This is going back in history of computing a fair bit, but there used to be a time where 80mm or 92mm fan-based CPU coolers were the only option. This was long before 120mm fans became the standard, and long before most of the mammoth coolers we all gravitate to today. Most enthusiasts will say there is really no place for a cooler so small and compact; yet, it is not quite small enough to fit into all of the SFF chassis that are flooding the market today. For the most part, we would have to agree, but there are other aspects to consider as well.
Even the most seasoned enthusiast has built a web surfing and email machine, or something for the living room that doesn't need to do much more than to play a movie, or maybe some Flash based gaming. In this sort of a build, cooling is still a consideration, but in reality, there is always the stock cooling option. The issue here is that stock coolers are usually pretty rubbish -unless you are speaking of the AIOs that come with some of the AMD lineup. Otherwise, you have a small chunk of metal to cool the CPU, and they tend to be very noisy for the piss-poor performance that they offer. In these instances, you need a stock replacement cooler that is more efficient, and has less noise from the fan. Also, nine times out of ten, users are looking for something very affordable.
Before Enermax delivered this latest sample to our door, the advice on any forum would have been to go and grab one of the Cooler Master Hyper 212 coolers. While most manufacturers have closed their vision to larger coolers or to adapting to some form of an AIO, it has been years since we have seen anything as affordable (and now even more compact than the Hyper 212 series). Hopefully the new ETS-N30-HE (the HE at the end signifies High Efficiency), is able to stand up to the rigors of our testing, without leaving the CPU to throttle. From what we have already seen, even this early into the review, we can say that while it is a bit old-school, Enermax has something that may just surprise those looking for a stock replacement cooler that can take quite a bit of abuse, and won't hurt the wallet.
The chart provided covers two versions of this cooler. There is the ETS-N30-HE we received for testing, and there is also the slightly less efficient (but fancier model) ETS-N30-TAA, which comes with a T.B. Apollish Advance fan with all its pretty lighting abilities. Both of the coolers are capable of mounting to all of the relevant socket types still on the market, and even a few EOL ones. The coolers' dimensions are 92mm long, 79mm wide, and 134mm in height; with the fan installed the width increases to 50mm, but the height remains the same. The ETS-N30 coolers weigh in at a mere 290 grams. The fins and base plate are made of aluminum, and copper is used for the trio of 6mm diameter heat pipes.
Along with the Dow Corning TC-5121 thermal paste that is supplied, we also find a UCHE9P ED922512H-PA, 92mm fan to keep this stack of 43 aluminum fins cool. The chart shows this fan to be capable of delivering 55.4 CFM of air flow, and 4.37 mmH2O of static pressure. With 12V being sent to this fan, it is noted to run with only 28 dB(A) of noise. While this version does not come with any LEDs in the fan, there is the other option in the TAA, but you will lose some air flow and static pressure by opting for the LED fan. Both models offer a plastic clip for the fan to connect to the fin stack; the fan is screwed to the clip, but also offers rubber pads to isolate the fans vibrations.
As far as trying to locate the cooler goes, we are finding that it is still relatively new. Amazon drew a blank at the time of writing this review, as did many other common places to buy from within the U.S. We were able to find it though, and we were really surprised with the pricing we found. At Newegg.com we were greeted with the super-affordable pricing of $24 U.S. dollars, and shipping is just ninety-nine cents. You read that right: for just $25 U.S. dollars, you have the opportunity to ditch that stock cooler. And, as you will soon see, what seems like something from yester-year, still really has what it takes to easily handle the power from today's PC.
If we haven't caught your attention yet, you might need to check for a pulse. There are not many coolers on the market at this price that can do what the Enermax ETS-N30-HE can do, and we already know we will be recommending this cooler for those with the needs we have covered thus far.
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