The Core-Contact Freezer CPU Cooler

Sunbeamtech Core-Contact Freeze CPU Cooler

Sunbeamtech is the parent company of Tuniq, which develops high performance equipment for the computer enthusiast and modding market with products like power supplies and CPU coolers. The Tuniq Tower 120 CPU cooler series have proven themselves as top notch coolers, so when Sunbeamtech released the Core-Contact Freezer we had high hopes for how it will perform. The Core-Contact Freezer is an HDT or heatpipe direct touch cooler, which means that the coolers heatpipes sit directly on the CPU in place of the traditional solid metal base. We will use the Core-Contact Freezer against the other coolers in the test lab to see how it does on an Intel Core 2 Duo Q6600 processor, which is hands down one of the most sold quad-core processors to date. Before we get too far, let's go over the specifications for the Core-Contact Freezer.

Specifications

Packaging

Sunbeamtech Core-Contact Freezer Box Art

The Core-Contact Freezer comes well packed and no damage was present from shipping. The retail box has simple artwork showing the cooler and specifications.

Whats in the box with the Sunbeamtech Core-Contact Freezer

Inside the retail box was an accessory box along with the CPU cooler that was packed in a plastic clamshell box.

Sunbeamtech Core-Contact Freezer accessories

In the accessories box is the LGA mounting ring and pins, expansion slot fan controller, instructions, fan clips, and Tuniq TX-2 thermal paste.

External Impressions

Sunbeamtech Core-Contact Freezer

Overall the Core-Contact Freezer look massive, but it is light by tower cooler standards, weighing in at only 590 grams. This is due to the aluminum cooling fins, which keeps the weight down on the cooler.

Sunbeamtech Core-Contact Freezer Fin Profile

The fin profile for the Core-Contact Freezer somewhat resembles an X, but there is a lot of surface area there to dissipate heat. Combined with the 4 HDT pipes I have some high hopes for this cooler.

Sunbeamtech Core-Contact Freezer latches

Looking at the base of the cooler we can see the retention latches. These are for both AMD and Intel (with adapter ring) systems.

Sunbeamtech Core-Contact Freezer base

With the protective film pulled off we can see the finish of the base. It’s not the greatest looking surface in the world but HDT coolers are all like this. Now if you’re thinking, “No big, I’ll just lap it” that would be a bad idea. Most of the heatpipe was ground away to create the flat spot, take too much more and you have thrown $45 out the window.

Sunbeamtech Core-Contact Freezer compared to the Xigmatek HDT-S1283

All of the HDT coolers I have seen thus far have been 3 pipe coolers, and I have always wondered what a 4th pipe would bring in the way of performance. I set the Core-Contact Freezer next to the Xigmatek HDT-S1283 in the above image. As you can see, there is a large jump in surface area, is it really needed?

Xigmatek HDT-S1283 CPU Coverage

Here I have the Intel Q6600 CPU and the HDT-S1283 cooler. The 3 pipe configuration covers the CPU rather well, with one pipe directly over the core.

Sunbeamtech Core-Contact Freezer CPU Coverage

With the 4 pipe configuration of the Core-Contact Freezer, we have more then ample coverage of the CPU, and two pipes that will cover the core of the chip. It should be interesting to see how well the temperatures end up.

Sunbeamtech Core-Contact Freezer Fan

The fan for the Core-Contact Freezer is a 120mm fan from Sunbeamtech model number AGA12025F121 fan that operates at 12V with 0.28A draw. The fan also uses MFDB (Magnetic Fluid Dynamic Bearing) technology, allowing the fans speed to be changed from 1000RPM to 2000RPM with the aid of the included fan controller.

Installing the cooler

Sunbeamtech Core-Contact Freeze retention pins

Sunbeamtech has an interesting spin on the stock Intel push pin retention system. The system uses a mounting ring and tapered pins. You install the mounting ring, then insert the tapered pins (above) into the ring to expand the retaining clips.

Sunbeamtech Core-Contact Freeze mountig ring with pins installed

Here we have the ring with a pin installed. To remove it, just simply pull the pins out and lift the ring off.

Sunbeamtech Core-Contact Freeze mounting ring clearance

The down side to the mounting rings is clearance. With the ring installed so the fan points to the rear of the case, the space between the ring and the heat sinks on the Intel Bad Axe II motherboard are not far enough apart to allow the retaining clasp to fit. This is something that you will want to look out for if you have heat sinks close to the socket.

Sunbeamtech Core-Contact Freeze installed

Due to this mounting situation, I have to mount the cooler clocked 90* from the optimum mounting position. I have the fan blowing up for a couple reasons. First heat goes up, second clearance. The space between my PSU in the test case is less than that between the video card, more space allows for more air.

The Test system

Sunbeamtech Core-Contact Freeze in the LR Test system

To test the Core-Contact Freezer CPU 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:

Profile 1: The Normal User (No Overclocking)

Profile 2: The Average Enthusiast (Mild Overclocking)

The Results and Conclusion

Sunbeamtech Core-Contact Freezer Stock Temps

With the test system running at stock settings, and the Core-Contact Freezer on low, the Q6600 was running at 35.75*C at idle and 48.75*C under load. That’s a nice 17*C cooler than the stock Intel cooler, but is 4.5* warmer than our current performance leader the Noctua NH-U12P. With the fan on high the load temp dropped almost 2*C to 47.5*C. Now these temps are with the cooler in a less than optimum installed orientation. So being installed the preferred way your mileage may very.

Sunbeamtech Core-Contact Freezer Overclocked Temps

With the system overclocked to 3.0GHz, the Core-Contact Freezer dropped back in the pack. With fan on low, the load temp came in at 52.25*C, 21.25*C better than the Intel stock cooler but 7.5*C warmer than the NH-U12P. Similar to the stock settings, when the fan was turned up to high, the load temp dropped 2*C to 50.25*C. Again these numbers are with the cooler turned 90*, so your mileage may vary.

Conclusion

Sunbeamtech Core-Contact Freezer

The Core-Contact Freezer CPU cooler from Sunbeamtech can be found on our shopping link for $34.99 plus shipping. For this price I would call it a mid-range cooler due to the fact it can be found for under $40, which is a nice price considering the current state of the economy.

The Core-Contact Freezer performed decently, but failed to impress. I feel this was because of the way I had to mount the cooler due to the mounting system, which left me with no good way to get cool air to the cooler. The mounting ring and the way it installs to the motherboard is nice, and very easy, but due to the close heatsinks around the socket of the Intel D975XBX2 made it impossible to mount the right way. Doing a search on the internet showed there are other users that are having clearance issues.  When shopping for a cooler, keep in mind that some CPU coolers and motherboards will have clearance issues and that it pays to do some research prior to placing your order.

I feel the Core-Contact Freezer when installed right way round could improve by a couple degrees. This would put it in the same range of performance as the popular Xigmatek HDT-S1283. This is a theory that I will be testing here in the near future on a different board.

Bottom Line: I’m reserving final judgment until I can try this out on another board as I feel it has some potential for a sub $40 cooler.