Since the success of Zalman as a cooling company based in Korea, there have been many other Korean companies who have aimed for a slice of the cooling pie. One such company is ZEROtherm, who manufactures in Korea and is basically a marketing division of a company called APACK, which is targeted more at the OEM market.

APACK was established in 1999 by three Engineers from ETRI (Electrics and Telecommunications Research Institute) who had extensive experience in thermal solutions and advanced packaging design (packaging meaning integration of multiple technologies). Based in the city of Daejeon (in the Korean Silicon Valley), APACK is still mainly an Engineering company.

Phase one of APACK's growth was producing OEM solutions for companies like Samsung, Dell, and LG. ZEROtherm is part of phase two, which is direct marketing of APACK thermal solutions. ZEROtherm products today include five CPU coolers and four very unusual VGA coolers.


The BTF series currently consists of three coolers that are essentially the same size. All the coolers use fins that are shaped like butterfly wings and ZEROtherm even adds antennae and butterfly bodies to play up the design. The BTF95 is a fanless all copper butterfly, while the BFT90 and BTF80 are the same butterfly in copper and aluminum fin respectively. The 90 and 80 add active cooling with a drop-in Maglev (Magnetic Levitation) fan that ZEROtherm has chosen for silence.

A question for many is which came first - the design or the butterfly. It appears from the info at the ZEROtherm website that the company set out to create a butterfly shape. You would think in an engineering company that performance would have been the first criteria, but it appears ZEROtherm decided to develop a unique butterfly design with cooling performance being a secondary consideration.

The company certainly succeeded in a cooler design that looks like a butterfly, though we confess we cannot figure out the charm of a cooler looking like a butterfly has landed on your CPU. On the other hand, if the butterfly is used to signify silence we can appreciate where this is going, and it is clear in APACK literature that silence was the largest of the performance design goals.

Our test suite heavily emphasizes overclocking performance. While we do measure noise, our test design is based on the premise that if an expensive cooler doesn't outperform the stock Intel retail HSF there is no reason to market the cooler. Beyond the Intel heatsink performance range, those air coolers that cool the highest overclocks do best in our tests. While we report noise levels it is not the main criteria in our testing - it is just additional info to help buyers decide what to get.

We will try to pay a bit more attention to noise in reviewing the Butterfly. Does the BTF90 perform well compared to other top air coolers? Does ZEROtherm reach their goal of relative silence when compared to other coolers? And most important, does the ZEROtherm BTF90 deliver good value considering the price you will pay?

ZEROtherm BTF90
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  • angelicvoices - Friday, March 20, 2009 - link

    I have this cooler and I am trying to remove the red LEDs. I can see from your shots where they're supposed to be but I can't actually see them on my cooler. Any help would be appreciated. Reply
  • andereandre - Tuesday, August 14, 2007 - link

    my main interest in getting a new cooler, is lowering the noise.
    Now in these articles the Intel HSF is always classified the same as the best coolers (and system-ps & no fans).
    That would suggest that would I be an Intel user, I would not gain anything by replacing it.
    I have a X2 4600 however, and I hear the AM2 stock cooler at idle.
    Does this mean that de Intel stock cooler is that much better than the AMD one, or is it just the measurement?
    I am just worrying that getting me a cooler like this one would not bring me what I am after.
    Reply
  • Jodiuh - Monday, August 13, 2007 - link

    It's a #$#%ing butterfly on your pc...are you serious? Reply
  • Thinkitect - Monday, August 13, 2007 - link

    Why compare this cooler to the Tuniq in the conclusion? It's a different product serving a different purpose. It's like trying to arrange a fight between a heavyweight boxing championship contender with a medium weight rookie.

    It's fine to put the larger coolers on the same performance graphs to see the difference between categories and price ranges, but for the conclusion and main comparison you should have used the directly competing ones. For example the AC Freezer 7 Pro and the Scythe Ninja Rev.B are popular in the price range (from researching for an HSF last month) - which one of the three outperforms the others? That could have been a sensible conclusion.

    Your reviews have a purpose - meaningful and accurate comparisons between products. You are doing an excellent job with the research and data presentation, please get the written analysis on the level. Thank you.
    Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Monday, August 13, 2007 - link

    Sites like Tiger Driect and Amazon still show the BTF90 selling price as $60, which means it competes at the top. That is why we tried to carefully point out the plus and minus points of the BTF90 compared to the Thermalrights and Tuniq. The BTF90 does not compete that well at the $60 price point.

    However, at its current selling price of $35 to $45 (after rebate) we think it competes very well and is worth considering.
    Reply
  • Spanki - Monday, August 13, 2007 - link

    Good article - It's nice to see you broadening your views (audience) somewhat :). If you really want to see bang-for-buck performance, I wish you'd add some like the CoolerMaster Hyper Tx (http://www.svc.com/rr-pch-s9u1-gp.html">for ~$15.00) and/or the Arctic Cooler Freezer 7 Pro (http://www.svc.com/acfzp7.html">generally available for ~$20-$25) to the lineup.

    Not everyone wants to spend ~$60 - $$80 (or more) on a HSF, so it would be nice to see where these cheaper coolers fall by comparison - of course the results will embarrass some of the higher dollar coolers - but that's kinda the point, isn't it? You don't always get what you pay for.
    Reply
  • strikeback03 - Tuesday, August 14, 2007 - link

    From tests I have seen, I'd guess the Freezer 7 would be the embarrassed one, but whatever. Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Monday, August 13, 2007 - link

    We have added the following info to the overclocking page to put the analysis of this cooler and others in cleare perspective:

    "There is no doubt that the BTF90 is able to dissipate 150W or more of heat. This merely points out the extreme demands that our overclocking cooling tests make of coolers while we push an X6800 processor to its overclock limits. The power requirements of a Core 2 Duo X6800 processor at rated speed and voltage is around 75 watts. At the overclocked speed of 3.830GHz at the commonly required 1.5375V to 1.5625V the wattage has doubled - to 148W to 153W. At the highest air OC with this X6800 of 3.94GHz with a Thermalright Ultra 120 eXtreme wattage has risen to 165W to 168W.

    The stock Intel Retail cooler is really an excellent cooler, and the requirement that a tested cooler must perform better than the included Intel cooler is more demanding than you might think. THe Intel stock cooler topped out at 3.73 GHz at just below 1.5V. This means the stock Intel cooler is dissipating 135W at the highest overclock it could reach. These figures should help keep in perspective the relative efficiency of the coolers being tested and the extreme conditions of our maximum overclock cooling test bed."
    Reply
  • RamarC - Monday, August 13, 2007 - link

    the 'float like a butterfly' citation on the last page should be corrected. Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Monday, August 13, 2007 - link

    The citation has always been Mohammed Ali. The word parsing puts the Ali at the start of the next line. Reply

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