ZEROtherm are a relatively new player in the cooling market. They have a number of different heatsinks including the odd Butterfly range and flower coolers; all of which feature at least one heatpipe. Today I have two of their universal GPU coolers, let’s see how they perform…
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.
|Dimension||100(L) x 100(W) x 33(H) mm|
|Rated Input Current||0.2A|
|Rated Input Power||2.4W|
|Fan Dimension||60 x 17 mm|
|Max Air Pressure||1.291 mmH2O|
|Max Air Flow||7.11 CFM|
|Bearing Type||Ceramic bearing|
|Life Expectance||100,000 hours|
|Fan Speed||Fixed1,600 rpm (± 10%)|
|Acoustical Noise||Fixed 14.7 dBA (± 10%)|
|Fan Connector||3-pin, 3-wire (to M/B or to PSU)|
|Weight||128.4g (GX710) 89.4g (GX700)|
Silence is golden
The coolers, named GX700 (aluminium) and GX710 (copper), are packaged in a triangle clamshell box, which is easy enough to open.
Inside, you’ll find the cooler itself, a manual on how to install, 8 green extruded RAM heatsinks with self-adhesive backing, nuts and bolts, the back bracket and a small tube of heatpaste.
The RAM heatsinks are an odd colour; green. They aren’t the usual shape, instead they have forked prongs which increase surface area which is primarily what you want when removing heat. They are quite small, and won’t cause any issues with surrounding components as a result.
The GX700 is made entirely of aluminium which gives it its silver colour. The fan mount is transparent blue plastic with a large ‘ZEROtherm’ logo slapped on the side. The GX710 is copper and hence the fan mount is a complimentary orange and it also has a large logo on the side.
Both coolers have a U-shaped heatpipe that moves hotness from the core interface pad to the ‘optimized pitch’ fins which apparently are positioned in such a way to reduced dust clogs. This should mean that the cooler won’t lose so much efficiency over time from balls of dead skin etc.
On both of the heatsinks, the bottom is made of aluminium and there is a circular interface pad. This is protected by the usual ‘don’t leave this on’ warnings, underneath the pad you’ll see the lapping. Both of the pads aren’t spectacular. They are a matt finish rather than being mirrored/polished. They are flat however, so you won’t have to use gallons of the free heatpaste.
To connect the fan to a power source, ZEROtherm have opted for the standard 3pin motherboard type which can be in short supply on some motherboards. Fortunately, the wire is quite long allowing you to route to the nearest free socket.
The fan is a ZEROtherm creation and uses a paddle design rather than fins. This type of fan forces air to radiate from it, rather than forcing it in one direction like a normal case fan would. To make sure that the air goes over the 100 degrees of fins, there is a shroud on the other side.
The fans on the two coolers are exactly the same bar the colour and they use ceramic bearings rather than steel. This has several advantages, like weight and lifespan. As steel weighs more than ceramic, the steel requires more energy to start and continue rotation. Ceramic bearings also allow higher speeds, this is not a factor in ZEROtherm’s choice as the fans only spin at 1600RPM spitting out 14.7 decibels. The fan is fixed at this speed no matter how hot the core beneath it reaches.
These coolers are compatible with pretty much all of the ATI and nVidia cards on the market bar 8800’s.
Radeon X**** series
Geforce 6600 series (not AGP)
The lack of support for 8800’s is not only due to the mounting hole positions, but the fact that these aren’t the biggest coolers in the world. The 8800 series is very hot, hence the ridiculously sized stock cooler that you get with it.
Installation is easy, especially due to the descriptive manual which also has little pictures to help you.
Simply remove the stock heatsink, peal off the backing from the RAM heatsinks and stick them on, clean the GPU, attach the bolts in the right mounting holes (which are listed in the manual), spread on some heatpaste, slot the bolts through the card, whack on the back bracket and tighten the thumb nuts. Job done.
I didn’t even need the manual to install it was that easy. It’s done in less than 10 minutes, with most of the time spent removing the old heatpaste.
The cooler is slim enough for it to be used in SLI/Crossfire setups which is good news for gamers.
I’ll be testing the cooler on a Connect3D X1950 Pro card which has the stock cooler installed. The card will be running in a Lian Li PC-B20 case with the side graphics card 120mm fan removed as most people don’t have one.
The case is closed during testing and there is one front 120mm fan and one rear 80mm to provide case ventilation. The AM2 3800+ CPU is cooled by a Thermaltake Max Orb and the system is powered by an Enermax Liberty 400w.
The ambient has constantly at 19C throughout the testing.
The temperature was taken with the onboard thermal diode on the X1950, and monitored by ATI Tray Tools taking measurements every tenth of a second.
To load the card, RTHDRIBL was used at 1600×1200 with 16x multisampling which ran at 5fps which shows that the card was being fully used. The test phase ran for 30minutes after 30minutes of idling.
The stock heatsink and fan present on the X1950 Pro was set for automatic function where the fan speed changes depending on the temperature in order to keep noise levels down. I tested with automatic mode enabled which ran the fan at 40%, and then force the fan at 100% for the second test. At 40% is audible and even more so at 100%. Neither speed could be categorised as silent or quiet.
The results are shown as idle temperatures plus load difference.
The GX7*0 fans are ridiculously quiet and are welcome in a quiet/silent case. With the noise dampening sides of the Lian Li case on, I couldn’t hear anything from it. Even up close it was a job to hear it.
As you can see from the results, the coolers aren’t any more capable that the stock cooler. That said, this is the highest card that the cooler can support, and the stock cooler of X1950 Pro was heralded as the best. The one thing that the GX7*0’s win on though, is noise. Silence is all you will hear from these coolers.
Just because the cooler can be used on high end cards, doesn’t necessarily mean it should. It’s nice to have the option, but these coolers are a little out of their depth at this level. If you want a cooler for these type cards, choose the GX810 which is a copper version with fins that go nearly 360 degrees around the fan resulting in more surface area. XSReviews will have an article posted shortly.
If you have a media PC that is rarely used for gaming, or an older card, you can’t really go wrong with the GX7*0. Considering its price (GX700: £16 and GX710: £17.99), wide compatibility, installation ease and volume (or lack of it) their score is well deserved.
|Not powerful enough for the latest cards|
I’d like to thank QuietPC for providing us with the cooler.
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