At Computex Thermaltake displayed several new CPU coolers that would be making their way to retail shelves before we start hanging our holiday lights and catch the cheer. Most of the media attention focused on the new Xpressar phase change cooler (which we will be looking at in the coming weeks). Little attention was paid to the products that were fine tuned since their first showing at CeBIT in March. The Thermaltake V14 Pro was one of those products.
The V14 Pro is a redesign of the Thermaltake V1 we reviewed back in December 2007. At the time the V1 proved to dominate the retail coolers from both AMD and Intel and even outperformed the Thermaltake MAX by a small margin in load testing. Since then, Heatpipe Direct Touch (HDT) coolers have emerged as the next great cooling technology and Thermaltake needed to increase performance to stay competitive in the highly contested CPU cooler market.
The Thermaltake V14 Pro was born out of this need and on paper looks to be a contender for dominance in CPU cooler performance. With a massive 140mm fan that is capable of running up to 1600 RPMs, six heatpipes, up from the four used on the V1 and standing an impressive 161mm tall, Thermaltake may just have a contender for the crown of best CPU cooler tested here at TweakTown.
Let's take a closer look at the new V14 Pro to see how it compares to our previously tested CPU coolers.
Specifications, Availability and Pricing
Finding the specifications for the new V14 Pro online is impossible. To my knowledge this is the first time they have been published. As you can imagine, since no one has specifications listed, the V14 Pro isn't for sale yet in the retail or e-tail market. However, I have been told the product is on the way and will arrive shortly. Retail pricing is still being sorted but I would expect the new cooler to retail between 50 to 60 Dollars in the US.
The first thing you notice about the V14 Pro is its size. The V1 was impressive but the V14 is just over the top awesome. Thermaltake used the same Dual-V heatpipe arrangement but increased the size and added two additional pipes. To cool the pipes, 98 large copper fins make up the side walls of the cooler and give the cooler its unique look.
The fan uses a 3-pin power connector and has a user adjustable rheostat, allowing the user to make changes to the fan speed. The fan speed control is close to the base so you do not have to worry about running extra wires all over the place, but it does force users to remove their side panel to change speeds. Personally I would rather do that than worry about where a 2 foot wire is going to go, but others may see it differently.
Thermaltake doesn't waste anyone's time and gets right down to business with the V14. You can see in big bold letters the 140mm is proudly displayed right on the front and the socket application summary is also listed.
The side panel rolls through the features and even has images of the cooler, with a quick shot of the extras included.
The package allows you to see both sides of the cooler and the back shows an image of how the cooler operates.
The full list of specifications is shown on the other side as well as a full break down of what processors can be used with the V14 Pro.
Sliding the package out of the box, we see the cooler is housed in a thermo plastic form fitted area away from the accessories.
The Thermaltake V14 Pro
Users will need to pay close attention to which way they mount the V14 Pro since the front and back look identical. You will want your fan blowing to either the back or top of your case to maximize air flow. Here we see the cooler and how large it is.
A look at the side and we see that four heat pipes are running up one side and two on the other leading to the fins.
I have yet to see a CPU cooler with heatpipes as long as I found on the V14 Pro.
The fan is held in place with a bracket that is attached to the base of the cooler. At first I was worried there may be a vibration issue, but the bracket proved to be strong enough to hold the fan firmly in place, even when running at full speed.
The surface of the cooler is smooth to the touch, but some fine machine marks are visibly present.
Looking down on the fan we see that the blades are very aggressive and should pull a fair amount of air through the cooler. The fan is also fitted with a blue LED system that will light up not only the fan and cooler, but most of your case as well.
Accessories and Documentation
The accessory package appears a tad thin but it does include everything needed to install the cooler right out of the box. I would like to have seen an extension for the rheostat included so that users could mount the control outside of the system, but one was not provided. When it comes to installation you will not need to remove the motherboard to install the V14 Pro on either Intel or AMD based systems and we really enjoy that feature.
The documentation wasn't the greatest but it was still conclusive. More pictures and fewer words work a little better.
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 Thermaltake V14 Pro was able to take the fight to the HDT coolers, but fell a bit short against the mighty MaxOrb EX. The 140mm is able to push more air at fewer revolutions per minute so that should make the fan quieter. Let's have a look and see if that is the case.
Picking up where we left off above, the V14 Pro has a rheostat that allows the user to adjust the fan speed. Per our test procedure, we run with the fan at full speed. As you can see the cooler was very loud at full speed running at 12 volts, but the noise wasn't really from the fan. A couple of the fins were chattering together and it made a heck of a racket.
With the fan speed set to typical user levels the acoustics went down considerably and the temps only raised a couple of degrees; two and a half under load to be exact.
Thermaltake has taken their V-Series cooler to the next level with the V14 Pro. Not only is the new cooler quieter than the previous version, but it cools better. Both coolers appear the same when not next to each other but when together it is clear that the V14 Pro is significantly larger.
The jury is still out on the price of the new V14 Pro since it is technically not available yet and for that matter it isn't even listed on Thermaltake's website. Retail products should show up in the next thirty days or so and with Thermaltake's extensive list of retail and e-tail partners you will be able to purchase the new V14 Pro with ease.
When it comes to performance, the new V14 Pro allows the user to choose the amount of cooling required for the application. Our T.E.C.C. system is based off of an overclocked Kentsfield processor, but with the newer Intel processors running much cooler you are able to dial down the fan a great deal to reduce acoustics and not see much of a temperature increase.
To set it straight, when it comes down to it, if I was in a retail store and trying to choose between the Thermaltake MaxOrb EX and the new V14 Pro, I think I would go for the MaxOrb EX if it fit on my motherboard. The V14 Pro is a better choice for those using motherboards with large north bridge heatsinks since the cooler is taller, but the taller a cooler is the further heat has to travel to be cooled.
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