Dr. Thermal TI-V77N HSF Review

Remember a little while back when we raved at the retention system of the Dr. Thermal TI-V86N HSF? Well there's another model running around, and this time it features a larger footprint and fan to help in those cooling chores. So come join Mike "Darthtanion" Wright as he takes a closer look at the Dr. Thermal TI-V77N HSF. It's time to see if it has what it takes to be a part of your overclocked system.
Published Tue, Jan 29 2002 11:00 PM CST   |   Updated Tue, Apr 7 2020 12:25 PM CDT
Rating: 85%Manufacturer: Thermal Integration Technology, Inc.

TI-V77N -

IntroductionThermal Integration is a relatively new company that is beginning to take the cooling realm by storm. Though they have only been around for less than a year, they have already made a name for themselves due to a revolutionary new retention system for heatsinks. Add to that a cooler that works well, and you can see why there's a lot of buzz going around about them.We recently tested out the TI-V86N sink that they offer, and it managed to garner our Editor's Choice Award. But that doesn't mean a whole lot when it comes time to check out a new model; namely the TI-V77N that we'll be taking a look at today.So what are we waiting for? Lets see what makes this new cooler tick...

TI-V77N -

The Heatsink
The heatsink of the V77 series cooler is an aluminum unit with a central pillar of copper. It measures in at 74mm x 74mm x 62mm. It features an unusual fin design in that they radiate outward in all directions. The design is similar to the V86 series, but carries a bit larger footprint. It also weighs in at 315 grams (just a shade more than it's smaller brother), so will provide plenty of mass to take care of the cooling needs of today's Thunderbird processors.Something that is nice with this design of heatsink is the fact that the base of the unit isn't a solid piece of metal. Those fins you see above go all the way through the cooler. This will help with airflow to the entire surface area of the processor instead of just cooling the metal that is in direct contact with the core.The Base
As seen on the base above, the cooler comes with a thermal pad in place. While this is pretty much useless to the hardcore computer enthusiast, it does help to protect the processor of those who are novices at the system building game. In this modern day of frivolous lawsuits, it is a very good idea to take precautions like this.But, of course, as soon as I saw it, I took a razor to it. It was removed easily and left no residue behind. Only a smooth copper core that was very smooth and ready for the business at hand.For those who have been looking at the Dr. Thermal line of coolers, you may have seen an issue of the core not resting centered over the processor core. This unit proved to suffer the same problem, but even so, it doesn't seem to affect the cooling prowess of the heatsink. Perhaps the engineers could get this straightened out in the future?The Fan
The fan used on the V77 cooler is a brand that I am not familiar with at all. Maybe because of the 70mm size, the normal YS Tech brand wasn't available? I'm not sure, but the fan itself is a hefty 70mm x 70mm x 25mm. It is rated at 41-CFM airflow at a tolerable 42 dBA and spins at 5000 RPM. It also has the split Molex connectors so that you can plug it into the power source from the PSU and still have a 3-pin connector to hook to the motherboard to allow for monitoring of the fan speeds.The bad news? A 5000 RPM monster of a fan that has no fan grill. Whether it is fingers or internal wiring, there just needs to be something in place to offer some protection from the fan.The Clipping Mechanism
Now for my favorite feature of all; the retention system used by the Dr. Thermal line of coolers. If only all manufacturers would create something this nice, the whole fear factor of crushing an Athlon core would be ancient history!While the clip above looks pretty basic, the real beauty of the system only becomes apparent when we look at the entire thing. So let's see what it is that makes it such a masterpiece...
Now that we can see the whole picture, you'll notice that the retention system has a lever that will allow for the application of pressure when the handle is locked into place beside the shroud. The way it works is simplicity itself. When attaching the clips to the socket, they go on with very little pressure. Once the sink has both clips over the lugs, then the handle is locked into the fan shroud. This applies approx. 19 lbs. of pressure straight down onto the core of the processor. Not only does this make for a very easily installation of the cooler, but it also makes it nearly impossible to do damage to the delicate core of the processor.

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TestingNow that we have all the technical stuff out of the way, it's time to get down to some hardcore numbers. After all, we buy a heatsink for the cooling potential, don't we? Here's what the test system consists of: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 21.6C (about 71F) 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.- Idle (Celsius)
- Quake III Arena (Celsius)
- 3dMark2001 Demo Loop (Celsius)
I was a bit surprised to see that the V77 series heatsinks were outperformed by their little brother (the V86 series), but it still managed to show a very respectable result. The OCZ Gladiator had been reigning champion for some time, and the TI-V77N was still able to come in a bit ahead of that standard. So what it all boils down to is the fact that this heatsink manages to be competitive when it comes to outright cooling power.Something else of note is the fact that the sound of this cooler doesn't force you out of the room. While you can hear the fan, it's not overpowering, nor is it the ear-piercing scream of the Delta units. It is a very tolerable noise and doesn't hinder you while working or gaming.

TI-V77N -

ConclusionWhile this heatsink isn't the best on the market, it does manage to keep your system at a very tolerable temperature even when you try to torture it. Add to this the reasonably quiet noise levels of the fan and a retention system that will make you drool, and you've got a good choice for some good cooling.But I am still just a little concerned about the copper core of the sink not being centered over the processor. While it doesn't seem to hinder the performance, it just doesn't seem quite right. Besides, I'd be willing to bet that once this manufacturing flaw is worked out of the unit, that it may even cool better than before!Price wise, the Dr. Thermal line is right in the ballpark of other coolers. It's priced at US$29, so is not overly expensive. I would prefer to see the YS Tech fan on this cooler, but that is really a small thing.Bottom line...If you're looking for a cooler that is capable of handling the workload of an aggressively overclocked system, and also like the idea of never having to be afraid of cracking the core again, then take a look at this heatsink. It can handle the hot work and the retention system is a dream come true.- Pros70mm fanRetention system is outstandingReasonably quiet- ConsNo fan grillNo-name fanHeatsink not centered over processor coreRating - 8.5/10

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