|NZXT HAVIK 140 CPU Cooler|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Cooling|
|Written by David Ramsey|
|Tuesday, 16 August 2011|
Page 6 of 6
CPU Cooler Final Thoughts
High end cooler performance has been approaching an asymptote over the last year or so, with the best-performing coolers within a few degrees of each other in my tests. The latest trend is better performance from mid-priced coolers, some of which (like the Cooler Master Hyper 612 PWM) are turning in performances equal to the very best air coolers at a price that's 30% or more cheaper. This is good news: enthusiasts no longer have to pay upwards of $70 to get a really good air cooler.
Since my test bed represents an extreme case, and most of the coolers I've tested recently have been high-end coolers, those coolers that don't perform at the top level tend to look worse than they would in the real world. The performance of the HAVIK 140 is actually quite good (actually, any cooler than can keep my overclocked and overvolted Core i7 950 from throttling under load is quite good). The HAVIK 140 outperforms all the entry level water coolers at a price that's less than all of them, and it's quieter than they are, too.
But it doesn't compare so well to the other high-end air coolers. With a price of $69.99 at Newegg, NZXT is pitting it squarely against the likes of the Prolimatech Magahalems, Thermaltake Frio OCK, and Thermalright Venomous X, all of which provide better cooling at a lower price. Its performance is very close to that of the Thermalright Macho HR-02, which costs almost $30 less. Also, coolers at this price level typically "show" better: the Megahalems is beautifully finished and polished; other coolers use decorative shrouds and/or LED lighting to dress things up. The HAVIK 140 has a very plain appearance, and while the way the rubber fan mounts bend in the top and bottom fins of the heat sink doesn't affect the cooling, it looks rather cheap.
What NZXT has done is produce a very nice mid-high end cooler with good performance and acoustics. It's easy to mount and comes with niceties like a sleeved Y-adapter cable for the fans. It's simply priced too high for the performance it returns.
NZXT HAVIK 140 Conclusion
Please remember that these test results reflect our experience with each cooler on a specific motherboard, with a specific processor, BIOS revision, BCLK and voltage settings, and test programs. The results of this test cannot be directly compared to other tests since many factors will have changed.
The NZXT HAVIK 140 uses the now-standard design of a relatively small heat sink core sandwiched by two fans in a push-pull arrangement. The top of the cooler is bare aluminum without any cover plates or logos. The cooler's appearance is very plain and frankly a little down from what I'd expect at this price level. The staggered heat pipes are visually interesting but can't be seen when the cooler is installed.
Overall, the construction quality is good. The fans are quiet and reasonably effective. Since the fans run at full speed all the time, you'll hear a low hum. PWM fans would make the cooler quieter under idle and moderate loads scenarios, and are again something I expect at this price level.
The accessories package was standard, and the cooler was very easy to mount: the friction-fit plastic spacers make it easy to keep the backplate from falling off the back of the computer while you're trying to secure it from the inside. Re-sealable plastic accessory bags cost virtually nothing, but make keeping track of all the bits a lot easier and I'm still amazed at how many competing products don't use them; thankfully, NZXT does.
The performance of this cooler was good: as I noted, any cooler that can keep my test CPU from throttling under load is by definition good. But it just wasn't up to the performance expected at its price, and the value part of the equation is where this cooler falls down. I think the fix is simple: NZXT simply needs to replace the included fans with fans that provide more airflow. The physically similar Thermaltake Frio OCK's fans are rated at 121CFM, and that extra 30+ CFM would make a world of difference. Make the fans PWM so you wouldn't have to listen to them at full speed, and you'd have a pretty nice cooler...although you'd still want to drop the price a little for its plain aesthetics.
NZXT's products typically excel at providing above average bang for the buck. Priced for $69.99 at Newegg, the HAVIK 140 disappoints in this regard, but given NZXT's track record, I'm sure we'll see this addressed soon.
+ Quiet fans
- Visually very plain
Final Score: 8.05 out of 10.
Questions? Comments? Benchmark Reviews really wants your feedback. We invite you to leave your remarks in our Discussion Forum.