|Cooler Master GeminII S524 CPU Heatsink|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Cooling|
|Written by David Ramsey|
|Tuesday, 23 August 2011|
Page 6 of 6
CPU Cooler Final Thoughts
In previous reviews, I've said the only reason to choose a third party cooler is for overclocking performance. But this is really too simplistic a view: while the boxed retail cooler will suffice for most non-overclocked applications, the tight confines of a micro-ATX or HTPC case can benefit from a larger cooler with a blow-down cooler design, where the extra airflow can help cool other motherboard components. In this scenario the fact that it's a lot better at CPU cooling is just a bonus.
Obviously, you should pay attention to your case airflow with a cooler like this, since warm air from the cooler isn't directed out the back or top of the case. A good rear exhaust fan and even a front intake fan can help keep things moving in the right direction, and these need only be very quiet, low airflow fans. The performance of this cooler will vary more with air flow than will a cooler whose air is more directly exhausted from the case.
The Cooler Master GeminII S524 substantially outperforms the boxed retail Intel cooler, and is very close to the performance of the Intel DBX-B cooler. However, the latter is significantly louder under load than the GeminII S524, and doesn't have the advantage of cooling motherboard components as well as the CPU. Add in the fact that the Cooler Master heat sink retails for about $10 less (the DBX-B isn't widely available at retail, but when it is, generally sells for about $50), and it's the cooler I would choose in most cases.
While this cooler will have a limited market, its design and performance make it a very good choice if your situation warrants it.
Cooler Master GeminII 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 GeminII S524's design isn't often seen any more, but performs well in cases where space is at a premium. Appearance-wise, it's a pretty plain cooler, but most of the time it won't be in a windowed case anyway.
The construction quality is excellent. The fins are straight and the heat pipe curves are so smooth they seem mandrel-bent. I've seen some pretty lumpy heat pipes recently and it's nice to see the smooth, perfect curves of the Cooler Master product. The base has a good finish, too.
The accessories are standard fare: mounting kits that will accommodate all current AMD and Intel platforms, a tube of thermal interface material, and a nice little nut driver for securing the heat sink to its mounting plate.
The performance of this cooler is excellent, considering its design and intended use. The stock Intel cooler isn't even in the same class, and while the Intel DBX-B cooler beats it, it's only by a narrow margin and at a sonic cost. Also, the DBX-B isn't designed for the use that the S524 is. The GeminII's included PWM fan is almost silent except under high load conditions.
If you're looking for a cooler for a small form factor machine, the Cooler Master GeminII S524 deserves your consideration. As of February 2012 the GeminII S524 sold for $39.99 (Newegg), so it offers good value.
+ Small, low profile design
- Fan shroud blocks extra air from 140mm fans
Final Score: 8.85 out of 10.
Quality Recognition: Benchmark Reviews Silver Tachometer Award.
Questions? Comments? Benchmark Reviews really wants your feedback. We invite you to leave your remarks in our Discussion Forum.