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Today I am taking a look at the new Gigabyte G-Power Pro HSF unit. This lovely little (well, “little” is open to discussion) unit will be given a trial by fire, if you will, although hopefully there will be no actual flames. Now then, onward, to inspect this big blue behemoth of a cooler.

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The first thing that caught my eye, is well, just how blue this thing is. It’s got a big honkin’ blue fan, with four blue LED’s right below it. This setup rests a-top a well built radiator unit, which reminded me slightly of the ThermalTake XP-90/120 units. All this was held up about an inch or so above the heat-plate by four heatpipes.

The plastic packaging on this thing is really damned cool. I took it apart and put it back together once or twice just to see how it worked, so bonus points for neat packaging. Inside the packaging, aside from our ginormous blue unit, we find several bags of goodies. We have the fan speed controller, and the PCI slot cover for alternate mounting, a mounting bracket converter for use on socket LGA775 Pentium 4 chips, clips for K7, K8, and Pentium 4 mounting with some thermal paste.

One thing I noticed worth noting is that it does not include the actual mounting brackets for the AMD or Socket 478 P4 chips. This means if you have removed yours to use some other form of cooling, be it water cooling, or low profile bolt-through designs, you’ll need to go buy another one before using this cooler.

Well, now that we’ve taken it out of the box, let’s see how well it fits. Upon just glancing at it, I can assure you that even if the clips did work on a socket 604 bracket, this beast wasn’t going to fit in my Xeon system, and well, nobody builds anything for socket 427 systems, so it won’t surprise you that it didn’t fit in that old system either (it may surprise you that I still have a socket 427 system, though). As mentioned above, due to the lack of mounting brackets, I couldn’t attempt to mount it in the socket 478 system as it is a SFF machine, and so it has one of those weird bolt-through cooling setups. So, for today we will be testing it in an Athlon XP 1800+ setup. Good old socket K7 which many of you are still using.

One thing I noticed right away is how the P4 adapter simply clips on and can be removed to use one AMD setups, which is very cool. two points for the engineer who came up with that one.

Then I noticed that the K7 clip didn’t lock into the heatsink properly. So, if that was the same engineer, I’m revoking those two points! Talking to Gigabyte, though, they have assured me that this is a known issue, and the new revision of the unit will not suffer from this slight handicap. So it’s really good to hear that companies are doing their homework, and not just spitting out products and then abandoning them.

Anyways, once I decided to just go ahead and install it anyways, even if it did wiggle slightly if pressure was put onto it, I began putting the cooler in. My god, what an ordeal. Do some finger aerobics before attempting this in anything less then a full tower case. Also, note that if you don’t put it on the right direction, the camp on the K7 clip might block your 1st DIMM slot, as it did for me. But, 20 minutes and one cut finger later (don’t apply pressure to a screw driver without moving your hand away first) it’s ready to be tested.

Now then, on to some testing. How does one test a HSF unit, you ask? Well, one route to take would be to use a digital thermometer to take measurements, but seeing how my name isn’t “Bond” and I don’t take my martini’s “shaken, not stirred”, this is a bit out of my league, so, we’ve pulled out the digital camera for some BIOS shots. While this isn’t accurate enough to bet the family jewels on, it does provide a pretty good standard of measurement to gauge differences from.

Now then, our setup:
Athlon XP 1800+
512MB PC2100 DDR RAM
40GB Seagate Hard Drive
ECS K7VTA3 v2.0 Motherboard
And frankly, the rest should be of no interest to you.

CPU-BurnIn 1.01

Our Competitors:
Stock Athlon Cooler (CoolerMaster) (5450-ish RPMs)
G-Power Pro on Low RPM (1850-ish RPMs)
G-Power Pro on High RPM (3125-ish RPMs)

Now then…results.

First, we took temperature readings at idle from the BIOS. By “idle” I mean, booted up windows, restarted the machine, and went into the BIOS to admire our temperatures

Stock AMD Cooler

38 ° Celsius

G-Power Pro @ Low

41 ° Celsius

G-Power Pro @ High

39 ° Celsius

Now we tested them at full load. This was achieved by firing up CPU BurnIn 1.1 and turning it to “fire starter” mode…well…ok, they just called it “maximum heat”, but that doesn’t sound as cool. Then we let it run for 15 minutes straight, took a screenshot, restarted, and snapped a picture of the BIOS screen.

Stock AMD Cooler

43° Celsius

G-Power Pro @ Low

44° Celsius

G-Power Pro @ High

41° Celsius

So, as you can see, very good results, considering the extreme noise difference. 5500 RPM is loud enough to drive you crazy, so it was nice to see that the cooler can be absolutely silent at 1850 RPMs and keep up with the stock cooler, so high marks in the noise reduction sector. If you are looking for a cooler that has more oomph to chill your system a bit more, gigabyte's cooler dropped load temps a good bit, and I personally think that with some high end thermal paste, and a clip that locked properly to secure the heatsink, that it would do even a few degrees better, so again, very good performance there too.

One slight oddity I noticed is that, since the fan and LEDs are on the same line, throttling the fan also throttles the lights. So I guess you’ll know it’s getting louder, even if you’re deaf from that surround sound system you just put up.

I also had slight difficulty getting the fan speed controller off the 3.5” bay it comes on, and onto the PCI slot cover they supply. It does work quite nicely once you find some small enough pliers, however.

In parting, I will just say that it has been fun playing with this big chunk of blue plastic and aluminum all week, and have came away quite impressed with it. Once they work out the little issue I ran into with the K7 clip locking into place, which they have assured me will be fixed in the next revision, they will have a definite winner on their hands.

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