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  • Cableaddict - Thursday, June 05, 2008 - link

    This review ranks with Anantech's H2O kit review as one of the all-time low points for internet reviews.

    Once again, accurate & useful data marred by horrendous conclusions.

    To wit:

    1: Some people have small cases, like HTPC cases & such, and cannot fit any of the top heatsinks. For all of these users, the Gemini II is quite possibly the BEST heatsink that will actually fit. (It will JUST fit into a 3U rack case, with Noctua fans installed)

    2: Some people care about low noise. The Gemini II was shown, by this very review, to excel with low-noise fans. Compare any heatsink made, with the possibly exception of the Ultra-120, to the Gemini with both using 1300 rpm Noctuas- The Gemini is the clear winner.

    But sadly, the reviewer here fails to take these situations into consideration and decides to say that the excellent Gemini II is a "poser." Because this review was the first major one to be published, no one else really bothered much, and the product all but disappeared from the marketplace.

    SHAME on this reviewer. Seriously.

    FWIW, I had a DuOrb on my OC'd Q6600. I couldn't get it past 3.2 Ghz.
    I recently switched to a Gemini II with two Noctuas, and have reached 3.5 Ghz under heavy load. - And the noise is almost non-existant.

    This review blows.

  • Patrick Wolf - Monday, January 24, 2011 - link

    Exactly. Obviously this cooler isn't targeted or designed to compete against the big boys. So to say it's a poser is just plain ignorant. Reply
  • mrseew - Thursday, December 13, 2007 - link

    was looking for a review on the gemini ii vs the 120, thanks Reply
  • Farfle - Tuesday, October 02, 2007 - link

    I got this cooler for $1 buck after rebates from Newegg. I don't care if it doesn't cool any better than the Intel HSF; the box and metal itself are worth the $1 just to look at. They're so shiny!!! Reply
  • Uglystick - Wednesday, September 19, 2007 - link

    I dont mind AT comparing one product agianst another in fact I welcome it as it gives me a better feel on how the product fits into the market. But I find this review a little lacking. It reviews the coolers ability to cool but states the it comes midrange in all the tests of all aircoolers tested, but i could not find any mention of how much the cooler cost in comparison to the leading performers. A little investigation of the AT site shows that the "TOP" performer costs almost double what the Gemini (the Thermalright Ultra 120 is shown as $60 and the Gemini at $33) wouldnt this indicate that the cooler is not "meant" to compete with the top line models, after all we dont compare the family sedan with a Porsche do we. There's no mention of value for $ anywhere in the article (unless i missed it) so it may not be the great cooler that you were hoping it to be but how does it compare when you bring budget and market placement into it. Reply
  • Samus - Tuesday, September 04, 2007 - link

    you never mentioned that memory and northbridge temperatures fall off the map with the gemini II

    the purpose of the cooler isn't to be an exceptional cpu cooler. its purpose is to cool everything else, too. and it does THAT better than ANY other cooler out there. my memory and northbridge have no active cooling, so with this cooler, they run exceptionally cooler. and all at no expense to added noise.
  • jes1111 - Wednesday, May 16, 2007 - link

    Wow! Seems some people (including the reviewer) got out of bed on the wrong side.

    In common with many people, when I'm in the market for a new oiece of kit, I google up as many reviews and forum posts as I can find and make purchasing decisions accordingly. I find it significant that of all the reviews for the CoolerMaster Gemini II, yours is the only negative one. This tells me a lot about your approach.

    The fact is that the vast majority of readers/surfers/PC-owners are NOT looking to "OC this rig to 5.9GHz at 27,000 volts on air!" just so they can brag about it at playschool. And as a good and responsible review site, you shouldn't be pandering to these measurebators.

    I find your conclusion misleading and even unfair to CoolerMaster. The Gemini fits a particular need, a niche requirement if you will, and your review should reflect that instead of dismissing it as a gimmick that fails to outperform XYZ brand.

    Take my case: I have a Gigabyte DQ6 board in a Lian-Li PC-V2000 Plus II case. I've gone for a mild overclock to 3.2GHz (400x8) with the RAM running at 1:1 (800). Originally I fitted a Noctua big-tower cooler thingee. The CPU cooling was just great but I was running an uncomfortably high temp on the MCH (a common problem with tower-style coolers). Problem: on this board (and many others I'm), a tower-style cooler of the Noctua's dimensions overhangs the MCH, so I'm unable to fit a 40mm fan to the top of its heatsink to cool the wee beastie down. Solution: a Gemini II with two Noctua 120mm fans. Now I get more or less the same CPU temp as the Noctua gave me, but greatly improved MCH temp (even without the 40mm fan running) and I'm sure my RAM and power components are happier too.

    In other words, the Gemini is a VERY clever and useful piece of equipment, designed to answer a specific and not uncommon problem and it does so VERY well. So, far from being dismissed as a mere gimmick, it should be praised for bucking a fashion trend (encouraged by reviews like yours) and doing exactly what it says it will do.

    And, as others have pointed out, for HTPC applications none of the big towers will fit. Your review could/should have identified these points and given CoolerMaster the praise they deserve.

    So there! With knobs on!
  • fasdl - Saturday, May 05, 2007 - link

    Too bad it didn't do better... It has 8 maybe if you had a case with side intake it would have performed cooler? I'm actually going to build a a side intake system using the Enermax chakra case. It has a 250mm fan that would push air into the line of suction of these fans. I also notice it has 6 heat pipes like the 120 ultra extreme, it must be that they made it too short. If the fins were taller it would have had comparable surface area and done better perhaps. I really like the idea though of spreading out more instead of having it one tall tower. It blows on the ram too! Reply
  • Blacklash - Wednesday, May 02, 2007 - link

    I noticed you have been reviewing quite a few coolers as of late. Grab a Thermaltake V1 and see how it does. I know it won't out perform the Tuniq tower and it should be good for a mid range OC. I am curious what its limits are. Below is what I am talking about-

  • yyrkoon - Wednesday, May 02, 2007 - link


    While Zalman and a few others do make an expensive fanless power supplies

    Drop the 'an', or the 's' from supplies

    Last page, second paragraph.
  • yyrkoon - Wednesday, May 02, 2007 - link

    err, make that the second to the last page. Sorry. Reply
  • dm - Monday, April 30, 2007 - link

    Nice review Wesley. I have owned this cooler and it does have its own merit. While it failed to beat the competition, what I can share is that I used this fan on an overclocked QX6700@3.2GHz at stock vCore and it performed great. If anyone would like to use it to achieve 3.8GHz+++, I suggest they get a quad core instead, say an X3210 and overclock it to 3GHz and use this cooler with a silent fan. With such cooling power, and since I have tested it personally, this cooler is great and should perform at par with competing ones.

    My only gripe is the price. The Ninja RevB I owned can cool the same quad core at same voltage but with much lower price tag.
  • joex444 - Monday, April 30, 2007 - link

    This thing just got pwned. It's obviously a poser. All the extra fin space did nothing, and a 2nd fan proved to be a novelty. Reply
  • LaGUNaMAN - Wednesday, May 02, 2007 - link

    Thanks for the review. I was waiting for this a long time. Definitely the best Gemini II review out there. (^^,) Reply
  • evident - Monday, April 30, 2007 - link

    is it me or does thermalright xp/ultra/whatever 120 series own the competition constantly? every review i read this cooler dominates the market. I'm happy to own an xp-120 and that it's not getting topped anytime soon it seems :) Reply
  • stromgald - Monday, April 30, 2007 - link

    Um, the XP-120 has been topped by the Ultra-120 (which is a completely different design than the XP), Scythe Ninja, and Zalman CNPS9500 to name a few. The Ninja barely edges it out, and the Ultra-120 beats the XP-120 by a good margin. The Zalman beats it in °C rise per W of processor heat, but is also noisier. Thermalright's good, but it's not like the competition is that far off at all.

    P.S. Thermalright doesn't have a 120 'series'. It's more like the XP series (XP-120, XP-90), SI series (SI-128, SI-97), and Ultra Series (Ultra-120, Ultra-90). The number is related to fan size, the name is the overall design/series.
  • Wesley Fink - Monday, April 30, 2007 - link

    Thermalright has advised that the Ultra-120 eXtreme issues with the Socket 775 adapter have been resolved and the eXtrme is now in full production. For those who asked, the IFX-14 production has been delayed and Thermalright is now looking at an end of May release for the IFX-14.

    We will do an update on the performance of the production Ultra-120 eXtreme which is on its way to the labs.
  • TA152H - Monday, April 30, 2007 - link

    Not to state the obvious, but shouldn't you have tested this thing with no fans? I mean, you get a heatsink with no fans at all, that says it can run with no fans, and kind of sucks when used with fans. Hmmmm, would kind of hit me like an airborne brick that I should probably test it without any fans at all, and see if it works. Cooler Master in my experience has been a pretty good company, and it makes me wonder why they made a cooler like this one that sucks so bad. Except maybe it doesn't, and for whatever peculiar reason is exceptional at running with no fans vis-a-vis other heat sinks with no fans. Of course, it could suck at that as well, but it's so obvious a question, I'm surprised no attempt was made to answer it. It could also be potentially useful. A sucky cooler like this is of little or no interest to people with fans, but if it cooled as well as a stock heat sink/fan, without the fan, that would be attractive to a much greater audience.

    I'm also surprised they are still making these massive beasts. With the death of the horrible P7, you'd think they would start making more reasonable sized heat sinks - unless they needed it this big to work fanless.
  • Wesley Fink - Monday, April 30, 2007 - link

    We did try to test with no fans, but temperatures immediately ran to 70C under load at stock X6800 speeds and the system rebooted. I was not comfortable continuing a "no-fan" test under those conditions. perhaps this should have been mentioned in the review, but the results already pointed to less than stellar cooling efficiency compared to the Thermalrights, for example, which actually did fanless cooling within acceptable temperature ranges.

    As we have also stated several times, our current test bed is not well setup for testing fanless coolers. THe new test bed, which will be introduced with the 120mm fan roundup, is much better in that regard and will better support reliable, comparable results with fanless cooling.
  • TA152H - Monday, April 30, 2007 - link

    OK, thanks.

    I think you should mention that in the article, because that was the first thing that popped into my head. "Can I use this thing fanless at stock clock speeds?"

    With regards to the poor cooling, with some stuff it's bad to extrapolate data, even if it's logical. More specifically, it could be possible that one did better with fans, and another without, so I resist making assumptions on stuff like that. Put another way, if you were a designer, and I told you to make two heat sinks, one that was designed to work with a fan, and one that was designed to work without, would they end up being different? I would think so, but really I don't know enough to be sure. Consequently, I think stuff like that should be spelled out instead of assumed. In this case, it sucked at everything, but that may not always be the case.

    Anyway, thanks for your response. I wouldn't want to ruin my processor either, so I can understand why you'd stop testing right away. I would have done the same.
  • PICBoy - Monday, April 30, 2007 - link

    I know it's been a a while since Wesly reviewed the Katana and this space is reserved for the recently reviewed heatsink.

    But I wanted to know if AT is planning on a review about the "Katana 2" (now available @ FrozenCPU). I hope it's better than the Katana Cu and the regular Katana. I even hope to see it close to the Ninja!

    That's all. Thanks!
  • Rocket321 - Monday, April 30, 2007 - link


    The Scythe SFLEX fans and SilenX IEXTREMA high-output/low-noise fans will all fit the Noctua since they do not use mounting posts.

    I think this is an error at the bottom of page 2.
  • Wesley Fink - Monday, April 30, 2007 - link

    Both editing errors corrected. Reply
  • herbiehancock - Monday, April 30, 2007 - link

    I do appreciate the heatsink reviews AT and Wesley do...........but I have some observations to make about them.

    First, Wesley absolutely gushed over the SilenX fans....and was wowed by the 14dBA rating! quiet!

    It certainly is too bad that Wesley did absolutely no research into the fans or testing of them. If he had he'd have found out they are absolutely nothing special and are mediocre at best. SPCR has done an indepth test of the SilenX fans and found their dBA ratings are just hype and bogus....the fans actually created a sound rating of 34dBA or worse....and their air output was bested by comparable fans such as the S-Flex SFF fan lineup....not the monster 110cfm fan that is included in the overly loud ratings, but maybe the SFF21F fan that produces 70cfm at an honest 31dBA. Or use the next level down...the SFF21E...producing 51cfm at an honest 23dBA.

    But, then again, when you rate the loudness of your fans by taking sound readings from 1M away from the fan, take them on 3 axes (one on axis with the fan...two off-axis and therefore oblivious to the noise production), and then take the mean of the three readings, I'm sure I could get almost any fan out there to achieve around 14dBA.

    Naturally, the sound production of SilenX fans does not address their overly small motors, either. User after user has commented on the fact that after extended use, the small motors of SilenX fans tend to heat up a LOT more than fan motors of more normal sizing. But....when you source your fans from Globe Fan as SilenX does, and Globe is not the best producer of quiet fans, what do you expect?

    Second, why even post sound ratings of any of the heatsink/fan combos when they are all drowned out by the noisy power supply? To just show hs after hs sound ratings that are almost all at 47dBA....that's meaningless information. All we know is that the power supply is making that much noise. Nothing about how much each hs/fan combo is producing.

    My suggestion is to test the hs/fan combo in question mounted on a mb separately from a power supply's contamination. You don't have to have a darned thing heating it up to make the fan run at full speed to see how loud the fan is at full tilt. Alternatively, there are methods of producing a heating device a heatsink can mount to to test cooling capacity and sound production at various levels of cooling....all without having the contamination of the pwoer supply's fan.
  • yyrkoon - Tuesday, May 01, 2007 - link

    AM I missing something here, or was this review concerning a new heatsink, or a fan, that some other sites are 'waring' over ? I am really, really, getting bored with you whiners, that feel it nessisary, to spread your unhappyness all over the internet.

    In case it has not been made obvious to you, and the other whiners, that the AT staff view themselves as a real world application type reviewer, I DO NOT CARE how quiet the fan really is, so long as it is quieter than the rest of the components in the system( I know I am not alone here). I am sure, the specifications AT gave out, where copied directly from the box, or given to them by the manufactuer. Now, if you really feel it nessisary to know the true specifications, go read about the fan at some other site, that has nothing better to do, than whine about how quiet a fan really is.

    Let me know if the above text is too complicated to understand, and I'll be happy to throw in a few 'goo goo's', and 'gaa gaa's', just for you.
  • xsilver - Tuesday, May 01, 2007 - link

    maybe a good compromise can be made on this whole fan noise issue.
    maybe AT can test the HSF as a separate setup to the system(psu).
    With the graph though they can have a line going through it for where the system noise should be; so you have the noctua/sflex etc. with lower bars but then a great big red line at 47/38.3 db saying "your psu noise is most likely here you knob!"

    that should put all the naysayers to rest.
  • yyrkoon - Wednesday, May 02, 2007 - link

    Maybe each individual AT reader could send the AT staff $100usd daily for their time ? Possible, but not likely.

    Seriously though, as an outsider looking in, I do not think it is in ATs best interrest to do so. Each seperate test takes time, and time is money . . .
  • stromgald - Monday, April 30, 2007 - link

    As a member of the SPCR community, I haven't heard anything about the issue with small motors. Also, there are several very good Globe fans in terms of quiet computing. Check SPCR's recommended list. I believe there are one or two Globe fans on there.

    Most SPCR members will tell you that SilenX aren't the best, but they certainly aren't the worst. Misrepresentation of noise and airflow levels are rampant in the industry and has been demonstrated by several websites. It's nothing new or particularly bad that SilenX misreperesents their numbers. The rift between SilenX and SPCR does not come from their hardware, but a marketing ploy SilenX tried on SPCR forums.

    Even as a silent PC enthusiast, I don't expect AT to do SPCR level testing. I just want consistent testing for all products, and testing that is close to real world applications as possible, with discrepancies from real-life application pointed out clearly.

    The drown-out issue is important though. Even though most environments have a sound 'floor', I think AT should consider using a quieter PSU (Seasonic or Corsair) or passive graphics card when doing cooling tests. A reference 'everything off', quiet room reading of the sound meter would also be greatly appreciated in the noise readings, and wouldn't be hard to do.
  • strikeback03 - Tuesday, May 01, 2007 - link


    A reference 'everything off', quiet room reading of the sound meter would also be greatly appreciated in the noise readings, and wouldn't be hard to do.


    The noise level of the power supply was 38.3 dbA from 24" (61cm) and 47 dbA from 6" (152mm). The measured noise level of the test room is 36.4 dbA, which would be considered a relatively quiet room with a noise floor slightly below the OCZ PowerStream 520 PSU.

    5th paragraph on the Noise page of the review.
  • Wesley Fink - Monday, April 30, 2007 - link

    It is clear SilenX and some SPCR readers had a war some time ago and feelings still run deep. We were not part of that war. We can only report what we found, which was the SilenX fan cooled well and improved performance at below system noise floor on the heatsinks we tested with it. Performance was improved over the stock cooler on some heatsinks and not on some others.

    As we have said repeatedly, there is a place for testing fans in isolation separated from a real world power supply. You will not find those kinds of fan tests at AT. We are revising our test bed to further lower noise, but noise measurements will still be with a balanced system capable of enthusiast level performance.

    Those interested in silence only need to look at other sites that specialize in that approach.
  • acejj26 - Monday, April 30, 2007 - link

    Page 4...MHz, not GHz Reply
  • AnnihilatorX - Monday, April 30, 2007 - link

    I have a feeling that the size of CPU coolers is directionaly proportional to the trend of global warming

    Don't take this too seriously

    Though the CPU TDPs are relatively constant at ~110W for high end CPUs, the coolers have been more and more elaborate.

  • Wesley Fink - Monday, April 30, 2007 - link

    While TDP (Thermal Design Power or Thermal Design Point)has not varied a great deal recently, the wattage demands of a CPU in overclocking are MUCH higher than at stock speed, and they increase as the overclocking goes up as it dramaticlly does with the current Core 2 Duo processors. The more elaborate cooler designs are to effectively cool in the highest possible overclocking configuration OR to more efficiently cool with less air volume (noise reduction).

    We evaluate coolers using both these criteria - overclocking and relative noise.

    Were we to evaluate coolers on just how well they cooled at rated CPU speed - which we do include in our reviews as "Stock Speed Performance" - our results table would likely look different and our recommendations would also be different.
  • pannivas - Monday, April 30, 2007 - link

    Maybe I haven’t searched hard enough, but until now this cooler is the only cooler that can fit my Zalman HD135 HTPC case 130mm(H) and perform good as well as silently. Reply
  • stromgald - Monday, April 30, 2007 - link

    The Thermalright XP-120 is also a good option for low-profile cases. I saw a review where it performed better than the Thermalright MST-6775, which is in this review, so I think it should be in the ball park of the Gemini II. It's also probably cheaper since it's smaller, and quieter since it only uses one 120mm fan. Reply
  • yacoub - Monday, April 30, 2007 - link

    So basically if you're someone who is looking for a cooler that's average amongst the top aftermarket coolers in prowess, offers a lower height that should fit in just about any case, can mount twin 120mm fans, is practically silent in operation with the right fans, and directs airflow down over the board removing the need for an additional fan to do the that, it could be seen as a good product worth using? Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Monday, April 30, 2007 - link

    If you need a shorter cooler this could be a good choice. It can definitely be "silent" with the right fan(s). It does cool much better than the Intel retail fan. Reply
  • thechucklesstart - Monday, April 30, 2007 - link

    If you set up the fans in a pull configuration if it would increase cooling?

    Most vehicles have a pulling fan on their radiator because it is more efficient than a pushing fan and this situation seems similar.
  • Wesley Fink - Monday, April 30, 2007 - link

    All Cooler Master diagrams and specifications show the fans mounted to blow air down toward the motherboard and components. We tested the fans mounted as Cooler Master specified. The fan wounting direction could be reversed if that is what you choose. Reply
  • BladeVenom - Monday, April 30, 2007 - link

    I think it's would be worth testing. He's not the only one wondering if it might be better that way. Reply
  • Martimus - Monday, April 30, 2007 - link

    It seems that turning the fans around would make more sense, considering that the airflow through the fins would be the same, but it wouldn't be blowing the hot air back onto the chip like it does in the configuration you show. Reply
  • pannivas - Monday, April 30, 2007 - link

    This is a good cooler for an HTPC system. Because it performed OK in cooling (no OC), it's short and can fit in most HTPC cases (106.5mm including fans), and it can also be very silent by using one or two Noctua NF-S12 fans.

    thanks for the review
  • Jedi2155 - Monday, April 30, 2007 - link


    Have you been running that CPU @ 1.5875 volts for 24/7 usage or do you just put it that high during your heatsink testing? Is it safe?

    I also have a 680i, and have trouble getting 3.6 GHz stable with around 1.55 volts, but I'm afraid of putting it higher than that on my Tuniq 120 as I plan on keeping my CPU for a few years.
  • Jodiuh - Monday, April 30, 2007 - link

    Thanks guys, looks like I'll hang w/ the Tuniq + Scythe SFLEX E for a bit longer and keep cooling the RAM/NB w/ a "wall" of 120's. Reply

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