Thermaltake is a Taiwanese based company with its components in seven countries other than the US. They were established in 1999 which makes this year a decade of service to the PC community. Thermaltake supplies our community with a varied assortment of PC components. From cooling solutions, to power supplies, to case sound deadener; Thermaltake is there to answer most situations. Looking around, Thermaltake's products can be found for sale on most e-tailers and even in your local Radio Shack, so locating their products should be an easy task to accomplish.
Today we have the Thermaltake SpinQ CPU cooler, a unique take on cooler designs of the past. The SpinQ is cooled with an 80mm "squirrel cage" type of fan and this fan not only cools the fins of the cooler but air is drawn in both ends and blown out in all directions across the body of the SpinQ. Obviously this cooler is named SpinQ for a reason. While I'm not too sure on the "Q" part, the "Spin" comes from the 30 twist of each fin, creating an overall spiraled design. This gives the SpinQ a previously unseen design of the body. Very flashy, I must say!
We at TweakTown have reviewed a few of the Orbs and the "V" series coolers which all did pretty well overall. So now I am left with the task of finding out whether this cooler is about flash or function, or perhaps even a good mix of both. It is time to get some images happening and strap the Thermaltake SpinQ to our test rig to see what the verdict is.
Specifications, Availability and Pricing
The SpinQ measures in at a relatively tall, 151mm high. Considering the fin material needed to efficiently remove the heat produced with overclocked processors, the SpinQ does a nice job of maximizing the space involved with the center fan concept, with their innovative "twist" to cooler design. By varying the degree in which the fins are pressed on gives the SpinQ its name. These fins surround an opaque, almost clear fan that is illuminated by blue LED's. With a maximum air pressure of 86.5 CFM at 29dB, this cooler shows promise, but will not be breaking any sound level records in getting the job done.
Thermaltake is a really big name with most e-tailers and this makes the availability of the SpinQ a non-issue. Pasting "Thermaltake SpinQ CPU Cooler" into Google shows over nine pages of places to buy the SpinQ from. On the lower end of the spectrum I found the SpinQ cooler for just $59.99 USD at Newegg. Way on the other end I saw another big name e-tailer with a listed price of almost $73.
Thermaltake sent us over an early sample. This package did not include the i7 mounting hardware that is now included with the retail packaging. I am glad to see another manufacturer that steps up to the plate and "gives" their customers the option, without having to pay extra after already spending good money to get the cooler in the first place.
The SpinQ is packaged in a mostly all white box with a large cut-away to expose the cooler inside. Thermaltake has also included an image of the cooler with the blue LED's on.
The right side of the package has, in ten different languages, a comment that says for full product information you should visit the website.
The back of the box is where Thermaltake has added a lot of information about the SpinQ. The main features are listed, surrounded by images of the SpinQ installed as well as an operation diagram to explain exactly how the cooler works.
The left side of the package contains the specifications and compatibility tables as well as six more images of the SpinQ, again with the LED's active.
Once the SpinQ is removed from the white cardboard box you are greeted with a two piece, snap together, plastic inner "blister" package. Both halves of the package are mirrored off each other and hold the SpinQ in place along with the hardware securely, warding off many shipping "vibrations".
The Thermaltake SpinQ
The Unique nature of Thermaltake's fin design is very apparent from this angle. While cylinder style coolers have been around for some time now, a bit of flash does wonders. The 50 pressed on fins of the SpinQ are aluminium and get their load of heat through plated copper heat-pipes. The heat then gets moved in all directions outward by the "squirrel cage" inspired "blow fan" design.
From the side you can see a bit more on how this cooler functions. The pipes, traveling through the fins is more easily visible. Each fin is punched with 12 holes. The ones that aren't stretched open to surround the heat-pipes work as support for the fins as well as a place to screw in the fan.
It's hard to discern front from back with the SpinQ. Both sides offer their own attractive and unique benefits to being shown. This side could be the front and I really like the look of the Thermaltake fan label peeking through the heat-pipes, while the other side offers the correct view of the "Thermaltake" stamped logo into each fin.
When I first took this image, the plan was to get a close up of the termination of the heat-pipe and how the fins are pressed on over them. When I got to actually looking at what I had captured, I couldn't find a sexier image of the fin design and offset to look at.
Onward past all the flash and on to the business at hand, the base of this cooler has a mirrored finish that is very flat. Note the two screws in place on either side of the base. Removal of these loosens the AMD mounting, aluminium heatsink. I will get more into detail on that in a bit.
Here is a shot at the thick base and those six heat-pipes. Thermaltake has gone the route of soldering them to the base and has done a clean job of it as well. They are mounted securely, as mounting the hardware and such puts stress in that area and it was solid as a rock.
Here we see the heatsink / AMD mounting plate. The usual grooves are milled out to accept the standard AMD style latch. To be honest I don't really consider this much of a heatsink. The lack of TIM and the finish of this plate tends not to lead to great heat transfer, but it does still do that job to a small extent.
Removing three Phillips head screws out of the face of the SpinQ allows for the removal of the 80mm clear fan (illuminates blue when in operation). This makes maintenance of the SpinQ easily taken care of.
The side view of the fan shows that the blow fan is a bit deeper than it is wide, measuring 85mm in depth. While the fan is only supported by the three screws, you can see in the mounting plate a ring that snugly seats inside the aluminium fins.
As you can see here with the close-up of the label, Thermaltake has used Everflow fans. Both the fans ratings and its build date are displayed and easily seen.
The whole time this cooler has been shown, I bet the thought of "why does this cooler have two separate fan leads" has crossed your mind. This image makes that all crystal clear. Thermaltake has the fan wired with a 3-pin power connection, but also includes a fan speed dial. This is a nice added touch to any cooler as setting the fans in the BIOS can sometimes be a pain and having access to a knob to easily adjust it tends to simplify the job.
Accessories and Documentation
The SPinQ comes with quite a bit of reading material. Starting off with the very well written instruction manual, they have repeated in ten various languages. A closer look at the mounting descriptions shows that Thermaltake advises the heat-pipes to be located at the rear of the case. Although with the coolers height and general shape in mind, this cooler could be oriented in all four positions.
Next, Thermaltake includes a fold-out of the warranty information. From what is displayed on this fold-out, Thermaltake CPU coolers carry a two year warranty, of course varying by regional locations. Lastly, is the paper pertaining to Key 3 Spirit. Not only do you get a fancy case badge, but the assurance that Thermaltake sells components to meet the highest standards of all end users.
The SpinQ out of the box is designed to mount to LGA775 and all AMD, socket 754 and newer. You can see at the top, Thermaltake went the way of many others with a simple slip-through and clamp bracket for AMD. The LGA775 mounting is a bit more involved, but it's still as simple as putting four screws into place. Last but not least, Thermaltake also supplies a packet of TIM that will work for two to three applications, just in case the first fit isn't a success.
This last image backs up my claim of the LGA775 mounting simplicity; just as easy as getting a screw to go in the countersunk brackets and tightening them. Once all four are in, the push-pins go right into place to secure the SpinQ.
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 SpinQ does a nice job of keeping the temperatures at bay. An idle temperature of 54.4 Celsius is at or about where the majority of these coolers read. The load temperature of 59.9 Celsius is a bit more impressive. While not the best performer on the list, it does only get bested by six other coolers on the list. This better than average performance puts another plus next to the SpinQ on my checklist.
The SpinQ at idle was humming along at 52db which is above the average by far, but in defense of the SpinQ the "blow fan" design is louder by nature than a standard square case fan. During load testing I could hear the SpinQ through the testing box which is 2" foam. Getting to the meter showed a 69dB rating; which isn't thunderous, but is a bit noisy. Again, not too bad considering the style of this cooler and there is the addition of the flood of blue LED lighting both in the cooler and across the motherboard. Another thing to note is that this cooler blasts the surrounding components in a good breeze by design. Keeping mosfets and other vital overclocking components cool can easily be addressed with this cooler.
Personally, I really like the overall look and design of this Thermaltake SpinQ. From the all shiny silver attire to the "spin" of the fins, to the blue LED centrally located "blow fan", this cooler just has a lot to offer the end user. But while doing a really good job with temperatures and being highly unique in design, I do wish the fan could be a bit quieter at load. I do game a considerable amount with an overclocked CPU. This in mind, I think the cooler would handle the load and look terrific in my case, but the noise level in gaming or heavy CPU loads in general may be a put-off to some. On the flipside of things, I do game with a headset so noise is mostly blocked during my game play anyhow.
The SpinQ will dig into your wallet for around $60 of your hard earned dollars to get one to your house. With the cost of everything going up due to current economic conditions, I feel this is a fair asking price. The performance is above average and only gets noisy at its highest temps and fan speeds. I feel this cooler is worth its cost to add this unique addition to your rig.
My issues with this cooler have already been sorted as I have progressed through this review. At this point it still just leaves me a bit reserved about the "blow fan" design as a whole, not that Thermaltake did anything wrong in their implementation of the tech. It has been my experience, however, that most fans of this nature are loud due to the way the fins cut through the air. There isn't really much that can reduce this noise, but Thermaltake has done a good job selecting one that isn't mind numbingly loud.
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