At first I was a little disappointed in the results that the GeminII S524 produced on our charts, but then I sat and thought for a bit and rationalized a few things, at least in my mind. While the cooler isn't a chart topper as far as the temperatures go, and that is the main duty, we have many other things to factor into whether I pass or fail this cooler. Here is my rationale on that.
The cooler is very economically priced, and when we think that the top contenders on that list are near $100, that changes the perspective a bit. With the release of Sandy Bridge processors, heat isn't the issue it was on older Intel processors, so this is a good solution for a chip with a 95W TDP. Cooler Master offers a way to add airflow to the memory or power delivery system depending on the orientation in which you install this cooler. In doing this, a lot of material had to be left out as far as the aluminum fins are concerned, so that is going to affect performance of this design the most, but something had to go to make the astounding 47mm of clearance under the cooler! When we look at the S524 is this light, the results don't seem so bad.
The fan they chose to ship with the S524 is silent just like I prefer, so there is a big plus for Cooler Master. The 120mm fan does cover the body of the cooler very well and when properly mounted, made no noise with vibrations or any sort of odd noises for that matter. In the idle testing, I liked what I saw with a 30 dB result, and then as we move to the load testing the low noise levels continue with only a 44 dB result. As I mentioned earlier, if you aren't pleased with the numbers I showed you and think you can do better, by all means give it a try. Not only can you mount another 120mm fan with better fan specifications, you also have the option to browse 140mm fans when you shop, as Cooler Master includes mounting for both sizes out of the box with no need for an additional hardware kit.
I expect by the time you read this, the GeminII S524 is likely going to be on more shelves, and with an MSRP of $39.99, this cooler is going to make everyone ponder it based solely on pricing. For what it cost, it offers a very unique, memory friendly concept that offers much better performance over a stock cooler while adding additional cooling. If I was going to buy this cooler for the first gen i7's or an AMD Hexacore, I will tell you, you are going to want more fan for the job if higher temperatures scare you away from using this.
The GeminII S524 is a refreshing look at what $40 can get you in the aftermarket CPU cooling segment, and Cooler Master delivered a feature packed, better than stock solution that accounts for more than just the CPU, and does so in a very limited footprint.
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