Getting To Know The ASUS Lion Square CPU Cooler
The ASUS Lion Square is named after the legend of the Sword Lion, which is the emblem of strength, courage and good fortune. The unique design features 8mm diameter heat pipes that originate from the bottom of the cooler for heat conduction and adds to the shield design with the ends of the heat pipes poking through the top of the cooler cover that mimics the shape of the shield. As the legend goes a famous general once led his armies to defeat a group of strong enemies after an invasion. The shields that were equipped by the armies were carved with a lion-tattoo and the swords were placed through lion’s mouth. Later generations believe that this lion-tattoo symbolizes Strength, Courage, and Good Fortune.
The Lion Square incorporates several innovative features that include a PWM function with a 9cm fan that automatically modulates fan speeds according to the CPU temperature (delivering quiet cooling at a mere 16dBA), while innovative assembly with specially designed spring screw and clips makes fastening easier than ever before.
- CPU Support
- Intel® Core™2 Extreme/ Core™2 Quad (Quad-Core) Intel® Core™2 Duo/ Pentium® Dual Core/ Pentium® D (Dual-Core) Intel® Core™2 Duo/ Pentium® Dual Core (Dual-Core) Intel® Pentium® 4 HT/Celeron® D
- AMD Athlon™ 64 FX AMD Athlon™ 64 X2 AMD Athlon™ 64 AMD Phenom™ FX/X2/X4 AMD Sempron™
- Intel LGA 775 AMD 754/939/940
- AMD AM2/AM2+/socket F(1207)/1207+
The Lion Square comes in a simple box with the lion's head peering out of a window on the front. The rest of the box has the specifications and information about the Lion Square. Also I’d like to point out under the window on the front there's a line of text, “Great Cooling Choice for Quad-Core Overclocking”. With a claim like that I’ve got my interest peaked.
With the cooler pulled out of the box we can see that it is held nice and snug in a plastic clamshell.
Also in the box are the instructions, backing plate, and mounting hardware box.
Inside the mounting hardware box is the TIM, LGA775 brackets, and AMD retention bar.
A Closer Look
Starting out with the top of the cooler we can get a good look at the nice lion's head artwork. You can also make out the small tribal flame detail on the outer edges of the top and bottom. The four cutouts are for allowing access to the mounting screws for Intel LGA775 systems, as we will see later. Also, I thought it was somewhat ironic for a cooler called Lion Square to be round.
Looking from the side we can see the profile of the fins. They are dish shaped just like a shield.
The Lion Square has four U shaped 8mm diameter heat pipes that have to be some of the biggest I have seen.
The base of the Lion Square is not the best we have seen in the way of finishes. You can not feel any machining marks and it is, most importantly, flat.
On the top of the base there are grooves cut into it for the AMD retention bar to set in.
After removing the top of the cooler we can see the center mounted fan. This assembly is held in place with 4 screws.
With the fan removed we can see there is a circuit board on the fan. This supplies power for the fan and LED lights.
The fan is attached to the mounting bracket with plastic pins. To remove them, you have to push the center of them out, which will then allow the outer part of the clip to collapse and be removed. The power lead for the motherboard is glued to the circuit board; this will help prevent the wires from being pulled off the solder point on the circuit board.
Installing the Lion Square
Installing the Lion Square is quite easy. With AMD systems, all you have to do is install it like your stock cooler. For the Intel systems you have to first attach the retention brackets.
The backing plate is hard plastic, with metal inserts. It also comes with a sticky pad to aid you in keeping it in place for installation.
When it comes time to install the Lion Square you’re going to need a long screw driver to reach the mounting screws.
With the Cooler installed on our test system there is all kinds of clearance to the motherboard components.
The Test System
To test the Lion Square cooler we ran it on our Intel Core 2 Quad test platform, which was then run at default and overclocked settings. As a baseline all coolers will be compared to the stock Intel cooler; we will also compare it to the other recently tested air coolers. All the temperatures were obtained by using Core Temp 0.95 after sitting at idle for 30 minutes and then again under 100% load for 30 minutes. To obtain 100% load, I ran four instances of Super Pi 32m calculation with the affinity of each set to a different core. I used two profiles to test all of the coolers and they are listed below. The room temperature was kept a constant 72 degrees Fahrenheit (22c) for all benchmarking. All of the coolers were tested with Arctic Silver Lumiere as the thermal interface material.
The rest of the system is as follows:
- Motherboard: Intel 975XBX2
- CPU: Intel Q6600
- Ram: Kingston Hyper-X DDR2 KHX9600D2/1G
- Hard Drive: Western Digital 250gb SATA
- Case: Ultra M998
- Power Supply: PC Power and Cooling Silencer 750 Quad
Profile 1: The Normal User (No Overclocking)
- CPU Multiplier: 9x
- CPU voltage: 1.2000V
- FSB Voltage: 1.20V
- FSB: 1066MHz
- Memory Voltage: 2.20V
- Final CPU Frequency: 2.4GHz
Profile 2: The Average Enthusiast (Mild Overclocking)
- CPU Multiplier: 9x
- CPU voltage: 1.435V
- FSB Voltage: 1.30V
- FSB: 1336MHz
- Memory Voltage: 2.24V
- Final CPU Frequency: 3.0GHz
With the test system idling at stock settings the Lion Square is starting out quite well. At 31*C it is running 1 degree warmer than NV-120 Nirvana, our current price/performance leader, and a full 14 degrees cooler than the stock Intel HSF.
With the system under load the Lion Square is still doing well and still a degree off from the NV-120. Running at a temp of 45.5*C the Lion Square is running 20 degrees cooler then the stock Intel HSF.
Results Continued and Conclusion
With our test system now idling overclocked to 3.0Ghz the Lion Square looks to have fallen back in the pack but is still only a 1.5 off from the NV-120. At 34*C it is 14.5 degrees cooler than the stock Intel HSF.
Under full load the Lion Square cooled our Q6600 quad core to 48.25*C -- only 3.5 degrees warmer than our current temp champ the NH-U12P from Noctua, and 2.75 off the NV-120 Nirvana.
The ASUS Lion Square could be considered a high end air cooler as it carries an average street price of $58. For this price you get a very sharp looking cooler that even has a little history behind the design. The Lion Square is not too over the top in the looks department, just sharp looking enough to get the job done and not be gaudy in the process. The cooler also did quite well in our testing, staying within 1-2 degrees of our current price/performance leader the NV-120 Nirvana.
The Lion Square is by no means the heaviest cooler we have had on our test bench, but at 730g it’s up there. The fan can also be an issue for those with open style cases when it comes to noise. With the system under load and the fan peaking at its full RPM, it is definitely not running at 16dBA. Since the fan is PWM controlled it doesn’t run full speed for long, but you will know it when it happens.
Overall, the ASUS Lion Square is a solid product and while it does not break any cooling records it does get two thumbs up from the crew here at Legit Reviews.
Bottom Line: ASUS has built a good performing, classy looking cooler that has nice story behind the design with the Lion Square.