Spire is a lesser known CPU cooler manufacturer in the UK, they were founded in 1998 in The Netherlands and today I’m trying the Spire Coolgate out. It’s certainly not the largest cooler I’ve ever had to cram in my case, so hopefully it isn’t the hardest either! Let’s begin.
- Socket compatibility: Socket 1156 / 1366 / 754 / 940 / 775 / 939 / AM2 / AM3 / AMD FM1
- Heat sink: 131×46×153 mm (l × w × h)
- Fan: 120×120×25 mm
- Heatpipes: Four 6mm all copper U-shaped direct
- Fan Bearing: Sleeve bearing
- Noise level: 10.00~19.00 dBA
- Air flow: 71.12 CFM Max.
- TDP: 130 W
- Warranty: 3 years
The front of the box has a clear window and some good information on the cooler.
The rear shows some information about Spire and other Spire coolers.
The bundled items include: A warranty card, user’s manual, mounting rings, two sets of push-pins and Spire BlueFrost thermal paste.
The mounting system is one of the most important features of any cooler, in this case, if you’re a fan of the AMD mounting solution, it’s likely you will be a fan of this solution too.
The installation of the mounting rings is fiddly, installing the pins into the ring was easy though, one pair fits each ring and it is clear which pin set is for which ring, the pins easy slide into place and firmly lock the ring down.
This is for me where things started falling down. It is partly the fault of the Asus Maximus V Formula we use in our test system and the large mounting ring, used to install the cooler.
When we tried to install the heatsinks clips over the ring, we found there was no space as the ring was right next to the Mosfet heatsink.
We got around this by installing the clip onto the ring before installing the pins into place, this was fiddly but still better than some other coolers I’ve had to install in the past and should be much easier on any other motherboard that doesn’t have huge Mosfet heatsinks.
The Spire BlueFrost thermal paste in our testing came out last, and what’s worst is it was a full 14C worse than Arctic Silver Céramique which was in second to last place and is not known as a performance thermal paste.
This is likely the answer to the thermal testing results we will see later.
On the upside the paste was easy to install and remove and also replacing this with some decent paste should give a good performance improvement.
The Cooler looks great and the fan looks really pretty too.
The rear of the cooler is the same as the rear and a fan can be mounted on the rear for extra performance.
The base of the cooler is flat and there are no gaps between the heatpipes which means unlike on earlier heatpipe direct touch coolers, you don’t have to apply a ton of thermal paste.
Here we can see how the heatpipes run, the middle pipes run into the middle of the heatsink which is the optimum place as that’s where there is most air flow from the fan.
On both sides the heatsink has this design, the idea is to help pull air flow from the fan blades.
The heatsink is really thin, this is good for compatibility as the fan doesn’t cover any of your RAM slots.
Testing and Overclocking
- CPU: Intel 3770K – Stock turbo – all cores enabled – HT enabled
- GPU: Zotac GTX680
- Memory: 16GB Corsair Vengeance 1600MHz 9-9-9-24 DDR3
- Storage: Crucial C300 128GB
- PSU: SuperFlower Golden King 550W Platinum
- OS: Windows 8 Professional x64
- Case: Coolmaster Cosmos 2
To ensure the results were consistent, the heatsink was mounted three times and idle and load tests run each time. An average of the results is shown below.
For idle testing, Windows 8 was allowed to run with no programs for 10 minutes.
For load testing we use Prime 95 Small FFTs and temperatures were taken after 20 minutes.
The standard thermal paste, provided with the cooler, was used.
The settings we used for our stock and overclocked tests are:
Stock – 3500MHz – Turbo 3900GHz
Overclocked – CPU 4400MHz 1.275v
[easychart type=”horizbar” title=”Temperatures – Stock” groupnames=”Intel Stock, Spire Coolgate, Cooler Master TPC 800, Be Quiet Dark Rock Pro 2, Be Quiet Shadow Rock Topflow” valuenames=”Idle, Load” group1values=”29.5,92.25″ group2values=”23,80.5″ group3values=”20.25,69.5″ group4values=”20.5,63.75″ group5values=”19.75,68″ ]
The cooler performed poorly on our 3770K, this is partly due to the poor thermal paste provided and the fact it’s one of the smallest coolers we’ve reviewed so far. Fan noise was very quiet, the cooler couldn’t be heard at all.
[easychart type=”horizbar” title=”Temperatures – Overclocked” groupnames=”Spire Coolgate, Cooler Master TPC 800, Be Quiet Dark Rock Pro 2, Be Quiet Shadow Rock Topflow” valuenames=”Idle, Load” group1values=”30.5,” group2values=”25,78.75″ group3values=”21.25,71.25″ group4values=”21.5,77″ ]
Unfortunately the Coolgate didn’t have the performance to handle our overclocked 3770K, it reached 100C rapidly and the machine shut down.
OK so the Coolgate’s performance wasn’t exactly what we were hoping for. This is a shame because this could have been an excellent value choice. The cooler did beat the stock cooler by a good 11C margin while staying very quiet, much quieter than the stock cooler anyway.
The build quality was good, the mounting solution wasn’t as good as what some other companies have used in the past but it’s easy to install and firm once installed, what more can you ask for?
The Spire Coolgate goes for around £25 on Amazon, this isn’t a bad price for a very quiet cooler that beats the stock intel cooler by a good margin.
- Value for money
- Easy installation on motherboards without large Mosfet heatsinks
- Quiet fan
- Low quality thermal paste
- Failed the overclocked test