included a rheostat for fan speed adjustment right on the fan, and the adjustment range is specified as 1300-2000rpm with a 2000rpm output of very high 86.5cfm. The on-cooler speed control is handy - at least until you close your case.

Thermaltake MaxOrb
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  • Tuvoc - Monday, June 04, 2007 - link

    I'd love to see you guys test this. It is incredibly cheap, yet many claim it to have class-leading performance. Only a proper Anandtech test can reveal the truth... :-) Reply
  • Imnotrichey - Monday, June 04, 2007 - link

    I was thinking the same thing. So many sites swear by the Freezer 7 Pro. Reply
  • yacoub - Monday, June 04, 2007 - link

    Why does it look like the heatsink is off-center from the base?
    http://images.anandtech.com/reviews/cooling/2007/s...">http://images.anandtech.com/reviews/coo...ndy-ther...

    Is that poor quality manufacturing or by design? I'd be worried about it not evenly drawing the heat away from the CPU core, leaving a hot spot where the heatsink isn't directly over the contact area.

    Also curious: Will you guys ever include the numbers for the Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro? It's sort of a mainstay HSF for socket 775 boards and I'm curious how it compares to the hsfs you have tested. It would be nice to know if it'd be worth ~$50-60 to upgrade from my Freezer 7 Pro or if it is already relatively effective compared to the rest of the field.
    Reply
  • oldhoss - Monday, June 04, 2007 - link

    quote:

    Also curious: Will you guys ever include the numbers for the Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro? It's sort of a mainstay HSF for socket 775 boards and I'm curious how it compares to the hsfs you have tested. It would be nice to know if it'd be worth ~$50-60 to upgrade from my Freezer 7 Pro or if it is already relatively effective compared to the rest of the field.


    This one's kinda recent:

    http://www.pureoverclock.com/article642-2.html">http://www.pureoverclock.com/article642-2.html
    Reply
  • insurgent - Monday, June 04, 2007 - link

    How come nobody reviews the Thermalright SI-128 (sites that matter anyways)? I'd like to know how it compares to the other "high-end" heatsinks. Reply
  • Ver Greeneyes - Monday, June 04, 2007 - link

    I have a Thermalright XP-90C installed in my PC, and recently I got the novel idea of turning the cooler upside down so that it's pulling air away from my mobo.. and got a significantly lower temperature. Logically, I don't think down-blowing fans mounted on top of a heatsink make sense - the heat from CPU and surrounding components goes into the heatsink, and then you blow it back down at your mobo? I've also found this setup to be very dusty. My XP-90C might just be an anomaly, but I do wonder how other setups will fare with a fan that faces away from the motherboard.

    PS: another small advantage is that you can't get at the fan-blades on accident with this setup, although they had better not be pressed against the heatsink itself!
    Reply
  • xsilver - Monday, June 04, 2007 - link

    p1
    "However, the MaxOrb is still large enough to mount an integral 110mm fan. As yo"

    should be internal?
    Reply
  • sjholmesbrown - Monday, June 04, 2007 - link

    No, integral is the word. Internal would imply the fan was completely enclosed by the cooler (a'la Tuniq tower), integral means the fan is integrated (catch the link) into the cooler, not a separate component. Reply
  • xsilver - Monday, June 04, 2007 - link

    in·te·gral
    (nt-grl, n-tgrl)
    adj.
    1. Essential or necessary for completeness; constituent: The kitchen is an integral part of a house.

    im no english teacher, but I think im right.
    integral means essential - of course a fan is essential to a HSF but the meaning in the sentence was to imply that the fan is internal and cannot be removed.
    Reply
  • yacoub - Monday, June 04, 2007 - link

    Integral is more correct. It's necessary for proper functioning of the device but it's not internal - that would be something completely inside the heatsink. Reply

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