Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing
Not that long ago, we brought you the first chassis to be offered by FSP, and while a huge step for them as a company, it seems they have their eyes on a much larger prize. It has been the trend for some time now, for businesses not to pigeon hole themselves into a particular segment, and depending, on say, power supplies as their only means of staying afloat. It makes a huge amount of sense to open your lineup and add in things you may not be known for yet, but with time, a reputation develops, talk around the industry begins, and hopefully, if everything pans out, as a company, you have a wider audience of customers. Allowing said company to prosper, possibly leading to better products in the future as R&D funds become available.
FSP is doing just that and is also expanding their offerings into CPU cooling. Currently, there are only two products, both of which are designed with three things, affordability, performance, and low noise while operating; all things we can appreciate. While there is a base model of these coolers, we have been sent the version which offers more of just about everything. Both coolers are HDT designs, both use a similar fan, and both coolers use the same hardware, but that is where the line is drawn. With what you are about to see, not only do we get everything promised in this design, but we get something aesthetically pleasing, a cooler that clears everything, and a solution to CPU cooling that you will want to pay attention to.
Today we bring forth the Windale 6 from FSP, the better-developed brother of the Windale 4. While the Windale 4 has bare aluminum fins and exposed copper heat pipes, of which there are four, think of the Windale 6, as the Windale 4, in a tuxedo, with an additional pair of heat pipes to take on even heavier heat loads. What you are about to see with the Windale 6 is not only a cooler that looks the part, it is more than ready to take on what today's processors can dish out, and do it with little more than a whir heard from the chassis. This may be the first attempt to satisfy the cooling needs of FSP customers, but with what you are about to find in this review, it looks like they are seasoned professionals, as the Windale 6 is an impressive solution as a maiden voyage into CPU air coolers.
The Windale 6 is also known as the AC601, and the top of the chart shows it to have a 0.09 degree Celsius per Watt of thermal resistance, which is a measure not many other companies even address. With the fan in place, the cooler stands 165mm tall, it is 122mm in width, the thickness is 110mm, and all told, the Windale 6 weighs in at 823 grams. The fins, all fifty-four of them, are made of an aluminum allow and come covered in a black coating. There are six copper heat pipes, which also get the black coating, and they are six millimeters in diameter.
The included fan that ships with the Windale 6 is the FSP CF12P12 120mm fan, which speed ranges from 600 to 1600 RPM. The fan spins on a sleeve bearing, it can produce 60 CFM of airflow and delivers only 32 dBA of noise to the room. This black fan with nine gray blades resembles a few well-known fans out there, but along with being a 4-pin PWM powered fan, it is also lit with four blue LEDs around the frame.
Above and beyond any performance this cooler may have, the price of it will either drive the masses towards it or have them laughing, knowing they might find a better bang for the buck elsewhere. The fact is that the latter is true with the Windale 6. Looking around, we see that Newegg and Amazon are running the same deal, on this cooler. Right now, we see that the Windale 6 is listed at just $44.99, with free shipping. It is rare that we see larger single tower coolers for less than $50, and it always seems that they tend to do fairly well too. This holds true for FPS and the Windale 6, as by the time we finish this review, you will be hard pressed to find fault with this cooler, or any reason to pass it by when it comes to purchasing your next CPU air cooler.
With the FSP name and logo at the top, to the left of the AC601 name, we see a large image of the Windale 6 below them. In the fine print, features like the performance, direct contact base, compatibility, anti-vibration measures, and the silence and LED nature of the fan, are all mentioned.
As a bit of the cooler image from the front of the box turns the corner and can be seen on this side, we see that FSP shows the cooler and fan again, but this time in renderings.
The back of the box is topped with a specifications chart for the tower and the fan, with a list of five features in the gray bar. We are told to refer to the manual before use, and in many languages, it is explained to visit the FSP website for more detailed information.
The last side of the box tells us that this is a CPU air cooler, and lists the same features we have seen twice before. The bottom half of the panel is used to tell us that this is a 240W TPD cooler and provides a chart as to what sort of performance such a cooler could provide with a twenty-six degrees Celsius ambient temperature.
Inside of the box, the Windale 6 is sandwiched between layers of dense foam, one at the top, and one below the tower. The hardware is slid in behind the cooler in the white box, the fan is slid into the front of the box, and the instructions are slid in between the fan and the external packaging. This arrangement has done its job, as this Windale 6 showed for testing in superb condition, with no indications of damage.
FSP Windale 6 CPU Cooler
At first glance, the Windale 6 may appear like many other 120mm coolers, but there are some fine details to take in. Both the heat pipes as well as the fins have a black coating applied, which appears to be a thermal coating which we have seen in the past, and we also see that each of the fins in the fifty-four-fin stack is supported with tabs on either side, to ensure fin spacing stays correct.
Looking at the cooler from the side, we can see each of the six heat pipes as they pass through the fin stack, and just how evenly spaced they are.
The back of the cooler is nearly identical to the view we saw from the front, but we do have one more thing to mention. The shadow line inside of the pipes is from louvers in each fin. These are designed to influence the air flow, which helps to increase the performance of this cooler.
The sides are identical as well, but we did not look at the bottom of the cooler in the last image like this. There you can see that the heat pipes are tightly packed at the base, and have to be slightly offset to allow all six pipes to fit there. As they leave the base, they make gentle bends as not to kink the pipes, and delivers a solid structure as well as a possible advantage to remove more heat from CPUs with larger IHSs.
Looking at the top of the Windale 6, we see various half round cuts and deeper grooves in the center of each side, where the front and back have squared off air channels, but keep the same deep cuts. The tips of the pipes are exposed through the top fin, and every fin in the stack has the FSP name embossed in the fins, and they all have four louvers in them too.
The base is a solid chunk of aluminum, which is used to hold all of the heat pipes together, but from this angle, we see a pair of small holes. These are used to accept a cross-bar mounting mechanism to lock the CPU cooler to the mounting hardware.
As the heat pipes enter the cooler, we can see that the fins are pressed onto the pipes, which is not the best design for heat transfer. Although, using the coating on both the pipes and the fins, lessens the gap between them and helps to make up for the lack of solder.
We have removed a warning sticker which is used to keep the base from oxidizing, and it has done its job. All six pipes run in contact with each other, and we can see thermal paste squeezing out from between them. The pipes are flattened before they are put into the base, and it is then that the base and pipes are machined at the same time to give this flat contact area.
We did skip ahead a little bit grabbing some of the hardware, but we wanted to be sure that you also get to see the Windale 6 with the fan in place. It does add some thickness to the tower, but the fan is the same size as the fin stack, so it will clear memory, although the rubber fan straps are a bit long and goofy looking.
Accessories and Documentation
Most of the mounting hardware is shown in this picture. On the left are the Intel top brackets with the universal backplate to the right of it, and the AMD top brackets and packet of paste to the right of that. At the top of the backplate, we have the cross-bar bracket which locks the cooler to the top brackets.
The rest of the hardware to make what we just looked at work, is all found here. At the top are four black plastic spacers, used with the four long scr4ews with hex heads on them. There is a set of screws specific to use with LGA2011 and LGA2011 V3; there are two Phillips head screws to mount the cross bar and a set of four nuts to lock the top brackets to the backplate and motherboard.
To mount the 120mm fan that comes with the Windale 6, you are to use these rubber fan connectors. The long end passes through both holes in the frame and locks with the angled section near the middle of them. To lock them into the cooler, the round ends with the pin are made to slide into holes in the fin stack. FSP also includes another set, in case you wish to have a push/pull fan setup.
The fan which accompanies the cooler body is the FSP CF12P12 120mm fan. This fan has a black frame with four blue LEDs in it, surrounding nine gray blades. The fan is powered via a 4-pin fan connector and is PWM controllable.
The instructions are folded down to stay compact and go inside of the box easily, but once unfolded, there is a plethora of information TO BE HAD. There is a parts list to ensure you are starting the installation process with all of the correct parts, and after it, we find step-by-step guides for Intel, Intel LGA2011, and AMD installations. Even the most novice builder can get the Windale 6 installed if you follow that FSP provides here.
Installation and Finished Product
As shown in the instructions, we are told to line up the backplate with the socket, and this plate is designed so that its orientation is not such a big deal. We then slid in the hex head screws through the motherboard mounting holes, and as they twist a bit, the heads lock into the channels of the backplate.
We then screwed on the black plastic spacers, added on the top brackets, and used the knurled nuts to lock them into place. At this time, the hardware should be solid and locked tight to the motherboard.
After installing the cooler and the cross-bar mounting bracket, we took a step back to take in the view. The RAM is wider than the Windale 6 is, keeping it free from the top PCI-e slot, and also leaving room around it to tend to everything else too.
The fan on the Windale 6 sits high enough that it does not cause any conflict with our taller RAM. If you have taller RAM, you may run into an issue with height, as the fan does cover two of the slots.
Since there is no offset to the heat pipes, where the cooler is pushed back away from the RAM, it leaves plenty of room to add in a second fan. As it sits now, we have no interference with the 8-pin connector, and all of the screw holes are accessible.
As this is the view that most users will see day to day, it is likely the most important. We like the murdered out look of this cooler, where the body has the matte black coating applied to it, and the fan does not show any indications of anything fancy under the hood either.
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.
Leaving our processor at stock settings, we turned on AIDA stress, and find that the Windale 6 performs much better than we expected it to. Fifty-five degrees in this chart is good; so good that the Windale 6 takes the fourth place of all coolers tested on this system.
While still allowing the PWM circuitry to control the fan, we applied our overclock for this test run. Still performing admirably well, the Windale 6 drops one place to fifth overall, with a seventy-four-degree result. Can't complain so far.
Where many coolers tend to offer a degree or two difference when we put full power to the fans, this chart shows FSP left some meat on the bone. Nearly five degrees of more efficient cooling can be had, and as you are about t6o see, the sound premium isn't as bad as you might expect.
Noise Level Results
With the fan reportedly spinning at 1047 RPM through AIDA software, we took our sound measurement and love that the Windale 6 fan is inaudible at 24dB. Not the best on the chart, but by no means is this an unfavorable result.
Applying the overclock adds some heat, which in turn increases the fan speed. At this time the fans were turning at 1260 RPM, and only just able to be heard, they are producing 26 dB of noise at this time.
What we love about this cooler, is that FSP chose the proper fan for it. Typically, to reduce the temperature five degrees, you need a fan that makes a ton of noise, like many on this list. However, with our fan at 1580 RPM, we only heard 33 dB of noise from it. Extremely tolerable, especially for the gains had thermally for just seven more decibels.
FSP jumped in with both feet and came up smelling like roses. The Windale 6 is an impressive cooler which everyone needs to be made aware of. Applying the black coating to the entire cooler body, due to its texture, it disturbs the air, and with the evenly spaced fins, the amount of heat pipes, and the louvers in the fins, all go to work delivering superior performance for the money involved. Equipping this cooler with the perfect fan is also an attribute many companies miss slightly, and FSP hit the nail on the head here. Keeping the cooler near the top of the thermal charts, while at the same time, delivering none to limited noise from it, it makes us all warm and fuzzy inside. This Windale 6 ticks all of the boxes, it is a solid and stable product that is simple to install, and will not break the bank when it comes time to buy one of them.
In every aspect, it is obvious that FSP did not just dabble in the CPU cooler Market, they came out swinging. The packaging may not grab your attention, but it gets the point across once your eyes do land on it. Internally the cooler is safe and sound, ready for a long trip to your door. The hardware is all there, it is simple to use with little more than a screwdriver and locks this murdered out cooler firmly to just about any motherboard. Sorry Ryzen users, you can use the Windale 6, but you will need to contact FSP for the appropriate hardware. For a first attempt to enter an untapped market, FSP shows they know what they are doing when it comes to CPU cooling, and we can only imagine what will be in our future from them.
If this were any other cooler with this sort of performance levels, we would be speaking of an AIO or some huge dual-tower cooler design, but FSP proves that you can have all the benefits of the more expensive coolers, and not have to shell out $100 or more to get it. Since the Windale series of coolers is budget oriented in their conception, you can get everything we discussed here for less than half that cost.
Right now, the Windale 6 is available for $44.99, and for such a minimal investment, we find it hard to pass this CPU air cooler by. If black is your thing when it comes to style, and you are all about performance over flashy design, the FSP Windale 6 is the perfect solution to your needs.
The Bottom Line: For less than $50, the FSP Windale 6 is impressive! Solid, easy to install, performance of coolers twice the price, and little noise involved to get the most from this first go at air cooling device from FSP. Color us shocked, stunned, and impressed.
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