Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing
After looking in our records, we realized that while we have seen many GamerStorm products over the years, this may well be the first CPU cooler we have seen from the parent company DEEPCOOL. While we have a sense of what the company is about, on the whole, we have no idea if there is an average versus premium product line between the two "manufacturers," but we are certainly about to find out! As far as GamerStorm is concerned, we cannot recall a product that we were completely against over the last decade or so, and we expect the same from this DEEPCOOL CPU cooler.
In essence, what we have to show you now is a slim, single tower, which follows all of the modern conventions. By that, we mean that memory clearance is there, noise is kept to the bare minimum, the tower and pipes are nickel-plated, mounting the cooler is easy due to well-engineered hardware. Even though somewhat limited in its presentation, this cooler comes with ARGB lighting! We can tell right out of the gate that DEEPCOOL is not trying to slide something average past us; they took the time to do things right from the word go! Even though we are very early in the review process, we feel that this DEEPCOOL CPU air cooler is well on its way to impressing us, as just by appearance and what can be found on the box in print, we already like what we see!
Of course, as with any product we review, we tend to hold our tongue until we have all of the facts, and with this AS500 from DEEPCOOL, we will stick to this pattern. What we can say this early is that you should not judge a book by its cover, or better yet, do not pass judgment on a product based on the manufacturer, or in this instance, by its slim nature! We feel that you should give DEEPCOOL and the AS500 five to ten minutes to read this, as what you are about to see may not seem that impressive at first. Still, once you look at the testing results, you may very well have a new appreciation for DEEPCOOL and what they made possible with the AS500 CPU air cooler!
There is one major difference between the chart we found online, which we presented above, and the one found on the box, and the difference is compatibility. On the Intel side of compatibility, we see LGA115X/1200, 2011 and V3, as well as LGA2066. AMD compatibility is shown to supportFM1, FM2. FM2+AM2, AM2+, AM3, AM3+, and AM4.
Product dimensions differ from the Heatsink dimensions, as the latter does not include the fan in the measuring. Altogether, we are dealing with a single tower air cooler that is 142mm wide, 98mm thick, and stands 164mm tall. Combined, the fan and the tower come in at 1030 grams in weight. The materials used are not listed, but we know that copper is used for the base, and the five 6mm diameter heat pipes and aluminum is used for the fin stack, all of which are nickel-plated!
DEEPCOOL uses a TF140S to cool the tower, which has another part number, DFr1402512CL, and a 140mm fan. Speed is rated in a range from 500 to 1200 RPM, and at top speed, this fan delivers 70.81 CFM of airflow with 1.14 mmH2O of static pressure. Peak noise is rated at less than 29.2 dB(A), while standard operational noise is rated at less than 26 dB(A). The TF140S is powered with a 4-pin PWM connection and spins on a fluid dynamic bearing, drawing at most, 0.11A and 1.32W.
The AS500 also comes with a bit of ARGB lighting, found around the top, hidden by a matte black cover on the tower. The lighting is a 3-pin powered device that adapts for various board makers and a controller for those without ARGB supported motherboards. The last bit of information that might be handy to know is that the AS500 is backed with a two-year warranty, as long as you have proof of purchase. Otherwise, support is lessened to a single year.
Since the AS500 looks better than many other single tower coolers we have received, submitted for testing, we expect the cost to be at least $50, and as we look now at Amazon for the actual price, we are pleased to see the $59.99 price point! While there are a few solid contenders in our charts for roughly this same money, we feel that what Deep Cool offered us to review has a real chance of being impressive! Suppose it can contend with many of the $80 air coolers or even hang close to the AIOs, which cost nearly double. In that case, we can say without question that DEEPCOOL, while not widely known on this side of the pond, may be a company you need to add to your list of "those to look for" when replacing your existing one or buying a new CPU cooler!
The DEEPCOOL AS500 comes in a box colored light gray and a minty green, where the green wraps the sides, denoting this is a CPU cooler and is also used to display the industrial "X" design, where we can see this is shown to be a "high-performance slim tower CPU cooler." Below the cooler's angled image with its ARGB lighting on display, we find icons denoting ASUS, Razer, GIGABYTE, MSI, and ASRock compatibility.
That mint green is used for the entire right side of the box, and the text is continued in white. While we see the manufacturer and product name on the top half, the lower bit of the panels tell us that the AS500 has a 220W TDP, has a 164mm height, and is 100% RAM compatible PWM controlled and delivers its performance with low noise involved.
Back to gray now as we look at the back of the box, we find twelve languages explaining features. The list includes the five 6mm heat pipes and the 220W TDP, slim design and RAM compatibility, the milled and convex base design, nickel-plated everything, top cover, and ARGB, plus the performance offered by the TF140S FDB fan. In the bottom-right corner, we are also shown a specifications chart to ensure you know all the details before buying this product off the shelf.
The last panel sticks with the gray but also incorporated the green at the top. Again, we see the DEEPCOOL and AS500 names, but above the seven white lines at the bottom of the panel, we see dimensional renderings of the cooler. The first image shows the height and width, along with the width of the base. The second image covers the depth of the tower, the size to the first fin, and the base's depth. The last picture shows the fan's depth, the width, and the depth from the front edge of the fan to the back of the mounting bar.
While the box took a few hits along the way to our porch, on the inside, we find the AS500 surrounded in thick bits of open-celled foam, leaving the tower and fan in perfect condition despite the external appearance of the box! The cardboard box at the top of the tower contains the hardware, which is also kept away from the tower to minimize any scratches, abrasions, or other forms of damages.
DEEPCOOL AS500 CPU Cooler
Upon first glance at the front of the tower, our view is completely blocked with the TF140S! WE see rubber "corner" pads to isolate the fan, we see nine blades, which not only have the same pattern we saw on the front of the packaging, but each blade has a trailing bit much like a spoiler, which helps direct airflow, and helps reduce the blade chop fans produce.
Looking from another angle, we can now see the slim tower behind the fan, where a third of the fifty-six fins are folded over and closed off. The fan clips can be hung front and back, where a small groove on either side of the folded over sections of fins stop. Below the fins, we see five tightly packed 6mm heat pipes, but they are offset to deliver the heat through the fins evenly.
The tower's back allows us to see through the tower and allows us to see where the heat pipes travel in three columns, offset from one another. Without the fan in the way, we can now see a bit of the blacktop cover that clips on to the top of the white ARGB portion of plastic, which is screwed into the top of the tower with the PCB, containing eight surface-mount LEDs.
Making our way around the tower, we can now see that the sides allow for a good view of the ARGB section, so lighting will flood out of the tower from the sides and the back, although the fan does limit the view quite a bit. While minor points, we like that the fan frames' side continues to use the same pattern of the blades and packaging, and there are flow and spin arrows on both sides that stand out and are easy to see for beginners.
The top of the AS500 has a plastic cover4 on it, which has a matte finish, and while not textured, it is not smooth either. Overall it has a dog bone shape to it, where the points are flat, then there are long angled bits that make the transition from the lower section to the much larger central section. If it were us, we would have painted the company logo here, not only for brand recognition but possibly as an added pop of ARGB lighting if they wanted to take it to another level.
The fins are cut on the leading and trailing edges, with the fin stack's sides being slightly taller than the wider midsection. Designs like this are nothing new, as the principle of leaving a bit of room for the fan to build pressure is an advantage to any tower cooler design. There is a cutaway section in the middle of the fin stack on the leading edge, which allows a place for the ARGB lead to run without looking like garbage with a wire coming from the top panel exposed in the build.
The bulk of the base is made of aluminum, left in its natural state, but the steel mounting bar is plated. Both sides of the base use a preinstalled screw and spring to provide proper tension when applied to the socket hardware. If you would need to do so for some reason, the bar is removable via the knurled nut in the center of the base.
From this angle, we can see three things worth a mention. First, if you look at the fins, you can see the groove where the fan clips secure. Second, it is a bit easier to see the heat pipe distribution pattern through the fin stack. The third point is that not only are some of the fins opened up to allow for the bends in some of the heat pipes; we can also tell all of the fins are pressed onto the pipes.
Getting the lighting right to see what the base looked like was a bit of a challenge, but as you can see, even while covered in a protective sticker, the mating surface is dirty and abraded on the right. Where we do not have fingerprints, we do like the fine machining that has taken place, leaving the lightest circular pattern in the nickel-plated copper base. We also confirmed that the base is slightly convex or higher in the middle than the edges.
Accessories and Documentation
In our first image of the hardware, we have opened a large bag containing everything else in smaller bags, but the LGA115X/1200 backplate is left free in the main bag. The second bag we opened included the AMD hardware. At the top are the standoffs that screw into the default motherboard backplate, and a pair of top brackets, drilled for multiple socket usage.
The next bag we opened has all of the Intel hardware inside of it. At the top, we see the LGA115X/1200 standoffs that screw onto the backplate, and the LGA2011(V3)/2066 standoffs are to the right of them. In the middle are the top bracket for the Intel sockets, and both sets of these brackets have the holes marked to make the directions easier to follow. At the bottom are the universal knurled nuts that secure both AMD and Intel top brackets to the standoffs.
Digging a bit deeper into the bag, we found an extra set of wire fan clips, should you want to add a second fan. There is a SATA powered controller for those without ARGB support that offers modes and solid colors at a button press. The cooler is wired for ARGB, but depending on the motherboard, you need to pay attention to which style connector you are using, and that is why the adapter is included. Lastly, a tiny syringe of thermal paste, with two, maybe three applications worth of product inside.
The manual for the AS500 comes on one piece of paper that has been folded to fit in the box. One side has detailed instructions for all of the Intel mounting options, while the reverse is used for AMD installations. Both sets come with little text, but the images and notations of orientation and lettering the holes used to simplify the installation.
The TF140S is the fan of choice for thew AS500. Using a 140mm fan helps top reduce noise over a 120mm option, but without the tower behind the fan, you can easily see some of the "magic" DEEPCOOL used to help keep noise almost completely at bay for the average user! We have not covered so far that the fan is powered with a 4-pin PWM connector at the end of exposed black wires.
Installation and Finished Product
Following the instructions, we are shown to remove the screws and top plastic retention brackets from the motherboard, and while keeping the backplate, we screwed in the AMD standoffs to it. Once that is done, using the inner set of holes, we installed the top brackets with the studs outside of the standoffs to match the bar's spread attached to the base of the AS500. Once done, use the knurled nuts to lock it all into a solid mass. There should be no play in the hardware at this point.
You do need to apply the thermal paste and leave the fan off the tower to mount it, but once done and the fan reattached, all we see behind the memory is a big black 140mm fan, with the slightest bits of the corners of the tower visible at the top.
Even though the fan can be set on the mounting screw as its lowest point of installation, it in no way interferes with the RAM, as it stays a few millimeters away from ours! The RAM height is of no concern, but keep in mind that some of the taller kits out there will block a fair bit of the fans intake airflow. One thing to note is that there is a lot of cables! Hiding the fan power and ARGB cable can be done, but most of it has to hide under the cooler when not using the optional ARGB controller.
The design of the AS500 being what it is, with a slim bilateral design, with a single fan, it seems set way to the left, and it is, but the tower is centered on the CPU. That being said, if you were to add a second fan, even on HEDT boards with RAM on both sides of the socket is of no concern. The clearance is there!
Just glancing at the AS500, now installed and on the testbed, the fan's matte finish and top of the tower have it blending into our system nicely. It takes a second look to even notice the white plastic around the cover, well, at least until power is applied!
Once we added some power to see what was displayed on the AS500, we find a rainbow of colors circling the cooler's top. The lighting did blast out the yellows and oranges on the left side, but we can see the greens and blue running down the right side without much issue. While it did not exactly sync with our motherboard, to some extent, the bottom-right corner always tended to go with what the motherboard was doing.
Test System Setup, Thermal Tests, and Noise Results
Chad's CPU Cooler Test System Specifications
- Motherboard: ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII HERO [Wi-Fi] (AMD X570) - Buy from Amazon
- CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 3600X - Buy from Amazon
- Memory: Corsair Vengeance LPX 4000MHz 4X8GB
- Graphics Card: ASUS GeForce RTX 2060 6GB OC - Buy from Amazon
- Storage: Galax HOF Pro M.2 1TB SSD
- Case: Hydra Bench Standard
- Power Supply: ASUS ROG Thor 850W - Buy from Amazon
- OS: Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64-bit - Buy from Amazon
- Software: AMD Ryzen Master, AIDA64 Engineer 6.25.5400, and CPU-z 1.92.0 x64
To see our testing methodology and to find out what goes into making our charts, please refer to our 2020 CPU Cooler Testing and Methodology article for more information.
The temperatures while using stock settings came in at 60.2-degrees on average, with a maximum of 62-degrees. The competition is a pair of Noctua coolers below and above half a degree, and the AS500 surpasses some coolers like the CNPS17X, NH-U12A, and even outdid a couple of AIOs depending on how they were controlled!
With our all-core overclock applied, we saw the average temperature was 67.3-degrees, peaking at 77-degrees, and doing so puts it in some strong company. Within a degree of the much larger and heavier A500, capable of beating the aging D14, the U12A, and many others. A very strong showing by the DEEPCOOL AS500!
DEEPCOOL did leave another 2.1-degrees in the cooler to be used, and while it will not make or break an overclock, we immediately found out why it was left on the table. DEEPCOOL can produce very good results under PWM control and very little noise at the same time. Running the fan at full speed is much, much louder!
Noise Level Results
While running the stock settings, we found the fan had maxed out under PWM control at just 786 RPM resulting in a chart-topping 22 dB of noise. Almost completely inaudible, as you will risk catching an ear in the fan to get close enough to hear it unless you are audibly gifted, that is!
Even with the overclock applied and the very respectable temperatures we saw, the fan is only turning at 863 RPM at its max! Running at this speed only increased the noise slightly, resulting in another chart-topping result, this time, at 23 dB!
40 dB on any other cooler would be decent in the grand scheme of things, not great, but admirable! However, seeing what we did, and hearing little to nothing from the cooler, to take the fan to 1159 RPM as we did, is not worth the extra performance when you get so much performance without it!
We have to admit, at first, we had thoughts of things like, well, this is skinny and heavy, but is it that good. We also thought that this design reminded us immediately of something Thermalright made, which gave us hope. Then we saw the fan, and we're thinking we have seen similar fan blade designs in the past and were unsure if it was magic of fancy bits with no real perceivable purpose.
Looking past initial impressions, we started to notice things like the fan build quality, the build quality of the tower, its feel, its heft, the nickel plating, and even while a bit of a downer at the time, when we saw the base, our heart sank a bit. However, this is one time where initial impressions and being quick to judge could easily get you into trouble! While Deep Cool was never known as the go-to for high-end air coolers, times have changed, and you should, at minimum, seriously consider them for your next CPU air cooler!
Comparing the thermal results to what sits near it in our charts, we can say DEEPCOOL came out swinging for the fences, and they got this one over the wall! The AS500 competes with many of the big-name players in the cooling game, and while they may not top the charts thermally, they provide similar results for much less money involved! While the AS500 is not the lightest slim tower we have ever tested, it is still more affordable than the D15, D14, A500, etc., and runs head to head with them! Stock, overclocked, it doesn't matter, the AS500 is ready and willing to take what you can throw at it!
Normally we would include talk of noise in the performance portion, but the sorcery used to develop the TF140S is worth its own part of this review. Even before we talk of the ARGB lighting at the cooler's top, we are more impressed with this fan! It can cool the tower with what we would guess is only 40 to 50 CFM at around 900 RPM. We are impressed with the thermal results.
However, when you get a cooler that can compete at the level it does, all while not breaking 23 dB under PWM control, it is fantastic in our book! Yes, you can crank the fan up to full speed and cry about noise, but why bother when the AS500 is so impressive out of the box!
We like the hardware, as it is easy to use, and with the provided instructions, it is hard to screw up or do something detrimental. The lighting is not the best, and we feel DEEPCOOL might have missed a branding opportunity on top of the tower. We do have to concede that we loved the optional controller for those without ARGB support, and on top of that, we get adapters so that the cooler's lighting works on any ARGB supporting motherboard!
At just $59.99 on Amazon, right now, we have a hard time finding any reason not to recommend the AS500! You could buy the Freezer 34 for a few bucks less and get close thermally, but noise increases with that option. No other cooler is as silent as the AS500 in standard PWM testing. DEEPCOOL covers all things like RAM clearance, ease of installation, compatibility on lighting, and sockets. It is hard to say you are making a bad decision to buy one for yourself!
It has been quite some time since a CPU air cooler got us excited, and DEEPCOOL made that happen. For those in the market for a high-end air cooler that can deliver good thermal performance while being quieter than anything else in the build, look no further than the DEEPCOOL AS500!
The Bottom Line
DEEPCOOL and the AS500 have impressed us greatly! Better than average thermals that compete with the big dogs, with none of the noise anyone is used to! At near $60, we can find no reason why the AS500 shouldn't be on your "must have" list!