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Rosewill RCX-Z4 CPU Cooler

Following on from his recent T.E.C.C. testing methods article, Chris puts it to the test with his first HS/Fan review.
@ChrisRamseyer
Published Thu, Oct 25 2007 11:00 PM CDT   |   Updated Tue, Apr 7 2020 12:26 PM CDT
Rating: 68%Manufacturer: Rosewill

Introduction

IntroductionRosewill is most likely not a name you think of when shopping for CPU coolers. For that matter it might not be a name you are familiar with at all. Since Rosewill products are currently only available in the U.S. with only two online companies currently selling their products, this could very well be the first time you have seen these two words joined together in this fashion.For those of us that gawk at computer hardware all day Rosewill is an aspiring company looking to make a name for themselves. Currently Rosewill sells over a hundred products through heavy hitter Newegg and Chiefvalue.com, and the list quickly keeps growing. I first learned about the company when they were churning out ATI based video cards a couple of years ago. From the looks of their website the video card business didn't last too long, but they have found their niche in peripherals such as CPU coolers. It appears they've expanded into the NAS server market as well.Today we will be looking at the Rosewill RCX-Z4, the first in a series of CPU Coolers that will be tested in the T.E.C.C (Thermal Environment Control Chamber). If you missed the introduction article you should read it before moving forward.

Specifications

Specifications of the Rosewill RCX-Z4
As you can see from the specs listing above, the Rosewill RCX-R4 uses a 120mm bearing fan that is capable of pushing 67.5 CFM. It should also be noted that the official specifications state a 3 or 4-pin connector can be used, this is referring to a 4-pin Molex plug and not the new 4-pin PWM type found on many new CPU coolers.

Packaging

Packaging
As you can see, our Rosewill RCX-Z4 comes in a retail box with a handle on top.
Rosewill is using a high capacity 8mm copper-heatpipe and is claiming exceptional cooling.
The rear of the package has all of the same specifications that we listed on the previous page. A small image of the product is also located here as well as a retail friendly UPC code.
The side of the package has a much larger image of the product lurking inside.

The Cooler

The Cooler
The Rosewill RCX-Z4 uses a different design than what we are used to for CPU coolers. The offset base is uncommon and this is one of the first coolers to use 8mm heatpipes, whereas others most always use 6mm heatpipes. The unit comes with a 120mm fan and like many other heatpipe coolers it displaces the heat from the CPU to a large aluminum fin grid where it is then dispelled into the surrounding air.
The CPU contact area is smooth to the touch but is not a mirror finish as we find on many higher priced units.
Looking at the back of the unit you can see where the pipes are placed. I would think that moving the two outer pipes closer to the middle would allow for more heat transfer from the pipes to the fins but their current location makes the fin area solid when it comes to construction.
The side view shows the shroud that forces the passing air to stay within the fin area.
The other side image shows where the factory places the fan cable. This can be changed by removing the fan and rotating it to the desired side.
Cable length is always an issue. No one wants a cable that is too long, and if it is too short then the product becomes worthless. Rosewill made their cable a very user friendly 5 inches.

Documentation and Accessories

Documentation and Accessories
The Rosewill unit came with a well written manual and an easy to follow product warranty statement.
Above is the included hardware for an AMD AM2 system. Note that if your motherboard already has an AM2 backplate on the motherboard you can install the Rosewill RCX-Z4 without removing the motherboard from the case.
The Intel and AMD Socket 939/940 installation will require you to remove your motherboard. It is also nice to see Rosewill including spare hardware in case a small piece is lost.
Rosewill also included a rheostat to control the fan speed from outside of your case.
As you can see from this image the Rosewill rheostat is more than just a simple knob, they have included additional electronics in the unit.
Here we see the included wiring for attaching the rheostat to the fan and motherboard/power source.

Test Results

Test ResultsUsing the results we obtained in the T.E.C.C. article we are able to compare the Rosewill RCX-Z4 to retail AMD and Intel coolers. Our first test is based on cooling performance and shows the idle and load temperatures using our testing chamber to produce an equal comparison.
Our testing results show the Rosewill RCX-Z4 performing better than the retail AMD and Intel cooler, though not by a large margin.
In the sound pressure test we measure the fan in decibels running with 7 volts for idle and 12 volts for load. The results were obtained at 12 inches for all coolers and shows the Rosewill at idle being comparable to a factory Intel cooler. Under load the fan can also compare with a factory Intel cooler but is not nearly as loud as the AMD unit. Since Rosewill included the outboard rheostat it is up to the user to determine what level of performance they are comfortable with.

Final Thoughts

Final ThoughtsThe Rosewill RCX-Z4 is not a heatsink for those looking to squeeze the last MHz out of an overclocked CPU. The benchmark numbers actually show that this product is not much better than the two factory coolers, but what do benchmarks really tell us besides the extreme ends of the scale. This product is really made for the 'grey' areas.With the Z4 currently available for $39.99 USD from Newegg it would be unreasonable for anyone to expect it to perform with the Noctua or high-end Zalmans of the world. The truth is that since Rosewill included a way for the end user to adjust his or her level of performance (and with it the acoustic level), this is a really good choice for 'regular' computer users. The offset design may also come in handy when working with an odd case such as a Home Theater PC where room for hard drives or other devices will interfere with the placement of large coolers.With that said, if you are looking for a CPU cooler that will give you adjustable performance without breaking the bank then this cooler should be one to keep in mind.
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Chris Ramseyer started his career as a LAN Party organizer in Midwest USA. After working with several computer companies he was asked to join the team at The Adrenaline Vault by fellow Midwest LAN Party legend Sean Aikins. After a series of shake ups at AVault, Chris eventually took over as Editor-in-Chief before leaving to start Real World Entertainment. Look for Chris to bring his unique methods of testing Hard Disk Drives, Solid State Drives as well as RAID controller and NAS boxes to TweakTown as he looks to provide an accurate test bed to make your purchasing decisions easier.

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