For those of us on this side of the pond, the Germany based company Alpenfoehn is not one of the first companies that comes to mind when hunting down a new CPU cooler. This is due to the fact that their products tend to stay on their side of the pond for sales, and most sites that have reviewed their products tend to be where they are selling best. After about a year after our requests to see what they had to offer, our luck has changed sort of out of the blue, and Alpenfoehn reached out to us to have a look at four of their latest offerings, running the gamut from a compact economical solution, on through to the midrange. They have even sent along their newest flagship cooler as well.
Not having anything prior to go from as far as preconceived notions, or any factual information about Alpenfoehn, we found ourselves reading their mission statement. In their mission statement, they inform us they have been in the game since 2006, and are in the business of offering top quality products with great value.
Even without having read their mission statement, we can learn a ton about a company just from the package that arrives at the door. Here Alpenfoehn stepped forward and individually wrapped all of the coolers with great care, then placed them in a box to make the long journey to us. On top of this, without request, we were also sent a set of Alpenfoehn fans to accompany these coolers. Of course, this will get the name of the fans out there, but it also gives us the chance to run dual fan testing on the majority of what they have sent to us.
Today, as the title suggests, we are beginning with the smallest of Alpenfoehn's offerings, and working our way up to the flagship. Just because the new Sella is small doesn't mean you should count this cooler completely out of the game just yet. Yes, this cooler is based on a 92mm fan, but its compact nature is something sorely missed in the realm of SFF chassis design. Of course, this is a stock replacement cooler that offers better thermals and lower audio levels cast into the room, but by how much and at what cost? These are the things we plan to cover as we look at one of the very few coolers that will fit in the tighter confines a lot of us find ourselves in these days.
The Sella is a tower style cooler that comes in a very compact design. This cooler uses HDC, or Heat pipe Direct Contact, where three copper 6mm diameter heat pipes come together side by side in the base of the cooler. The pipes then run vertically through the thirty nine 0.35mm thick aluminum fins, where the fan is called into action to remove the heat from the cooler. All told, this assembly is 53mm thick, and when you add 25mm of fan thickness to that number, it is 105mm in width. Additionally, even though the box specs show differently, the Sella stands at only 129mm in height. Height is where this design really wins, as the CPU cooling world has moved into massive dual-towers and AIOs. Not too many companies even thought to make an air cooler for the smaller and much more compact world of SFF chassis designs that are all the rage right now.
Cooling this tower is accomplished with the employment of a single 92mm fan. This fan moves 62.8 cubic meters of air per hour, which means there is roughly 37CFM to cool the fin stack. Another thing that bodes well for the Sella is that this fan is rated at only 20.7 dB(A) of noise, which is audible, but in a small box across the room, it will be very hard to pick out the source this of audible noise. This fan uses an alternating fin pattern on the leading and trailing edges to break up and increase air flow efficiency. There are also rubber pads applied to all four corners of this fan to make sure vibration from the fan is not an issue.
The Sella will also only mount to some of the latest processors on the market, and rightfully so, as this compact cooler may not be up to the challenges of cooling LGA1366 and LGA2011. This cooler is engineered with permanent AMD mounting on the base of the cooler. By this we mean that there is tab lock hardware that will lock down to any stock AMD mounting bracket. For Intel mounting, there is a mounting ring and some push pins that can be added to allow the AMD latches to clip onto an Intel board.
At this time, we are unable to locate this cooler inside of the U.S., but Amazon has a history carrying Alpenfoehn coolers, so hopefully these will arrive soon as well. Surfing the net from over the pond, we easily found a few locations where the cooler is available. Within these listings, on the higher-end of the pricing spectrum, we found the Sella available for £18.95 at OCUK with few in stock.
With a currency conversion check, we were able to establish that this cooler should be priced somewhere around $32 on this side of the pond. So, not only can you get something near silent, and small enough to fit in a lot more small chassis designs than the typical offerings out there, but we also see that obtaining one will not break the bank. So far, it appears the Sella is off on the right foot; let's hope it remains just as graceful throughout the rest of this review.
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