Mythological naming schemes are nothing new in the PC community as of late. A few companies have taken to this and are trying to continue building a virtual "cooling army" of mythological warriors and beasts. Titan is just one of those companies. And my last look at one of their products was when they had sampled the Fenrir CPU cooler. As I said then, I felt that Titan had hit the nail on the head with the Fenrir and did a great job of cooling my T.E.C.C. test bench.
Titan has again allowed me to sample another in their lineup, this time a cooler designed with the LGA1156 i5 and i7 processors in mind. The goal was to keep all the best attributes of the Fenrir cooler and reduce its overall size. The naming of this new cooler is based off the Old Norse name of Skll. Depending on which myth you read, the name refers to either the wolf who chases the horse, which tows the chariot containing the sun across the sky. In another, the name refers to both Fenrir and or his son. Quite appropriate naming of the newest edition.
I'm referring to Titan's Skalli TTC-NC05TZ/NPW (RB) CPU cooler. As I mentioned earlier, the initial plan is to keep the ferocity of the Fenrir, but the Skalli is built on a smaller design overall. I realize off the bat that the Skalli isn't up to the Fenrir's abilities, but let's let the testing decide where the Skalli stands. Enough of the chatter, let's delve into what Titan has to offer us with the Skalli CPU cooler.
Specifications, Availability and Pricing
The Skalli is quite a bit smaller than the Fenrir by dimensions alone. This in turn will leave less surface area to cool because the fins are smaller, too. The Skalli utilizes a relatively quiet 100mm fan to do all the dirty work. This fan blows air across this 56 fin setup to remove the heat that the two, 8mm heat pipes deliver to those fins. Said heat pipes are exposed to the CPU's IHS and are held into position with an aluminum surround. The aluminum block is also where you will find the mounting holes for the various AMD and Intel mounting arrangements. The list at Titan has been condensed in this chart, but let's just say it has the potential to mount to all the typical sockets post AMD socket 745, as long as they don't exceed the 130W limit of the Skalli.
I mentioned that the Skalli was cooled with a 100mm fan. This fan is mounted to the Skalli with a setup I don't run across too often, where the wire fan mounts terminate into the top and bottom fins. Some may think, isn't that going to cause vibrations during operation? My reply is no. Titan took an extra step and inserted rubber grommets into the holes in the fins to keep chatter to a minimum. Going even one step further, as with only a select few manufacturers, Titan has also padded the back of the fan in each mount position to keep the fan off the face of the fins as well.
Titan has been sort of slow on the release of the Skalli. I typically tend to get a cooler sample and shortly thereafter there is the cooler at Newegg or many other quality e-tailers, but not this time. As it stands currently, the Skalli is still planned to be released, but I am unable to find it in any US retail outlet. I do, however, know that the MSRP in the US is said to be a mere $29.99. As we all know, MSRP doesn't always hold all the way through to the e-tailers and I bet through careful searching, you will be able to acquire this cooler for even less.
Titan ships the Skalli in a quite attractive package. I get the image at the top of the front, the trees, as it seems to give that foggy, mysterious feeling that goes along with most legends. The prismatic bit at the bottom is very eye catching, but I can't put a finger on how it applies to the cooler other than it looks good. Titan also leaves a nice window in the front so you may get a quick glimpse of what's inside.
As you can see in the image of the Skalli, this is a more compact cooler design. The specs chart found near the bottom exemplifies this even more.
On the rear of the package you can see a bit more of the entire image, and I see now it's more of a tunnel effect with the trees looming over the top. On top of this image Titan places its top four features here in nine various languages.
Spinning the Titan package around one more time, we see no side is left unadorned with information. This time Titan lays out, very specifically, the processor compatibility with their own 130W cap taken into account.
Opening the box, I was greeted with a plastic, snap together inner packaging. This keeps the Skalli centered in the box during shipping and as you will soon see, did a fine job of getting me my sample safely. As far as "extras", they are shipped (behind the cooler in this image) inside the box as well, just floating freely during shipping. Not to worry, though, the materials in the hardware bag are durable enough to make the trip safely and due to the plastic inner package, never came close to abusing the cooler.
The Titan Skalli TTC-NC05TZ/NPW (RB) CPU Cooler
No doubt about the name of this cooler. Titan has proudly applied a sticker to the centre of the finger guard with the Skalli name over a similar wolf-like image as the Fenrir. The fan and guard are painted silver for a more appealing look, and it also blends very well with the 56 aluminum fins behind it. The Skalli comes ready, out of the box, for Intel LGA1156/LGA1366 application. By removing the two screws in the base, the hardware can easily be swapped out for any of the other "legs".
From the side you can grasp a better idea of just how compact the Skalli is. Most coolers tend to come out to at least the mounting legs. Not this time; Titan feels they have enough cooler to handle the workload.
I wanted to get a good image of the 8mm copper heat pipes and just how gentle the bends are coming from the base. Typically I tend to see kinks or bends in the tubing here, but it tends to look like I am showcasing the legs again. Titan does a nice job of keeping things smooth as the pipes leave the base.
The base of the cooler is what got most of my attention. Most budget minded coolers are exactly that, budget. With that comes some oversights from most manufacturers, but not here. This base is pre-assembled and milled all at once. Testing against a razor proves I was right with liking what I saw. There is virtually no deformation of the base and the gaps between the pipes and the aluminum base are non-existent.
Back in the specifications area I mentioned that Titan had taken measures to fight vibration transfer from fan to cooler; well, here is one of those measures. They actually insert a rubber sleeve into the holes to keep the wires from chattering against the fins where they make contact. These clips are also very easy to use and with a gentle pull allow the bent bits in the hole to come out and the wire mount swings out of the way.
Once the clips are released the fan pretty much falls off the cooler for maintenance cleanings, but it also gives me an opportunity to show the other anti-vibration tactic that is employed here. Each of the four mounting holes is backed with a round rubber pad. This pad absorbs all the pressure of the mounting wire and keeps the fan from rubbing against the front of the coolers fins.
With the 100mm fan removed, we can see Titan didn't do a whole lot with the leading edges of the fins or any "sleight of hand trickery". The Skalli follows most tower coolers in design. Why fix what isn't broken? This is a tried and true design for many companies.
Accessories and Documentation
Since the Skalli is shipped with the 1156/1366 universal legs, there has to be a set to accommodate LGA775 processors. Here they are. Just remove the two screws from the base of the cooler on either side of the base, and then just swap out the legs. Titan also sends a Titan Nano Grease sample with the Skalli.
For AMD you need to remove either set of legs, and set them and the screws aside for now. Now, my cooler came to me a little incomplete, as I didn't seem to get the AMD "pin" that essentially holds this bar into place. In the next image, there is a hole for said pin in the top of the base, it just wasn't in my sample. Now, this bar will set on that pin, and then you latch it into place as any other AMD stock cooler would latch into place. The little clear rubber piece, that is for putting on top of the pin once the cooler is installed.
Here is where the pin should be, right there in the middle. I really scoured my room to find this pin, but I'm pretty sure it was just an oversight. I didn't contact them about it, mainly due to our T.E.C.C. having universal mounting capabilities.
The installation guide is very handy. First off, it made me realize I wasn't crazy when I couldn't figure out how to use the AMD latch. A quick look in here and I soon realized I wasn't so crazy. For the installation aspect, it is very point of fact in writing, but how hard are push-pin coolers to put in anyways? - It's twist, push and listen for a click. Not too tough to figure out.
Test System & Testing Results
Test System & Test Results
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.
When I first got a look at the Skalli, I wasn't too sure it could keep up with our T.E.C.C. test bed. I was, however, pleasantly surprised to see that the Skalli can handle its business. It isn't the best on the list; it actually plays right into the averages. But keep in mind, it isn't all that expensive and is near silent during typical operation.
Silence is key with the Titan Skalli and this chart proves that without a shadow of doubt. Looking myself, I can see only two other coolers on the list that can best it in noise levels. That to me is quite a feat in the sub-120mm fan cooling market.
Titan has really surprised me with the Skalli. I read that they wanted to keep it like the Fenrir. And I'm thinking to myself, that cooler is twice the girth of the Skalli. I now realize that they weren't talking about its cooling ability, as once I dug deeper I saw the 130W limit. This to me says, they must mean "let's keep the appeal and silence from the Fenrir" and offer it on a budget to new AM3 and i5 owners. This seems to be exactly what they have done.
The Skalli is a really nice solution for those with little room in their chassis, or if they don't plan to overclock their rig heavily enough to go much over the 130W cap. The Skalli is near dead silent in idle, and at load it still beats 90% of the competition. With this silence on such a small platform for a cooler, there is a trade off. The performance of the Skalli is a bit lacking in my opinion, but you have to be ready to play the game of give and take in the pursuit of silence.
I didn't really run into anything abnormal during my testing and observation of the Skalli, well, aside from the missing pin, but that didn't thwart my efforts in the least to strap this to our test bed. I do see an issue arising down the line of ownership, though, and that is this. 100mm fans are tough to find as it is, and if you want to upgrade fans without some serious thought, a 120mm is out of the question, and 100mm fan choices are nowhere near as silent as what Titan offers either.
Silence is what I personally like in a PC. My work rig sits within three feet of me while I'm gaming or writing. If I were to run a HTPC or any SFF chassis in my living room, again I wouldn't want the hum of a fan to overplay the subtle sounds in the movie. The silence of the Skalli is a huge selling point to me, and with most HTPC's and SFF builds overclocking isn't always needed. If you fit this mould and need a good, quiet, compact cooling solution, take a look at the Skalli TTC-NC05TZ/NPW (RB).
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