Let's go ahead and be really blunt here: The Alpenfoehn Brocken ECO is neither a trend setter, nor is it one of those super flashy coolers that looks absolutely stunning through the window of your chassis. However, what does make this cooler stand out in our mind is its proficiency in all the areas that really matter when it comes to cooling. The mounting is superb, and is based on a system that many of the top brands out there are currently using in one form or another, and the cooler is rock solid when installed properly. The fan is easy to get on and off and it is isolated from the cooler. Additionally, with the pigtail on the Wing Boost 2 fans, adding a second fan is easy as pie, and offers dual fan control from a single PWM IC to match fan speeds better than what two controllers with different sensors are capable of. Lastly, Alpenfoehn won us over with the amount of "tricks of the trade" employed in this design at such an affordable price.
There are just a few issues we need to address with the Brocken ECO. In our opinion, the inner packaging works well enough for most people. But the reality is that without any sort of fin spacing folded into the fins by design, the movement in transit with the fan so close allowed the fins to get out of whack, and in need of fine tuning. This could easily be remedied with foam somehow, and it would not cost fortune to do.
While the performance was sort of average in both thermal and audio results, we feel this cooler is only fan limited. Considering the amount of noise we are dealing with at the high-end, you may as well keep going a few more dB, and offer some eighty or ninety CFM fans. Again, minimal cost difference here, but it would make a huge impact on the thermal performance, which would be well worth a bit more of a hum in the office. The thing is, no matter how you look at this cooler, for the price that Alpenfoehn is offering the Brocken ECO at, it is still hard to pass over, even with mediocre chart results.
The more of Alpenfoehn and their coolers that we get to see, the more and more we are impressed with them. We only had tales of grandeur from forums or press releases to go from before, but now we are getting a grasp on what they are all about, and just what sort of value they bring to the cooling game. It is rare that you run across a company that is looking to fill the voids left by all the big name cooler makers out there raking it in by the bucket loads. It is especially rare to see this happen with coolers that not only fill the voids, but do it at a great price point.
With the Brocken ECO, and the Sella we just looked at, Alpenfoehn knows they are not the cream of the crop, and can charge accordingly. Even with all we just covered, it still comes down to the fact that you can get reasonable performance out of a cooler that will not hog the motherboard, allows for a second fan with relative ease, clears the memory and motherboard screws, and only hits the pocket for roughly $42. I am sure there will be an influx of emails to Alpenfoehn asking them to find a U.S. supplier of their coolers, as they are just too affordable to not ponder intently if this is enough cooler for your needs.
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- Page 1 [Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing]
- Page 2 [Packaging]
- Page 3 [Alpenfoehn Brocken ECO CPU Cooler]
- Page 4 [Accessories and Documentation]
- Page 5 [Installation and Finished Product]
- Page 6 [Test System Setup, Thermal Tests, and Noise Results]
- Page 7 [Final Thoughts]
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