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Tuesday, 04 November 2008 13:45

Gelid's Silent Spirit CPU cooler tested

Written by Sanjin Rados

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Review: First cooler in Gelid's Silent series

 

GELID Solutions is a company founded by a few enthusiasts and former Artic Cooling employees. The company is based in Hong Kong, but their goal is to establish their name in U.S. and European markets. Bobo has often reported on their progress, their announced and launched products, and we saw that Gelid CPU coolers were showcased on this year's Games Convention in Leipzig.

The first officially announced Gelid Silent series cooler is “Silent Spirit”, but Gelid is currently preparing a little something for gamers. Silent Spirit has a quiet fan with anti-vibration system, intelligent PWM, quad- heatpipe and an angled heatsink, whose fins have special profile to improve heat exchange. Apart from Intel’s Socket 1366, whose mounting mechanisms are yet to be announced, Silent Spirit can be mounted on all available sockets – 775, 754, 939, 940, AM2 and AM2+. The cooler is not too bulky, and the same goes for the packaging that’s actually one of the smallest ones we’ve seen so far.

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The box shows all the specifications of this cooler, and the name “Silent” suggests it’s quiet. We saw the word “silent” in the cooler specs, but we’ll reserve judgment until we’re done with our tests.

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In order to make a small fan cool efficiently, the usual practice is to use a large heatsink. Gelid kept a small heatsink, but they designed it in a way where dissipation-surface is used to the max.

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Silent Spirit is aimed at average users who want a silent computer, but there’s some fierce competition in this market segment. Even the slightest design and manufacturing details matter, as they can save money and make or break a product. So, it’s only quality coupled with a low price that can win the hearts of users who actually care whether the cooler costs €15 or €20.

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The fan is positioned in the center, placed on the heatsink from above. You can see that the heatsink is angled, so no nasty heat will accumulate under the heatsink. Apart from cooling the heatsink, the fan has a job of cooling the power components around the CPU, but you can see that on the following picture. Depending on motherboard design, if RAM slots are not too close to the CPU socket, you can rotate the cooler and use it to cool the memory, too.

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Gelid used their own fan with 100.5mm (L) x 100.5mm (W) x 45mm (H). Of course, the fan itself is only 85mm, but the accompanying plastic frame adds a couple of mm.

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The RPM ranges from 900-2400 and the lifespan of these is 50,000 hours at 40°C. Noise level is 10dBA-25.8dBA. The maximum RPM we recorded was 2557RPM, whereas the lowest recorded one was the lowest specified – 900RPM. The cooler is not too loud at maximum RPM, but it might get annoying, though. In most cases your CPU won’t even come close to a 100% workload, and that’s when Silent Spirit is very quiet to the point where it’s almost inaudible.

The fan RPM is directly dependent on the PWM chip placed in the motor, and it enables for precise speed control through your motherboard’s BIOS.

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The rubber anti-vibration system is there to, as the name suggests, reduce the fan’s vibrations.  

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Silent Spirit has 4 heatpipes that end their journey in the heatsink. The heatsink is not large, but it’s specially designed to handle and offload the heat better.

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Aluminum fins feature a special profile in order to improve heat exchange.

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The upper heatsink carries the fan, whereas the smaller one is placed directly on the cooler’s base.

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Copper pipes are located between the cooler’s base and the heatsink, so some heat is released right from the little heatsink.

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The core is, of course, made of copper and there’s some Gelid’s GC-1 thermal paste applied to it.

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The cooler has preinstalled Push-in mechanisms for Intel sockets – but Socket 1366 features a special one. Silent Spirit weighs in at 370g so Push-in mechanism has no trouble holding it firmly in its place. Of course, you’ll have to use other mechanisms for AMD processors.

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As is the case with most new CPU coolers, the fan is easy to remove and clean. You’ll get a 5-year warranty, so if anything goes wrong – Gelid will replace it for you.

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Like we mentioned before, Silent Spirit is a CPU cooler aimed at low-budget users. Gelid will provide you with silent operation coupled with efficient cooling, but it’ll have to prove its worth, as €23 is more than their competition charges. Artic Cooling’s Freezer 7 Pro is still the undisputed king in this segment, so we did a little comparison.

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We tested the cooler using Intel Core 2 Duo 6700 on EVGA’s 680i motherboard and MSI’s 9600 GT Hybrid Freezer graphics card.

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Both coolers are capable of cooling the popular E6700, but we see that overclocking is not one of their stronger points. Yes, the most important thing is that they do their job well, but given the price difference we expected Gelid’s cooler to perform much better. However, it is quieter than Freezer 7 Pro, as this old man is on the market for two years now, and there are better fans around these days.



Conclusion

We’ll start with the good points – it’s very quiet, except when your CPU is at 100% workload, which is a rare occurrence with most users. It’s nicely designed and quite the looker. Dynamic RPM management is done via the PWM chip and it’s the ideal solution for those who don’t like thinking about CPU temperatures and manual RPM settings.

You can mount in on different platforms, which is not the case with its competitor Freezer 7 Pro. Unfortunately, that won’t matter to most users as they’re not all keen on switching platforms every couple of months. More useful is the option to easily swap the fan if it breaks, but since there’s a 5-year guarantee, we wouldn’t worry about it.

The price is the only point where Gelid’s cooler doesn’t excel. Priced at €23 it’s still affordable and probably better than some more expensive coolers out there, but it performs only slightly better than Freezer 7 Pro. Let us remind you, Freezer 7 Pro is currently priced at €14.

However, Freezer 7 Pro was initially priced similarly, so we expect this cooler to gain on popularity as soon as the price drops commence.


Last modified on Thursday, 06 November 2008 04:35
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