Asetek VapoChill Micro Series
|Asetek VapoChill Micro Series|
|Installation, Test Setup and Info|
|Performance Results and More|
It's been a long time since I've been interested in air-cooling a CPU here at BCCHardware. It's not because there aren't any good coolers around, but because we've been watercooled on our main and only rig here for well over 2 years. It's been good, but times are changing and we've now got a test rig to swap gear in and out of on a regular basis and watercooling is not so test-rig friendly. I put out the plea to several major companies to send out some cooling hardware for us to test, and got word back from several. One company that responded was the Denmark based Asetek. They sent us their VapoChill Micro series of cooler and we've had the pleasure to test out the VapoChill Micro Extreme Performance, VapoChill Micro High-End Performance, and the VapoChill Micro Ultra Low Noise Coolers.
Asetek shipped us a retail package of the "Extreme Performance" model and also threw in a couple of extra fans and mounting hardware for virtually every platform available. In this way, they shipped us the entire series. For each VapoChill Micro HSF, the only difference between models is the fan. The Extreme Performance Fan moves air up to a loud 73cfm, and the High Performance Fan moves air somewhat quieter at 67cfm. The Ultra Low Noise version uses a Panaflo fan and moves at a maximum of 17.6cfm. It seems a little low compared to the other but we'll see after we get things installed. The beauty of this cooler is that you don't have to remove your motherboard to mount it. . . but that's getting ahead of ourselves.
Idea Behind The VapoChill Micro:
Asetek is famous for their extreme performance VapoChill coolers that use coolant, compressors and some pretty funky science to cool your CPU to sub-zero temps. They've used some of the ideas from their VapoChill products to make the VapoChill Micro. They use an evaporator chamber mounted directy on the CPU and three massive heatpipes to whisk away the heat to the 53 micro louvered cooling fins. This makes a very effective cooler, provided you mount the HSF with the end of the pipes pointing up.
Bundle 'o Goodies:
The retail package comes with everything you need to get going. It comes with a pci slot mounted fan controller, a pass-through rpm monitoring cable, pins to mount the fan, a fan, an Athlon 64 mounting bracket, instructions and of course the VapoChill Micro Cooler. Thankfully this package can be opened without and knife, and therefore put back together nicely for sending back if needed. Also notice in the picture on the far right the extra gear Asetek fired out. As I mentioned previously, they included the High-End fan as well as the Ultra-Low Noise fan and Socket 478 and LGA775 mounting hardware. We will be testing this cooler on an Athlon 64 3800+ X2 processor, so it should heat things up a bit.
Most Heatsinks that use heatpipes in their design use quite small heatpipes, and I'm sure they have their reasons. Asetek however, uses some massive pipes that can move a lot of phase-change material back and forth from the hot to the cold side. These pipes are large and in charge.
These heatpipes pass through 53 micro-thin fins and are soldered and bonded to the fins through a "lipped" hole. They don't merely contact the thin edge of the fin, the fin itself is folded over and contacts the heatpipe on a much grander scale. This increases the thermal transfer from the heatpipe to the heat exchanger.
The base of the cooler comes with a white thermal paste pre-applied so you don't even have to take time to spread your own. For testing we removed the stock paste and applied a thin layer of Artic Silver Ceramique for comparison. I'm pleased to see that Asetek uses thermal paste instead of a TIM, but most hardcore enthusiasts will likely wipe it off and use their own. It would have been nice to have had a small package of paste instead of it pre-applied, but perhaps Asetek is concerned the user will apply too much or too little paste.
The base of the VapoChill Micro is quite smooth and flat. It doesn't have a mirror finish by all means, but it is fairly shiny. There was a nick in the base close to the one edge that I wasn't super impressed with, but after feeling it with a fingernail I determined that it shouldn't affect performance that close to the edge. After I installed the VapoChill Micro once I took it off to ascertain where the nick sat on the CPU, and it was indeed at the very outside edge.
On the next page, we'll cover installation, our test rig, and testing methodology.