IntroductionThermaltake has been taking a beating lately in a lot of forums and tech sites for it's Orb line of coolers; and rightly so. The Orb coolers have been the company's mainstay for a while now, but while they may look cool, they don't perform well at all.Now enter the Volcano II unit. Thermaltake decided to go with a more conventional approach to cooling with this model, so I was really looking forward to seeing what this company could really do. I like the idea of the Orbs, but if they don't work then they're useless to me. So when they decided to get back to basics, I was eager to dig right in and check out their newest model.The Volcano II cooler falls into the "Budget" category. You can normally pick these units up pretty cheaply, but before you do, let's find out just how well they can handle the stress of cooling one of the hottest processors on the market...the AMD Thunderbird.
Thermaltake Volcano II -
The Features- The Heatsink
The heatsink of the Volcano II unit measures in at 60mm x 60mm x 42mm. It is made of quality aluminum and is a pretty standard design. The size is very compact, so it fits with no troubles at all onto an Abit KT7 mainboard. It consists of 20 fins that go all the way through the sink, and it has a single cut down the center for the clipping mechanism.The base of the unit came with something that I have come to despise; thermal tape. This has got to be about the most useless material on the face of the planet, but considering that it is being sold as a budget unit, this may account for that decision. It was promptly removed from the bottom of the sink before I even considered installing it to a processor. Another thing that I noticed concerning the base was the small grooves that were present. I had to lap the base down before I could install it so that I could give it as smooth a fit as possible. Grooves in the base will not allow a smooth fit to the core, and will nearly defeat the entire purpose of adding a thermal compound.- The Clipping Mechanism
The clipping mechanism is probably about the worst that I have yet to encounter. The rear lug was no problem, but when it came time to attach the front portion of the clip to the retaining lug of the socket, the fight was on. There is no swivel to the head of the clip at all. The position of it made it extremely difficult to set over the lug, and I ended up having to push down on the small slot while using a small pair of pliers to get the clip to go over the lug. The angle is all wrong on this clip, so be prepared for a fight.- The Fan
The fan on top of the sink was a largish 60mm x 60mm x 25mm in size, but is a very quiet 31.5 dba while putting out 36-CFM of airflow. it's rated at 4500 RPM and attaches to the system by means of a 3-pin connector that hooks into a standard fan header on the motherboard. It also has the third wire that allows you to monitor the fan speed through either the BIOS or a program like SiSoft Sandra.One item that seemed to be missing from this fan is the fan grill. it's a small dig at it, but one that I feel very strongly about. The sound of wires grinding in the fan, or worse, the feel of skin being rapidly separated from your knuckles is reason enough to want this small amenity.I mentioned above that the fan is rated at only 31.5 dba, but to see the numbers doesn't allow you to actually HEAR the quiet. When I started up the system, I opened up the case just to make sure that the fan was actually running. I have been using a lot of sinks with the Delta, so am used to the loud noise of these fans. It was quite startling to hear nothing coming from the HSF, but was a very nice change of pace.So...how well does it actually cool you ask? let's find out!
Thermaltake Volcano II -
TestingI ran a small series of tests on the unit to see how well it performed on both a standard speed system and an overclocked one. The base system consisted of:- Antec SX1030 Tower Case- Abit KT7 (non-RAID)- Thunderbird 1000- Arctic Silver Thermal Compound- 256MB PC133 CAS2 SDRAM- Creative Annihilator2 GTS w/ 32MB- Sound Blaster Live- Western Digital 20.5GB @ 7200 rpmI ran the tests with the processor clocked to 1000MHz and then again at 1100MHz. The overclocking was done by FSB settings to try to create a hotter processor. This gave results that showed how well it performs under both normal and excessive conditions. The testing itself consisted of monitoring the processor temperatures when the system was idle, after a heavy deathmatch of Quake3, and then after a looping of the demo included in 3dMark2001.Editor's Note: Sorry if this paragraph is getting old, but I am keeping the tests very consistent for all of the heatsinks that I'm testing. This will allow for a future roundup that is completely fair to all the units involved.- 1000MHz
I had really hoped that Thermaltake had gotten their stuff together, but it seems that I was mistaken. While the temperatures listed above aren't horrid, they are far from being acceptable if you have any plans of overclocking in your future. One thing of note, however, is the fact that this standard style of heatsink ran from 3-4C cooler than the Super Mini Orb cooler that was designed for the KT7 boards.ConclusionWhile I had held high hopes for this heatsink, I was let down by the fact that it is not that effective of a cooler. For about $3.00 less, you can go over to the Overclockerz Store and pick up one of their budget HSF units (The Glacier 2), and get yourself another 3C cooler. I understand that this is a "Budget" cooler, but if it can't perform against its competition, then it's really hard for me to recommend it.And if you have any plans of overclocking in your future, then do yourself a huge favor and look elsewhere for your cooling needs. While this unit does not fall to the very bottom of the pile, it's not that far off. I also feel that it's safe to say that the 1.5 GHz rating that they give themselves is just a tad off the mark. The test system didn't go above 1.1 GHz and the unit had a hard time trying to keep up with that.Bottom line...If you only have a few dollars to spend and absolutely need a cooler for a non-aggressive, non-overclocked system, then this unit will suffice for at least a bit. If you want to push your system even a little bit, though, look for a better cooler.Pros- Very quiet- Cheap price- Perfect sizeCons- Ineffective cooling- No fan grill- Terrible clipping mechanismRating - 6/10
Last updated: Jun 16, 2020 at 04:31 pm CDT
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