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Thermaltake EXTREME Volcano 12 HSF Review

By: Mike Wright | CPU Air Coolers in Cases, Cooling & PSU | Posted: Nov 9, 2003 5:00 am
TweakTown Rating: 9.5%Manufacturer: Thermaltake

The Heatsink



The heatsink design used in the Volcano 12 is a full copper type with very thin fins (Editor Note - Try saying that 10 times in a row!). This allows for the excellent thermal dissipation capabilities of the copper to be combined with the higher surface area that goes with the thin fin design. These are two of the most significant areas to look at with quality air cooling, so it is good to see them both put into play with this cooler.


The entire sink is surrounded by a shroud that works in two ways. It acts as a mounting device for the fan and also works to direct the large quantities of air toward the base of the sink to work to effectively cool your processor. We'll look a bit later as to the effectiveness of this.


Oh, and for those looking at this large chunk of metal and wondering what it weighs in at, the answer is 708 grams! For the metrically impaired, this works out to a shade over a pound and a half. Make sure to remove this cooler before moving the system around. This is a special note for those who partake in LAN parties!



Above is a closer look at the fin layout. The thinner design gives the heatsink the ability to utilize more fins than normal. This allows for a greater surface area, which aids in the cooling process.


The Base



While the camera didn't care too much for an angled shot of the base of the sink, it looks worse than it truly is. While there appears to be numerous manufacturing lines across the surface, I was unable to feel any deformities with a finger. Of course, a small amount of lapping would be welcome, but the HSF will be tested in its native state.


The Fan



While we have grown rather accustomed to the presence of 80mm fans on modern heatsinks, this one was a bit out of the ordinary.


First off, it measures in at a very hefty 80mm x 80mm x 32mm in total size. This adds 7mm of height to the standard design. To make it stand out even more, the fan blade itself it not what you normally see. It has only three blades and the pitch is considerably more drastic than normal. All in all it creates an impressive look, but then this isn't what we really care about, is it?


As far as numbers go, this monster will spin at a maximum speed of 5,500 RPM and put out a hefty 73CFM of airflow when at max speed. While doing so it will emit roughly 48dBA of sound output making it about the same actual noise level as a fast sinning 60mm fan. But the sound you hear is not nearly so intrusive as it creates a much lower pitch droning noise instead of the high pitch squeal.


Since we're on the topic of the fan, I will step onto my little soapbox and mention the lack of a fan grill. I have had folks write concerning the fact that any true enthusiast will make sure their wiring is away from the fan, but let's be realistic...not all of us are true enthusiasts. Normal PC users are getting into the modified cases and are looking for cooling solutions like this that look good and are still effective. A fan grill is simply a must when it comes to high-speed fans.


For those of you using a factory type rheostat, you'll be interested in knowing the power draw from this beast is 0.45A, so plan accordingly. It will likely require a channel of its own due to the high draw, so make sure your equipment can handle the load before hooking it up.


The Clip



The clip itself is pretty normal, but there is an addition of a full 3-point brace surrounding the area where you apply force to attach the entire unit. While this may seem minor, it will ensure a firm placement of the screwdriver when it comes time to install the cooler. After all, a single slip could render your mainboard useless if you happen to destroy some of the tracings making up the board's circuitry.


The clipping mechanism uses all six lugs of the socket, but then this was expected due to the heavy weight involved. And while the pressure needed to install wasn't excessive, it did a very good job of holding the heatsink firmly in place when mounted. Even with the system in its normal position of the sink sitting at a 90-degree angle to the board, it showed no tendency to move at all.


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