Have I ever mentioned before that I think heat pipe technology is awesome? If I haven't I would like to join the growing ranks of PC enthusiasts that think heat pipes are an innovative and effective technology that will put an end to air cooling not only being an effective solution for casual overclockers. Instead of multi-hundred dollar water cooling systems you can use an air cooler at a fraction of the cost. Not only that, but it will also provide an inexpensive upgrade to an ineffective or worn out heat sink and cooler. All it takes is $36.99 and this lovely product can become the newest member of your family.
Despite what people might tell you, having a "hot" computer is not a good thing at all. Or maybe I am just misunderstanding all of the lingo of computer enthusiasts these days. Whichever one it is I am still going to give you all a good talking to about the Spire TherMax Pro CPU Cooler. Because I don't know about you guys but I prefer to have a "cool" computer. With thermal technologies getting better and better there is absolutely no reason for your PC to fall victim to a quick, heat related death. And the Spire TherMax Pro CPU Cooler does, in fact, keep your computer cool.
Don't worry if you have never heard of Spire; I hadn't either until I started doing this review. But apparently they have been around for years and specialize in manufacturing PC cases, coolers, and power supplies. They have offices located all over the world, and after having used their cooler for this review I can say that they make a darn good cooler.
As always, let's take a look at the specs of the Spire TherMax Pro CPU Cooler:
Socket: 1156 / AM3 / 775 / AM2 / 1366 Static cooler
Dimensions: Heat sink : 104×60×125 mm (l × w × h)
Bearing: Sleeve bearing
Rated speed: 2,700 RPM +/-10%
Rated power: 3.36 W
Noise level: 25.0 dBA
Air flow: 53.12CFM at 2,700 RPM
Current: 0.28 A
Life hours: Sleeve: 30.000
Three 8mm all copper u shaped heat-pipes
All new Direct-Touch heat-pipe technology
UV-reactant 90mm BlueStar fan design
Near silent at low speed setting 25.0dBA
45 stamped Aluminum Micro-Fins
Supports the latest Intel & AMD micro-processors
Connector: 3 Pin, mainboard (Incl.PCI Speed-Controller)
Intel : Core 2 Extreme ~ 3.2 GHz (775 Dual-core)
Core 2 Quad ~ 3.0 GHz (775 Quad-core)
Core i5 ~ 2.66 GHz 1156
Core i7 ~ 3.2 GHz 1366
LGA775 ~ 3.73 GHz (Prescott)
Pentium D ~ 3.4 GHz (775 Dual-Core)
Pentium EE ~ 3.93 GHz (775 Dual-Core)
AMD : Athlon 64 X2 ~ 9500 GHz (AM2)
Athlon X2 ~ 9500 GHz (AM2)
Phenom X4 ~ 9600 GHz (AM2/AM3)
Thermal resistance: 0.18 °C/W
Thermal type: BlueFrost - SP802 blue grease(Injection Tube,0.5g)
Inside the box
A quick look inside the pack shows the different mounts as well as your options for how to get the electricity pumping into your new Spire TherMax Pro cooler. You have the option of using the three pin motherboard connector that is attached to the fan or you also have the option of using the four pin Molex adapter.
They have also included a rear slot mounting fan speed controller. Use this controller with caution, as I used the fan controller provided with my heatsink and cooler and it does not work at all. So I almost lost my CPU and motherboard to the gods of overheating. Luckily my motherboard works correctly and it shut down the system when it got too hot.
A Closer Look
Look at this cooler; go ahead take a good look at it. Awesome, isn't it? I think so. But heck what do I know? Who do I think I am? Some kind of judge type person of computer products? Pffffffffff silly me.
The Spire TherMax Pro is a direct touch heat pipe cooler. In other words, instead of the heat pipes running through the block to transfer heat, they are actually part of the block and touch the processor.
As you can see from the pictures this is not a small cooler; this guy takes up a lot of room. However, with that loss of real estate comes a great benefit; this thing really does a great job of cooling the system. Weighing in at a hefty 104×60×125 mm (l × w × h) this bad boy shows up, kicks butt, and takes names. I do have to give one word of warning though, even though this looks like a rough and tumble type of cooler the aluminum fins are actually quite fragile and caution needs to be taken when installing the fan or you may end up with bent fins as I did.
Speaking of the fan, check this out. It comes with a blue UV reactive fan. Yeah you heard me right: it glows. I know, I got just as excited.
Mounting the cooler is a breeze if you happen to be the owner of an AMD processor as the cooler comes pre installed with the AMD mount ready to go. If you have an Intel processor you will need to install the proper brackets and mounts before you can get down to the cooling goodness. I took mine out of the box and had it installed and running in less than fifteen minutes. I know, I am like Superman. Pay attention kids, this is what happens when you eat your spinach.
All right, now we can get to the good stuff. Let's take a look at what this cooler can do. For my testing I used the AMD Stock cooler that came with my CPU and the Spire TherMax Pro. To fully load all four cores I used Prime 95. I let the system idle for thirty minutes and for the load testing, I ran Prime 95 for thirty minutes and again I took my readings at that point in time. OK, well enough with the waiting and the yelling right?
Not too shabby huh? The Stock cooler does actually idle a few degrees cooler than the Spire TherMax Pro. But, we aren't here to see what the cooler does while it just sits there. We want to see what it can do with the processor going full blast, right? Who's with me?
Well, looks like it's time to get loaded. Now don't be silly, I don't mean like that. I mean let's load up all four cores of the processor and see what we get shall we?
Well, would you look at that? This cooler came out of nowhere and showed all of us that it has some muscle. Can you believe that there is an eleven degree Fahrenheit difference? Well, it's true. I have to say it again, eleven degrees difference between the stock cooler and Spire TherMax Pro. WOW!
Here is a quick chart showing the temperature differences in Celsius and side by side for better comparison. As you can see the Spire Thermax Pro with its slower fan wasn't able to keep the CPU as cool as the retail boxed cooler that comes with AMD Phenom processors at idle. Under full load though, the better heat sink design was apparent and the Spire Thermax Pro was much cooler than the reference design.
I am not going to bore you with a bunch of nonsense here. There is not a whole lot more to say other than....
I have to give props where they are due, and I think they are due here. Going into this review I had never heard of Spire, nor had I ever used any of their products. We all know that when you have never heard of a company or any of their products we always think "hmmmm it must be cheap". Don't look away; you know you were thinking it. I don't know of any other way to say it: they blew me out of the water. I was very impressed with what I saw here -- this is a company that makes a great cooler. I have to admit that I am anxious to try out some of their other products now that I have had the chance to work with the TherMax Pro.
The Legit Bottom Line: How could you go wrong with the Spire Thermax Pro? This cooler costs a mere $36.99 and it does the job of more expensive coolers. Aside from a faulty speed controller, I ran into no other problems with the cooler.