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.
to display high resolution images, some software may class
these as "popups"
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.
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)
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
Stock AMD Cooler
G-Power Pro @ Low
G-Power Pro @ High
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