IntroductionRecently I took the Nexus XiR-2300 for a spin and found it to be a very good CPU cooler. Actually, it was the second best we have tested thus far. Today we are going to take the sibling of the XiR-2300 for a spin, the XiR-3500; an all copper cooler that uses the same design. Between testing the two Nexus coolers I wanted to find Nexus' secret; how they were getting the performance out of the XiR Series with such a conventional design. After a little digging I found the secret, a technology called SkiveTek, and it is exclusive to Nexus. Here is what they had to say:-SkiveTek is one of the worlds most advanced technologies. This concept permits the production of heat sinks with a precise and super fine detail previously considered impossible. SkiveTek represents a process of shaping materials to produce lightweight, high fin density thermal solutions. Base plate and fins are constructed out of one piece of pure aluminum/copper by cutting the material in thin layers, bending the fins in place. No bonding, welding, soldering or adhesive is involved; the joint between fin and base is continuous aluminum/copper. We already know what ShiveTek has done for the XiR-2300 aluminum cooler, so now it is time to see what happens when you pair the technology with copper.
Specifications, Availability and Pricing
Specifications, Availability and Pricing
The Nexus XiR-3500 is a universal solution working with both AMD and Intel systems. No one will feel left out going back to the AMD 939/940-pin processors. HTPC guys will find that an attractive feature since Nexus is all about keeping it quiet and HTPCs for the most part are all about re-using your older gear.The MSRP for the Nexus XiR-3500 is Ten Dollars more than the XiR-2300, riding the line right at 70 US Dollars. I was a bit worried about the high MSRP of the XIR-2300 until I actually tested the cooler to find out how wicked it really was. From the specs you can see the that the copper version of the XiR weighs almost 735 grams; a full 352 grams heavier than the aluminum version, but not to worry as the cooler sits close to the motherboard where the extra weight isn't an issue.
The packaging of the XiR-3500 is decorative and will definitely stand out on a retail shelf. On the front we see that the Copper Edition is clearly visible as is the cooler through the window.
On the back we found a general product statement about the cooler in several languages.
The side has all of the specifications that we listed earlier.
The inner packaging is formed around the cooler and protects the thin aluminium fins quite well.
The difference between the XiR-2300 and XiR-3500 is in the cooling fins on top. Here you can see that the 3500 has copper fins where the heat is dumped into the air inside of the case.
On the side we see the fins and how thin they are. Note the aluminium heatsink on the bottom, just above the heatpipes.
If you have seen one side you have seen them all.
Here we see the aluminium heatsink that rests above the fins. When the air passes through the fin area it blows on these fins and aids in cooling the processor.
On top we found the same fan used on the XiR-2300. The fan lights up with two orange LEDs and is recessed inside of the copper.
I found the wire for the XiR-3500 to be long enough to connect to any of the motherboard fan headers if needed. Since all boards keep the CPU fan header close to the CPU, Nexus has included a small piece of heat shrink tubing so you can tuck the extra wire away.
The business side of the heatsink looks just as good as everything we have seen so far. The cooler has a mirror finish and will make very good contact with the CPU.
Accessories and Documentation
Accessories and Documentation
Everything that is needed to attach the cooler to an AMD or Intel rig is provided. The Intel guys will need to pull their motherboard to install the XiR-3500, but AMD users are able to install the cooler to the factory brackets.
The cooler comes with a tube of Nexus heat sink paste and also a tool to aid in spreading the compound over the processor.
The documentation is well thought out and presented in a very easy to read fashion. A couple of warnings are included if you have your motherboard set to ring an alarm when the CPU fan goes below a certain RPM value.
Test ResultsTweakTown uses a different method for testing CPU heatsinks which allows for an even playing field across all product tests. We feel that by using the same ambient temperature and strict lab-like testing procedures we are able to accurately compare one product to another. More information on our testing procedure can be found in the T.E.C.C. article here.
At idle I found that the XiR-2300 performed just a little better than the XiR-3500, but the results were reversed at load. Either way, both coolers are very good, and are amongst best we have tested so far.
The XiR-2300 and 3500 use the same fan and have the same specifications. I found that the two varied a little, but the amount was so small it can be written off. The numbers pretty much equalled out to being very quiet at just a couple of feet away. On a side note, Nexus does own the title of quietest fan in our testing from when their Basic Series Fan was used in combination with the Asus Triton.
Final ThoughtsStop the Noise; a couple of years ago it was just a dream but Nexus has taken that dream and made it a way of life, something we can all be thankful for. The Nexus XiR-3500 is a great performer for both main system or HTPC computing. If you want near identical performance and would like to save a couple of dollars, the aluminum version is a cheaper option. Aside from the visual appeal of the copper fins, they perform close to each other. Speaking of price, at 69.99 U.S. Dollars the XiR-3500 is up where just a few outside of the enthusiast crowd go. The XiR-2300 offers a better bang for the buck, but then again, if you are going to spend sixty you might as well spend seventy and not have that nagging 'what-if' in the back of your mind all of the time.
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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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