Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing
Reeven may not be the biggest name in manufacturers, and they may not be a company that pops into your head when it comes to companies to shop for CPU air cooler either, but this should change. While this company may not be on the cusp of engineering a head turning design to change what we know of cooling a CPU, the designs they have produced have been top notch. There is a feel to their coolers that eases your mind, knowing it is not a flimsy lackluster product, and like Noctua did, Reeven also sticks to a color theme, although black and yellow is much more appealing to the masses. What impresses us most about Reeven though, is that with every cooler we have seen, build quality, the silence of operation, and a knack for being able to surprise us with their results are all things that come to mind when we think back to what Reeven is all about.
Reeven has made single tower coolers, they have even made dual tower coolers, and while impressive in their abilities, it is always the C-style coolers that seem to shock us the most. The idea with many C-style coolers is delivering a compact cooler, adding airflow to the motherboard and its power components, but the main usages for such coolers come in the Mini-ITX and SFF chassis realm, where many of the top-selling coolers out there just won't fit. The reality of this market though is that many coolers, while fine for use with a CPU at stock levels, once the user tries to overclock their system, many of these coolers falter in their ability to handle the heat produced. Reeven is one company which is building smaller cooler to suit the main criteria, yet at the same time, can also manage the workload from those who tend to like to get free performance inside of tiny spaces.
The Reeven Brontes is just such a cooler, where everything we could throw at this CPU cooler was taken in stride. The RC-1001b or the Brontes cooler is ultra-compact, it is near silent no matter how you want to run the fan, and is designed to fit any motherboard inside of cases where height is a major concern in the build. While not the first of its kind to be tested here at TweakTown, Reeven is raising the bar in what we should expect in this style of a cooler and can deliver the Brontes with the ability to pass all of our testing handily and leaves us in awe all at the same time. If you are in the market for a cooler that takes slightly more room than the stock cooling options, is solid and impressive, and where clearance is a major issue, you need to take a long hard look at the Reeven Brontes, as it is likely the cooler you are looking for.
The chart provided by Reeven shows us that there are two variations of this cooler. There is the RC-1001, and the RC-1001b, which the latter is the one which supports AM1 sockets. The compatibility across both CPU makers is outstanding, and even covers many sockets which have been long since put in the EOL category. Of course, as shown at the end of the AMD listings, if using an AM1 socket processor, you do need to be sure you grab the RC-1001b. Likely the best part about this cooler is that it is 105mm wide, 114 deep, and only 59mm in height. We also get a weight measurement for this Brontes near the bottom of the chart, where we find it is only 325 grams.
There is no mention of the construction or materials used in it, though. This is a C-style cooler which uses a support system to be sure that the cooler never bends, this is where a lot of others have failed. There are 44 fins in this design, all of them half a millimeter thick, using a one-millimeter thick cover plate on one end, and these are made of aluminum. There is a mention of the four 6mm diameter heat pipes used, but they do not say that they are made of copper, nor a mention of the base being made of copper as well. The last thing to say that was not covered is that to dress up the Brontes a bit; all copper surfaces have been nickel plated, which also helps to fight oxidation.
To cool this compact air cooler, Reeven opts for a 100mm fan sporting a black frame and yellow blades, but this fan is only 12mm in thickness. The RM-1012S22B-P fan can spin in a range of 650 to 2200 RPM, delivering a maximum airflow of 30.39 CFM. With the limited amount of air flow, we also see that the static pressure is rated in inches of water. Doing the math, this fan pushes 1.4732 mmH20 - which is good for a fan of this size. Noise level is shown to be higher than most with a factory rating of 31.67 dB(A), but as you will soon see in our results, this rating is highly exaggerated.
On this side of the pond, availability is low, as only one retailer comes up in our searches. Funny enough, it is not Amazon, which seems to have everything else you may need, just not this CPU cooler. Where we did find the Brontes was at Newegg. They do not specify if this is the RC-1001 or the RC-1001b, it took us looking at their images and looking at the mounting hardware to say that this is the RC-1001b being sold there. The best thing about the Reeven Brontes, while hard to find, is that its $38 list price is something that anyone can handle.
The top of the box is where Reeven shows what the Brontes has to offer along with a large image of the cooler. We see this is LGA1151 ready as well as supporting AM1 sockets, we see that this is the RC-1001b version, and we also see all of the compatibility and a reference to low-profile RAM being needed to use this cooler with AM1.
On this side panel of the Brontes, we are told of its size, and why this cooler should be chosen for use. To the right of the text, we also see the cooler from the side, with 5.9cm being marked for the overall height.
Six cautionary statements are found at the top of this panel, and to be honest, these are all common sense points being made. These are also repeated at the bottom, to cover the other primary market in which Reeven coolers are sold.
This side explains that this cooler is made in Taiwan, and below that, it delivers the specifications chart in seven languages. Each of the categories is listed from top to bottom, and to the right of all of the versions of the chart, this is where you will find the ratings for each.
The last panel on the box showing something worth a mention is found here. There is a QR-code, the primary site address as well as the sales address, a bar code with the RC-1001b model number in it, and four renderings to the right, two of which show dimensions along with them.
Inside of the box, we find the Reeven Brontes almost entirely assembled and ready to go. The cooler is packed into a layer of cardboard which has been cut out to allow the cooler to rest in it and keep it from moving around inside of the box. At the left, we find a small thin box containing all of the hardware needed to use the Brontes with whatever motherboard you choose.
Reeven Brontes RC-1001b CPU Cooler
This side of the Brontes offers a few things for discussion. First is the 12mm thick fan found on top, which has wire fan clips wrapped around the larger section of the fin array. In this fin array, is 44 fins with a cover plate to the left, and under it all is a pre-cooler attached to the base.
From the back of the cooler we see the fan laying across the top, and we can also see the valley cut into the fins to allow this fan to build some pressure. From this side we can see the spread of the four heat pipes, going from right next to each other at the base, and widening out as they pass through the aluminum fins.
This side of the cooler is a mirror image of what we saw on the other side, just front a slightly different angle. We can see a bit more of the pre-cooler, and we see the fan lead starts on this side, and is sleeved to dress up the appearance a bit.
From the front of the cooler, we again see the valley along the top of the fin array, but this time we are offered a one-millimeter thick cover plate. It is made of brushed aluminum, has the Reeven name cut out of it, and we see the heat pipe tips are covered, two of which have a design cut around the covers in the cover plate.
The bright yellow blades and the black frame of this 100mm fan do a good job of covering the fin stack below it. We can also tell that the fan clips which hold the fan down have pins that lock into the holes, and it is easier to release the fan clips from the holes than it is to try to get it from under the fins.
While there is a curve that the top of the cooler is designed with, all of the fins pressed onto the heat pipes, are identical. The only irregularity we see from this angle is that the fan clips do bend a couple of the fin tips on either side, but this also makes sure you have the fan in the right place when replacing it back onto the fins later.
Under the Brontes, we do see that some of the fins are larger to allow the thick support wire to pass through them and keep the cooler level with the motherboard. We can get a better sense of the design of the pre-cooler on the base, and we can also see the large grooves cut into it to allow the heat pipes to pass through the, between the base and the pre-cooler.
As to the base of the Brontes, it has been nickel plated and is nearly flat enough to deliver a mirror-like reflection in it. The shape of the base is slightly convex with the center being the highest point, and on both sides, we have section and holes which allow the mounting hardware to be installed upon the base.
Accessories and Documentation
There are three styles of mounting brackets which are supplied with the RC-1001b. Two sets at the left can be used for AMD installations, and the larger pair is used for AM1 sockets. To the right, we see two more brackets, and these are used for Intel mounting. Both brackets have adjustable ends on them, which can be set to allow LGA775, LGA115X, or LGA1366 mounting to occur. As for those wishing to use this on LGA2011in any form, there is not hardware provided for this.
We were also sent a packet of thermal paste to use, and there is enough for at least two attempts at installing the Brontes. Below the TIM are four rubber washers to isolate the hardware from the motherboard. On the right are five small screws used to mount the brackets to the base of the cooler, and below those, are the four larger screws used along with the washers to attach the Brontes to the motherboard.
The manual shipped along with the Brontes needs to be unfolded to see all of the instructions. Even on just what we can see in this image, terrific renderings are showing how everything works, and in some of the windows, there is text to help drive the point across. For either AMD or Intel users, with this manual, you will have no issues getting the cooler installed onto your motherboard.
Installation and Finished Product
The first thing we did was to put the washers onto the thumbscrews. This keeps the screws from accidentally cutting a trace on the back of the motherboard, and while they are knurled for easy use with your fingers, they also have a Phillips head on them so you can drive these screws all the way into the brackets.
We then took the Intel mounting brackets, making sure that all four end bits were set for LGA115X installations, and went ahead and attached them to the base of the cooler. At this point, we need to apply the TIM and do a bit of a balancing act to get the Brontes installed on the motherboard.
On the back of the motherboard, there is not a back plate to get in the way or to conflict with resistors, capacitors, solder points, or even storage drive slots which have all known to be an issue on some Mini-ITX boards back here. Initially, we did just install this cooler finger tight, but once everything is lined up, we took a screwdriver and drove the screws in until the threads stopped.
Above the motherboard, there isn't a need for washers of any sort. Because the brackets do not touch the motherboard when installed properly, there is no way for the Brontes to do any damage here either.
59mm of overall height is not much at all when it comes to a CPU cooler, and we can see the Brontes is ever so slightly peeking out over the RAM. This is what makes the Brontes such a good choice when it comes to installing systems into cases which leave very little room above the motherboard to sufficiently cool the CPU.
Initially, we just installed the cooler as it is in these images, to make it easy on us, as well as being able to show the cover plate once more. If the motherboard is horizontal inside of a chassis, any of the four ways it can be installed is fine, but if the motherboard is vertical, you do not want the pipes on the bottom as we have it here.
From this angle, we can see the cooler is close to the memory, and due to the height of most kits, this can cause some issues depending on the cooler's orientation. However, no matter which way you choose to install it, it is out of the way of the video card, and with Mini-ITX only supporting one slot, this is a major concern that we do not have to have.
Test System Setup, Thermal Tests, and Noise Results
Chad's CPU Cooler Test System Specifications
- Motherboard: ASUS ROG Maximus VIII HERO (Intel Z170) - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- CPU: Intel Core i7 6700K - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Memory: Patriot Viper 4 3000MHz 4X4GB - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Graphics Card: MSI GeForce GTX 1060 6GB OC - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Storage: Corsair Neutron XTi 480GB - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Case: INWIN D-Frame - Read our review
- Power Supply: Thermaltake Toughpower DPS 1050W - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- OS: Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64-bit - Buy from Amazon
- Software: RealTemp 3.70, AIDA64 Engineer 5.75.3900, and CPU-z 1.77.0 x64
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 (October 2016) for more information.
66.25 degrees does not seem that great when looking at the other coolers listed on this chart, but keep in mind this is half, if not less the size of the others we have tested. At the same time, it is slightly more than 14 degrees better than the stock option, with much less noise involved. For what it is, the Brontes fared well in our testing here.
We were almost positive that the Brontes would not even handle the 6700K when it came to our overclock preset, but to our amazement, it does, in fact, handle its business. Delivering an equal value with the larger MASTERAIR PRO 3 is an achievement, and the 83 degrees we see here is higher than we like, but still proves the Brontes is up to the tough task at hand.
Allowing the fan to run at full speed, the Brontes did a little better in this test. We can see by the chart that we have lost another degree and a half for this round of testing, leaving the Brontes with a result of 81.5 degrees.
Noise Level Results
With PWM in control of the fan for our stock testing, the fastest we saw the fan running on software monitoring was 1410 RPM. At this point, we took out the sound meter and got a reading a foot away from the fan. With speed so low in the spectrum of capability, we got only 26 dB at this time.
In our first overclocked test, we still allow PWM to control the fan, and here we saw it spinning at 2112 RPM when the heat load picked up in the test. At this point the fan was audible from a foot away, coming in a 36dB.
Allowing the motherboard to push 12V through the fan header for the whole test, a maximum speed of our fan was reached at 2284 RPM. This is slightly higher than the specifications noted but is still within plus or minus ten percent of the total fan speed. At this time, the noise did increase to 38 dB, but inside of an enclosure, the noise would be less than we get with our open air test rig.
When we initially unboxed the Brontes CPU cooler, we thought we were holding yet another compact cooler which would handle the processor at stock, but would be worthless for overclocking, allowing the processor to throttle. Reeven has proven to us just how wrong our initial guess was. For such a small CPU cooler, the Brontes has impressed us.
No, these are not the best temperatures we have ever seen, but to be able to handle what we threw at the cooler, for it to be limited in noise that it put out into the environment, and for how easy it is to install, Reeven gave us many reasons to appreciate this design. For those using this cooler inside of a compact SFF chassis or for HTPC uses, the Brontes fits where many others will not, and if left to the control of the PWM circuit on the motherboard, you will likely never hear the Brontes under normal stock conditions. Reeven did hit every mark of why this cooler was designed and left more in reserve for those who just cannot stand running things at stock levels. We also liked the lack of a backplate with this design. Due to the compact nature of Mini-ITX motherboards, some important things get moved to the back of the motherboard, and with simple screws used in the Brontes, these sort of concerns were negated right out of the box.
While the height is low at 59mm, the width and depth can play up on you depending on the motherboard chosen to go under the Brontes. There was a note in the specifications chart that low-profile RAM is needed for AM1 use, but this can come up on other motherboards as well. While testing, we did manage to get the Brontes installed with the heat pipes closest to the memory to allow for a vertical installation. This way the heat pipes are not failing if they were under the cooler. With all the fancy covers that come above and to the left of the sockets these days, these too can cause complications with which way the cooler can be installed without conflict. Something to keep in mind.
If you happen to be on this side of the pond, there is only one location shown on the internet to grab the Reeven Brontes, but even so, the price we found there was acceptable. At only $38 for what we saw here today, you will be hard-pressed to find something this accommodating to SFF chassis designs, and still be able to deliver the performance we saw in our charts. The biggest thing outside of keeping our processor from throttling in any of the tests is that the noise level is not out of control to do so. Our results are worst case scenario with it being an open-air chassis that we test in, so once you are in a sealed enclosure, some of that noise will be absorbed, making this a great option for those looking for silence inside of a media PC that sits in the living room too.
While Reeven may not even have popped into your mind when it came to finding a compact yet capable cooler for SFF and HTPC systems, the Brontes RC-1001b shows that you may need to widen your horizons a bit and give this cooler a fair shake to solve your cooling needs when inside of a tightly confined chassis.
|Quality including Design and Build||98%|
|Bundle and Packaging||93%|
|Value for Money||95%|
The Bottom Line: Nearly perfect, aside from some smaller compatibility issues we saw, the Brontes is a mean little cooler! It can take on everything we dosed it with, it is near silent under PWM control, and is light on the pocket when it comes to purchasing it.
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