Dr. Thermal TI-V86N HSF Review

The name Dr. Thermal has been cropping up lately in a lot of places. This newcomer has a different design that they use for their heatsinks, and some very innovative features. But the main question is still "Can it cool?" Come join Mike "Darthtanion" Wright as he checks into the Dr. Thermal TI-V86N HSF and finds out if it has what it takes to handle the big-boys.
| Dec 27, 2001 at 11:00 pm CST
Rating: 95%Manufacturer: Thermal Integration Technology Inc

Dr. Thermal TI-V86N -

IntroductionLately, you may have been seeing some heatsinks in an orange or green box with T.I.T.I. on the side. If so, then you've seen the blossoming of a new company that goes by the name of Thermal Integration Technology Inc. While being created in only the second half of 2001, this company has been making some waves in the cooling arena with their Dr. Thermal line of coolers.Which brings us to today's review of the Dr. Thermal TI-V86N HSF. It has a sink design that is a little out of the ordinary, and some innovative features that we will take an in-depth look at. But first, we need to see just what this new type of cooler is all about...

Dr. Thermal TI-V86N -

The Heatsink
As I indicated before, the design of this heatsink isn't your typical, everyday design. It features fins and ridges that go in multiple directions to create an abundance of surface area. As we have discovered before, the greater the surface area, the better the overall cooling effort.The sink itself is made of aluminum, and it also includes a pillar of copper that stands tall in the center. It measures in at 80mm x 60mm x 25mm and has a total mass of about 300 grams. This gives it enough weight to contend with the duties of cooling, but doesn't make it so heavy that it requires any special mounting requirements.The copper core is a little on the small side, so we'll just have to do a bit of testing to see whether or not this will affect the performance of the heatsink.The Base
The base and the top of the sink look nearly identical. There is no variance in the design pattern, so there isn't any need to worry about airflow making it through to the base. Also of note is the fact that the base isn't a large flat piece that covers the entire processor. It is a much smaller design that will allow the airflow from the fan to cool both the base of the heatsink, and also the processor itself. We'll find out in a bit whether this concept works.Whoops!
Seems that we have a small problem here. The copper core is not sitting centered on the processor core. Some of the core isn't even covered by the copper! After doing a bit of research, I have found this to be a problem in past models as well, so it would seem that a little more attention needs to be given to this factor during the manufacturing process.The Fan
It's nice to see that the Dr. Thermal is using quality components. Both Delta and YS Tech are top-notch fans, so the inclusion of a solid fan should help the cooling prowess of this sink. The model in question here is a YS Tech version that measures in at 60mm x 60mm x 25mm, spins at 6,200 RPM, and cranks out 38-CFM airflow at about 47 dBA. While it puts out the same amount of air as the mighty Delta unit, it isn't quite as loud. For those with tender ears, this should prove very convenient.
Another nice feature about this model of fan is the standard YS Tech connectors for hooking it up to the power source. It includes both a 4-pin Molex connector for power, and a 3-pin connection for the motherboard. This separate connector for the board allows for the monitoring of fan speeds through BIOS and software utilities. The 4-pin Molex, meanwhile, supplies all the needed juice to the fan without the risk of burning out one of the fan headers on the mainboard.The Clipping Mechanism
All right...now is where it starts to get tricky, but in a good way. The retention system of this heatsink is far different than most others offered. While the picture above looks to be pretty common fare, it is only the beginning of the installation process. To give you an idea as to what we're dealing with, let's take a look at the top of the sink without the fan...
Notice that there is a handle attached to the side of the unit. What happens is that when you place the rear and front lugs in the clip, the cooler is still loose on top of the processor. This makes it extremely easy to attach without fear of damaging the core underneath, so any fears of cracking it should be thrown out the window.
After the sink has been placed onto the lugs, the handle is pulled down and locked into side of the fan shroud. This puts pressure straight down onto the core and gives the necessary force required to keep the cooler firmly in place. While I was a little concerned about the effectiveness of this type of retention method, my fears ended up being completely unfounded. The system worked flawlessly, and was a very simple matter to attach it to the socket. It would be an absolute pleasure to see this type of retention used on ALL heatsinks, but I doubt that it will happen. Too bad, because it's an awesome way to add a heatsink without fear of damage.Something of note...I have heard of people complaining when using this type of heatsink design that it chews up the foam spacer pads that sit at the corners of the processor. Since the clips are placed loosely onto the socket lugs, and then the pressure is centered straight down, no destruction of the pads was noticed with this model. Even after multiple installations of the sink, there was no damage to the pads.

Dr. Thermal TI-V86N -

TestingI recently upgraded my test system, so am basically starting over as far as test results. While it does limit the comparison capabilities, it should give us a new baseline to work from when testing future HSF units. So let's take a look at the test system:Antec SX1030 Tower Case w/ 170-CFM airflow EPoX 8KHA+ Motherboard AMD Thunderbird 1000MHz Processor @ 1400MHz (AVIA) 512MB Crucial PC2100 DDR Memory Prolink XX-Player GeForce3 IBM GXP60 40GB Hard Drive Arctic Silver II The core voltage of the processor is set to 1.8v, and memory is set to 2.6v. Ambient air temperature was sitting at 21C and didn't fluctuate during testing. Processor speed was firmly at 1400MHz, which puts out about 76.8 watts of heat. Testing will consist of measuring the temperatures at idle, after a Quake III Arena Deathmatch, and after a continuous looping of the 3dMark2001 Demo. These are the main types of stresses that today's systems face, so we'll concentrate on them.
After having the Gladiator as my best performing cooler for so long, it seems that it has taken a back seat to yet another competitor. The Thermal Integration heatsink performed very well. Even taking into consideration the fact that the core isn't fully sitting on top of the copper core, the TI-V86N performed admirably. This seems to bode very well for the performance of this HSF.

Dr. Thermal TI-V86N -

ConclusionWell, I was impressed. When the TI-V86N first showed up, it really didn't look like a serious contender for a quality heatsink. I was wrong. The design proved to be very effective, the performance was outstanding, and the retention system was a dream come true. Add to this the fact that they are not priced any higher than others, and you're finding yourself in a very promising position.Something that wasn't mentioned earlier is the fact that the fan shroud has a small indentation in it. This is a very useful as it is sized to house any standard 60mm x 60mm fan. So if you're wanting to use, say, one of the 38mm tall Delta models, it will fit right in and not move around at all. Just another way that the Dr. Thermal cooler looks out for our desires to keep our systems cool when we overclock.Bottom line...The retention system alone on this unit is enough to make me recommend it, but the excellent cooling capabilities add up to an outstanding HSF that I am very happy to give an Editors Choice Award to. Just get one.- Pro'sExcellent coolingRetention systemSeparate power/RPM connectorsCool look-Con'sCore not centered on processorRating - 9.5/10 and TweakTown's Editors Choice Award

Last updated: Apr 7, 2020 at 12:25 pm CDT

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