ZEROtherm BTF80, BTF90, and BTF95

ZEROtherm BTF80 BTF90 BTF95

Introduction

We’ve taken a spy at ZEROtherm’s GPU cooling range, and we’re impressed; now its time for their CPU offerings. Today I have their range of butterfly coolers which may frighten the masculine but if their silent and cool well no-one will notice your lack of manlihood…

About ZEROtherm (APACK is ZEROtherm’s parent company)

APACK is a heatpipe technology based thermal solution provider which provides customized designing and engineering solutions and, ultimately, provides best-of breed thermal solutions.

APACK’s design and manufacturing is based upon an engineer’s passion for innovation and progress. APACKwas established in 1999 by 3 engineers from ETRI (Electrics and Telecommunications Research Institute) who have 10~17 years experience in thermal solutions and advance packaging technology (packaging referring to the structural and functional integration of multiple technologies). Based in the city of Daejeon (Korean Silicon Valley and high-tech capital), APACK is staffed with top engineers who have extensive experience.

APACK is currently entering into its second phase of business development after accomplishing its first goals of developing a strong R&D core in thermal technology and efficient manufacturing capabilities. Phase one was marked by strong revenues and growth in the OEM and custom solutions market producing for such clients and Samsung, Dell and LG.

Backed by investors such as Intel Capital, a strong backbone of R&D with continued cooperation with ETRI and APACK is seeking to become a global player in the thermal solutions market.

Specs

BTF95 (fanless)

Support CPU list
Intel CoreTM 2 Exterme(Socket LGA775)
Intel CoreTM 2 Duo (Socket LGA775)
Intel Pentium Extreme Edition (Socket LGA 775)
Intel Pentium D (Socket LGA 775)
Intel Pentium 4 (Socket LGA775)
Intel Celeron D (Socket LGA775) AMD Athlon 64 X2 (Socket 939, AM2)
AMD Athlon 64 FX (Socket 939, AM2)
AMD Athlon 64 (Socket 754, 939, AM2)
AMD Sempron (Socket 754, AM2)
Dimension 108(L) X 81(W) X 128(H) mm (5.04 X 3.19 X 4.25 inch)
Heatsink Material
Fin : Copper
Base : Copper
Heatpipe : Copper
Heat Dissipation Area 2,576 ㎠
Cooling Capacity Over 150W
Weight 510g (w/o optional components)

BTF90 (copper)

Support CPU list
Intel CoreTM 2 Exterme(Socket LGA775)
Intel CoreTM 2 Duo (Socket LGA775)
Intel Pentium Extreme Edition (Socket LGA 775)
Intel Pentium D (Socket LGA 775)
Intel Pentium 4 (Socket LGA775)
Intel Celeron D (Socket LGA775) AMD Athlon 64 X2 (Socket 939, AM2)
AMD Athlon 64 FX (Socket 939, AM2)
AMD Athlon 64 (Socket 754, 939, AM2)
AMD Sempron (Socket 754, AM2)
Dimension 100(L) x 94(W) x 77(H) mm
Heatsink Material
Fin : Copper
Base : Copper
Heatpipe : Copper
Heat Dissipation Area 4,400 ㎠
Cooling Capacity Over 150W
Fan Dimension 92 x 25 mm
Fan Speed Automatic fan speed control by PWM
750~2,500 rpm (± 10%) normally under 1,500 rpm
Acoustical Noise Max. 27 dBA (± 10%), normally under 18 dBA
Air Flow Max. 42.8 CFM
Fan Connector 4-pin, 4-wire (PWM)
Rated Voltage DC 12V
Power Consumption Max. 1.56W
Weight 678g (w/o optional components)

BTF80 (aluminium)

Fan Dimension
Support CPU list
Intel CoreTM 2 Exterme(Socket LGA775)
Intel CoreTM 2 Duo (Socket LGA775)
Intel Pentium Extreme Edition (Socket LGA 775)
Intel Pentium D (Socket LGA 775)
Intel Pentium 4 (Socket LGA775)
Intel Celeron D (Socket LGA775)
Athlon 64 X2 (Socket 939, AM2)
AMD Athlon 64 FX (Socket 939, AM2)
AMD Athlon 64 (Socket 754, 939, AM2)
AMD Sempron (Socket 754, AM2)
Dimension 100(L) x 94(W) x 77(H) mm
Heatsink Material
Fin : Aluminum
Base : Copper
Heatpipe : Copper
Heat Dissipation Area 4,400 ㎠
Cooling Capacity Over 150W
92 x 25 mm
Fan Speed Automatic fan speed control by PWM
750~2,500 rpm (± 10%) normally under 1,500 rpm
Acoustical Noise Max. 27 dBA (± 10%), normally under 18 dBA
Air Flow Max. 42.8 CFM
Fan Connector 4-pin, 4-wire (PWM)
Rated Voltage DC 12V
Power Consumption Max. 1.56W
Weight 458g (w/o optional components)

Camp cooling

ZEROtherm BTF80 BTF90 BTF95
ZEROtherm BTF80 BTF90 BTF95
ZEROtherm BTF80 BTF90 BTF95

All the butterfly coolers sent by QuietPC are packed in shiny silver boxes with a little window showing you what they look like. I have the BTF80, BTF90, and BTF95. The BTF80 is aluminium with a fan, the BTF90 is copper with the same fan, and the BTF95 is a fanless version; made of copper.

ZEROtherm BTF80 BTF90 BTF95

Inside the boxes, you’ll find the same bits for all the coolers. You get an Intel backplate, Intel bracket, AMD bracket, screws, a manual and the all important heat paste/grease/goo.

ZEROtherm BTF80 BTF90 BTF95
ZEROtherm BTF80 BTF90 BTF95

All the coolers are based on the same design. They have 4 heatpipes that bend around in a U shape to make contact with the interface pad twice. This means there are 8 places where the heatpipes connect to the cooling pad. These heatpipes connect to the 46 for the fan designs, and 31 thicker fins for the fanless design. All the fins are shaped like a butterfly when you look at them from the top down.

ZEROtherm BTF80 BTF90 BTF95
ZEROtherm BTF80 BTF90 BTF95

The fan designs have the fan mount looking like antennae and the fan is on one side with no finger guard or anything else to guard your fingers from slicing. The fanless design obviously doesn’t have a fan mount, and instead there is a shiny top plate which looks even more like a butterfly.

ZEROtherm BTF80 BTF90 BTF95

The fans have two integrated LED’s which will shine through the fan when in use, much like the GX810 reviewed earlier.

All over the design, there are little ZEROtherm logos which let you know that they are proud of this design, and it definitely looks far from OEM. The choice of a butterfly shape is probably due to that fact that the shape of the fins is effective, and a little modification made them butterfly like. Honestly, it might frighten people off who are going to be showing off their cases; these coolers will have to perform well to be welcomed to the market.

ZEROtherm BTF80 BTF90 BTF95

The 92mm fans on the BTF80 and BTF90 pump up to 43.8 CFM and make a maximum of 27dBA in the process. The fans are all controlled by a 4 pin connector (PWM) which means that your BIOS decides the best speed for it. You can of course just plug it into a standard 3 pin connector and have it running full pelt all the time.

The mounting plates can be used on Intel socket LGA775 and AMD 754, 939, 940 and AM2. This wide range of compatibility is a great sign for a varied market of sockets.

ZEROtherm BTF80 BTF90 BTF95
ZEROtherm BTF80 BTF90 BTF95
ZEROtherm BTF80 BTF90 BTF95

Interestingly, the fanless design has a smaller dissipation area as it has less fins. These fins are thicker than the fan designs which have relatively flimsy fins which can be easily bent. The BTF95 has 2,936 cm2 of heat losing area, while the BTF80 and BTF90 have 4,404 cm2. I wonder if this will effect performance, or if the thicker fins have to be like that for passive performance.

All the coolers have a copper base which is nicely polished as the screw test shows. The base is also flat meaning less heatpaste is needed and a better contact with your CPU core.

ZEROtherm BTF80 BTF90 BTF95

The coolers are quite petite, and won’t cause problems due to their size. The heatpipes raise the body of the cooler away from motherboard components preventing contact and installation headaches.

Installation

I’ll be installing the cooler on our AM2 PC which has the following specs:

AM2 3800+ @ stock
Asus M2N-e motherboard
4 x 512mb OCZ PC2 6400 @ stock
Western Digital 160GB SATA HDD in a Sytrin HDD cooler
Radeon X1950 Pro

All of this is packed in a Lian Li PC-B20 case, with a front and rear 120mm and another rear 80mm fan.

ZEROtherm BTF80 BTF90 BTF95

To install the cooler, I first had to find the stock AMD mounting bracket and reinstall it. Normally this would be on the motherboard so I’ll skip the hassle it took to find it.

You have to screw on your favoured mounting plate onto the ZEROtherm cooler, be it Intel or AMD. If you choose Intel, you’ll have to use their backplate as well, which means motherboard removal. Also, screwing the cooler into place means that the fan gets in the way. You’ll need a long thin screwdriver to do it.

ZEROtherm BTF80 BTF90 BTF95
ZEROtherm BTF80 BTF90 BTF95

For AMD, all you have to do is screw on the mounting plate, and clip it into place. Its even easier than the stock heatsink. I was thankful that this was the case, as I was taking these coolers out all day.

ZEROtherm BTF80 BTF90 BTF95
ZEROtherm BTF80 BTF90 BTF95
ZEROtherm BTF80 BTF90 BTF95

Testing

I’ll put these coolers through the normal testing procedure which consists of the following:

Let them idle for 30 minutes with nothing running, and record the end temperature.
Start both StressPrime on both cores and a single instance of folding@home.
Let them run for 30 minutes and record the end temperature.

The fan was set to maximum speed throughout the testing to show its maximum cooling potential. The case sides were put on the case, and the ambient temperature was a constant 19 C throughout testing.

When they were installed, they showed their silent attribute well. If they are controlled by PWM, they are silent. Even when my ear was right next to it, I couldn’t hear a thing. When using them at full speed however, it was a different story; it’s quite easy to hear the usual rushing air noise that fans make.

I found that leaving the fan speed up to the BIOS was the best course of action. When idle the fan would be on silent mode, and cool as well as having the fan at full speed. Once the core started heating up, the fan speed would increase all the way to maximum.

I decided to test whether the thicker fans on the BTF95 actually caused a difference in passive performance. As you can simply slide the fan mounting out of the BTF90, I did exactly that and let the test run.

ZEROtherm BTF80 BTF90 BTF95

As you can see, the thicker fans of the BTF95 equate to a better passive performance. You can mount the fan on the BTF95 but the results would have just proven that thinner fins are better for active cooling, while thicker, wider spaced fins are better for passive applications. Obviously ZEROtherm have done their thermal dynamics homework.

ZEROtherm BTF80 BTF90 BTF95

All the results above are taken from our other reviews with ambient temperature correction applied.

The Max Orb was set to full power which was far from silent.

The BTF95 isn’t designed to be used on a dual core AM2, which is why its temperature wasn’t particularly fantastic. It’s designed for either Core 2 Duo processors which have a lower TDP (amount of heat they pump out at maximum load).

I did a quick test with the system outlined above, not at idle, and not a full load, but playing a DVD. Instead of 61 C max temperature, the BTF95 managed to keep the 3800+ at 50 C which is much better news. If you are just going to be watching DVD’s or browsing the internet, then the BTF95 will look appealing.

The other two coolers performed well considering their size and volume. They are much better than the stock cooler, and are much quieter. They also manage to cool the same amount as the Max Orb, even when that was making a racket at full pelt.

However, these benefits are outweighed by a) they look like butterflies and b) their price.

They go for:

BTF80: £34.00
BTF90: £37.99
BTF95: £36.00

All of these seem pretty high, when the Max Orb cools to the same degree with its idle temperatures being a lot less. The BTF95 seems the most ridiculous as you aren’t even getting a fan for your money, and the performance isn’t great. If it was used on an already fully silenced PC, which had either a single core, or a Core 2 Duo the verdict would be different.

There isn’t a major difference between the BTF80 and BTF90, apart from price. They both cap out at the same temperature but the BTF90 manages a lower idle temperature. If you have the extra £4, the BTF90 seems like a sound choice.

ZEROtherm BTF80 BTF90 BTF95

Conclusion

Animal shaped heatsinks appear to come at a premium. At plus £30 for a heatsink, they aren’t great value. However, your looking at silent heatsinks, which even have red LED’s which add a little colour to an otherwise dark box.

I would give the passive cooler a miss due to its inability to keep your (AM2) CPU at a reasonable temperature, but the other two coolers seem like candidates for silent PC’s. You aren’t going to get much of an overclock out of them, but they will help you work in peace.

If you want performance (and a couple of quid in your pocket) pick the ThermalTake Max Orb, but if you want silence, pick the BTF80 or BTF90. Leave the BTF95 alone unless you have a lower spec CPU, a low end Core 2 Duo, optimised case air flow or are content with just watching DVD’s.

Pros Cons
Simple, quick installation Not fantastic performance
Quiet Price
Extra case lighting from twin red LED’s (not BTF95) Look like butterflies :)

I’d like to thank QuietPC for providing us with the cooler.

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