At this point we are torn with which way to go with an award, or if we even give one. In stock conditions, the Voltair is in fact a really nice cooler, and while taking up a fair amount of room, it is in fourth place in our charts, falling only behind custom water cooling loops. The cooler easily beat out any of the AIOs, and other air coolers as the packaging promised.
Then we have to ponder the flip side of this design. As an enthusiast, even if I had purchased a pre-built custom PC, I would still overclock the PC, and where other coolers thrive and move toward the top of the list in this scenario, we find the Voltair and its TEC falling drastically down the list. I guess the same things that kept the V10 from being a huge hit then, are keeping the Voltair from performing admirably in this situation. These coolers struggle with the plain and simple fact that they aren't keeping the hot side of the TEC cold enough; this is likely why most users of TEC use water cooling to remove the heat produced sufficiently enough to provide great results.
In other aspects, with our Sabertooth used in testing, we found the cooler tough to install due to the plastic covering on the board. Other boards may be easier, but with larger and larger heat sinks surrounding the CPU these days, plan to spend some time with needle nosed pliers making a lot of tiny twists on the thumbscrews. The rest of the mounting is pretty smooth, and for such a large and weighty cooler, once installed, there are no fears of twisting or torsion made by the cooler -the Voltair is as solid as a rock. We also appreciated the lack of absurd amounts of fan noise. Part of that is due to the close sides of the fin structure, and that the shroud contains a lot of noise, but even at full blast, a 52dB rating a foot from the exhaust of the cooler is respectable.
As we ponder our final decisions, we do see the benefits of a cooler such as this in stock environments. However, the $129.99 pricing really seems to take this cooler from the average users hands, and places it into an almost enthusiast price point. That being said, most enthusiasts want to overclock their gear, and the Voltair would not be my first choice in this instance. The reason I would not choose this cooler is because it was easily beat by a lot of coolers that were not only cheaper to acquire, but also mount easier, are nowhere near as heavy, and most importantly, they are more efficient designs.
If you are in the market for a new toy to play around with, don't mind volt modding, or whatever it is going to take to make this cooler perform better, it will fit in more places than the V10, the hardware is stiffer and better in our opinion, and at the end of a lot of work and effort, you might have a cooler worthy of having it installed. As it sits, I have to say well done at stock levels, but anything past that, we would opt for other coolers to cool our CPUs, and not have to spend nearly as much to do it.
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