Akasa Revo Thermaldynamic CPU Cooler Page: 1
Introduction

Akasa are an old hand when it comes to CPU cooling. With a large range of coolers on the market and a reputation for cheap, quiet and efficient coolers they are quite often first choice for those wanting quiet computing at a good price point.

Today we're taking a look at the Akasa Revo Thermaldynamic Cooler from Akasa. With a press release mentioning the terms "CPU Cooler" and "bubble pump" we just had to take a look.


The Technology - in brief

Rather than just re-hash Akasa's press release I'll give you my own thoughts on what Akasa have said about their cooler.

Basically the cooler has a liquid coolant that runs from a small chamber in the case of the cooler next to the CPU cooler and up into a small reservoir at one side of the radiator. This then goes through an "up-pipe" as Akasa put it (heat pipe) and into the radiator. Akasa then say that the "specially designed dual-component liquid-coolant acts as a bubble-pump" and forces heat along the radiator. Hmm, well to me that sounds like the heat moves through the radiator by convection, aided by heat bubbles in the system. At this point the radiator and fan cool the liquid through heat dissipation on a large surface area (just like a water-cooling rad) and the cold air travels through the "down pipe" back into the reservoir.

akasa revo press release
Akasa Revo technology in pictures

The air from the fan is also ducted around the CPU area cooling other components like the motherboard/chipset etc.

Now most heatpipe coolers have an array of anything from 2 to 8 heatpipes to cool down todays egg-fryers, but the Revo only has one, interesting.

Additional Answer from Akasa

Akasa have said that the Bubble pump technology is a lot more like a water cooling loop than a heatpipe cool. With the Radiator on the cooler I am in partial agreement. However, as you will see later Akasa have yet to achieve the results that watercooling gets.

Moving on...

Packaging

The packaging for the Revo is pretty attractive and shows a pretty industrial looking heatsink on the front with a nice blue Akasa fan on it. Plenty of information abounds on the box so you're good to go there.

akasa revo box

akasa revo cooler box

RoHS compliancy is certified for this cooler as it should be.

box inside 1

cooler inside box 2

The inside of the box is well packed and shows off the unit when you first see it. No complaints here on packaging then.

Package

The package with the cooler is a standard affair, albeit a little more tough looking than most.

It contains:

* 1 x Instruction manual
* 1 x Intel LGA 775 adapter
* 1 x AMD 939/940/AM2 adapter
* Akasa thermal paste

akasa revo bundle

Everything you need to get you going is included, remember that the fan is already actually on the cooler so no need to buy one.

Specification

Taken from Akasa's website:

AMD Socket 939 / AM2
INTEL LGA 775
Cooler dimension 132 x 90 x 138mm (W, D, H)
Cooler material Aluminium
Fan dimension 92 x 92 x 25mm
Fan speed 600 - 2200 R.P.M.
Fan connector 4-pin (PWM)
Fan airflow 11.44 - 41.96CFM
Fan air pressure 0.85 - 3.13 mm H20
Fan life expectancy 45000/hrs
Bearing type Ball bearing
Voltage rating 12V
Noise level 17 – 26 dB(A)
Weight 330g
Product code AK-925

So the specs look OK, let's see what the thing looks like.


Akasa Revo Thermaldynamic CPU Cooler Page: 2
Close and up personal

Well the Akasa Revo strikes me as a pretty damn neat looking cooler. Very industrially designed with a cool silver finish, the Revo is definately a cool addition to a case with a window.

akasa revo

akasa revo fan side

The other thing that strikes you is that the cooler feels very well built. Constructed in aluminium with a blue and clear fan, everything feels very solid and built to last. The fan shroud isn't tacky and again feels well put together and all the joints are well done.

akasa revo side

Taking a look closer in we see the pipes and the base of the unit.

akasa revo

akasa revo base

Here we can also see the mechanism that afixes the cooler to the socket adapter. The grooves in the black plastic part are where the "arms" for the socket adapters slot in.

akasa revo detail rad

akasa revo cooler rad

The Radiator on the cooler is well made and looks exactly like the radiators in watercooling systems (and cars for that matter). An interesting choice rather than the fins normally seen on air coolers.

akasa revo base

akasa revo base

The case again shows how well made the cooler is.

akasa revo base flat

akasa revo base with screw

Similarly to the Asus Triton, the Revo's base still has marks from machining on it, but again is pretty flat with only a very small imperfection at the very edge on one side (when tested for flatness with a drop of water and some glass). This would not affect the cooling performance in any way in my opinion, as it is not in a place that would make contact with the CPU.



Akasa Revo Thermaldynamic CPU Cooler Page: 3
Test Setup

The following Test Setup and Method was used:

CPU: Intel Core2Duo E6700 @ 3.33Ghz
Motherboard: XFX 650i Ultra
RAM: 2gb Mushkin XP2-6400 4-4-4-12

HDD: OS - 160gb Hitachi Deskstar SATA II
Power: Zippy 500w
Case: A+ Case Monolize
Graphics Card: Sapphire X1600Pro with Artic Cooling Accelero S2

OS: Windows XP Professional

The Temperature was at a pretty constant 25°C room temperature and the system temperature was 31°C.

Artic Silver 5 was applied onto both of the heatsinks to give as fair a comparison as possible. Please note that as AS5 "cures" (about 200hours and at least 2 cycles), the temps are likely to drop 1-3°C. Due to time constraints neither cooler had this luxury, and this was a fair comparison.

For the testing I had the E6700 clocked both at stock settings of 266 x 10 (2.66GHz) @ 1.3v and 330 x 10 (3.3GHz) @ a fairly high 1.45v to really push the coolers.

Temperatures were logged using CoreTemp monitoring software. Temperatures were checked with a thermal probe and found to be fairly accurate.

For idle temperatures I left the PC for 30mins then recorded the idle temperature every 10 seconds for 5 minutes, making sure I did not use any program that was not already running at windows startup.

For the load temperatures I ran an instance of prime 95 with in-place large FFT's for maximum heat and power consumption, as well as an instance of Folding@Home set to take up any spare cycles of the CPU. Once again I left this for 30mins then recorded the temperatures over a 5 minute period.

For comparison I used Intels stock cooler, the Scythe Infinity and Asus's Triton Cooler . Note that for the testing with the Asus Triton 75 testing with a fan I used the same fan as on the Scythe Infiniy for parity and fairness.

On to the installation..

Akasa Revo Thermaldynamic CPU Cooler Page: 4
Installation

Installation was a test that the Akasa Revo passed with a gold star. The installation method tells you to attach the adaptor for the socket type you are using the cooler for. You then unclip the thick industrial-looking clips from the adaptor and slide the cooler into place.

Once this is done you simply ensure the clips are in place on the guide rails on the coolers base and clip them under the adaptors retention mechanism.

Sounds easy? It quite literally is. It was so quick I even forgot to take a picture during the process!

akasa revo in place

Clearance wasn't a problem here, as you can see.

akasa revo base installed

The base fits and feels very snug in place.

akasa revo branding

Some nice branding on the top of the shroud.

akasda revo installed

There were no clearance issues at all on the motherboard itself which is always a total bonus.

akasa revo installed

And I'm spent, time for a cup of tea. Zero to installed in well under five minutes.


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Test Results

The test results were as follows. Note that these are all performed under identical circumstances on the exact same test setup.

stock benchmark

At stock speeds and voltages the Akasa Revo is behind all but the Asus Triton without a fan.

overclocked results

Here the Akasa does pretty well at idle compared to our other coolers, but only manages to come out ahead of the Intel stock cooler when we turn up the heat in Orthos testing.

Noise

Noise, however, is somewhere where the Akasa Revo does very well. With that fan only producing 17-26dBa, you can barely hear it. I literally had to put my hand on the fan to check it was spinning at idle and at load all you can hear is the swish of air getting forced through the radiator. There is no doubting that Akasa have done very well in this area, short of it being passive (which I would say is possible with a lower TDP processor).

Quiet is certainly a place that Akasa are aiming the cooler at. We have been advised that testing @ 3.3GHz and 1.45v was not appropriate for what the cooler was designed for. Akasa are aiming this cooler at the low power market, with silence in mind.

I find this fair enough, but the results at stock speak for themselves.


Akasa Revo Thermaldynamic CPU Cooler Page: 6
Conclusion

The Akasa Revo gives me mixed emotions. With excellent industrial looks; I think that most modders and enthusiasts will like the look of the slightly unusual cooler.

However, the thermal performance found it lacking, despite marketing hype about "Bubble Coolers" and the like. It doesn't do very badly and indeed it does do better than the Intel stock cooler when the heat was on at 3.3GHz, 1.45v. Unfortunately it doesn't manage to keep up with other top-line coolers which is a shame.

On the other hand people wanting decent overclocking performance coupled with a very quiet cooler will like the Revo. It does the job quietly and unless your PC is totally silent you won't hear it at all.

Note that Akasa currently have plans for an low profile version and possibly a high-end overclocker-friendly version of the Revo.

Akasa recommend the Revo's RRP at £39.99, with SCAN and OcUK stocking it soon. This is a high price for a cooler that is built for the quiet market and I feel that there are other coolers out there that can maintain the low noise and half decent cooling that the Revo does.

Reviewed Award

The Good

+ Very quiet
+ Very easy installation
+ Well built
+ Great industrial looks

The Mediocre

* Marketing hype
* Not widely available in the UK

The Bad

- Not up to the performance of top-line coolers
- Well overpriced

Thanks to Akasa for the review sample

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Manufacturer Reply


As with every single review we have ever posted, we give 1 working day for comment on the final review during which time amendments may be made if needed and manufacturers can make their comments. Akasa have replied to us on some points of this review so please see notes from Adrian Young, Akasa's marketing Director:

We know that Revo is not a low price cooler, Akasa already have very cost effective Heatpipe coolers, we wanted to develop something new and developing new technology is expensive especially when coupled with European production.

What is certain is that the combination of bubble pump and 8 port radiator is far more efficient at CPU cooling than a conventional fin heatsink. If we compare Revo with a similar size H/pipe cooler we can run the fan at 50% less RPM and get a comparable result. (It's good up to 90W and then tapers off)

There is a market for lo-noise coolers in the HTPC market and we have a version of the Revo for this format which will be available soon. However there is a much wider/bigger market for silent cooling across the PC spectrum using ATX tower chassisand one of the virtues of Revo is that it will fit easily into nearly all those cases.

We have done a lot of testing and one feature of the Revo is Mo/Bo zone cooling, many conventional coolers do not cool the VRs or other components, this is a real problem and Revo has been designed to alleviate it successfully.

We can produce an enhanced version aimed at the overclocking market by reconfiguring the Thermodynamic model and we will do this but we need to start with the main market using a 65W Core2Duo.

Thanks to Adrian for replying, and we hope to be able to review the new revised models when they are out.