The OCZ Gladiator Max

OCZ Gladiator Max

The first heat-pipe direct touch (HDT) cooler Legit Reviews looked at from OCZ was the Vendetta HDT CPU cooler.  Today, we get a chance to run their newest HDT cooler, the Gladiator Max, through the paces in the LR lab. The Gladiator Max was announced in September and is the newest performance cooler in the OCZ arsenal. Before we get started let's take a quick look at the features and specifications for the Gladiator Max.

Features:

Specifications:

  • Fan Specs
  • Weight: 780g (with fan)
  • Dimensions: (L)63x(W)120x(H)165mm
  • Packaging

    OCZ Gladiator Max

    The Gladiator Max comes in a snazzy looking box with the fan upfront in a window and the features listed on one side and specifications on the other.

    OCZ Gladiator Max

    Inside everything is snuggly packed and well protected.

    External Impressions

    OCZ Gladiator Max

    The Gladiator has 4 ‘U’ shaped heatpipes giving it 8 vertical pipes for dissipating heat. The fins on the Gladiator Max are quite thick and even feel sturdy. It would have to take a decent hit to bend one of the fins on this cooler. The base of the Gladiator Max has an interesting feature to it.

    OCZ Gladiator Max

    There are 4 pillars that are part of the cast aluminum base and are connected to the first 4 fins. This should help wick heat away from the aluminum base.

    OCZ Gladiator Max

    Looking at the top of the cooler we can get a good look at the fin shape. Not sure if there is any reason behind the shape they picked, but it looks better than a plain old rectangle cooler.

    OCZ Gladiator Max

    The base comes protected with the normal plastic film. I did, however, run into a small annoyance when I pulled the plastic off.

    OCZ Gladiator Max

    There was a lot of the sticky material left on the base. If missed this could have resulted in less than desirable results or worse made a large mess. So out come the cotton swabs and alcohol.

    OCZ Gladiator Max

    This goes to show that no matter what you should always clean the cooler base prior to installing it. You just never know. I soaked the base with alcohol for a few minutes and cleaned it of with a few cotton swabs.

    OCZ Gladiator Max

    All cleaned up we can get a good look at the base. It's far from a mirror surface but that’s the norm with HDT coolers.

    Installing the Gladiator Max

    OCZ Gladiator Max

    The accessories for the Gladiator Max are pretty simple.  It has LGA775 push pin retention brackets, AMD locking clasp, rubber fan mounting grommets, and a small packet of thermal paste.

    OCZ Gladiator Max

    The rubber fan mounts allow the fan to be attached to the cooler fins and not allow the fan body to touch the cooler.  This, in turn, reduces noise.

    OCZ Gladiator Max

    If you’re running an AMD setup you have it easy; the Gladiator mounts up just like the stock cooler. Those running with Intel have a little bit more work involved. First, you attach the LGA775 brackets. They are held on with a single screw.

    OCZ Gladiator Max

    Now, if you were thinking about slapping the fan on and sticking it on your board, not so fast. The fan blocks 2 of the 4 push pins. So to install the cooler, and save yourself from a massive headache, remove the board from your case. This will allow you better access to put the fan on once you have the cooler attached to the board.

    OCZ Gladiator Max

    The Gladiator Max uses the stock style push pin retention system. This system is known for bowing motherboards, and this time is no different. While I have seen worse, there is a definite bow in the board. It also took a little bit of pressure, more so than the stock HSF requires, and this may be a little nerve racking for some. This is just another reason to have the board out of the case. This way, you can support the back of the board while pushing on the pins.

    OCZ Gladiator Max

    Here we have the Gladiator install on our Intel test system. The Gladiator Max cleared all components without any issues.

    The Test System

    OCZ Gladiator Max on the LR Test system

    To test the Gladiator Max 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 Final Thoughts

    Results

    OCZ Gladiator Max

    With our test system running at the default settings the Gladiator Max cooled the Q6600 to an average core temp of 34*C at idle and 47.5*C under load. That is 2.75 degrees warmer then our current value leader the ZEROtherm Zen, and a nice 18.25 degrees cooler than the stock Intel HSF.

    OCZ Gladiator Max

    With the test system overclocked to 3.0GHz the Gladiator Max cooled the Q6600 to an average core temp of 34.5*C at idle, which is only just slightly warmer than the stock settings. Under load the temp came in at 49.5*C -- a whopping 24 degrees cooler than the stock Intel HSF and 1.5 degrees warmer than our value leader the ZEROtherm Zen.

    Final Thoughts

    OCZ Gladiator Max

    The Gladiator Max can be found online for $45.99 +shipping. At this price the Gladiator Max could be considered an upper midrange cooler, and as our testing showed it fell in line with our other midrange coolers. Overall, the OCZ’s build quality of the Gladiator Max is very nice. The fins felt very sturdy and when I was handling it the thought I might bend a fin never entered my mind. The fan mounting is easy and straight forward, but I would suggest doing it outside of the case for added work room and reduced chance of a headache.

    The cooler is light and has a small foot print. The fins of the Gladiator Max also cleared the motherboard components nicely. The Gladiator Max is also not a short cooler, so this will be a not option for those with shallow cases. The Gladiator Max is 165mm tall, that is 6.5" tall, so it will be interesting to find cases this will fit in.

    The mounting of the cooler itself to the motherboard I didn’t care to much for. The reference push pin retention system is nice for the light coolers that don’t require a back plate. Normally, there is a light bit of pressure to click these pins into place. Then, there are some coolers that you have to put a little more pressure on the pins to get them to lock in; the Gladiator Max was one of those coolers. The Gladiator Max is not the worst that I have seen but if you’re replacing the stock cooler with this one you would notice, and may worry about, the increase in pressure needed to click in the last two pins. For this I would highly suggest that the board be removed from the case for installing the cooler, not only to aid in installing the fan after you have the Gladiator Max installed, but also so you can support the back of the board with your hand while pushing on the pins.

    Bottom Line: OZC has made another well built cooler, and if the price was a little lower they could have a nice budget cooler on their hands.