Cooler Master HSC-V83 X-Dream SE HSF Review

It wasn't too long ago that we looked at the Cooler Master X-Dream heatsink. It showed a lot of promise and wasn't nearly as loud as some of the others on the market. But what happens when they decide to take this same design and make it out of copper? Come join Mike "Darthtanion" Wright as he takes a look at the new Cooler Master X-Dream SE and gives you an answer to this very question!
Published Thu, Mar 27 2003 11:00 PM CST   |   Updated Tue, Apr 7 2020 12:25 PM CDT
Rating: 95%Manufacturer: Cooler Master

X-Dream SE - Introduction

IntroductionIt wasn't long ago that we had a look at the Cooler Master X-Dream HSF and we were impressed by the performance that it was able to achieve. But since that just wasn't good enough, the folks from Cooler Master decided to take this new design one step further and they made it all copper. Introducing the X-Dream SE HSF.Cooler Master is a Japanese company that has been in the cooling business since 1992. Not only do they make performance minded coolers like the X-Dream series, but they are also one of the larger OEM heatsink manufacturers as well. It is not uncommon at all to open up a case and see their name emblazoned on the fans inside.But past history aside, our goal today is to see firsthand whether or not this new sink has what it takes to lay claim to the X-Dream name. The original one was quite good, so lets see if the same holds true for the younger brother.

X-Dream SE - The Cooler

The X-Dream - Part Deux
Like I had mentioned in the introduction, this younger brother has been remade out of copper. If you'll remember, the original X-Dream was an aluminum sink with a round copper insert in the base. While the results were excellent, this all copper design should show some promise.
Here is a little better look at just the heatsink of the SE. This is where another improvement comes into play as well. There are a lot more fins employed in this newer model. This will create a larger surface area for heat dissipation, so should work out nicely. In terms of size, the sink measures in at 80mm x 69mm x 45mm and is also hefty to boot.
Another feature of the heatsink is the "Skived Fin Technology" used in the manufacture of the SE model. Most copper heatsinks use some method to attach the fins to the base of the sink. This intermediary material will generally reduce the ability to dissipate heat. Not by a great amount, but it does make a difference. The Skiving term used here indicates that the sink is actually carved out of a single piece of copper. Since the fins are a real part of the base, there is no loss of the ability to transfer heat. This should help even more for our overall testing results.
The base of the SE model cooler is very smooth. It doesn't have that mirror finish that some companies add to their coolers, but it won't take much effort to get it that way. We will, of course, be testing it in the condition that it is sold, but if you want that polished look, you won't have to put any real effort into achieving it.
The clipping mechanism used on the SE looks to be identical to the one used on the original X-Dream cooler. While it is simple to use and requires no tools or real effort, the metal is just a bit too flimsy. If you're the type who is removing the heatsink every so often, then you might find yourself trying to contact Cooler Master for a replacement. It bends entirely too easily.
The fan used in this monster is one of Cooler Master's own models. It measures in at 80mm x 80mm x 25mm, spins between 2,000RPM and 4,800RPM creating a maximum airflow of 62-CFM. Though decibel ratings were not available, I can say that at high speed the fan puts out less noise than the Thermaltake Smart Fan II. You can hear it, but it isn't terribly overpowering.But why have a normal looking fan when you have an all copper cooler?
Sometimes it is the small things that can help make a difference. This, folks, is what they mean by attention to detail.
As you may have guessed by the stats given for the fan, this HSF features an adjustable speed fan. But the adjustments in this model are done by the user, and not by some idiotic thermal probe. I have found all too often that when the probed fans are used in a case with good airflow, the fan speeds never even get close to their maximum potential. This little addition allows YOU to decide how fast you want the fans to spin; not some little dumb probe.
But what if you want to be able to access this adjustment without having to dig around to the back of the machine (like in the case of the original X-Dream)?Well, that's not a problem either. Our friends have kindly given you a choice in how to mount your little switch. You can either use the PCI slot plate (included) to mount it to the rear of the enclosure, or you can opt for the 3.5" drive bay plate (also included) that allows you to mount it into an empty 3.5" bay slot. The choice is entirely up to you so you can use whatever suits your personal needs.

X-Dream SE - Testing

TestingWhen it comes to cooling, it always comes down to numbers, doesn't it? But then, that is what the enthusiast is really after; effective cooling that will allow the best overclock possible. While water and phase change coolers will always give better results, there is still a large group that stick to air cooling methods. While the results aren't as promising as alternative methods, they are a good deal safer to use and have a much lower failure rating where processors are concerned.The tests performed on this cooler will follow my standard guidelines for determining cooling performance on a heatsink. This will consist of measuring the temperature at idle, after a grueling Quake III Deathmatch, and finally after a looping run of the 3DMark2001 Demo. Once these results have been tallied, I'll boost the FSB to 145MHz and run the tests again. While not an aggressive overclock, it will serve to show how well this cooler does under both normal and overclocked conditions. Ambient air temperature is a stable 21C throughout tests and voltages are set at 1.8v for the processor and 2.6v for the memory.But before we start looking at the results, it might be a good idea to see what the test bed system consists of...Xoxide modified Lian-Li PC60 CaseEPoX 8K9A2 MotherboardAMD Athlon XP 1800+ Processor512MB Crucial PC2700 DDR MemorynVidia Reference Ti4200Seagate Barracuda 40GB Hard DriveArctic Silver IIIA final note: Each set of test results below will have two graphs shown. The top graph will be the default speed results and the bottom graph will show overclocked results. I just want to make sure that there isn't any confusion here, though the numbers should speak for themselves.Results - Idle
Between the all copper design, the increased amount of fins and the Skiving Fin Technology, the X-Dream SE is setting a high standard. Beating out the older brother bodes well for its inheritance of the namesake. But what happens when we add a little stress to the picture?Results - Quake III Arena Deathmatch
All right, so a little stress didn't make any difference. The SE model is still knocking out the competition with a slow methodical sureness. We'll give it a final go with the 3DMark Demo Loop to see if it can win across the board.Results - 3DMark2001 Demo Loop
It certainly looks as if we have a clean sweep here. With the final results tallied, the new X-Dream SE cooler makes it a certainty that the name it took on was well earned. It should also be noted that while I didn't include the results of the Swiftech cooler (it does tend to be in a class by itself in terms of air cooling), the results of the SE model tested today were either tied with the MCX-462+ or within a single degree. This says a lot about the cooling prowess of the Cooler Master X-Dream SE.

X-Dream SE - Conclusion

ConclusionWell, I must say that I was impressed by the level of performance that was displayed today. And when you consider that the Cooler Master line generally costs far less than some of the other available options, it makes the picture look even sweeter. Though unavailable yet due to the newness of the SE version, the original was being sold for about US$12-15, so expect a similarly priced new edition. A little higher is expected since it is all copper, but it won't be nearly the level of your standard high-end cooling solution.But even though it performed admirably, it is still plagued by that flimsy clipping mechanism. While this may not be a problem for some folks, it can certainly lead me to the edge since I am always playing around with something inside the case. This often leads to the removal and reinstallation of the processor, so the sink needs to come off. It should be such a simple thing to get squared away, so lets hope it gets fixed soon.Bottom line... If you happen to be in the market for a quality HSF but don't have a lot of cash at your disposal, then take a long, hard look at the Cooler Master X-Dream SE. It has nearly everything you could possibly want in a heatsink and performs as well as coolers that sell for twice the money. Excellent job Cooler Master!- ProsSuperb coolingAll copper designSkiving Fin TechnologyAdjustable fan speedsChoice of fan speed adjustment locationsAffordable (expected)- ConsFlimsy clipping mechanismStill a bit noisy at high speedRating - 9.5/10 and TweakTown's Editors Choice Award

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