One very important thing mentioned in our CPU cooler methodology article was that as processors get smaller and smaller, the concentration of heat is tough for many coolers out there to control. Coolers with moderate TDP ratings will do better than the stock cooler of course, but in the world of overclocking, better than stock only goes so far. With quite a few coolers tested recently, the new test system really stresses coolers like no other system I have tested on, even the hot box method. This handily whoops the mediocre submissions, justly glorifies coolers with superior designs, and leaves a defined line in the sand of appropriate solutions to choose from in today's market.
So, how does that apply to the latest cooler to hit our labs for testing? Well this cooler, while hiding a certain specification only found on their site, GamerStorm specifies this cooler on the packaging to have a 100 to 130W TCP when it is run passively. Right out of the gate, we realize that we won't even have a chance of not throttling the 4770K with this level of a TDP. The range of TDP in a passive situation is completely based off of the chassis airflow and is why there is a range rather than a set figure.
Now back to that hidden specification, though. On the GamerStorm site, they openly state that with the 140mm fan that comes inside of the box, this new submission takes the TDP level to extreme levels. With the fan on the cooler, the new TDP rating is set to 300W of heat dissipation capabilities, and should be more than enough cooler for the new test system.
GamerStorm has sent us the Lucifer CPU cooler to have a look at today, and even while designed as a large single tower cooler, there is a lot of style that comes along with it too. The main idea behind the Lucifer is to allow basic cooling needs in passive mode, but for those that want to go further, strap on the fan, and now enjoy the massive jump in performance, without much audible noise coming from the cooler when the fan is running either.
GamerStorm delivers a large cooler that on paper looks like it should be able to kick ass and take names, so why don't we get right to it and see if the Lucifer from GamerStorm should be your next choice in air coolers.
Specifications, Availability and Pricing
Glancing at the chart, the Lucifer is 140mm side to side, 110mm deep, and stands 163mm tall. When you add the 140mm fan, the depth changes to 136mm, and 5mm is added to the overall height. With the fan attached to the Lucifer, there will be 1079 grams of cooler bracketed to the motherboard. There are 36 aluminum fins pressed over six 6mm heat pipes. The heat pipes are then soldered into a copper base assembly that has the mating surface polished, and both the base and the pipes are then nickel plated to fight corrosion.
The fins of this design are where the Lucifer gets most of its capabilities. Each fin is large in surface area, but is cut with a groove at the leading edge, and a much larger groove on the trailing edge. On top of the surface area, there is also a diamond pattern pressed into each of the fins to disturb airflow and make it spin and tumble as it passes through the fins, making the whole tower much more efficient with whatever airflow it is presented with.
Inside of the box you also receive one 140mm fan, but the fin design will allow for a second fan to be attached to the trailing edge. This fan has a rubberized black frame to isolate the fans vibration from the fins, with nine green blades, and a chromed center hub. At the low-end of the rotational speed, this fan will run a baseline of around 700 RPM, and at full power that jumps to near 1400 RPM. This fan can deliver up to 81.33 CFM of airflow and is rated at a maximum of 31 dB(A). The funny thing here is that I think this rating is off a bit. Most fans with a 31 dB(A) rating tend to be quite noisy, and from what we already know from testing, this fan is near silent even with 12V pumping through it.
Diving into the interwebz to try and locate the Lucifer, inside of the USA, there are limited choices to buying it from three listings on eBay. If you feel justified in paying the astronomical, near $150 pricing they are listed at, be my guess. In reality, there has been nothing set in stone on the pricing, but rumors around the internet is that the Lucifer may be arriving to our shores in the $40 to $60 price range. If that is true, GamerStorm has broken the magic rule of threes. They are delivering silence, performance, and if rumors are in fact based in any form of reality, it hits right around the $50 mark.
Considering we found the Assassin at around $80 when we wrote that review, it would only make since that a single tower cooler would be priced lower than their dual-tower cooling solution, so the light at the end of the tunnel stays on until further notice.
Just to show how the Lucifer is delivered, this angle shows that there is an inner box that has a cardboard sleeve wrapped around it to display the information in green and white text.
The front panel of the sleeve simple offers the Lucifer name and that it is a CPU cooler. The bottom offers the tag line "Devour The Heat In Silence", and from what we have seen, this is definitely a very true statement.
Spinning things to the right, we are now looking at the side of the box inside of the sleeve. Along with the company name and logo, the cooler name, and a QR code, to the right there is a list of the five key features of the Lucifer inside.
The other end of the box from what we just saw again has the logo and naming on it, but this time it delivers potential buyers with the specifications and socket compatibility list, but makes no mention of this 300W TDP, and personally I would have that plastered all over this box, but they chose to stay elegant with the packaging.
After sliding the outer sleeve off of the main box, the top of it offers half of the logo and the words CPU cooler on either side of the top. There are security stickers that keep the top closed, but for some reason both of them, one on either side, came broken.
To get to the Lucifer inside of it, you simply spread the top sections and remove a cardboard insert. There you will find the cooler body wrapped in plastic and has a box on either side of it. This packaging was very sufficient as the Lucifer arrived in great shape for this review.
GamerStorm Lucifer CPU Cooler
Looking at the Lucifer where the fan will be attached shortly shows the 36 aluminum fins as they allow the six heat pipes to be offset on both sides of this tower. This will allow the fan direct access to more pipes and should be able to eliminate a fair bit of heat having access to them.
From the side, more of the odd shape of the fins is at play here. There is a bit of a gap, but the air exiting at the middle also helps to cool the last wider section at the trailing edge.
The back of the Lucifer has a very unusual design too. There is a V-shaped center bit that takes as much advantage of the fan as possible, and even directs the heat to curve towards the sides as it helps to cool the two sections on the sides.
Changing perspective for the last side of the Lucifer is to show the sides with a bit more detail. All of the fins do have tabs folded over to support each other and keep correct spacing, but there are also grooves at the front and at the back to clip a fan to this fin body.
In case of utter confusion as to the actual shape of the fins, this will sort all of that out. Not only do the fins offer an irregular design, they also have the logo and a diamond pattern pressed into all of the fins to add turbulence to the air that will flow over these fins.
The top of the base assembly has a wide groove cut perpendicular to the pipes to allow the cross bar to lay in here. There is also a much thinner groove cut in the middle, parallel to the pipe, to accept tabs on the cross bar to keep the cooler from twisting.
Glancing at the bottom fin, there is no access hole or evidence of solder or flux. This means that the aluminum fins have been pressed onto the copper pipes, after the nickel plating had been applied.
As the pipes run through the base, the attachment method is in fact the use of solder. This is much better than thermal paste, as the solder will creep into the cervices and allow for much better heat transfer from the base to the pipes.
When they say it has a polished base, GamerStorm wasn't overstating in the slightest. If we had cropped this image, it would be hard to tell which screw is the real one. The center of the base is very level and flat, but there is some deflecting towards the edges.
With the accompanying 140mm fan attached to the Lucifer, it is easy to see that this is a good choice for this cooler as it covers the vast majority of the fins as well as offering some flow over and more importantly under the cooler to help keep the motherboard cool.
The fan clips to take some effort to stretch them onto the cooler, but the rubberized frame will keep creaks and rattles out of play. With the fan added it very well may have issues with taller memory, but the fan can be raised if the chassis allows for it.
Accessories and Documentation
In this image, the majority of the hardware is accounted for. There is the cross bar and universal back plate in the middle. To the left are the rubber screw holders, plastic risers, and top mounting screws. To the right is the Intel mounting brackets, and at the bottom are the screws to be sent through the back plate.
The rest of the kit offers a large tube of GamerStorm thermal grease, four wire fan clips, the AMD mounting brackets, a spacer for LGA775 installation, and last but not least are the LGA2011 socket mounting screws.
In the other box that flanks the tower inside of the box, the 140mm fan is shipped. The nine green blades have three edges to help direct the airflow through the rubberized black frame. The chromed center cap with the GamerStorm logo is also a nice touch to dress it up a bit. Lastly, the fan uses a 4-pin PWM connection for power.
There is also a user manual offered with the Lucifer. The front mimics the packaging and offers the other side of the logo that was missing just before we opened the inner packaging.
Things start off with the parts list. Here you are given a drawing of each component along with a parts count. This way you are certain everything is here before tearing down a system to replace an existing cooler.
This is an example of the kind of instructions given throughout the manual, for both AMD and Intel. Mostly there are just good quality drawings with arrows and obvious points seen to follow. There is very little in the form of test instructions other than the mini notes in the images.
Installation and Finished Product
Starting off the installation process, we must first address the back plate. Here all we did was to insert the screws through the plate and installed the rubber caps that hold the heads of the screws in place.
Be mindful of the three holes cut for the socket screws, and slide the back plate through the cooler holes. Between the thick layer of plastic glued to the plate and the thick rubber end caps, there is no chance at all of this plate grounding out against the motherboard.
To get this far, we flipped the motherboard over, installed the four black plastic risers, and then went ahead and attached the Intel top brackets with the use of the four nuts. Now all we need is some paste and the cooler.
While it seems that to mount the Lucifer the cooler is wider than the hardware, and it is. To help make life easier, this is also part of the reasoning behind the removed sections at the front and back, it leaves just enough room to get an average screwdriver in there to secure the cooler to the hardware.
The tops of the memory were removed for a more natural looking installation. The fact is that the fan can go up a bit more, but then the overall height is increased.
Spinning the motherboard a bit to get a closer look, not only does the fan give a height restriction, it also covers two of the slots. If you plan to run the Lucifer passively, you can use as tall of heat spreaders in all four slots as desired.
The fin body is centered over the CPU pretty well, and does allow for a bit of room behind the cooler. While it does make access to the 8-pin tough when inside of some chassis designs, there is plenty of room for that second fan.
Getting the motherboard mounted into even this large open air chassis brought another issue to mind. Since the cooler is so large, it does make accessing two of the motherboard screws rather tough. Other than that, I have no complaints with installing the Lucifer.
As we always try to do, here is one last glamour shot of the GamerStorm Lucifer so you can take the design in and recall all we discussed as we move into the testing phase.
The Test System and Thermal Results
I would first like to thank ASUS, InWin, Corsair and Fractal Design for supplying products for me to test with. To see our testing methodology and to find out what goes into making our charts, please refer to our CPU Cooler Testing and Methodology article for that information.
When we started the stock testing, the fan was spinning at 679 RPM and allowed the processor to idle at 28.5 degrees. With the motherboard in control of the fan, the highest speed registered was 800 RPM with the processor loaded with AIDA64 stress testing.
This allowed the Lucifer to deliver the 52.75 degree result seen in this chart. While placing in seventh overall, in the grand scheme of temperatures, this is still a better than average result.
With the overclock now applied to the system and 12V running through the fan, we were running a very steady 1400 RPM. The idle temperature only slightly increases to 28.75 degrees at this level, but the loaded results are where the Lucifer shows its prowess.
Averaging all three orientations results, while laying flat on the table performed best, the 71.08 degree result here is very impressive. In reality, the Lucifer finished in fourth place, but that competition is a dual-tower cooler and AIOs. These results simply speak for themselves.
Noise Level Results
What was really impressive was that we took this reading of the noise level of the fan while it was peaking at 800 RPM, and even then all we were getting was the 25 dB result shown in the chart.
Just to give you perspective on this sort of a result, you really have to have an open air chassis or have your ear within a few inches to even start to pick up on this level of noise.
Even with the fans speeding along at 1400 RPM, sound levels are very low. Staying in the second position on our charts, even with the maximum noise level the fan can produce, we only registered 39dB on our meter.
Usually the gap between rated noise levels on the "(A)djusted" scale is greater than what we found; maybe someone had their meter on the dB setting instead.
Starting off with the obvious, the Lucifer is a BEAST. While we were not able to test this cooler in any form or reference to any sort of good lighting, we stuck to testing with the accompanying fan, and I for one am impressed. For a company that pretty much showed up out of the blue one day, the team at DeepCool and GamerStorm really has their act together when it comes to CPU cooler offerings.
I was impressed with the dual-tower Assassin and its showing at our labs, but with much less cooler and one less fan, the Lucifer is within one degree of being dead even in performance, while offering less noise to the user in the Lucifer design. They pulled out all most of the tricks of the trade that have made other coolers huge successes, and proved once again that these design elements work, and are far superior to many other offerings on the market. Also offering a cooler with a 300W TDP had better cool well or it would be laughed out of the market. GamerStorm was sure not to have this be the case, and they really came through with a real winner in the Lucifer.
Outside of performance and design, the Lucifer still keeps giving in other aspects as well. The almost overdesigned hardware is welcomed with the Lucifer as it is over 1000 grams, and cheap hardware is just not a good idea. Here, the Lucifer has very strong and well designed components that aren't that far away from Noctua's hardware that is in my mind the benchmark of what cooler hardware should be. I mean, even the fan is great in this kit. Think about this for a second - GamerStorm delivers over 80 CFM to this cooler, and is as quiet as a mouse. That is an average of 30 CFM more than what Noctua offers, and is right in line with them as far as noise levels are concerned. Essentially at this point we have seen the Lucifer ace two out of the three reasons behind cooler purchases. It offers top notch results thermally, and even while taking a processor to new heights, you don't deal with the ear slitting noise typically associated with thermal results like this.
The last piece of the puzzle is a bit of a mystery, but let me give you some perspective on the rumors and what I think the cooler is worth. If the rumors of the $40 to $60 are in any way true, the Lucifer would, with no doubt in my mind, be the new benchmark for bang for the buck coolers. I mean top tier performance, near silence, and all I need is around $50 to get one? That is an amazing deal! In reality, I think that this cooler is worth much more. I was bringing up Noctua previously, as the Lucifer is built much like something from them, outside of taking the time to solder the fins to the heat pipes. Keeping that in mind, with everything considered with pricing of the coolers closest to it on out charts, and what other coolers of this caliber have cost in the past, the Lucifer would be worth every bit of an $80 to $90 price point, and I still think it would sell well.
In the end, regardless of pricing, unless they break the $100 mark, the Lucifer and its results do all the talking that is needed, and it truly is completely capable of devouring heat in silence, as the tag line suggests.
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