|Vendetta 2 vs TRUE vs HDT-S1283|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Cooling|
|Written by Olin Coles|
|Monday, 09 June 2008|
Page 10 of 10
CPU Cooler Final Thoughts
I really enjoyed producing this article, but probably for the wrong reasons. To begin with, I want to know which product performs the best just as much as you do; maybe even more. But thanks to having so many products available to me for testing at the same time, I have the advantage of finding a winner where nobody is looking and down-grading the product everyone is so hyped about. Several times in the past year I have found myself exchanging dialog with readers who question my results because they have experienced a different result with one particular product. Plainly put: all of my testing and the subsequent benchmark results are gathered in the exact same manner on the same test system during the same benchmark period. So if you personally feel that I didn't manage to somehow test these products to your standards, you will still have to commit to the fact that they were all tested identical fashion - apples to apples.
No doubt there will be a few readers who will scoff at my results, and claim that anyone with ten minutes of experience will "lap" the processor's integrated heat spreader smooth as well as polish the CPU coolers mating surface. Sure, I concede that the bonafide overclocker with more time on his/her hands than the average hardware enthusiast will wet-sand their equipment so that they can get a few extra degrees of cooling performance. But for the other 99.99% of the consumer population, this is what you can expect from these cooling products if you want the CPU cooler to perform right out of the box.
There are numerous ways to improve upon the performance that any one of these products has offered. Take for example the Thermalright Ultra-120 eXtreme: most enthusiast like to modify this product by lapping the surface and adding additional mounting pressure by using a washer. I for one believe this to be more of a necessity than anything else, since Thermalright designed the surface with an intentionally uneven convex finish. To a lesser extent, you could also file and polish the mating surface of any one of the Heat-pipe Direct Touch coolers and then use bolt-on backplate mounting kit (such as the Xigmatek Cross-bow system).
Conclusion: Best of the Best
In our Best CPU Cooler Performance - Q1 2008 article, one product stood out among the crowd and outperformed every other test product: the OCZ Vendetta 2 Heat-pipe Direct Touch 120mm CPU cooler. Three months later, the OCZVEND2 is back on top again. It has it's limits, but for the vast majority of overclockers and enthusiasts it will offer more than enough performance under both low- and high-volume fan configurations.
The OCZ Vendetta 2 was very easy to install since it uses the standard pin-style compression clips. I have noticed that both the original Vendetta and the new Vendetta 2 both have a clip system that requires more force to secure than an OEM Intel cooler. This gives the Vendetta 2 a much stronger mount to the CPU in return. Although the Vendetta 2 design is very similar to the Xigmatek HDT-S1283 cooler, there are several key differences separating the two products. Presently NewEgg is listing the OCZTVEND2 for $49.99.
For anyone wanting top-level cooling performance at recession-level pricing, the Xigmatek HDT-S1283 and its clone RVT-12025 are perfect solutions. At the moment, Xigmatek's HDT-S1283 CPU cooler is just turning one year old. There are a multitude of products that are either similar or identical, which is fair considering that Xigmatek doesn't own the patent for HDT anyway. Presently the HDT-S1283 is available from NewEgg for $36.99. Alternatively, NewEgg also offers the RVT-12025 for $31.99, which is considerably less expensive and is an exact clone (but comes with a much lower-volume fan for reduced noise levels).
The end-goal is different, but it always remains the same: overclockers want more. The question is how much more? If you're after the absolutely highest possible overclocks and need the most out your cooling solution, then the Thermaltake Ultra-120 eXtreme actually has an advantage. Sure, it's more expensive, and it will require tedeous lapping of the surface to make it flat, but there are still a few things that it can do that other cannot: such as mount a second fan. For that small bunch of ultra-enthusiasts, a $100+ air-cooled solution doesn't seem absurd if it delivers a few extra degree of cooling performance.
Although the Thermalright Ultra-120 eXtreme CPU cooler has been on the market for almost two years, prices for the ULTRA120EXTREME are still hovering around $60. Please keep in mind that the TRUE does not include a fan, and one (or two, if desired) must be purchased separately.
Ultimately though, this article has to reach a large and diverse crowd of enthusiasts. My advice is this: identify your needs and estimate your budget, because I have covered the three best coolers for every configuration in this article. If your an overclocker who like to keep the peace, the Vendetta 2 offers great low-volume performance. If cost is an issue, the Xigmatek HDT-S1283 and its Kingwin RVT012025 clone are perfect. Finally, if time and money are readily available and noise isn't nearly as important as top-end cooling, the Thermalright Ultra-120 eXtreme is your best choice.
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