When I saw the heatsink of the Volcano 9, I was a bit disappointed. The friendly folks at Thermaltake decided to revert back to an aluminum heatsink. It is a shame to go to an inferior sink material, but I can also understand why. This Volcano is larger than other versions from the past, so the sheer weight that would have been involved in a copper sink would have been on the high side. It is entirely possible that it would even have required a different means of attaching it to the processor, such as the need to use the four holes that surround the Socket.
Also of note is the older style sink design. Instead of using the thin fin technologies that are common today, they went for a thicker fin layout. Though thin fins have the advantage of a greater surface area, this design has the advantage of increased mass. Both of these techniques aid in the cooling process, so we'll just have to see if it can still be effective in the end.
As for the heatsink itself, it is an aluminum block that has 23 fins running throughout with a central groove to handle the clipping mechanism. It measures in at a large 80mm x 80mm x 52mm (without fan) and has the top shroud that is becoming a common addition to the Thermaltake line of coolers.
I've said it before and I'll say it again, the shroud is a very nice addition to the cooling setup. One purpose of it is to allow you to drive the screws for the fan into its metal corners instead of driving them directly into the fins of the heatsink. That is a practice that I have seen a lot of time in the past and I've yet to be impressed by it.
Another purpose of the shroud is to help direct the airflow, but since it doesn't funnel the air into a smaller path, you don't get all the turbulence associated with those popular reducers. It manages to aim the airflow without restricting it, so it helps ensure that it goes to where it is needed the most; the base of the sink.
The base of the Volcano 9 unit has a copper insert. While a copper sink is normally preferable, the insert will still allow you to have a direct contact patch with the processor core. Since copper is a better conductor of heat than aluminum, this should greatly help the cooling potential of this HSF. Though not polished, the copper insert was very smooth and showed no flaws or machining grooves.
Also note that while the copper is just an insert, it does go all the way through the base of the sink. This too will help in the cooling process since the heat that is transferred to the copper won't have to go through different layers of metals to be dissipated. The copper is in direct contact with the downward airflow so can dissipate the heat in a more effective manner.
This is where I just sit back and say... WOW!
First off, a huge thanks to the Thermaltake folks for dumping the 70mm fan setup. While the Volcano 7+ was (and still is for that matter) an outstanding cooler, the 70mm design didn't allow for many choices in performance fans. So they have decided to go with a more conventional 80mm layout. And what a fan you get.
The fan installed with the Volcano 9 HSF is the same fan that can be bought for case cooling. It is the Smart Fan II and it has several different ways in which you can use it. But we'll get to that in a bit. The main thing that I want to point out is the airflow in this baby. Are you ready? How about 75-CFM! Though the company went with an 80mm design to bring it back to a normal size, they also went out of their way to make sure that you wouldn't need to upgrade the fan. This is a huge amount of airflow, but the noise level stays around the same level as a standard high-performance 60mm unit. Another advantage is that you don't get the high pitched droning sound that you do from the 60s either. And all this from an 80mm x 80mm x 25mm fan. SWEET.
The next featured attraction concerning this fan is the numerous choices available for using it. See the different sets of wires sticking out from the side above? Well they allow you to choose how you want to use the fan. Let me tell you just what I'm talking about.
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