Readers who have been around the enthusiast market for a while may remember OCZ heatsink/fans from the past. OCZ was a big player in the enthusiast cooler market several years ago, but OCZ cooling solutions have been few and far between in recent years. We took a look at the somewhat traditional OCZ Tempest last year, but we could never get the Tempest to mount properly on our test bed. We did try an alternate test board but performance was not really any better than the stock Intel cooler so the cooler didn't justify a special review in our mind.

OCZ has recently introduced another enthusiast cooler, which they call the OCZ Vindicator. Those familiar with current coolers will recognize a striking resemblance to the Scythe Ninja Plus Revision B, a cooler that is also in our schedule for review.


When we asked OCZ if the Vindicator was just a relabeled Ninja Rev. B they told us the Vindicator is built for OCZ. OCZ stated they did not have any agreement with Scythe and that the Vindicator is not a rebadging of the Scythe Ninja. Regardless, the designs are very similar. The good news is the OCZ Vindicator comes preconfigured for Intel Socket T, where the Scythe requires installation of a bracket before it can be used on that socket. Mounting socket plates on both coolers are similar in design, but they differ slightly in the screw layout used to attach the plates to the base cooler.

OCZ ships with an Intel 775 mount installed and an AMD AM2/939/940/754 adapter in the package. The Ninja Rev. B includes the same assortment with a slightly different design. The Ninja Rev. B also includes an Intel Socket 478 adapter.


Where OCZ and Scythe differ quite a bit is in the included fan. The OCZ fan is rated at 1000 RPM, 40 CFM, and a very low 18.5 dB-A. This compares to the Ninja at 1200 RPM, 49.6 CFM, and 20.9 dB-A. Both are very quiet fans, but the OCZ is specified at almost half the sound pressure of the Ninja Rev. B. The Ninja, on the other hand, is capable of moving more air.

In the end the question is whether the OCZ fan, which is definitely quieter, is capable of moving enough air to keep up with other coolers in overclocking - a domain that is certainly a part of almost everything OCZ markets. That is a question that will be addressed in this review, when the performance of the Vindicator is compared to the other heatpipe towers we have tested in recent months.

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  • Wesley Fink - Thursday, April 05, 2007 - link

    For those that have complained that our 36db ambient room noise is very high I am posting info from SilentPCReview's article "Noise in COmputing: A Primer" at http://www.silentpcreview.com/article121-page1.htm...">http://www.silentpcreview.com/article121-page1.htm....

    SPL (dB) TYPICAL ENVIRONMENT AVERAGE DESCRIPTION
    140 30 meters from military aircraft at take off Threshold of pain
    120 Boiler shop (maximum levels)
    Ships engine room (full speed) Almost intolerable
    100 Automatic lathe shop
    Platform of underground station (maximum levels)
    Printing press room Extremely noisy
    80 Curbside of busy street
    Office with tabulating machines Very noisy
    60 Restaurant, Department Store; Noisiest Gamer PC Noisy
    50 Conversational speech at 1 meter; Noisy workstation Clearly audible
    35 - 45 Quiet office or library; Typical PC Subdued
    25 - 30 Bedroom at night, Quiet PC Quiet
    20 - 25 Quiet whisper; Very quiet PC
    Background in TV and recording studios Very quiet
    15 - 20 Super quiet / fanless PC Barely audible
    <15 Sounds of internal organs Normally inaudible
    0 'Normal' threshold of hearing Not audible

    As you can see 35 to 45db is considered a Quiet Office or Library or the noise level of a Typical PC Subdued. At 36db I am at the low end of that noise category. When you discuss noise it is useful to keep these comparisons in mind.

    In the revamping of our test bed we will be aiming to drop into the next category if possible using realistic means in our test romm and test platform. We have stated in our reviews that we measure noise at a constant distance above the open side of a system mounted in a PC Case. As we have also said this means you should consider our noise measurements the worst case you will see for the component tested. A closed case reduces noise and greater distance from the component reduces noise. Any measurements that fall below our system noise floor are reported as the noise floor measurement.
    Reply
  • bob4432 - Thursday, April 05, 2007 - link

    i would say my bedroom at night is more around 80-100db :) Reply
  • yacoub - Thursday, April 05, 2007 - link

    So basically this thing cools nowhere near as effectively as an Ultra 120 (judging by your charts that show it a good 10 degrees Celcius hotter than the Ultra 120 at given points.

    Also, what would really make these hsf reviews even more helpful would be to see a nice list fitments on popular boards (a couple 680i, 650i, P965, and 975 boards you have around the labs). Give it a green, yellow, or red for fitment - Green, it fits fine and mounts easily. Yellow, it will fit but requires some frustration and/or 'editing' of the hardware (i.e. adding shims, shaving with a dremmel or similar), and Red, it simply will not fit... caps in the way or similar issues.
    Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Thursday, April 05, 2007 - link

    As we said in Final Words " . . . but cooling is not in the same league as the top Tuniq and Thermalright coolers we have evaluated at AnandTech."

    The OCZ Vindicator is competetive with the better coolers when you add a higher output fan, but the cooling performance is still far below the Tuniq Tower 120 and the Thermalright Ultra 120/Ultra 120 Extreme.
    Reply
  • yacoub - Thursday, April 05, 2007 - link

    Please don't miss the important part of my comment, which was not the first sentence stating the obvious, but the larger portion in bold. Thanks. Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Thursday, April 05, 2007 - link

    I didn't miss your bold. Adding fitment info is a good suggestion. Reply
  • poohbear - Thursday, April 05, 2007 - link

    dude, anandtech or any private site should NOT be responsible for testing product compatibility for a company, that's the company's responsibility.

    did you get my message in bold? good. unless OCZ is gonna pay sites to do this, then anantech shouldnt be doing OCZ's job for them.
    Reply
  • DrMrLordX - Thursday, April 05, 2007 - link

    Who got the silentpcreview forum posters all in a tiff? The article wasn't *that* bad. It should be obvious by now that cooling performance and overclocking performance are the two main foci of these articles.

    As anyone who reads Anandtech regularly should know, Anandtech reviewers doing "sideshow" reviews with limited testing equipment/materials include whatever happens to be handy in lieu of using an extensive array of parts. Someone sent them the SilenX fan, so they used it. Big whoop.

    Pay attention to the cfm ratings and ignore the commentary on noise if you're so upset about it.

    Overall, I found the review to be "eh" because they reviewed a less-than-exciting hsf. It performed poorly without an add-on fan, and with an add-on fan, it was still beaten soundly by top-tier coolers using included fans (some with lower cfm ratings). I guess I have to ask, "why bother?".

    I'm not even entirely sure why they included the SilenX fan other than to discover if the HSF had some kind of potential to be a great balance of silence and performance, but I think we can all agree that the dual low-cfm Infinity holds that distinction.

    It IS good to know that a fan comparison is coming up. I guess that may be one reason why the SilenX fan made it into this review . . . we should expect to see it later in the fan review.
    Reply
  • Chunga29 - Thursday, April 05, 2007 - link

    My thoughts exactly, for the most part. SPCR has its own niche and this is not the same market. So the noise level is higher than anyone at SPCR would allow? Big deal. I also don't recall reading anything where they stated that the specs of the fan, HSF, etc. were 100% truthful. They just used a fan that almost certainly had a noticeably higher air movement potential, and the testing bears this fact out. For a real-world test case (which SPCR doesn't do) the SilenX was no louder than the original fan and improved cooling. That's somewhat useful information.

    Actually now that I think about it, I know exaclty why the SPCR guys are pissed. It's the paragraph on page 7:

    quote:

    We have also measured the Corsair 620 watt and Mushkin 650 watt power supplies which are reported to be quieter than the OCZ. Both the Corsair and Mushkin are indeed quieter at idle or start up speed. However as soon as load testing begins and the PSU fan speed kicks up and the measured noise level is almost exactly the same as the OCZ PowerStream 520 watt power supply. In keeping with our "real world" philosophy of noise, we consider the PSU load noise to be the more realistic noise level of power supplies. We do plan to evaluate additional power supplies and configurations in our upcoming 120mm fan roundup, but we will tilt to real world rather than procedures that test fans on foam blocks or hard drive noise with their "noisy" side pointed toward a foam block.


    Looks like someone ruffled the feathers of the "more knowledgeable than thou" silent PC people. You read their testing and it really is quite silly at times. They basically test each part in near total isolation. I can attest to the fact that a "quiet" fan sitting in the open and suspended on foam is not nearly as loud as the same fan in a case. I'm a bit curious as to why the HSF testing environment is so loud, relatively speaking (only 36.4 dB minimum with everything off!?), but at least the results are consistent.
    Reply
  • Spoelie - Thursday, April 05, 2007 - link

    You're actually using flawed logic there. How much of the time is your cpu under heavy load? How much of the time has your psu kicked up the pace? The idle and mid load levels are a lot more active and make up the majority of the time of almost any desktop computer. Consider the following for a real world scenario...

    The corsair and seasonic do not kick up their fans till they provide about 250-300w. This load level will only be achieved when both the vidcard and cpu are under load, a cpu alone will not reach that load level. Now the only case in which both the heavy consumers are under load is gaming, at which point we do not really care about noise levels anymore, since the gaming sound effects will drown out any noisy fan.

    However, if we're working in windows, either lightly loaded (browsing, ...) or heavily loaded (encoding a something to h.264, ...) we're much more easily irritated by a noisy computer. The good thing about the other psu's is that in those scenarios, they will be at their base noise floor, and virtually silent, certainly quieter than the OCZ. So at that point we can objectively measure the difference between the fan configurations.

    So in essence, PURELY REGARDING NOISE LEVELS, spcr has a more realistic sound measuring system. I do know however that this is not the focus of this article, so it's kinda silly trying to defend the article on these points. Read the article for the overclocking and temperature levels, that's what it's good for.
    Reply

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