Cooler Master GeminII S524 Version 2 CPU Cooler Review

Cooler Master GeminII S524 Version 2 CPU Cooler Review

Cooler Master's GeminII S524 Ver 2 CPU cooler won't have you setting any overclock records, but its price and silent operation are big positives.

@chad_sebring
Published Thu, Sep 17 2015 12:14 PM CDT   |   Updated Thu, Jul 30 2020 4:20 PM CDT
Rating: 87%Manufacturer: Cooler Master

Introduction, Specifications and Pricing

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Considering the last CPU cooler we saw from Cooler Master was an AIO, we are completely changing gears in cooling types, and even getting a bit of a history lesson at the same time. This is because the latest cooler for them to release is a visit back to the GeminII series of coolers, which we have not seen in what seems like forever, but with all the movement towards smaller and smaller cases, Cooler Master wanted to offer an updated cooler to suit the needs of users who cannot fit a tower cooler or even a 120mm AIO.

The original version of the GeminII S524 offered things like a solid copper base, good memory clearance in a C-style cooler design, yet staying at 105mm in height. It also offered things like Nickel plated heat pipes, and a fan more than capable of handling the processors of its day. The thing is, with this latest version of this cooler, a lot of what we are discussing has changed in favor of other ways of accomplishing the same sort of performance, while lowering the volume, yet still delivering a cooler that is up to date, and able to fit where others cannot.

As we look at the GeminII S524 Ver 2, we find a very familiar cooler in our hands, yet there is definite differences that you will notice right away, and others that are not so obvious. The thing is about this cooler though, while it may be an attempt to offer a better product from the original design, the one thing that customers will love on top of all else is that the pricing hasn't changed since 2011 when we last saw a cooler with this same name.

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While this chart is loaded with information, there are the main components and their makeup left out, so we will get that out of the way as we move through the top of this chart. The RR-G5V2-20PK-R1 or GeminII S524 Ver 2 CPU cooler will fit anything AMD including AM1 and anything after that, and for the Intel side of things, it fits anything LGA775 or later. The S524 Ver 2 is comprised of a group of 41 short fins next to another group of 21 longer fins, all made of aluminum, and all are pressed onto the ends of five copper heat pipes. These pipes take the heat from the CPU via CDC Technology where they use an aluminum plate to house the copper pipes, but the pipes are milled to make Continuous Direct Contact (CDC) with the IHS. This design is 144mm long, 141mm in width (3mm skinnier than the original), and stands 105mm tall, well technically 105.4mm when looking at the dimensional drawings of it.

To cool this 392 gram cooler, Cooler Master has chosen to go with the 120mm Silencio FP fan. This fan can spin up to 2000 RPM, but delivers slightly less air flow at 65CFM where the original was at 77. The thing we get from this though is that this fan is more silent in operation with only a 22 dB(A) rating offered, and they also ramped up the pressure to 3.33 mmH2O over the older 2.4 rating. This fan spins on a Loop Dynamic Bearing and offers 160,000 hours of run time, and at the same time using less than a tenth of an Amp and under a Watt of power. It is odd though that there is no mention of the 140mm cooling option built into this cooler. The last thing most customers will need to know about this cooler is that it comes with a two-year warranty against workmanship and defects or failures during "normal" use.

As we mentioned earlier, it is the pricing that will attract many potential customers to this cooler. We used to say back in the day that $50 could get you a really good air cooler, and today that pricing has moved much closer to the $100 mark. Considering that Cooler Master is able to, some four years later, deliver a revision of an older design at the exact same price point is near an astonishing feat considering material costs had to have gone up along the way as well. The fact that we can find the Cooler Master GeminII S524 Ver 2 with an MSRP of just $39.99 in today's market is great to see. You will have to spend just a tad more to get one to your door though, as actual listings show this cooler is $42.47 with free shipping at Amazon at the time of writing.

Packaging

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Starting with this side of the packaging, we find the Cooler Master logo at the top left, a large image of the cooler in the middle, and the GeminII S514 Ver 2 naming near the bottom. We also see they mention the CDC Tech, the X-Vents in the fins, the fan equipped with it, and also a set of three icons showing each.

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This shorter side of the packaging is all black in the background rather than the white, and this time just the logo, an image of the underside of the cooler, and its naming are present on this panel.

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The next side of the box has mention of the CDC, X-Vents, Silencio FP fan, and how its design cools more than just the CPU repeated in many languages. At the bottom right, we also see three renderings of the cooler with all the dimensions offered around them.

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Making it to the final side of the box, this time there is a specifications chart that covers most but not all of what we saw earlier. We also are given the site address, and bar codes with the model and serial number on them.

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Inside of the box the GeminII S514 Ver 2 is pampered as it sits on and is supported by two sections of dense foam. The lower section is cut short to protect the offset base, yet leave room for the large box of hardware. As to the paperwork, it is just slid down next to the cooler, but as for the inner packaging as a whole, it is more than up to the job and delivered us a sample in great shape.

Cooler Master GeminII S524 Ver 2 CPU Cooler

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Precariously balanced to get this image, the oddly weighted S524 Ver 2 front end is in full view. With the Silencio FP fan on the top, we see a thick steel plate that is screwed into the aluminum fins with X-Vents around the copper heat pipes. As you look lower, the back section of fins extend further and are slotted into the aluminum top plate at the base of the cooler.

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Moving now to the side of the S524 Ver 2, we see that the steel top plate is rolled over the edge for structural support and has chunks removed to offer flow around the cooler as well. The gap under the cooler at the left is 47mm for memory or whatever you need to go under this cooler.

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At the back of the cooler, we see copper heat pipes without Nickel plating this time, and we also see more of the X-Vents, but below, we also see dimples and holes in the longer fins to help aide in their heat dispersal.

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Without real reasoning behind it, the top plate on this side offers many fewer holes in it. It took us a minute to see it too, but there seems to be a hard lean to this cooler, if the fins are square, the base should not have the angle it is showing in this image, it should be more level to the image.

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Looking down into the top of the S524 Ver 2, we see that the 120mm Silencio FP fan does do a good job of covering the fins below it, we do see holes to opt to a 140mm cooling solution as well. As for this 120mm fan, it is 4-pin powered, PWM, and the only flash to it is the chromed logo on the sticker.

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Without the fan on the fins, we find channels on the sides to allow for the fan screws to clear them, and while the center is flat, it is lower than the steel plate and allows the fan to build a bit of pressure before entering the fin stack.

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Dropping below the cooler, we wanted to get a better image of the pre-cooler that holds the pipes in direct contact with the CPU, but as it is channelled into the aluminum fins, the pre-cooler can dump heat into them as well as the heat pipes.

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Still at the bottom, but from a different perspective, we can now see how the base is oriented under the cooler, that the sides of the pipes is where the installation hardware is installed, and that is ships with a protective sticker over the pipes to keep them from oxidizing.

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Moving in much closer, we see that there isn't paste coming from between the pipes as we usually see with other HDT style cooler, and the surface is left with its milling marks. Holding an edge to the base, there are of course thin gaps where light passes, but the majority of the surfaces are flat across it.

Accessories and Documentation

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In the box of hardware, we are sent eight brackets to mount to the base of the cooler, and a wrench. The brackets are made to go with LGA 2011 to the left, AMD brackets both for long and short hole mounting orientations in the middle, leaving the universal Intel brackets on the right.

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They also send a single universal back plate with this cooler. The plate is set like it would go on an AMD motherboard, and it has a large sheet of non-conductive material on it like what is on the Intel tabs at the sides, and is also drilled for socket screws, so orientation for Intel is important.

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Also in the kit we are given a small tube of paste, and a Phillip's drive socket. The socket is used on the four nuts at the left that mount the cooler to the motherboard. We are also given small counter sunk screws to mount the brackets to the cooler's base, and for AMD installations, it is advised to use the rubber spacers.

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The manual we see at the top opens up and offers tons of images with just a few lines of text where it was definitely needed. Along with that and the parts list inside, anyone should be able to easily get this cooler mounted. At the bottom, we also found the warranty information about what is and what is not covered under the two year term.

Installation and Finished Product

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First thing is first, and to get started, the manual says to put the appropriate brackets onto the base of the cooler. We have taken the universal Intel brackets and made sure that the suds were all locked into the center holes for LGA 115X boards.

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For this image, we balanced the motherboard on top of the cooler, allowing the studs to pass through the motherboard holes. We then aligned the back plate correctly, and with the socket, screwed the nuts down until we ran out of threads.

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We did have to remove the tips on the spreaders, but without them, we do have plenty of room for the average kit to go under the S524 Ver 2. The manual also shows this cooler will function in any direction, but you may run into clearance issues with the PCI-e slot, the top of the chassis, or possible wiring or fan clearance in the back.

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This picture shows us two things. While the memory sits, getting anything in and out of the slots is near impossible with the cooler installed. Secondly, with the angle the cooler is sitting at, it's leaning hard to the left.

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Stepping back, we find that it definitely is not just us, this cooler is overly bent, plain and simple. There is no way to open it up like most C-style coolers, as the base is locked into the fins. Outside of that, while covering the memory, it does still offer plenty of room around it in all the other areas.

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From this view, the angle is much less obvious as you look down at the highly polished steel plate and the Silencio FP 120mm fan perched above it. Installed as it is, we are blocking the first PCI slot usage, so if that is important, this cooler may need to be offset upwards, but make sure the chassis has room above the motherboard for it.

Test System Setup, Thermal Tests and Noise Results

Test System Setup

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I would first like to thank ASUS, InWin, Patriot 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.

Thermal Results

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As we look at the stock results, we found our idle temperature hovered at 35 degrees here, and when we allowed AIDA64 to run, we saw this cooler climb up to 57 degrees at this point. It is hard to shed a good light on this result as it bests only four aftermarket solutions, but keep in mind that it is 23 degrees cooler than the stock cooling option.

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With no TDP listed anywhere for either version, we had no idea what to expect when the fan was allowed to run at full speed, and the CPU was overclocked. We found the S524 Ver 2 sticks with about the same level of performance, besting a select few other coolers with its 78.5 degree result. Still, 20 degrees better than stock, and with a ton less noise involved.

Noise Level Results

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Applying 7.5V to the fan left us with the Silencio spinning at 1300 RPM. At this point, most systems are going to be louder than this cooler, and after turning off other fans in ours, we got a reading of 24 dB at this point in the testing. At the top of the charts for silence.

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Giving the fan all the juice, we saw ours spinning at 2180 RPM, which is slightly over spec, but within margin. Even so, it takes top honors again, with the fan emitting only 31 dB of noise.

Final Thoughts

This cooler has us torn. We like the design of the original, and seeing the S524 Ver 2 brought it all back to us, and while the original wasn't all that great of a performer, we have to see this cooler for what it is first, then other things will fall into perspective.

First off, realize this is not some super-tower cooler, so we can't expect it to keep up with AIOs and dual-tower designs. Secondly, this cooler is designed to fit into much smaller systems than normal coolers will fit into. We appreciate the new additions and redesigns we found along the way, like locking the base for support and structure, the X-Vents on the fins, even the dimples and holes in them; it all played its part in keeping our CPU from throttling, well away from it in fact, and while doing this, it is also able to barely be heard in any scenario you have the fan under. We liked that even while a bit more challenging to mount, you still get mounting for both sides of the AMD socket, as well as the full Intel setup for various sockets.

The thing is though, along the way, we were finding odd things too. Why does one side of the top plate offer more cooling holes than the other? It shows in the manual that all four orientations are proper to install this cooler, so why not offer the same level of cooling to both sides, as only the owner knows which way it's going on the motherboard. We also found that while Cooler Master mention that if the offset is downward you may block a PCIe slot, they do not mention that it will block the top one in any orientation, and for SFF builders, this can be a really bad thing, as choices on Micro-ATX and Mini-ITX boards aren't as robust as ours is. The thing that we just cannot figure out though is that with everything locked together from the pipes to the pre-cooler, it being locked into the fins, and the plate on top being screwed on, we cannot figure out how this cooler would have been crushed in shipping causing the lean. It seems more likely that the cooler was designed this way from the onset.

If you have the right accommodations, and are desiring a smaller or shorter cooler to fit in your build, the S524 Ver 2 may not be your first choice on thermal results alone. Stepping back to take it all in, yes the cooler has a few issues, but it is easy enough to mount to any motherboard, is near dead silent even at full speed, and this cooler is not going to break your wallet either. While this is not a cooler for the extreme overclocker out there, it definitely has its place in today's market. The one plus that Cooler Master makes little mention of, is that with the option to allow a 140mm fan on this cooler, those thermal results can get much better.

Considering this cooler can be had for just under $43, even if you do opt to get the extra fan eventually, the overall investment is still much cheaper than a lot of other options you have for a cooler such as this. The GeminII S524 Ver 2 shows it has a place in the market, now it is just up to you to see if that place is your system.

TweakTown award
Performance75%
Quality including Design and Build82%
General Features88%
Bundle and Packaging92%
Value for Money97%
Overall87%

The Bottom Line: Cooler Master's GeminII S524 Ver 2 shows us near silent operation at a really good price point, and while not great, for a shorter C-style cooler, it was more than capable of taming our system.

PRICING: You can find products similar to this one for sale below.

USUnited States: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.com

UKUnited Kingdom: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.co.uk

AUAustralia: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.com.au

CACanada: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.ca

DEDeutschland: Finde andere Technik- und Computerprodukte wie dieses auf Amazon.de

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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