The best part about my job is finding a diamond in the rough. While it isn't to seek out new life and new civilizations, days like the one I spoke with the folks at Zaward are rewarding. To be fair, Zaward has offices all over the globe, just not in the US, so a large percentage of TweakTown readers may already be hip to the company. But the US market and myself have, for the most part, never heard of Zaward.
Being new is much different than doing new. Zaward's Gyre CPU cooler is new in action. The cooler features HDT, but that is hardly anything fresh at this point. But what is innovative is the design of the cooler, how it operates and the extent of engineering that went into the fan.
By the time we finish this article the extent of engineering that went into the Gyre will be revealed, but it is important to remember that going against the mainstream doesn't always net better results in performance. We will have to dig deeper to see if that is the case here.
Specifications, Availability and Pricing
The Zaward Gyre is an equal opportunity cooler capable of mounting all Socket 775 processors from Intel and all AMD sockets going back to 754. On the other side of the time table, Intel's latest and greatest is listed as are their hottest. Testing will show if processors like the quad core Extreme Editions are suitable for use with the Gyre.
The cooler is roughly 125mm square and 135mm tall. Three 8mm heat pipes are arranged in the typical U shape and run from a copper base (that is actually the heat pipes) to aluminum fins. This is where traditional goes south and innovation comes in. The fan is mounted on the top of the cooler, facing your case side panel. Air is blown down through a plastic shroud where fins redirect it through the cooling fins. I can think of two reasons why this method is better and one that may offset the advantage.
Fans have a dead spot behind the central mass where the magnets are placed and air is not pushed in this area. The real problem is the placement of the dead spot, directly in the middle of the cooler, right above the CPU core on down draft coolers, right where you want more airflow. On the new upright CPU coolers, the dead spot is in the middle again, but since you are relying on heat pipes to distribute that heat the effect of the dead spot is reduced. The Gyre takes the fans dead spot out of the picture and routes air to all of the fins with the aid of a plastic shroud.
The next benefit is also the downfall and without getting out all of the university books from the attic, the explanation will be dumbed down. If you are an engineer please understand that this is a technology website and not a place for me to get flamed for my understanding of physics.
On the benefit side, when compressed air changes direction it loses a percentage of audible noise. A good example would be a muffler on your car or a silencer on a gun. As air is forced to change direction 90 degrees inside of the Gyre shroud, it will lose some acoustic noise making the cooler quieter overall.
When air changes directions, its velocity is reduced and backpressure is built. When the new air from the fan is pumped into the shroud, the increased pressure makes the fan rotate slower and move less air.
All in all, we are only talking about a 120mm fan that is moving a relatively small amount of air when compared to an automobile engine or the pressures found in a .308 rifle. Still, the principals are the same.
Zaward is currently looking for a US distributer so availability in the US is very limited until such time. In Europe the Gyre will set you back right around 39 and I would expect a similar price in the US market.
The first thing you will notice is the size of the box which is quite large compared to some of the other coolers we have looked at over the past weeks. The Gyre package has a window that gives a clear eye shot to the fan.
The side of the box lists specifications and CPU compatibility. A few images of the cooler are also present on this side.
The back of the package gives us a clear view of the HDT cooling.
The other side lists the features and a diagram of how the cooler works.
Once removed from the box we see that the cooler is packed in a molded plastic case that protects the cooler from damage during shipping.
The Zaward Gyre ZCJ010
The cooler is quite large, almost 135mm square. From this view you can see the blue LEDs that are embedded into the 120mm fan. The cooler comes from the factory with Intel mounting hardware installed, but this can be swapped out for AMD hardware found in the accessory bag.
Moving on, the base of the cooler is made of the copper heat pipes and an aluminum bracket to support the pipes and hold them in place.
The fan on the Gyre is a little different than most. The golf ball like holes are on both sides of the fan blade and are said to reduce audible noise from the fan.
With the fan off of the cooler we see the plastic shroud that directs air through the aluminum fins.
With the cooler removed from the shroud we get a better look at the plastic fins that route air through the cooler.
The fins are typical of modern CPU coolers, aluminum and spaced a couple of millimeters apart.
Accessories and Documentation
The L shaped screw driver is used to mount the cooler to Intel processor motherboards and a very useful tool that you will not want to lose. For Intel installation you will need to remove your motherboard from the case and that is something I tend to frown on. On the AMD side of things your work is much easier, just mount the cooler to the stock bracket and you are done. Zaward includes a tube of thermal paste with the cooler.
The manual is written very well and guides the user through installation with images and a description of each step in the process.
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.
With idle and load temperatures so close together, we see that the PWM fan does a good job of changing RPMs to meet the need. The overall performance of the Gyre is decent, but nothing special. To compare it to other coolers the Gyre performs similar to the Xigmatek 92mm cooler.
In the acoustic test we see that the Gyre is actually very quiet when compared to other coolers and much better than the stock Intel and AMD coolers.
I spoke with Zaward about the test results the day after they were run to get their take on the performance. I also took the opportunity to dive into the engineering of the cooler and have to say that I am impressed with the company and how they plan on engineering coolers. The Gyre may be the first highly engineered cooler from the company, but I can tell you with certainty it will not be the last.
The Gyres performance is average for its price range, but other products perform better. I think if the cooler was matched with a stronger fan we would see cooling performance improve by a significant margin. But at the same time, acoustic performance would suffer. The Gyre is a much better product than the stock coolers from Intel and AMD.
When it comes to pricing, the 40 Dollar market is getting saturated with contenders, but the real story is in the availability. Zaward is a small company compared to Cooler Master, Thermaltake and even Xigmatek so their product availability is limited at this time. I suspect this will change over the course of the next year and by that time Zaward will have a new contender for enthusiasts.
For now Zaward is mainly looking for feedback to their engineering and want to hear from reviewers and those lucky enough to find the products in retail. The company is looking to fine tune the products and prepare for their next big launch.
The Zaward Gyre is over engineered but this is not a market where we consider this a bad thing. Further refinements are needed before we can recommend the cooler for enthusiasts, but keep an eye out on this company as we are expecting good things from them in the future.
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