GamerStorm is a company that appeared to have come from virtually nowhere, but in reality, is a subdivision of DeepCool or Logisys, depending on your global location. From what we have gathered with the three coolers we have tested from them, is that they are definitely on their "A game", and have been able to introduce some really nice products for us to test. Typically, what we have gotten from them before were coolers that can stand out in the crowd, offer top tier thermal performance, and we have yet to find one of their coolers to be paired with any sort of ear splitting fans.
We hope that tradition continues as we take a look at a new low-profile cooling solution from GamerStorm. This isn't just any fly-by-night design either. GamerStorm took the time needed to make sure the shape and design would fit almost any motherboard, and considering the proximity of other components on a Mini-ITX motherboard, this is no easy task. GamerStorm seems to have thought of everything in this design: performance, styling, and a similar mounting solution to what we found on the Noctua NH-L9i, which is super simple to use.
Today, as we look at the new Gabriel from GamerStorm, we will be putting this low-profile cooler through its paces. Considering we are now testing with an i7 4770K, I don't have the highest of hopes for the overclocked testing, but I have been surprised many a time before with coolers that don't look the part, but once asked to perform, they can readily handle themselves. Let's hope this new Gabriel, and all that went into it, is worth the effort, because not any cooler can go into a Mini-ITX chassis and survive the rigors of what customers want to do with them.
Since the testing is already done at this point, and I have seen what the Gabriel is capable of, I will just say this: I have seen quite a few solutions to this segment of CPU cooling, and very few impressed me like the GamerStorm Gabriel has done.
Specifications, Availability and Pricing
The Gabriel is quite compact, with dimensions of 120mm from pipe tip to the bends on the opposite side, it is 118mm from side to side, and stand only 40mm without the fan mounted to it. On top of this cooler, there is a 20mm thick 120mm fan that brings the overall height to only 60mm. Weighing in at only 26 grams is impressive considering the forty-six aluminum fins, the four 6mm heat pipes, the copper base, and the fan is all combined in that total. There is also the GamerStorm logo pressed into each and every fin, and the fins are staggered in design, and get wider near the top, but are smaller at the base to allow clearance for capacitors and PWM heat sinks.
That 20mm tick 120mm fan is also quite capable. It is shown to be able to spin as fast as 1800 RPM, delivering up to 61.93 CFM of airflow with no mention of static pressure levels. To power the fan, and for those using fan controllers, the 2.52 Watts and 0.21 Amps should work with any power source. It also states that the fan will power up with only seven volts, and will even slightly over volt to 13.2V for some "extra" performance. Lastly, GamerStorm explains that this fan hub houses a Hydro bearing for the fan blades to spin on.
As for the availability and pricing, that is sort of a grey area. It is rumored that the Gabriel will be sold under the GamerStorm name for roughly $40 U.S. dollars. The issue is on this side of the pond, is if we will actually see it listed. While previously tested coolers are just starting to show up, it may be some time yet before these are readily available. You may also find that the cooler gets renamed, and sold under the Logisys name here, but with no real product number to follow or search for.
Finding much more information on this cooler is near impossible at the moment. On the flip side of that coin, the near $40 pricing is very appealing, especially considering what you get, but you need to continue reading to see exactly what that is.
The Gabriel comes in very similar packaging to all of the GamerStorm products we have received. The box is flat black, with shiny black used for the half logo to the left. They then apply the company name and logo at the top in green, and the cooler name at the bottom in that same green foil.
Looking at the box from the sides shows that this is a two part box. There is also the Gabriel name and company logo on this side.
The back of the packaging is where the rest of the information provided is to be found. Under the logo and cooler naming, there is a specifications chart, along with the compatibility list for all of the CPUs this cooler will install upon.
The two sides not shown are just plain black cardboard, but on this side there is a bit of styling applied with the grey lining, and again there is the coolers name. There is also an anti-tamper sticker applied to keep the two halves of the box together for transit, but it also shows that nobody has been inside it since it left the factory.
After cutting the sticker, the top section lifts up to expose a list of five features that make the Gabriel a good choice when in the hunt for low-profile cooling solutions.
Inside of the outer packaging, you find two cardboard compartments stuffed into the sections of the box we just saw. The top section houses the fan, while the lower section houses the paperwork, the cooler body, and a box of hardware under the cooler.
GamerStorm Gabriel Low-Profile CPU Cooler
From this side of the Gabriel, it is easy to see there are three distinct sections of the aluminum fins. There is the thin section to the right, and as that moves left, the fins get a bit deeper. Those same longer fins also step back at the lower section to assure this cooler will fit where it is intended to go.
We have all seen pipes coming out of fins, and this is why the focus is on the lower section. There you will find the embossed logo that is in every fin of the cooler, and you will also get a visual of the sticker applied there.
On the other side of the Gabriel, we see the fin design has changed. There is a cut-away near the front of this side, but the rest of the fin shaping is the same as we saw on the opposing side.
As the heat pipes run from the base to the top of the fins where they run through the cooler again, there is a spread to them that puts them under the most efficient part of the fan. Also, the fins are creased for a bit more solidity, and again we can see the embossed logo.
Looking at the top of the Gabriel, we see that there are spacers folded down between each fin to keep the spacing correct. I am still not sure of the reason for the notch in the design, but we have to assume there was good reason for it to be added, just not sure what that would be.
As we zoom in near the heat pipes, we see that they have the fins pressed over them after each pipe has been nickel plated. While soldering is typically best, these fins are very tight in their fit to the pipes.
Flipping the Gabriel over, the sections of the fins are much easier to discern now. The lower section of fins is cut to allow the tops of the pipes to rest against the fins, but they are also soldered to the copper base plate that has also been plated.
Against a razor, the base is very flat from edge to edge, and from corner to corner. There is a bit left from the milling process, and even after coating the copper, marks are easily visible in the surface.
Accessories and Documentation
As we saw when we initially opened the packaging, there is of course the user manual for the Gabriel included in the kit. What we could not see inside of the packaging, is the thin black box of hardware that is used to prop up the longer sections of fins on the cooler.
As for what is found inside of the manual, well, there is a specifications chart, and a parts list. But, fast forwarding to the instructions found inside, this is what you get. The renderings are fine to follow since the hardware on the Gabriel is simple, and easy to install anyways.
In this group of hardware, you get four countersunk screws to mount the legs to the base of the Gabriel. Then, there are the four standoffs that attach to the mounting legs of the cooler, four plastic washers for AMD mounting, and four knurled screws to mount the cooler to the motherboard from the back side.
Here, we have the AMD mounting legs in the middle, with the Intel legs on the outsides. There are threads at the end of each to accept the standoffs, and the center holes are countersunk to accept the screws and stay clear of the mating surfaces.
To mount the 120mm fan to the fin body, GamerStorm provides two wire fan clips. They also provide a metal case badge, and a syringe of GamerStorm grey Thermal Grease, filled with enough for three to four applications, maybe more.
Then, of course, we have to have a fan to cool the fins. GamerStorm sends this eleven bladed grey fan that is housed in a lighter blue frame. The fan has the GamerStorm name in the frame as it angles down to the fan blades, and is powered with a 4-pin cable that has individually coated wiring, and a couple of wire separating clips that will slide where you need them to be to keep the wire flat and managed.
Installation and Finished Product
The first couple of steps of the installation have been done, and we are almost ready to mount now that we have the Intel mounting legs on the base, and a standoff screwed on to each of the corners. You can also see that GamerStorm took the time to apply washers to the risers, as well as the screws to isolate the cooler from the motherboard.
After applying a bit of paste to the CPU, you just hold the cooler onto the CPU, align the holes, and simply screw the cooler to the motherboard like we have done here.
The cooler itself sits much lower than the memory, but with the 20mm fan on the top of it, it is just slightly taller, and a great candidate for all of the SFF chassis on the market.
There are also no issues with the memory clearance with the orientation we were forced to use, due to the Thermal Armor on this motherboard. The instructions say to point the heat pipes at the memory, and that will encroach on the first DIMM slot.
Moving back a bit, you can see that the wider section of fins clears even this super tall plastic over the top of other heat sinks for the VRMs on the motherboard. I also like the fan wiring, what little bit you can see anyways.
If we had installed the cooler as directed, the bent section of them would push against our Thermal Armor, so we had to spin it around. Even here things were tight as the taller section just clears the plastic, but is still able to fit and be tested.
Once we had the system back together, I thought I would snap this image, since most likely, if you have any view inside of the chassis at all, this is what you will see of the Gabriel most times.
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.
As we let the PC rest a bit, we found the CPU idling at 31.5 degrees, and the fan was spinning at 1180RPM for this testing. Once we kicked in the stress testing, the CPU climbed to 61 degrees. While it may look bad on this chart, I have two points to cover. One is that it blows the doors off of the stock cooler, which is what most will use in these instances. The second point is that with the fan running full speed, that result can be lowered another 3.5 degrees, contending with the much, much larger Grand Kama Cross 2.
The GamerStorm site denoted this cooler to offer a 100W TDP for AMD chips, but 95W for Intel chips; so I figured, let's have a go at the OC settings. While the stock cooler fails heinously at trying to contend with the overclock, the Gabriel may not turn up the best results, but for such a small cooler to hang in there and allow all of our tests to pass, there is really nothing to complain about here, when I know the intentions are not to deal with an OC of this magnitude in the first place.
Noise Level Results
For the stock testing, and with the fan spinning near 1200RPMs, there is very little to be heard of the Gabriel, as it registers at 29dB on our meter. Since most SFF chassis tend to end up as a HTPC, this is a solution worthy of that task, and should not be audible from any distance over a foot away from the chassis.
As we add full power to the fan and it now spins at 1840RPMs, the sound level definitely picks up a fair bit, as we got a reading of 55 dB at this point. To be really honest, if you are building something lower powered, it is highly unlikely that you will need to run the fan this loudly to keep the CPU in the "comfortable" range, with much less noise produced.
Let's start off with the obvious first. The Gabriel is well worth every penny of the near $40 pricing they are asking for this GamerStorm cooler. The performance is so much more than we expected, and even with the lower TDPs applied to this cooler from GamerStorm. Our test rig runs at 85W peak on the CPU, but thermally, in results, it heats things up much worse than one would expect. Being able to handle it and leave us with close to fifteen degrees before we throttled the CPU is warm, but very doable for the long term. The thing is that this is more of a bonus to users, since most Mini-ITX builds inside of SFF chassis are usually left to run stock, and those who plan to do any sort of overclocking have so many water cooling options available; there is always that route to take on the massive heat loads. What you have to realize is that this is a tiny investment for this sort of capability in a cooler that stands no taller than 60mm in height.
With PWM or a fan controller taking care of lowering the fan's power, the noise levels are almost inaudible at a foot away from our open air chassis. Inside of a closed off mini tower case, or some form of a cube, this will never be heard. The nice thing is too, when looking at cases with the PSU right over the CPU cooler, not only will the cooler fit, but reversing the fan to blow into the PSU intake only adds 1.5 degrees to the thermal testing results. The hardest thing about the Gabriel is getting the cooler out of the packaging. Mounting and the hardware could not be simpler to use, and even without a back plate, as we tried other boards, there isn't so much pressure that it wants to flex the PCB in any noticeable fashion.
Also, as another added plus, the fan is unusual in coloration, which makes it easy to tell what it is. For some reason I also really dig the individually PTFE coated cabling for the fan too; it's just something extra aesthetically, but it is still a nice touch.
The only shame of this whole situation is the seemingly slow process of getting GamerStorm coolers into the U.S. market at anyplace easy to search out. Again, you may need to look for it under other branding as well. Though, I do wish that GamerStorm coolers were more readily available for our readers to find, as they have come up with some really top tier performance out of what appears at first glance to maybe not have the "special something" that it takes to handle today's processors. The price is so good, the Gabriel is going to be almost impossible to pass up on when thinking of building a new tiny system, and have the need for a cooler you know is going to fit and clear components, while not causing issues with PSUs, or super thin cases with tight confines inside. The Gabriel is more than willing to hop in there and take care of business.
Here is to hoping some bigger e-tailers take notice of the trend that the GamerStorm solutions are offering the market, and make it so that when we see coolers like these, buyers can run right out and easily find them, rather than having to settle for a lesser solution to their needs.