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Alpenfoehn Himalaya II CPU Cooler Review

Alpenfoehn Himalaya II CPU Cooler Review

We have finally made our way to the top-tier of Alpenfoehn CPU coolers. Join us for a look at Alpenfoehn's new Himalaya II in Chad's full review here.

@chad_sebring
Published Thu, Sep 4 2014 12:06 AM CDT   |   Updated Tue, Apr 7 2020 12:33 PM CDT
Rating: 98%Manufacturer: Alpenfoehn

Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing

Alpenfoehn Himalaya II CPU Cooler Review 99 | TweakTown.com
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This last cooler is Alpenfoehn's flagship cooler, and is currently the best cooler they have to offer for the time being. With that in mind, we should not have to take any special considerations such as "it's a nice cooler considering its size and tiny fan," or "it looks, cool but doesn't really perform all that well." When it comes to the cream of the crop in any company's cooler line, it should be everything we need, and more. A top-of-the-line product like this should leave us with that warm and fuzzy feeling of having a great product at the end of the review.

As we progressed through our Alpenfoehn samples, we did see some real progress in performance as the coolers got newer. This leads us to believe that our latest sample should be more than capable, and could even break into AIO thermal ranges. Since all of these Alpenfoehn coolers are so readily able to accept a second fan, we will also be testing this cooler with a push/pull setup using the extra 140mm fan Alpenfoehn sent us. You will want to stick around for this, because our testing may just reveal one of the largest discrepancies we have ever seen between our stock results and our push/pull setup results.

All told, we do not expect any disappointments from the Alpenfoehn Himalaya II. This single tower cooler is similar to a few others we have seen over the years, but it also shares some of its flare with the Brocken 2. On top of all of the glitz and glamour, this cooler is based off of Wing Boost 2 140mm fans, which we found to be very quiet at full speed. Could this cooler actually be the culmination of fixed issues we found in our previous endeavors with Alpenfoehn? Will it be a great performer, and still remain silent? If you want the answers to these questions, then continue reading, as we are about to show you one of the few coolers that can give us everything we need, and then some.

Just as we saw with the other three coolers, specifications are not Alpenfoehn's strong suit. Once again, we start with the part number and measurements. Here we found the Himalaya II stands 172mm in height, and 146mm in width. The Himalaya is 56mm thick, and will total 92mm in thickness with the addition of a fan and the rubber plugs in play. This tower features fifty wide fins with five shorter fins at the bottom, all of which are 0.35mm thick. A 140mm fan is used to cool the heat dumped into the fins by the six, 6mm diameter, nickel plated heat pipes. The heat pipes draw heat from the CPU via the solid, polished, nickel plated base. This entire structure, along with the included fan, comes in at a combined weight of 842 grams that will hang from the motherboard. This is great considering most flagship coolers are in the range of 1000 to 1200 grams in weight.

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The fan that accompanies the Himalaya II is a lot like the standard Wing Boost 2 140mm fans we saw on the Brocken 2. The main difference between the two is that this fan frame offers a white trim ring, and the sticker on the hub has been changed; otherwise, it is the same fan. This time we see the fan is rated at 1200 RPM, and at that speed, it is capable of delivering 108 cubic meters per hour of air flow. Converting this number to CFM is pretty easy; we just take the cubic meter value, and multiply it by 0.589, which gives us a rating of 63.6 CFM. Since we already had the matching fan that we used to do multi-fan testing on the Brocken, we obviously will be strapping it to the back of this cooler for dual fan results as well.

The biggest downfall to Alpenfoehn products for most of our readers is still availability. Of course, with the ease of the internet these days, you can easily find a buddy to help you out by shipping one overseas. However, we do strongly urge Alpenfoehn to strike while the iron is still hot; getting better distribution on this side of the pond could prove very profitable.

Getting on Google and searching over-the-pond listings yielded a reference price for the Himalaya II. We found this cooler listed for 36.66 EUR before VAT, and with a quick conversion to USD, that comes out to just less than $61 U.S. dollars. Considering most other flagship coolers that perform well come in the range of $80 to $100 or more, there is already inherent value in the Himalaya II. Rest assured, with the testing results you will soon see, this cooler is definitely worth it.

Packaging

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Since this cooler is named after a mountain, it only seems fitting that the illustration behind the cooler image is of a mountain as well. The Alpenfoehn name and logo can be found near the top, and below that information, there is a cut away in the box for viewing the cooler inside. The product name can be found near the bottom. There are also some icons covering the PWM fan, the slim design, the six heat pipes, and the enlarged fin area.

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At the top of this side we find an image of the base on the Himalaya II. Here we can also find information regarding the award winning Wing Boost fans, its technology, and its geometry. They even mention the fact that a Y-splitter cable is not needed for dual fan operation due to the pigtail they added to this fan design.

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On the back of the packaging we simply find the company name at the top, another image of the cooler with mountains as a backdrop, and the product naming just below the cooler image.

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The last side offers the specifications we have already covered, a section relaying the product's purpose, and some dimensional renderings.

The inner packaging is presented in layers. The fan is packed in a thin box at the bottom, and above the fan there is a layer of dense foam. The plastic wrapped cooler sits atop that layer of dense foam, and there is another layer of dense foam used as a spacer at the top of the cooler. Yet another piece of dense foam is glued to the top of the spacer, so the spacer stays at the top of the cooler.

The hardware box can be found above that, and the manual rests on top like a cherry on a sundae. The packaging is pretty basic as far as all around protection goes, but it is effective, as our Himalaya II arrived in great condition.

Alpenfoehn Himalaya II CPU Cooler

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Fresh out of the box, we find a stack of fifty full width fins that encompass all six heat pipes; at the bottom, we find five shorter fins that are exclusively delivered heat through the three inner pipes. Further down, we see that the nickel plated pipes all convene in the two-part nickel plated base, which is grooved to accept the mounting bar, with small passive cooling bumps on the sides.

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Looking at the side of the Himalaya II, we get a sense of just how thin this cooler is. Even though the heat pipes are 6mm thick, and they overlap as they run through the fins, we really only have 56mm thickness here. We also like that the fins in this design have tabs to keep things aligned.

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Laying the cooler down seemed like the best way to show off the deviations and angles used in this design. The purpose of such angles and deviations is to increase the performance by changing the way the air flows in certain areas. We also see the edges are slightly taller, as these tips help keep the fan in place.

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The sides of the Himalaya II feature the same four fin stagger we found in the Brocken designs. The stagger definitely helps out on the leading and trailing edges, but it also adds an interesting look to this tower.

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As we glance into the very reflective nickel plated top plate of the Himalaya II, we almost see a crosshair design in the center. To either side of this design, we see six staggered heat pipe tips poking through the top fin.

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On the base of the cooler, we find an easily noticeable protective cover. This cover keeps the nickel plated base under it free of scratches and oxidation. With all of this bright red text and bold white in contrast to the cooler, if you manage to leave this on when installing the cooler, then you really were not paying attention at all.

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The copper base of the Himalaya is milled in a convex shape before being finely polished, and then a layer of nickel plating is applied to prevent the copper from oxidizing. If the copper was left exposed and allowed to oxidize, it would be a real pain to deal with later on. It also appears that the pipes are soldered into the base in this model.

Accessories and Documentation

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We found all of this in the thin hardware box. There are two wire fan clips up top, and Intel mounting brackets and short AMD mounting brackets at the left side. There is also a universal mounting plate with the cross bar bracket to mount the cooler, and a longer set of AMD mounting brackets to the right, allowing for both orientations without having to screw bits together.

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For LGA2011, you simply need the screws at the bottom of this image. For all other installations you will need to run the studs at the top through the backplate using the rubber "holders" in the middle to help lock it into the plate. The plastic spacers at the left are to be installed on top of the motherboard, and with the thumbscrews to the right, everything is secured into one solid component.

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We also found other things in the hardware box. Here we have a pair of Molex to 7V fan adapters to run the fans continuously in silent mode. There is also a rubber spacer that plugs into the backplate, a small tube of paste, and a sleeved Molex to four-pin fan power lead.

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In the other box, we find our white trimmed version of the Wing Boost 2 fan that accompanies the Himalaya II. The fan has a sleeved wire that terminates in a four-pin connection with the tail, which allows a second four-pin fan to tie into it. We also found a second set of fan clips in the box as well.

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Of course, we were also given a guide to go along with this cooler. While we have moved from folded bits of paper to a proper book this time around, we still find that renderings in the guide are the key, as the text is too simplistic to be of much help. Even so, getting things assembled was fairly simple to do.

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The last bit of the kit we will be using during some of our rounds of testing is this retail version of the Wing Boost 2 fan. Again, the only difference between this fan and the one that comes with the Himalaya II is that his one does not sport the white trim.

Installation and Finished Product

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To get things going, we have prepped the backplate with the studs and rubber holders. Even though the plate only aligns one way for Intel motherboards, it does come pre-isolated with the plastic coating. However, it does require the square rubber spacer to go in the middle.

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The backplate and all the bits that go on it fit in the area the armor on this motherboard allows for. The backplate is clearly marked for each socket type, and while the Intel markings are blocked, we can easily see the IV stamped next to the AMD holes.

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Then, the only things left to do to prep the motherboard for the cooler is to place the spacers on the studs, the brackets on top of them, and then screw the thumbscrews down until they run out of thread. After this is done, apply some paste, set the cooler on, and screw the cross bar into the nut inserts in these brackets.

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As we see the Himalaya looking out over the memory, we notice that the fan stands proud of the fins. Keep in mind: there is a bit of pipe tips above that, and this fan only increased the overall height by 3mm over those tips.

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We really like what we see here. All the Alpenfoehn coolers been designed to allow for complete memory clearance, but the Himalaya II has more clearance than with any other Alpenfoehn design. Even for LGA2011 users, all slots will be accessible.

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Since there is no offset to the heat pipes in this design, clearance is simply due to the thin profile of this cooler. This means that even with a fan hanging on the back, there is plenty of room to get to the eight-pin. Without the offset, it bodes well for motherboards with memory on both sides of the socket.

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Once the cooler and motherboard were in the open air chassis, we got to look at it in a more typical orientation. While the cooler is solidly mounted, and allows easy access to memory and motherboard screws, the width can definitely create havoc for the first PCI slot. Thankfully, our card rests in the second slot.

Test System Setup, Thermal Tests, and Noise Results

Test System Setup

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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.

Thermal Results

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As we start things off with a single fan and our stock CPU and memory settings, we find the Himalaya II has a pretty typical result with the 51 degree average. Adding a second fan improved results here almost two full degrees; look how far up the list the Himalaya II shot.

The Himalaya took seventh place, behind all water cooled solutions and another tower cooler that needed a TEC to beat this. These results are quite impressive. Of course, there is still the cost of the second fan to consider, and the retail version is demanding $23 U.S. dollars; this takes pricing for these results into the range of many other top-tier air coolers.

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With the overclock applied and the fans running at full tilt, we found an average of 70.66 degrees; only the D15 and the Assassin outperform the Himalaya II. Once we added that second fan, we found that extra $23 for the second fan takes this cooler into the realm of the best air cooler we have tested to date with an average temperature of 69.25 degrees. The Himalaya II even outperformed the D15.

Noise Level Results

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Similar to our results when we looked at the Brocken 2, we found the idle speed at 7.5V to be near 800 RPM, and the meter showed us 25dB with just a single fan installed. Even with the second fan installed, the meter only bounced back and forth between 25 and 26dB.

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With the fans at full tilt, we still find the 41 dB result for a single fan to be very respectable; that is just a touch louder than the Noctua fans. However, once you add that second fan to this super slim cooler design, you can gain better performance with less cost, and much less weight.

Final Thoughts

The Alpenfoehn Himalaya II almost defies belief by taking out every other air cooler, and competing with most of the AIOs in our charts. Whether you want a cooler that looks good, one that cools the best, or just a cooler that is silent, the Himalaya II is going to suit your needs. Indeed, all requirements can be met within this cooler. Plus, you don't even have to worry about socket, because this cooler is fairly light, even with the second fan. Without the second fan attached to the Himalaya, it is only beat by two other air coolers currently out there, and both of them are huge monsters in comparison.

For many years, we have preached that to get the best of the best, concessions always had to be made. We believed this to be true whether it meant cost saving measures in hardware, or maybe the fans would have to be loud to get the best results possible, or maybe the cooler would have to be a motherboard swallowing beast. However, today Alpenfoehn has proved that there are exceptions to every rule, and every rule needs one. Alpenfoehn has many years under their belts, and definitely knows what they are doing in cooler designs, and the Himalaya II proves it.

Alpenfoehn did not miss a single detail with this design. It clears all the screws and memory slots, even with fans on it, and they use some of the most secure hardware available to mount it. The cooler also looks good, it is silent, and as shipped, this cooler will not break your wallet if and when you find one for sale. If there is one thing to consider, it is the PCI slot conflict. If the first slot of your motherboard is populated, the fan clips will definitely conflict with a card in it; however, we populated the second slot in our test system, and there was plenty of room for everything.

When it comes down to it, the Himalaya II proves to be a super solid contender for your money. With just the fan that comes included in that main $61 purchase, the coolers that beat the Himalaya II only do so by a small margin. Even so, the D15 is $100, and the Assassin is in the $80 to $90 range. These two coolers are also dual tower designs, and already have a second fan, so an additional $23 to get a second fan for the Himalaya does not seem so bad since you are adding to a much more user-friendly design. This is well worth the additional investment, as it pushes performance to unseen heights in single tower air cooling.

Alpenfoehn has one serious solution to CPU cooling; it is super cost-effective, and has figuratively blown our mind right out of the top of our skull in terms of performance. This Himalaya II is just that good. Even if you have to beg a friend to grab one for you overseas and ship it here, Alpenfoehn's Himalaya II is well worth the additional time and money.

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After a year of gaming, Chad caught the OC bug. With overclocking comes the need for better cooling, and Chad has had many air and water setups. With a few years of abusing computer parts, he decided to take his chances and try to get a review job. As an avid overclocker, Chad is always looking for the next leg up in RAM, cooling, as well as peripherals.

We openly invite the companies who provide us with review samples / who are mentioned or discussed to express their opinion. If any company representative wishes to respond, we will publish the response here. Please contact us if you wish to respond.

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