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Thermaltake Extreme Spirit II NB Cooler Review

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Well, I took a plunge and invested in a new chipset cooler. The aformentioned Extreme Spirit 2 by TT.



First Impression: It's an all copper HSF with a flat smooth base that would look at home on an old P3 processor not a chipset! The fan is only rated for 4500rpm.... WAY slower than the old 6k DFI sink... and 19dB. I'm hoping that it will hold up under real life. The heatpipes sure make it look serious. It also appears to be able be thin enough to fit inbetween a pair of SLIed cards sooo.... we'll see.

Here are a few shots to show it's shape and general dimensions.






The base appears to be quite smooth. (I apologise for the shaky shot.)



The hardware comes very complete, even including the foam surround that stock chipset sets have!



The mounting system looks good and study as well as adjustable in many directions. How it works remains to be seen.

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post #2 of 9
Thread Starter 
Right from the start, I knew I'd have to remove the motherboard completely to install this chipset cooler. I actually call this the hallmark of a quality cooler because the mounting system has typically been indicative of cooling performance. The sturdier the mount the better the cooler tends to be.

I will be installing this NB cooler on a DFI SLI-DR MoBo, a popular S939 AMD motherboard notorious for needing a new chipset cooler to remain quiet and cool as well as a cooler with very defined dimensions.


Here is a picture of the initial rig complete with the Vantec Iceberq chipset cooler that I upgraded too early with relatively dismal results. Only about 5C less than stock at my ambient (30C).



A few close up shots of the Vantec and how the airflow is blocked by the graphics card.


I decided to play it safe and just drain the cooling system except for the rad.


My trusty assistant, Leo, could not be found further than three feet away from my lap at all times.


Gooood kitty. (I hope you don't mind that I work on my comp in my boxers! Heh, keep in mind the 30C ambient.)




First thing's first, time to remove the various PCI cards.



Time to remove the the ol' water block, can't have that anchoring the mobo to the rig for this job.


Off she comes, simple as spinning off a few thumb nuts.


I find small lidded containers to be great for storing small parts like this. They are easy to see and keep parts from getting away.


Oop, there's another one.


Here's a picture of all the items going to be used in this intall except the small phillips screw driver and small set of grips.




From here on out I had to work with the rig laying flat. Here you see me taking the w/cing system out of the way.


I've found that when you have good cable management taking your mobo out is a snap. No tangles and no rewiring when you put it back. Everything knows its place.


By now I was getting a bit anxious and needed to relax... a few good tunes from Symphony X put me back into a workin' mood!


After the board is taken out, it's a simple squeeze and push to release the old cooler from the board.


Once released it lifts off easily.


Time to take out the part we've been saving in the capped container!
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post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
It's the time I've been waiting for! Prepping the HSF and installation!!!

The protective plastic cover on the base has to come off. And the base was fully reflective with the plastic STILL ON! Nice job TT.


The little foam circle went on perfectly. Now that's what ALL coolers should come with!


With the HSF prepped as it should, I turned my attention back to the board by putting the long screws back into the mounting holes. It comes with 4 "paper *******s" to keep the board safe both from above and below.


Now I've got the mounting screws in.


Flipping the board over I screw on their locking nuts to firmly set the mounting screws in their place.


Screws in place! This is starting to remind me of a CPU heatsink install.


Now you just place the base over top of the screws using the oblong "washers" to locate the sink where needed. This little beauty of a system allows afor VERY flexible placement of the HS. Not only do the washers swing around to help slide the HSF to a proper placement, the two posts that are attached to the base swivel around about 60 degrees to allow angled installation. More on this later.


You can see how this is lining up. Looks tight but good non-the-less!


Still looks good. That top screw looks awful close!


Here you can see that swivelling base I spoke of earlier. It did come in handy later on!


Oh no! Disaster strikes! Apparently the voltage bridge HS on the x1900xtx protrudes too far and makes it so I have to move my HSF off kilter! A sad thing indeed. I had high hopes for this lovely little cooler. But wait! That little swivelling base allows it to work anyway!


While the cooler will sit well and cool that chipset the lower slot becomes blocked from the off kilter fins.


More blockage... I'm so sad...


Damn that ATi! I'm beginning to think that a good metal file would make me a happy man. Sadly that is not for today...

Good thing I'm running an ATi card on a SLI chipset. I don't need no stinkin' lower PCIe slot! [/cheech and chong.]


But look at what I -DID- do? Tubing control! I shortened the tubes about 6" over all to better route my water passages! This really made the room my W/C took up shrink where I needed it to.


Here's a pic of my rig all reassembled and happy to be alive! Temp snap shots to follow!

Now for the comparison! Here's my old Vantec chipset temp off of my old 3G entry!


WOW! Look at that temp! 52C at a very minimal load! (The 100 core was due to CPUz freaking out as usual.)


43C under load! And look at those cpu temps! I trimmed another C or two off of those while I was at it. So I saw a 10C drop in temp over a board favorite Vantec Iceberq chipset cooler at a paltry 2100RPM. Totally silent.

This is one serious chipset cooler! I've made a few runs of Aquamark3 in a row and saw a max of 45C that I could only see with MBM5's high/low log. Compared to my Vantec I got:
Condition---------------------------Vantec/TTES2
Idle-----------------------------------48C/43C
Dual Prime-----------------------------53C/43C
A graphics bench checked with MBM5---53C/45C

Conclusion: I said it before and I'll say it again... this is one serious cooler. The sheer stability of this product, both in build and exacution had me excited by itself, the performance really sold me. I've never doubted the power of copper heatpipes but this really reaffirmed for me their prowess.

The installation is simple and very good. It touched SOLIDLY to the chipset and wouldn't budge after tightened down. Some people might consider it a bad thing to have to take the MoBo out to install but you won't get that from me except as the passing nod to it as you are reading now.

The performance is phenomenal! I cannot express how impressed I really am with it. All comparisons aside, I think the delta C of 2C under load says it all... And to think that it's pulling numbers like this with the fans airflow being blocked by the graphics card.

The aesthetics are beautiful. The finish is lustrous and a very deep copper color as it should be. The blue fan glows brightly and is totally silent at said 2100RPMs. (Which never increased under load.)

Overall, I give this cooler a 4.9 out of 5. It does everything I want from it and more except it can't be used in SLI applications on the Ultra-D/SLI-D/DR boards. Heck, this little cooler might even work with other cards than the one I'm messing with. Either way, I'm 99% certain that it would work well in both the DFI eXpert, CFX3200 and new lanparty AM2 boards. If you need a chipset cooler in a non-SLI rig look no further!
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post #4 of 9
Thats very well written, perhaps tweak it into a single article and submit it for a "Product Review"
    
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post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
Where exactly should I submit it? Thermaltake? A review site?

The testing method I used was a bit thin but that wasn't the main focus. The focus was another option for an SLI board that cools well, which was shown but not in the most unquestionable manner.
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post #6 of 9
i think we have a review section although i have yet to find it
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post #7 of 9
o yeah symphony x owns
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post #8 of 9
Look half way down the page on the right hand side - Member Hardware Reviews
    
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post #9 of 9
I thought my chipset on my dfi ultra-d was too hot at 36C on fully load at 3.0ghz. I think that chipset hsf is overkill, it's like junior BT.

Evercool VC-RE Twinkling FTW

Ohh btw very good product review...
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