Really out of nowhere, I got an email from a marketing representative that asked that we make contact with DEEPCOOL because they wanted to showcase some of their products on TweakTown. After a few emails back and forth about what sort of a test system I was using, and what sort of coolers we typically look at, the conversation ended with a pair of products being delivered. One of those is a laptop cooler with speakers built into it that we will be looking at very soon, but the other is a very well priced, stock cooler replacement for both AMD and Intel builds, and that is what we are here to discuss.
For those of you that are unaware of the DEEPCOOL name and company, let me give you a bit of history. They jumped into the market in 1996 originally only making server coolers and coolers for ODM partners. Since that time, with a bit of exposure, DEEPCOOL is now a widely known name in this game. The company prides itself on being ECO-friendly, professional, innovative, quality control, and the fact that they are constantly updating to fit the needs of the latest offerings in the PC marketplace. A little fun fact while we are on the history lesson. The name DEEPCOOL is a spin on the old IBM program Deep Blue. They figured since PCs were the way of the future, they want to be as successful as that program was in its time.
Today we are looking at a tower cooler from their long established GAMMAXX series of CPU coolers. The basic idea is to offer a stock replacement cooler that will afford users more room in thermal results if they live in warmer climates or want to try their hand at a minimal overclock. They also kept the price point way down to make this latest cooler affordable to the masses, and are a perfect solution for those who do a lot of mid-range builds. The last thing offered in these coolers is the fact that you will also have much less noise to deal with than would be found in a stock cooler.
With this in mind, let me introduce to you the DEEPCOOL GAMMAX S40 CPU cooler that we are testing today on the next page.
Specifications, Availability and Pricing
As you can see above, the GAMMAXX S40 will accommodate just about any CPU currently on the market with a TDP less than 130W. In the listings you will find generic listings of CPU types rather than the individual processors. This is because the stock TDP of all of the processors listed fall below the ratings at the top. Once you try to apply an overclock, depending on how high you go, results of your own thermal testing may get a bit out of hand. As I mentioned before, these are stock replacement solutions, but with this sort of a rating, you could take a low-end chip and have plenty of room to push things as far as clock are concerned.
The cooler body is comprised of 41 natural aluminum fins that get pressed over four copper heat pipes that have been nickel plated to help fight oxidation. The tips of these pipes are exposed through the top of the cooler and they make a U shaped bend at the bottom as they run through the skived aluminum base plate. This is a one piece base that ships with pre-applied thermal paste on it, but the one piece design means that the pipes are exposed on the bottom with DEEPCOOL's Core Touch Technology. In layman's terms, this means the pipes are soldered in the plate, and once the assembly is complete, they mill both the pipes and the base to one level of flatness to set on the CPU. This cooler will stand 143 mm tall, it is 81.3mm from the front edge of the fan to the trailing edge of the fins, and it is 120mm wide. When the body and 120mm fan are combined, you have a cooler that weighs in at 610 grams. Speaking of the fan, this one is capable of 1600 RPM, 55.50 CFM, and is rated to deliver only 21dBA of noise while in full operation.
The DEEPCOOL GAMMAXX S40 is said to have an MSRP of $30, and that is straight from DEEPCOOL. This of course means it is not going to break the bank to obtain one, and really makes this a viable solution for anyone looking for better than the reference heat sink. I was able to track this cooler down for sale online, but BlueSKU.com wants $40.82 plus shipping for one, and the price goes down as you buy more quantity. I also believe that this cooler will also be available in some of the box stores out there, but as of this moment, the only listing I could actually find has been discussed.
If the DEEPCOOL GAMMAXX S40 looks like the cooler for you, I would suggest waiting just a little bit longer until stock arrives at more locations to drive the cost down closer to the MSRP.
The box is pretty basic with the white background and use of blue to highlight the company name at the top and what coolers it should be used with. This left plenty of room for an image of the GAMMAX S40 inside along with nine key features that this cooler delivers.
The right side of the packaging offers lists of what is being shown in the last chart, but it is broken up into 13 languages before you get the actual specifications to go with the things listed in all the other languages.
Around back it is much like we saw on the front. This time around, instead of showing the features we saw on the front, we now have a look at the Core Touch Technology implemented with this coolers base.
The last side of the packaging offers the list of processors for both Intel and AMD at the top while offering dimensional renderings of the cooler and the fan at the bottom.
Inside the box you have the hardware box resting against the pre-installed fan. The cooler is then supported at the top and bottom with a thin plastic tray that keeps the cooler from moving around in transit while also protecting the pre-applied thermal paste that is on the base.
DEEPCOOL GAMMAXX S40 CPU Cooler
This tower has 41 fins stacked on these heat pipes, but you can see that all four of them aren't simply lined up. To help get each pipe some airflow, they are staggered in the fins to allow the fan a chance to remove heat from all of them directly as well.
When you look at it from the side, the pipes appear to be lined up, but it is an illusion. You also notice that this tower has an open side configuration as well as being able to house two fans, one on each side of the tower.
The back edge of the fins is the same shape as the front edge, but you can see that there are little holes in the back edges and they have fins in them to help direct the air from the middle of the cooler to exhaust through the back as these direct that flow.
I also angled this image a bit to show how deep and easy the grooves are to access when clipping a fan on this with the wire fan clips that are provided.
Looking at the fins from the top you can now see the 24 holes at the trailing edge of the fins along with the embossed DEEPCOOL name that is designed into each and every fin in the stack.
The top of the base for this cooler isn't just flat, when they extruded the aluminum to be used to solder in the heat pipes, they also skived the top of it to allow air to flow through and remove a bit of heat before it even gets out of the base.
Here you can see that DEEPCOOL sends the GAMMAXX S40 with thermal paste already applied. All you have to do to get this cooler installed is add some hardware, DEEPCOOL was sure to take care of the rest for you.
I removed the paste so that we can now see the four copper pipes and the aluminum base. You can see they are all milled at one time, and even though there are slight gaps in this design, the surface as a whole is levelled off nicely.
Getting a little closer to the heat pipes you can now see the stagger more easily, and you can also tell that the find are just pressed onto the heat pipes. There is also a bit of the bottom four fins that got removed, and this is to allow AMD mounting clearance for DEEPCOOL's clip system.
With the fan now back on the cooler, you can see from the side that the fan steps down behind the blades. This allows for air near the front to be easily sucked in, and slightly more concentrated as it leaves the fan and enters the cooler.
Looking from the front with the fan in place, you can tell that the tower is quite compact with this 120mm fan covering a large percentage of the fin area. There should be no issues supplying air into these fins as well as a little at the bottom to cool the motherboard.
Accessories and Documentation
Part of what you find in the white hardware box is all of the mounting hardware. At the top you can see Intel push-pin legs that will need to be screwed to the base. If you are running an AMD system, you will need to attach the clip that will clamp onto the stock AMD socket ring. For those wanting to try this on socket LGA2011, you will be using the widest brackets at the bottom.
To mount any of those three sets of legs you are going to also need some screws. The bag on the left has the Phillips head screws you will need for that part of the installation. On the right is a quality control tag that shows this cooler was checked and has passed the inspection.
You will also find an installation guide that is currently folded to fit in the box. You will also find a warranty card that I assume you would have to mail in.
When you unfold the instructions, the front starts off showing the cooler along with all the parts it should have in the box below it. On the right you will find simple and easy to follow steps for installation of this cooler to all of the Intel sockets.
When you flip it over, this time you also get an image of the cooler on the left, but this time it is followed up with information of where to look online if you were to have issues. The right side this time shows the AMD mounting and how to work this clip system with the stock AMD bracket.
Installation and Finished Product
Since we are using an Intel system to test, I screwed in the appropriate hardware to the base of the cooler. I do wish that a pair of my screws weren't pre-stripped for me, but with a full assortment of drivers on hand, I was able to get them in securely.
Just like with the stock cooling solution, to apply the GAMMAXX S40 to the board, just be sure the legs are in the locked position and push these clips into the holes until you hear a satisfying click to let you know each of them is in the correct position and locked securely to the board.
Due to a little wing on the 120mm fan at the top, the fan is spaced to stay at or above the memory to attempt to make this easier on the users as well. With only one correct position to use with this fan, it is hit or miss if it will work for your memory configuration.
The fan will clear shorter memory sticks, and will even clear my typical sticks without the heat spreaders on them. Any sort of spreader on the stick closest to the cooler will definitely cause some issues if you want to fill that slot.
Looking at the motherboard with the GAMAXX S40 now installed, you can tell even from this angle that the memory and power plugs are easily accessible, and the cooler is also very clear of the video card.
Just to give you some idea of the perspective of the size of the GAMMAXX S40, after I finished the build and was ready for testing, I snapped this image above. You can see it is very compact around the CPU socket, but you can also see that the HD 7950 is as wide as this cooler is tall, meaning it will fit in almost any normal case, SFF not included.
The Test System and Thermal Results
Testing for the CPU coolers is done with the use of RealTemp to ascertain temperatures, Intel Burn Test to deliver the load to the CPU and CPU-Z to verify the CPU speed and the voltage being used in Windows. All of the testing is done with an ambient temperature of 24.5-25°C and humidity is maintained to 35% sometimes less.
For the "stock" runs, it's more of a plug and play setup where the PWM of the motherboard is in control of the fans speeds for both the idle and load results. Speed Step is active and the processor idles at 1600 MHz and loads at 3500 MHz for the stock settings. I also set the memory to run at 1600 MHz for stock. As for the overclocked runs, I load the CPU at 4.5 GHz and idle results are obtained with 7.5V to the fans while the load run is set to deliver 12V to the fans. This allows me to gauge the lowest and highest fan ratings for my charts.
You will also see that the charts have been slightly adjusted. From now on I will mention the idle temperatures if there is something worth noting other than an average of twenty-five to twenty-seven degrees as the PWM controls and SpeedStep allow for almost ambient results in most instances. What you are now getting is a stock speed loaded temperature chart and an overclocked loaded temperature chart. To clean up the audio results, I also removed all of the fans that aren't on the thermal charts. If you want to compare those results to new coolers, the old chart is still available in the older reviews.
Considering what the GAMMAXX S40 was up against in this chart, I will say that it handled itself very well for its size, and you can see it will do very well as a stock replacement cooler. In all honesty, the cooler places well above average, and that was a bit of a surprise to me as I expected it to perform a little worse than it did.
First glance at these results doesn't seem so appealing, but it does show that with 127W running through my 2600K, the GAMMAXX S40 is able to still keep the processor within the specs of what is too hot.
While we did reach a temperature of 83 degrees, this cooler is not designed for this, but you can see it will definitely keep you under the throttling level of the processor.
Noise Level Results
In my testing, the fan on the cooler was spinning at 1324RPM when we ran the stock run of the testing. The fan will idle at only 935RPM. When the test was running, I grabbed the meter and got a reading of 39dB. It's not the greatest rating on the chart, but this is almost as loud at the cooler gets.
See what I mean? When we applied 12V to the fan, it was spinning at 1634RPM at this point, and only delivered 50 dB for the meter to measure. This is well above average in this test, definitely lower than a stock cooling solution, and is very tolerable on the ears.
The DEEPCOOL GAMMAXX S40 is everything it was touted to be on the front of the box. It fits all the latest and currently supported CPU sockets, even some that aren't. The cooler is compact and very user-friendly, since it comes with thermal paste pre-applied and only requires four screws for the hardware and you are just a step away from running with this cooler. Some may think that the push-pins are sort of a pain in the butt, but come on, this isn't rocket science. And I like that you don't have to remove the motherboard or have to juggle it as you try to apply some of the socket hardware offered on other coolers. DEEPCOOL makes this as friendly of a user experience as possible, and does it all without too much interference on the rest of the system.
There are a couple of issues as I see it with my sample. The heads on the screws used for the hardware could be better checked before you send someone hardware that looks like it was already used once, and not with the right tools. The second issue I have is that you will lose access to the closest memory slot if you have anything with a heat spreader on it, and the way memory comes today, good luck finding ones without them. The last thing is less of an issue and more something I noticed about the airflow in the GAMMAXX S40 - it was something I felt in testing once I saw that we were peaking at the 83 degree mark. As I put my hand behind the cooler, I felt nothing - no air flow. What I found is that all of the air is being collected by the pipes and being thrown out the side of the cooler. Had DEEPCOOL closed off the ends of these fins, even with a single fan, they could have gotten much better results, as it would force the air to finish its job, and not stop halfway through.
DEEPCOOL was able to still impress me with such a small cooler, and maybe it is because I tend to see all these cooler competing for the top spot. It is somewhat comforting to see a cooler like many of them were when I started reviewing coolers. Simplicity, ease of use, able to handle my mini-furnace of a processor without letting it throttle, pretty quiet in the grand scheme of coolers, and can be had for $30.
DEEPCOOL shows that sticking to the basics can be successful when things are priced accordingly with what you are getting, more people would look to purchase these. With all the hype surrounding the Hyper 212 series of coolers, there is a new god in the yard that is looking for attention and may just have what it takes to dethrone CM and the cooler that has sold I'm guessing close to a million coolers by now.
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