|Cooler Master V6GT CPU Cooler|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Cooling|
|Written by David Ramsey|
|Wednesday, 07 July 2010|
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CPU Cooler Final Thoughts
Picking the right CPU cooler is rarely an easy choice, and Benchmark Reviews hopes we've made this process easier by providing information in this and other CPU cooler reviews. The market is changing rapidly enough that the top cooler of 2008 wouldn't be considered a serious contender in 2010; and manufacturers continue to asymptotically approach the theoretically ideal cooler than will bring your CPU down to ambient temperature. It's important to remember that there's a reason there are so many different coolers available: not every cooler works in every situation. The top-performing Prolimatech Megahalems is available at FrozenCPUfor $61.99, and adding one or two fans can easily kick the total price over $80.00. Also, the Megahalems is a very large heatsink that may not fit in your system...and frankly it's overkill for all but the hottest, highest-clocked processors. While low processor load temperatures are always good, reducing them another 5 degrees will make no difference to the stability or longivity of most systems (unless the load temperature is near the thermal limit of the CPU).
The dual-fan design of the Cooler Master V6GT is very similar to that of the Thermaltake Frio I reviewed recently, and I think it represents a growing trend in CPU cooler design. As I test more CPU coolers, I've noticed three things that seems to make the most difference in performance: the size of the cooler (i.e. the amount of metal and fins); the attachment mechanism (one reason the Megahalems performs so well is its incredibly robust mounting system, which ensures firm and even pressure across the processor's heat spreader), and the amount of air moving through the cooler. The Megahalems remains the best CPU air cooler I've tested for any given airflow, but it's a truism that moving a given amount of air with two fans will almost always be quieter than moving the same amount of air with a single fan. Shrinking the cooler core to allow room for dual fans results in a cooler that's quieter than a larger cooler with a single fan while providing equal or better performance in many cases. While many coolers can accept two fans, I think providing two fans in the box will become more common.
One thing I didn't like about the Thermaltake Frio was that each fan had a special lead for an optional fan controller knob; and that these leads precluded the use of standard fan controllers, so that you either did without the separate knobs (in which case the fans ran at their minimum speed), or had to deal with two knobs-on-leads dangling inside your case. The Cooler Master RR-V6GT-22PK-R1 uses PWM (pulse width modulation) controllable fans with four-pin leads, and provides a splice cable so that both fans can be connected to a single motherboard fan header. Although I connected the fans directly to the computer's power supply for performance testing, I prefer to use PWM control in my day to day systems, keeping the computer quiet when I'm not gaming or running benchmarks. Of course you can always connect the V6GT's fans to a separate fan controller or directly to the power supply if you wish; it's nice to have these options. This gives you the maximum amount of versatility and is the best fan control solution for dual fans I've seen so far.
Like the Prolimatech Megahalems, Thermalright Venomous X, and Scythe Mugen 2, the V6GT does without the trendy "exposed heat pipe" design, and perhaps the fact that so many of the top-performing coolers do without it says something about how effective it really is.
My one reservation about this cooler is the price: although it's not available at retail as of the time of this writing, its suggested retail price of $69.99 places the Cooler Master V6GT is at the high end of CPU air cooler prices. While the Mugen 2 with its single stock fan can't quite match the V6GT's performance, it's better than the V6GT at any given airflow, and its much lower price (only $35 at NewEgg) leaves you plenty of leeway to add an extra fan. The $35 extra you'll spend on a Cooler Master RR-V6GT-22PK-R1 buys you an extra fan (and its performance/noise benefits), the nice fan mounts, and the glowing LED top plate. Note, though, that the Mugen 2 is also a much larger cooler (the heat sink core is about 50% thicker, front-to-back, than the V6GT core), and fitting it with two 120x25mm fans results in a cooler that's 150mm (6 inches) front-to-back, 0.8 inches more than the V6GT, which may be a problem inside some smaller mid-tower cases.