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Radical design, but without the performance?
Product : Coolermaster CH5-5K12 "Heatpipe" Socket A heatsink/fan
Price : 17.62 (price includes VAT)
Reviews : [Alpha PAL6035]
Discuss this review in our forums

Coolermaster have been around for a while now, and while not always the overclocker's first choice they have managed to produce heatsinks/fans which perform well in general situations. For example, I have had a Coolermaster heatsink on my AMD K6-2 450 for over 20 months now, and it's been giving me excellant service.

Until now, their products didn't have a certain flair which made it stick out to the overclocker. Flair such as what the Golden Orb has, or the Alpha with it's embedded copper base, was lacking from the very bland Coolermaster range, until now.

This, the Coolermaster CH5-5K12 `Heat Pipe` Socket Cooler, is an updated version of the CH5-5K11 cooler, which used the same technology of copper "heat-pipes" and radiators to dissipate the heat. Since I have both this and the first version (CH5-5K11), I tried to find out what was different in these two versions. Absolutely nothing. When looking at the two of them side by side there no distingushing features between the two, therefore I can't really see any physical differences between the two.

There had been many problems when the Socket A processors had come out. Many Duron/Thunderbird owners had stories of how their heatsink managed to crack their processor's core rendering it unusuable. Stores of how the heatsink didn't have proper contact with the processor, which led to some very hot and "dead" processors. These stories have died down in the past few months, and it seems like the major cooling manufacturers have sorted their designs out. Globalwin were the first company to come up with a solution to this problem, when they released the FOP range of coolers, while many other coolers at that time where cracking cores, the FOP32 (and later the FOP38) managed to provide TBird/Duron with reliable and good quality cooling. Coolermaster wasn't too far behind, with this, their first Socket A cooler. The model we are looking at today is the second generation of this model, the CH5-5K12.

Installation

Attaching this processor onto your Thunderbird or Duron isn't a very easy task. It took me several minutes and some very sore fingers to get the retainer securely fastened onto the socket. Because the retainer is positioned above the square copper base, this makes it very hard to get the first retainer clip attached to the socket, however once you have done this attaching the other clip isn't much of a problem. Something that is a bit worrying is the force required for you to press down. I thought the force I applied to secure the Heat-Pipe would be more than enough to crack any core, let alone a fragile Duron/TBird one.

On a side note, I also tried the Heat-pipe cooler on my Super Socket 7 motherboard, and it managed to attach itself onto an AMD K6-2 500 without much trouble, and it also managed to cool a Socket 370 Celeron 400.

The heatsink itself is well made and parts won't fall off in the middle of the night, however when looking at the fan that is attached to the heatsink, it is a bit surprising Coolermaster have chosen such a small fan. Coolermaster say that this heatsink/fan is suitable for up to 1.4GHz processors, but they might want to improve the air flow, and I certainly would have to think twice about using this cooler on my 1.1 GHz Thunderbird, let alone a 1.4GHz processor.

That aside, it's looks are on par with the Orb series of heatsinks, and they don't use the "Heat pipe" technology which looks and sounds that bit more "leet". So lets see how this silver box performed in our test rig.

Results

For the experiments we used an un-overclocked Duron 750 MHz processor, since overclocked processors could give different results (although the temperatures recorded below might not be the ones you get at home).

The heatpipe doesn't quite keep pace with the Alpha PAL6035, however this doesn't mean it performed badly. The PAL6035 is (and probably will be for the near future) the market leader for Socket 370 and Socket A heatsinks. The only problem is, with there being a shortage of Alpha heatsinks, it can be quite hard to source one of these gems.

Conclusion

The Coolermaster Heatpipe cooler might be revolutionary in it's design, however the performance isn't as stunning as the Heatpipe's looks. The copper base, along with the radiators make an overall satisfactory cooling solution, however the small fan and the average results means that if you can source an Alpha PAL6035, then that has to be the way to go, and if you can't Globalwin's FOP range of coolers are more than adequate.