The Test System
For our test, we compared the NV120 Nirvana to a stock Intel cooler for reference. All temperatures were taken after 30 minutes idle and again after 30 minutes at 100% load. To obtain 100% load, I ran two instances of Super Pi 32m calculation with the affinity of each set to a different cores. Temperatures were taken using Coretemp with an ambient room temp of 72 degrees Fahrenheit.
The rest of the test system is as follows:
As one would have guessed, the ZEROtherm’s NV120 Nirvana won hands down. With the fan controller on high, the NV120 cooled the E6300 to a nice 41C under load; which is under the idle temperature of the Intel stock cooler. Even with the NV120 on low, the load temps were only 1 degree more and still under the stock cooler idle temps.
ZEROtherm’s NV120 Nirvana cooler is a great looking CPU cooler that happens to perform just as good as it looks! With online retail prices around $55.00, the NV120 is a bit higher than other coolers, but it comes with a list of features that others don’t. The NV120 was easy to install and cleared all the motherboard components of the ‘Intel Bad Axe 2’ D975XBX2 with room to spare. My only complaint about the cooler package is the fan controller; it’s big and no where near as sleek as the cooler. It just seems out of place, but the use of the fan controller does somewhat outweigh its ugliness. The use of the controller allows the fan to run at a very low RPM making the cooler very quiet, even with the case side off. Speaking of the case side, the clearance issue with the side panel case fan is minor to me, as the cooler preformed well without it. If your case has a side fan you might want to break out the tape measure and see how much room you have. Remember the NV120 stands 150mm (5.83 inch) above the motherboard, so do a quick measure before buying one!
Bottom Line: The ZEROtherm Nirvana NV120 Premium CPU Cooler performed better than expected, looks great, features a fan speed controller and wont keep you up with fan noise. If you are still running a stock cooler then give the ZEROtherm Nirvana NV120 Premium a good look.