Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing
While it may have made more sense to bring forth this cooler prior to the Brocken ECO, we chose to base order of review on an economic scale. Up to this point, Alpenfoehn has really impressed us with the value of their coolers, but today we move into a different league in three aspects of this latest cooler. First, there is a whole new level of "bling" to this design. There is also the fact that we have moved from 92mm and 120mm fans into 140mm fans with even more air flow. The third aspect is that we are now past that magic $50 mark that separates easily affordable, into a vast array of options in the $50-$79.99 range of coolers. With so many coolers already doing well in this price range, Alpenfoehn has a hard road ahead of them competing with similar coolers we have already tested over the years.
This cooler has a great pedigree that goes back to the original Brocken made back in 2009. This cooler we are about to see released around two years after the original Brocken, so it is a shame it took so long for us to get together with Alpenfoehn. Back when this cooler was released, the competition on the market was much less fierce, with the big players of that time being the Thermalright Silver Arrow, or something like the Thermaltake Frio Extreme. While we cannot go back in time and access all of these coolers for a grudge match, we can put it up against all of the coolers we have on our charts today. In doing so, we can see if all of these $100 cooler options are really worth it, or, as saw with our D-14 revisit, if things may not have changed that much at all in the last couple of years.
Today we will be looking at the Brocken 2 from Alpenfoehn. We are hoping to see a few things from the Brocken 2. First, we are hoping this cooler is quieter than our previous samples from Alpenfoehn. We are also hoping this cooler looks much more appealing to a more sophisticated build. Finally, if this cooler is such a huge seller for Alpenfoehn, performance has to be part of the equation as well. With how well the much smaller Brocken ECO cooled with 120mm fans, we do have high hopes for the Brocken 2. Let's hope the association between cost per cooler and increase in performance continues as we see Alpenfoehn's bestselling cooler fully exposed.
While we do wish Alpenfoehn took a bit more time to list the specifications in a bit more detail, again they seem to cover the basics that most coolers are measured by in a customer's mind. First, we are given the in-house part number of the Brocken 2, and then we see the dimensions and weight. The dimensions of this cooler are 146mm of width, and 100mm of thickness, including the 25mm thick fan, and without adding in the curve of the fan frame, the Brocken 2 measures in at 163mm in height. We found the curve of the fan frame adds quite a bit of height to this cooler, in the magnitude of 20mm more height, due to the mounting hardware. Going a bit deeper than that, we found forty-six 0.30mm thick aluminum fins in two sections that are both capped with a 0.90mm thick nickel plated aluminum top plate. The remainder of the fins are left in their natural aluminum state. This cooler pulls the heat from the base via five 6mm diameter heat pipes that use the same Gapless H.D.C. layout as the ECO showed us, and has the fin stacks pressed onto the nickel plated heat pipes. Then, the fan (or fans) are employed to remove the heat from the cooler stacks.
Speaking of the fan(s), the Brocken 2 comes with a more generic looking Wing Boost 2 140mm fan. This is a much slower fan, which produces a maximum of 1100 RPM, and 109 cubic meters of air per hour. Converting that over to CFM, we find that this fan will push 62.4CFM of air flow, which is not too bad at all for cooling a fin stack of this size and density. We were also sent the retail version of this fan, which does differ slightly in appearance from the fan included with the Brocken 2, but shares all the same fan speed and performance specifications as the one in the box. The inclusion of this second fan will allow us to see the out of the box performance of this cooler, and also test it in a push/pull configuration. This should give us a good idea of what the Brocken 2 is fully capable of.
Of course, just like the previous two samples from Alpenfoehn, the Brocken 2 is not available on this side of the pond. Searching for it on the other side of the pond is very successful actually, and we found it listed and ready to ship there for the price of £38.99, which is not that bad of a price. For those of you without a currency calculator, that is roughly $65 U.S. dollars to obtain the Brocken 2. On paper, we hope to find ourselves very pleased with the level of performance we should get; however, sometimes things don't play out as well as you had hoped. This may be just one of those instances, so read on to find out.
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