I think everyone has a little bit of engineering skill in them, and sometimes when you see a product or feature you can just look at it and say, "That is innovative yet simple; why didn't I think of that?!"
Today we are looking at a product from Sunbeamtech, the parent company of Tuniq, maker of the popular Tuniq CPU coolers. Our sample today is called the Core-Contact Freezer and I think everyone reading this is going to look at the biggest feature of the CCF and wonder why they didn't think of it first. I know I did.
The Core-Contact Freezer features four 8mm heatpipes that contact the CPU's Integrated Heat Surface (IHS) directly. This was accomplished by flattening the round pipe at the contact area with the CPU. The result is eliminating the copper plate between the CPU and heatpipes and in theory removing an extra surface for heat to travel through at a key area. Let's have a look at the product and then see if this simple design turns out to be as effective as the inner engineer in me thinks it will be.
Specifications, Availability and Pricing
The main feature to the specifications list is the Core-Contact Technology. This small sentence is the key to the cooler, and when looking at it on a spec sheet it is of little interest. In my opinion this should be in bold, neon letters that says something to the tune of The Most Innovative CPU Product in Recent Years, Direct CPU Contact with Our Large 8mm Heatpipes Eliminating A Thermal Barrier. Then again, I am just the reviewer and not the marketer.
Aside from the direct die contact, the cooler features large 8mm heatpipes. Many coolers use smaller 6mm pipes but we are starting to see the 8mm pipes used more frequently.
The fan that comes with the cooler is a quiet variety 120mm unit that features MFDB or Magnetic Fluid Dynamic Bearings. Essentially this means that the outer fan blade area floats and does not contact the inner working of the motor, producing less noise and giving the unit an extended life of around 50,000 hours.
The Core-Contact Freezer also comes with a tube of Tuniq's well-reviewed TX-2 thermalpaste. It should be noted that we test all of our coolers with Arctic Silver 5 to level the playing field when testing. This allows us to show true CPU cooling performance that is not altered by outside influences.
While digging around the web I was not able to find the Sunbeamtech Core-Contact Freezer for sale at any level in the US. Sunbeamtech is known for their low cost solutions and many retailers and etailers carry their products worldwide. I hope that we will see the Core-Contact Freezer list for sale at these locations soon.
On the front we see an image of the cooler and some of the features. There is also a decent sized image of the Core-Contact Technology that is built into the heatsink. The magnet structure and the Tuniq Thermalpaste are also mentioned.
The side shows the specifications and recommended CPU list.
On the back we have the feature list, just like what I listed above.
The other side has several product images, but does not have a description listed.
The product is housed in a thin plastic case inside of the box. In most cases I would call this a secure package, but in this case the plastic was proven too thin and the cooler arrived damaged, as you will see later.
The design from the front is something we have seen several times before, and in the past it has proven to be effective. Heatpipes come up from the base and bring the heat with them; the heat is then dispelled through aluminium fins that are cooled by a 120mm fan. Simple, effective and used very often, at least for the last three years.
From the side we see that the fan is held in place using the wire hanger method. The heatpipes are placed at equal distance from the middle of the aluminium fins.
When looking at the back of the cooler we see that the fins are separated at an equal distance and cover nearly the entire length of the cooler.
The cooler comes with the AMD mounting system pre-installed. Here we see the mount at the bottom of the cooler.
Here we see a better image of the damage. As you can see it is not enough to reduce performance, but if I were paying for the product I might be a little miffed at receiving a damaged device.
From the top the cooler, it looks like many others. The forward heatpipes are positioned a little closer to the fan side of the cooler to help cool the CPU.
This is the real money shot of the cooler, where all of the action is and what all of the fuss is about. You can see that a copper base does not cover the heatpipes and that the pipes directly contact the top of the CPU. When visually inspecting the unit it would appear that this is a better design for cooling and it would also reduce the cost in manufacturing the cooler since you are eliminating the additional copper plate.
From the side we see that the heatpipes are flat and ready to cool an enthusiast class CPU. I would be willing to bet that everyone looking at this is saying the same thing that I am; why didn't I think of that!
Accessories and Documentation
As stated before, the cooler comes with the AMD mounting bracket pre-installed from the factory. To mount the cooler to an Intel rig you just mount the plastic adapter shown in this picture and the AMD mount connects to this round plastic bracket.
The Core-Contact Freezer also comes with a fan controller that mounts at the back of the case in a PCI space. Installing the cooler was a breeze and everything fit just right. I didn't run into any problems until I tried to dismount the heatsink from a standard AMD AM2 bracket. The clips on the cooler are a tight fit so be sure to get the proper amount of thermalpaste on the CPU, and don't plan to take the cooler off often.
The manual for the cooler was solid. Everything is laid out in a step-by-step fashion and easy to follow along.
TweakTown 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.
The decisive moment for Sunbeamtech's innovative Core-Contact Freezer lays here. Of all of the coolers we have tested, the CCF is the best to date in load temperatures. The shocking part is that the CCF beats the Noctua NH-U12P at load even when in used with two fans. At idle the CCF is only beaten by the Noctua and that is only by a small margin. And when it comes down to it, no one really cares too much about a 2 degree difference at idle unless you are going for the world's fastest overclocked idle processor award.
In the acoustic footprint test the Sunbeamtech Core-Contact Freezer was proven to be very quiet. While we have tested coolers with a lower acoustic footprint, the CCF is relatively quiet for an enthusiast cooler.
By now, you want a Sunbeamtech Core-Contact Freezer and I don't blame you. If not, well I have no idea why because it is a great cooler that performs with some of the best coolers on the market. Getting one is another story. I spent another hour today looking to actually purchase the cooler and came up empty handed.
Lack of availability might lead to the coolers downfall. If you can't actually purchase the product, you can't use it. I am sure that in time Sunbeamtech will get the coolers out to the masses. Sunbeamtech has many retailers that carry their products so it won't be long before the world is swimming in Core-Contact goodness.
Availability problems aside, the construction quality is spot on. I would have liked to have received a sample that was not damaged during shipping. What that really means is that someone needs to work on a better way to protect the cooler during shipping. Since nearly 90% or more of the coolers I have tested over the last ten years came with similar packaging, it is difficult to hit Sunbeamtech with a deduction in score, that is, until it actually happens, like this case.
Brilliant design leads to great performance and the Sunbeamtech Core-Contact Freezer has both. Retail and etail availability are holding this product back so hopefully Sunbeamtech makes this product available before you sacrifice for an available cooler.
PRICING: You can find products similar to this one for sale below.
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