In just under two years of reviewing coolers for TweakTown, I have only personally reviewed one of the products from SilenX thus far. Just over two years ago, Chris Ram looked at the iXtrema IXC-120HA2, and it seems to have done very well, especially for its day and what was available at the time. Then there was the iXtrema Pro IXG-80HA2 graphics card cooler. This cooler was a success in both low noise production and good temperatures over the stock cooler when I tested it. However, the mounting was a bit "iffy" and it warped my card when tightened as directed. So with one good experience for Chris, and a not so bad experience with my GPU cooler, I'm hoping things this time go a little better.
I am pleased to say everything went well and I now have the pleasure of bringing you a near silent CPU cooling solution that delivers good performance and won't hit that hard in the wallet when you go to buy one. What you may notice along the way is that this cooler looks oddly familiar. It should; aside from a few minor tweaks it is very similar to the XtremeGear HP-1216. The major difference of course is the noise levels. The XG used a loud fan to get its results, where SilenX chose a more quiet solution, or in their words, "Extreme Silent".
Today we will be taking a close look at the SilenX iXtrema EFFIZIO EFZ-120HA4 Extreme Silent CPU cooler. I know that is a ton to remember when calling out this cooler by name, so from here on out I will refer to it as the EFZ-120HA4 to keep things short and simple. Hopefully, by strapping SilenX's latest submission to our T.E.C.C. test system, I can tell you whether or not you need to remember the rest. Signs are already pointing towards the fact you might want to practice saying it. You might just end up buying one after this is all said and done.
Specifications, Availability and PricingSpecifications, Availability and Pricing
The EFZ-120HA4 is fashioned like a typical tower style cooler. At the base you will find an aluminum plate holding five 8mm heatpipes that are milled flat and make direct contact with the CPU. Heat then has two options; travel into the Aluminum pre-cooler on the top of the base or it can continue up the five heatpipes on either side. It is then up to the forty-six, 0.45mm thick, aluminum pressed on fins to absorb the heat from the pipes and allow the EFZ-12025-HSF fan to do its job.
Speaking of fans, I was sent two different fans to test the EFZ-120HA4. Of course, there is the EFZ-12025-HSF that comes in the box. This fan can operate in the range of 5V to 12V, and offers up to 102CFM at less than 18dBA noise levels. They also had sent me an IXP-74-09 fan for testing. This fan offers the user up to 38CFM at around 9 dBA, but operates between 8V and 14V. From what I have seen so far, with the fan included in the box, I don't really see a need to drop down to 9 dBA, but to some it might just matter. For me the EFZ-12025HSF in conjunction with a fan controller can offer the same low end as the second fan they included for my testing.
This SilenX cooler is pretty fresh on the market, but that doesn't mean it isn't readily available. Searching via Google shows a couple locations in the U.S. where it can be purchased. Pricing will average around the $40 USD mark; well below my $50 cutoff. With that said, the SilenX boasts extreme silence, and not at an extreme price tag. Price and silence out of the way, it is definitely time to get a closer look at the EFZ-120HA4 and see how well the efficiency of this cooler holds up to the rest.
SilenX packages the EFZ-120HA4 in an all green box. The front has a cut out to allow a quick look at the fins and the top of the base. The package itself states not only that this cooler can operate under 18 dBA, but can hold its own on any system, overclocked or not.
The side mentions three key features that allow the EFZ-120HA4 to be able to do its job more efficiently. First there is the five, 8mm heat pipes that do make direct contact to the processor. The second is the design of the fan, and the third is its universal mounting that can be installed quickly and easily.
The back of the box is a bit more plain, but it does have all the logos for each processor type the EFZ-120HA4 can mount to.
On the last side, SilenX starts out with the message that the case you are using needs 155mm of clearance for the EFZ-120HA4 to fit. Below this you will find both the specifications chart, and a more defined list of acceptable processors this will mount to.
Popping the top on the box, you are immediately greeted by the hardware box. Simply put a finger in the hole and lift it out of your way to gain access to the cooler itself.
A plastic, snap together enclosure secures the EFZ-120HA4 during shipping. Both the fan and the cooler ride together in this packaging, but neither showed an ounce of abrasion or damage in this configuration.
The SilenX iXtrema EFFIZIO EFZ-120HA4 Extreme Silent CPU CoolerThe SilenX iXtrema EFFIZIO EFZ-120HA4 Extreme Silent CPU Cooler
Looking at the inbound side of the SilenX, we can see the stack of forty-six fins that are press fit over the five "U" shaped heat pipes. When the heat pipes leave the base they are bent to line up in a chevron pattern at the top and through the fins.
Getting a bit closer, we can discuss the aluminium pre-cooler that tops the base. The base not only offers heat a quick escape, but it also holds the five 8mm heat pipes to the processor. With the universal plate that is already mounted to the base, the EFZ-120HA4 is all ready to go with any supported processor.
From the side we can see that SilenX kept the sides of this cooler closed to more efficiently use all of the air provided by the fan. This feature seems only obvious, as a lot of coolers I test allow quite a bit of the air flow to escape.
From this angle we can see where the EFZ-120HA4 differs from the HP-1216. The shape of the fins is the most notable change. While it is a subtle difference, from what I saw, this edge pattern is superior to that of the HP-1216. SilenX did keep the dimpled texture on the fins, which disturbs the air and allows for better heat transfer over a flat fin.
As with most heat pipe coolers that make direct contact to a processor, the SilenX has small gaps along each pipe. These will tend to "absorb" more TIM than a cooler with a flat bottom, so keep that in mind. The rest of the base is milled together and left very level.
The included fan has nine white blades with a black frame. This fan is listed to run from 800-2000 RPM and can push up to 102 CFM at maximum speed. All of this is accomplished while virtually you will hear very little and SilenX's rating of less than 18dBA isn't too far off.
A little bit of a close up of the fans sticker to show all the ratings SilenX has for the EFZ12025-HSF.
With one fan installed, this is how it will look. Inside, SilenX ships the cooler with enough fan mounts to be able to achieve a push/pull configuration, if you buy another fan.
Here is an option for the EFZ-120HA4, and that is the IXP-74-09 fan. Now, this fan does boast a much lower noise level, but with that comes a drop of CFM from 102 of the included fan to the 38 CFM this one can ultimately put out.
A close up of this fans specifications is due as well.
Accessories and DocumentationAccessories and Documentation
Standing up in the back is the universal back plate and it is clearly marked as to which holes are for each socket type. There are two additional pieces to be used with an AMD set up with four screws, washers and thumbscrews for mounting.
The rest of the mounting hardware is here in the front. Eight more washers, thin thumbscrews, and tensioning thumbscrews with springs for the top of four of the five included all thread screws. Along with all the mounting goodies, SilenX includes a fan controller, some double sided foam to mount it, some thermal grease, and eight fan mounts finish up the kit.
Since I have had experience with this cooler mounting before, I didn't need to use the booklet, but I did make sure to look it over. I found the instructions are well written with images to help point out what the text is explaining. As the box said, it should take you less than ten minutes to get the EFZ-120HA4 installed.
Test System & Testing ResultsTest 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.
The idle temperature of the EFZ-120HA4 is almost five degrees off the leader here, but stands well against most of the competition. Considering most of the ones listed above, the SilenX as you will soon see does it with a lot less noise.
At full load with the T.E.C.C. at the top end setting and the fan at full speed, the SilenX is still holding its own. Nothing overly special at this point, but make sure you see the next two charts!
Here is where the SilenX EFZ-120HA4 comes into its own. This is the most silent cooling solution I have yet to test. Granted, this is only idle testing, but the fan is just slightly audible at near 800 RPM.
At full load, the EFZ-12025-HSF is very impressive. While the temperatures were more average in the listings, at 2000 RPM I was shocked at the silence. With all of this info in mind, this is a very good cooling solution for those who don't tolerate loud fans.
Final ThoughtsFinal Thoughts
For starters, I would like to say there is no need to test this cooler with the secondary fan they had shipped to me. I did do the testing for the numbers, and while the fan is even less noticeable to the ear, the performance of the EFZ-120HA4 goes down. To give you a basic idea, while the cooler only shows a 1.1 degree difference at idle, that gap move to 2.4 degrees at load. Now while these are still acceptable numbers for such a silent cooling solution, I seriously think it isn't even a choice worth considering. I say this since SilenX included a fan controller and you can set the speed at its minimum, and get very close results as the IFX-74-09 produced. Allowing the fan to work via PWM is the better choice because even at a full 2000 RPM, this is a silent cooler!
I mentioned that we had already seen a variant of this cooler before in the HP-1216 from XtremeGear. Back then, silence wasn't the main drive of the design, and the fan included then was rated a bit lower. This time around SilenX makes sure silence is the key, and even beats out its predecessor in both temperatures and noise levels. Performing averagely in the temperature range isn't considered a failure here in my mind at all. Every cooler around the SilenX, let's say the five above or below in the listing, most will make your ear go numb under normal gaming. With the EFZ-120HA4 this is definitely not the case.
The second biggest selling point of the EFZ-120HA4 is its price tag. I'm glad to see that you can get both silence and good cooling efficiency in a cooler that sells under that magic $50 mark. Silence to me is of utmost importance, and is most of the reason I went to water cooling in the first place. Coolers like this SilenX EFZ-120HA4 offer a great base unit that is very efficient at ridding itself of heat, and shipped with one of the quietest fans I have ever personally tested. Considering how wide spread the competition is right around this cooler in our charts, it comes in at, or very near their pricing, while in my mind offering a much user friendly choice of fans. For around the $40 USD price point, I have to say this is a very viable solution to cure the loud fan overclocking blues, and still have money left over to buy something else.
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