A couple years back, when I was overclocking on my DFI LP NF4 SLI-DR, I found my Northbridge temperatures to be unbearable. Searching a few forums, I was finding that a bunch of users were getting great results with a specific cooler, the VC-RE VGA cooler. A little skeptical of the whole idea myself, but I had already seen images of the proof, I got on Newegg and ordered one. I have to say one thing; it worked very well with just a bit of modding and dropped the NF4 chipset temp an additional ten degrees Celsius, after a proper lapping to the bottom.
My point is this. That was my first ever experience with Evercool or any of their products. With the performance I gained from that twenty dollar investment, Evercool left me with a pleasant experience in my recollection. Who in their right mind can argue, that an hour of lapping a cooler and a twenty dollar bill can get you so much bang for the buck? I for one was pleased with what value I got for my money and I hope Evercool can keep up with my experiences with their latest submission.
Today I will be taking a look at Evercool's largest cooler to date, the Transformer 4. From what I'm used to seeing from Evercool, their CPU coolers are usually black and red with aluminum fins. This time Evercool takes a departure from the red and black and sends me a cooler with a bit of the "bling" factor added. This time Evercool uses an all silver look to please the crowds. It's time now to get the Transformer 4 out of the box and to the testing at hand!
Specifications, Availability and Pricing
Evercool ships the Transformer 4 with 51 fins surrounding four, 8mm diameter heatpipes. These heatpipes make direct contact with the IHS of the processor and are held in place with an aluminum heatpipe spacer/base plate. The Transformer 4 is shipped with two, silver, 1000 RPM fans that are rated to run at less than 21dBA. Fans included, the Transformer 4 weighs in at 843.5 grams. As you can see there is quite a lot of compatibility with this cooler. The transformer 4 is designed to work on socket 939 and newer AMDs as well as LGA775 and newer on the Intel side.
At this time, the Transformer 4 is not on retail shelves. I asked Evercool directly about their projected release date and was given this reply. "Transformer 4 is already launched in the retail market". Searching through Google I was unable to find anything more than just various news postings on different sites about the Transformer 4's public release. I have yet to even find a full review on the product.
With the cooler not being on any shelves at this point, I really can't price shop it to find a good deal on the cooler. Never fear though, once again I asked Evercool for the MSRP and here is what I received in return. "I'm sorry that I cannot provide the retail price for you. Because different customers have different situations and orders, we provide different price levels to customers then." That being said, it still leaves the readers in the dark and Google shopping is of no help in pricing as all links to sales go to the Evercool Transformer, as far as the US market is concerned.
With Evercool using the all silver motif, I think the black packaging with blue highlights gives the cooler a certain, "pop", in the overall look. Look closely though at the top right of the fins, this cooler was shipped inside of another bigger box as well and neither the outer cardboard box, nor the plastic blister pack show any damage.
The right side of the Transformer 4's packaging has both all the AMD applications that apply, and the bottom shows six key features Evercool wants to stand out in the buyers mind.
The rear of the T4, Evercool starts off at the top with worded descriptions of the features illustrated on the side. The middle of this panel shows three close ups of the mounting for three different socket types. The bottom of this side shows the specifications chart with an illustration of how the Evercool works to the right.
This side just like the other gives you a good look at the fans included. At the bottom of this side though, Evercool used the room to show Intel's supported processors and five images of the Transformer 4.
Carefully cutting three of the sides of the outer plastic with a razor knife, I was able to get the package to open enough to remove the inner support and cooler. The inner support tray nestles the cooler and the "goodie" box in the bottom compartment.
The Evercool Transformer 4 CPU Cooler
After removing the Transformer 4 from the inner package I saw a bit of damage that I had pointed out earlier. After removing the fan on this side where the damage is done, at some point in the coolers life it was pretty bad. Not that this damage isn't fixable, enough to test it at leastl; but I don't think a cooler should arrive damaged in the first place.
This is a slightly different view of what I consider to be the impact zone. I can see how the initial impact made the fan cause the rest of the damage. The box it was shipped in and the plastic blister pack show no damage at all. I can only assume it was boxed damaged before it was even shipped.
After about twenty minutes with a pair of needle-nosed pliers and a bit of re-assembly of the cooler, we are left with a presentable profile of the Transformer 4. At the bottom you get a good look at the beefy 8mm heatpipes. These pipes travel through the aluminum fins. The heat is then blown away by the two silver fans that look good against the aluminum fins and chromes heatpipe caps.
This view of the intake shows that Evercool does a nice job of packing 51 fins into the back of a 120mm fan and still cover most of the fin area. These fans are rated quiet, but to do so they only revolve at 1000 RPM max, with 12V applied to them.
A look at the exhaust shows that even the fans are labelled as I say, quiet and 12volt.
Laying the Transformer 4 down to get a view at the top shows a unique cut to the fins and that the heatpipes are run in a straight line of four to each side. The wire fan clips are very easy to release with less pressure than some of the others I have played with in testing. They are solid in the holding of the fan to the cooler, but are much easier to release for cleaning.
Flipping the cooler over, we get to the business end of things. As you can see, Evercool has gone the way of the heatpipes touching the IHS for better thermal transfer, as did many others. The base is flat and the finishing is sufficiently done.
Here is one last impression of the Transformer 4, in all its glory, ready to be installed on our T.E.C.C. for testing.
Accessories and Documentation
Inside of the white "goodie" box, as I like to refer to it, is all of this hardware. Up top, there are the two back plates for securing the cooler. The left one is the LGA1366 back plate and to the right is the universal K8, AM2, and LGA775 back plate, which is flip-able depending on AMD or Intel use.
Below these and to the left is one of the many baggies you receive. This and the one to the right are washers to place on the motherboard during installation. Between these are four brass mounting spacers that are used for all three mounts on the right hand back plate. These are above the universal top plate that utilizes a groove in both directions to stabilize the cooler better when mounted. The bottom row consists of the supplied thermal compound on the left, four thumb screws for use in mounting the top plate and lastly, four Phillip's head screws that mount the brass spacers to the motherboard.
I looked pretty good for instructions for the Transformer 4 and found none inside the packaging anywhere. However, looking on Evercool's web site, I found they do provide a hosted set of instructions here.
Looking at what they provide there and a bit of basic mechanical aptitude made this cooler a breeze to install. In my opinion, with the packages being labelled for the washers, everything was pretty easy to figure out on my own. The back plate is isolated from the factory, so I assumed the washers go on top of the board and isolate the cooler from the motherboard. Verifying I was correct in my guess in the washer placement, I looked at the site just to be sure. Handy to have instructions readily available on the web site, but if the buyer is dismantling his only rig, how is he to get any help? I would have liked to have seen a set placed in the box as well.
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 temperature results didn't bode so well for the Transformer 4. In order to keep the cooler silent, I feel the Evercool really dropped the CFM on these fans to really low levels. Looking here, at the very bottom is a fan that closely corresponds to the EC12025SL12EA, where the one listed ends with no "A". The one listed runs at 53.4 CFM but also runs at 1400 RPM. I'm just taking a stab in the dark and guesstimating that these fans run in the 40-45 CFM range at 1000 RPM. In my opinion this is too low to sufficiently do a really good job at cooling.
Sound levels were held at a good level with the low RPM choice that Evercool made with the Transformer 4. While not setting any records at these levels, they are certainly respectable. Again, I would have taken a bit more noise in order to gain better performance.
After all the testing and searching for information, I am left with a mediocre feeling about the Tranformer 4. The performance is weaker than the average cooler on the list and with no price to say something cute like, "well the cooler is only $20, so you get what you pay for." I just can't say anything based on bang for the buck. Evercool has pretty much left us in the dark on this matter.
The complaint list on this cooler isn't all that long, but I do need to address a couple issues as I see it. First, I think better packaging techniques are in order. From my look at things, this cooler went into the package damaged. Quality Control in the packaging shouldn't be lax enough to allow this to happen. Secondly, the performance as a whole isn't all that good, even with two fans. I really think 90% of end users would take a bit more noise to keep their processors at a more comforting temperature level. Lastly is the fact that even though the Transfomer 4 is available to the masses, I'm having a really tough time trying to locate one.
With everything all wrapped into one completed package from Evercool, to say the least, I for one am not too impressed. To be blatantly obvious, I wouldn't advise someone to buy this cooler at a $30 price range. For a few more dollars you could step into the Xigmatek line-up or even the Mugen 2 I have just recently reviewed.
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