|Name||CPU cooler: Thermaltake SpinQ VT|
|At a glance:||Supports Intel sockets LGA1366/1156/1155/775, ,AMD sockets 754/939/AM2/AM3.,Three 6mm heatpipes,80mm LED fan adjustable between ,1000 – 1600RPM|
|Summary:||Not the best performance in the price range, but looks great for case-modders.|
Keeping your computer’s processor running cool is an important and difficult job – particularly when we have scorching hot summers like the one just been in New Zealand – and if my old high school electronics teacher is to be believed then lowering the operating temperature of an electrical component doubles its life expectancy.
If that isn’t enough justification for investing in a CPU cooler, there’s also the fact that they look damn cool. Case in point: the Thermaltake SpinQ VT which we have on the test bench today. The first thing you’re likely to notice is the cylindrical design which sits in stark contrast to the brick-like “tower” coolers that currently dominate the market.
The unit cools by taking heat from the CPU via the copper-aluminium base and transferring it to the 50 spiralling aluminium fins via three 6mm heatpipes bent up in a “U” shape. The inner fan then draws air in from the top and bottom of the cooler and pushes it out the sides through those aluminium fins.
I had a pig of a time installing it into my Core i7 920 LGA1366-based system because Thermaltake decided to stick with the same terrible push-pin mounting system that stock Intel coolers use. This system involves lining up the four feet of the cooler with the four holes surrounding the CPU socket on your motherboard, pushing them down enough for the pins to poke through to the other side of the board (which can be difficult if you can’t actually see the other side of your motherboad) then twisting each foot to lock them into place.
Sounds simple, but if you can do the above without slipping and mutilating your motherboard and/or fingers with a screwdriver then you are a more capable PC DIYer than I.
The SpinQ VT weighs 495 grams and also supports Intel LGA1156, 1155 and 775 sockets, plus all AMD sockets from 754 through to AM3. Power for the fan is provided by a three-pin motherboard connector and no PWM control is provided, meaning you have to manually set the speed of the fan to between 1000 and 1600RPM via a small dial connected to the cooler. This dial is on a very short lead so it requires removal of the side panel of your case to reach it, which could be a tad annoying if you wanted to adjust it often.
To test the performance of the SpinQ VT I put it up against both the stock Intel Core i7 920 cooler (the bigger than normal Intel version) and the excellent Prolimatech Megahalems. The ambient room temperature during the test was 25°C, hence we got achingly close to the thermal shutdown point of 100°C. In fact, the stock Intel cooler did hit this wall during the overclocked test.
The Thermaltake SpinQ VT did a much better job of cooling than the stock Intel cooler, but fell well short of the Megahalems at comparable fan noise levels. These two coolers are roughly the same price which makes it hard to recommend the Thermaltake unit. However, it does have a unique design and its performance isn’t too shabby. If you’re after something a little bit different, then it will definitely do the job.