Review: Silence and reliability in one package
Founded in 2008, GELID Solutions Ltd. is a company most famous for its PC cooling solutions. Their products are often on the recieving end of accolades and awards, such as GC Extreme thermal paste which we use on pretty much every CPU cooler test. Of course, we pounced on the chance to test the new cooler from Gelid's workshop, and we're talking about the new mainstream tower cooler dubbed the Tranquillo. As the name suggests, this should be a pretty quiet cooling solution.
Gelid Tranquillo comes in a stylish cardboard box. As usual, the box features plenty of info, specs as well as a couple of pictures.
The front side of the box lists an array of supported sockets, including Intel's 1366 and 1156 for i5 and i7 processors.
Within the box you'll find the cooler with the fan, as well as a box containing all the needed parts for mounting the cooler on different sockets, GC2 thermal paste and the user's manual.
A Closer Look
The looks and size of Tranquillo are a good indication of good performance. The heatsink is made of aluminum whereas the heatpipe and the base are made of copper.
The heatsink measures 74mm x 125mm x 153mm (WxLxH), and the fan measures 120mm x 120mm x 25mm.
Tranquillo comes with four heatpipes, which branch out from the base. On their way to the top of the cooler, the heatpipes pass through the heatsink's aluminum fins, which feature numerous tiny bumps in order to improve cooling efficiency.
The heatsink features a unique design that should, as the manufacturer claims, enable for maximum airflow.
On the upper side of the heatsink, you'll find a screw-attached plastic plate. Although one would at a glance think that this is just a designer detail with Tranquillo logo, one would be wrong – after mounting the fan, you'll notice that the plate is almost a part of it. At the same time, the plate covers the hole between the fan and the heatsink, so air will retain its path through the heatsink unhindered. Simple but efficient we must say.
Due to its unique design, Tranquillo can only feature one 1200mm fan. It uses a 4-pin "smart" PWM fan running from 750-1500 rpm and will dynamically regulate the speed.
The manufacturer's specs claim noise levels go from 12-25,5 dBA, and although we do not own appropriate equipment to put their claims to the test, we must say that it's surprisingly quiet even at maximum rpm. The specs say the fan will run for 50.000 hours at 40 degrees Celsius.
The cooler's base is made of copper, whereas the upper side of the base comes with an aluminum radiator with 40 cooling fins, so the four heatpipes are basically sandwiched in between.
Gelid has once again shows nice designer prowess. The fan is about 1cm longer than the heatsink, so the air that passes underneath the heatsink cools the aluminum fins located on top of the base.
Tranquillo can be mounted on Intel's LGA 775, 1366 and 1156 Socket, as well as AMD's 754/939/940/AM2/AM2+/AM3 sockets. Gelid says that Tranquillo packs enough punch to take on a plethora of CPUs, including the likes of Pentium D/ Pentium 4/ All Celeron D/ All Pentium Dual-Core/ Extreme/ All Core 2 Extreme/ Core 2 Quad/ Core 2 Duo, Core i5, Core i7, Athlon 64 X2, Athlon 64, All Athlon 64 FX, Opteron, Sempron, Phenom, Phenom II.
For mounting on Intel sockets, the cooler uses a backplate, which holds the cooler firmly in place and greatly decreases the risk of damaging your board. This cooler weighs 645 grams, so it's no wonder.
For AMD sockets, Traquillo uses the standard mechanism.
After attaching the mounting mechanism and applying thermal paste (all the tests were performed with GC extreme thermal paste) we took the next step.
Unfortunately, we didn't like the mounting process one bit. It gets pretty complicated and mounting Tranquillo on Intel's socket is best done by taking the motherboard out of the case, regardless of whether you have mounting holes on your case or not.
The problem is that the screws have to be screwed from the inside of the board while holding the backplate with the other hand. Although the backplate has sticky tape on it, it's not strong enough to hold it and it will often give in to the screws and fall off the board. As you can imagine, this can annoy the heck out of you so we'd advise you to take the motherboard out of the case if you don't have spare hands around.
We sincerely hope that Gelid will remedy this problem in their future models and devise a system similar to the one Cooler Master uses on its cooling solutions that come with backplates. So, a simple "screw and nut" system would've been great – place the screws and simply fasten them with nuts on the opposite side. Such a system would be a simple solution, but those tend to be the best ones and surely would make many a user's day.
MSI P35 Platinum (Provided by: MSI)
Intel Core 2 Extreme x6800, 2x 2.93GHz (Provided by:Intel)
A-Data Extreme DDR2 800 (2x1GB) (Provided by:A-Data)
EVGA Geforce 260 GTX (Provided by:EVGA)
OCZ GXS 700, 700 W (Provided by:OCZ)
Cooler Master Hyper TX3 (Provided by:Cooler Master)
OCZ Vendeta 2 (Provided by:OCZ)
Gelid Tranquillo (Provided by:Gelid Solution Ltd.)
Cooler Master HAF 922 (Provided by:Cooler Master)
After mounting the cooler on the motherboard, we commenced our tests. Our test methods are pretty simple, introduce load on the CPU by using Prime95 until it hits 100%. We measured the temperatures with SpeedFan and CoreTemp applications.
It's important to note that we used Intel's Extreme processors, which requires some serious cooling when overclocking.
We did a couple of scenarios – CPU at 2.93GHz reference speed, the same CPU overclocked to 3.33GHz and two fan speeds – 60% and 100%.
As you can see, when the CPU is at reference clocks, all the cooling solutions run pretty nice and the temperatures are pretty close.
Our final test justifies Tranquillo's name and it ran much quieter than the other two coolers, especially the Hyper TX3 which was pretty noisy when running at 2800 rpm.
We really liked Gelid's Tranquillo as the cooler features great design, excellent finishing and multitude of tiny details that although unnoticeable, do a lot to improve the performance. Tranquillo is also one of few cooling solutions that supports almost all newer processors, including Intel's 1366 and 1156 socket CPUs.
The tests clearly show that Tranquillo's true power is revealed when you decide to overclock your CPU. Of course, when overclocking a CPU the temperatures go up as well, so the system will automatically increase the rpm on Tranquillo's fan. Still, you need not worry about noise, as Tranquillo justified its name and runs surprisingly quiet at maximum rpm.
On the other hand, we were quite disappointed with the complicated mounting process on Intel's sockets. The easiest solution to this seems to be taking your motherboard out of the case. Of course, this is time consuming, but after the mounting process, this cooler will not disappoint. Gelid is a young company and they've done a good job, but we're looking forward to seeing some more practical mounting systems on their future products.
Tranquillo is currently priced at €28, which is pretty nice, especially considering that some coolers in its class feature inferior performance and they're still priced up to €50. Furthermore, Gelid's warranty on this cooler is good for 5 years, which makes this deal altogether sweeter.