Nexus XiR-3500 Copper Edition CPU Cooler Page: 1
Introduction
 
Nexus LogoNexus Technology BV is based in The Netherlands and was founded in 2000 by a group of experts on heat conductivity and noise reduction within the IT Industry.
 
Their goal - “To build a strong and reliable trademark for silent computing”
 
Today I have one of their best offerings - the XiR-3500 v2 which is now compatible with the i7 mounting system to try out. The Nexus website boasts “Ultimate performance has never been this quiet”. Well we the users will be the judge of that.
 
I will be pitting this silent but cool character up against the OCZ Vendetta II and the stock Intel Core i7 cooler, let’s see if it can live up to this claim.
 
So let’s take a look at the specifications.......
 
 
Specifications
 
The Nexus website is a very well laid out and easy to navigate around. I had no problems at all finding the specifications below:
 
 Features
 • Copper base
 • 4 x 6mm copper heat pipes
 • SkiveTek heat-sink
 • Copper fins
 • Ultra-thin fins
 • Temperature controlled fan
 • Orange fan led’s
 • 1200 ~ 2500 RPM Fan
 
 Heat Sink Specifications
 Universal Application Intel 1366, 775
 AMD AM3, AM2, 754, 939, 940
 Dimensions 106 x 122 x 111 mm
 L x W x H 4.17 x 4.80 x 4.37 inch
 Materials Pure copper base
 Pure copper heat pipe
 Pure copper fins
 Weight  736 gr / 25.96 oz
 Heat pipe  4 heat pipes of 6 mm / 0.236 inch diameter
 
 Fan Specifications
 Fan Size 92 x 25 mm / 3.6 x 0.9 inch
 Fan Voltage 12v
 Fan speed 1200 to 2500 RPM, Temperature controlled by fan sensor
 Fan connector 2 x orange LED’s in the fan centre
 Noise level 15 ~ 24 db
 
Nexus XiR-3500 HeatsinkThe specifications certainly look the part, but I was intrigued as to what “SkiveTek” actually was. It sounded like something we used to do back in the school days!
 
As it turns out, that is the manufacturing process used to create a heat sink from one block of material, be it copper or, as in this case, aluminium. As the fins are not soldered on, this allows for a better heat transfer from the base of the heat sink through to the fins. As a result of skiving, (as it’s known) there is a rough finish left on the fins and the surface of the block, which has the added benefit of increasing their surface area. Clever stuff eh?
 
Nexus claim 15 to 24db noise levels on the fan, which is pretty impressive, which was measured at 1 meter from the noise source. That’s equivalent to a whisper, a normal conversation with someone is normally around the 60db range so it’s looking promising on the silence front. So it’s pretty safe to say the Nexus XiR-3500 is not going to be the noisiest component within your system.
 
Compatibility wise the Nexus XiR-3500 has it covered, with mounting fittings supplied for both the Intel and AMD camps they have all bases covered there. I will say however, check the clearance around your motherboard CPU socket, any large northbridge coolers may interfere with the mounting of the heatsink.
 
Let’s take a look at the packaging......


Nexus XiR-3500 Copper Edition CPU Cooler Page: 2
Packaging
 
The packaging for the Nexus XiR-3500 is very bold to say the least. A very shiny golden box with a decent cut out section showing off the heatsink inside, it just screams look at me! Compared to a lot of packing you will see on the shelf in your local PC Stores this is certainly a welcome break from the norm.
 
Nexus XiR-3500 Copper Edition Box Nexus XiR-3500 Copper Edition Box Back
 
The front of the box’s main feature is the fore mentioned cut out, allowing the user to see the heatsink clearly inside the box; it also features a Core i7 compatibility label. On the back of the packaging we have a brief blurb about the product in 7 different languages; it also lists what sockets the cooler is compatible with.
 
Nexus XiR-3500 Copper Edition Box Side Nexus XiR-3500 Copper Edition Box Side
 
To the sides of the packaging we have a person with a finger to their lips in a “shhhhshhh” type manor, hinting at the silence which could soon be yours. On the other side features all the specifications which we covered earlier.
 
Nexus XiR-3500 Copper Edition Inner Box Nexus XiR-3500 Copper Edition Box Contents
 
The heatsink is well protected during shipping in a blister pack and for additional protection the base of the heatsink has a protective label and another plastic cover over this.
 
Nexus XiR-3500 Copper Edition Contents Nexus XiR-3500 Thermal Paste
 
The accessories are contained in a smart matching box which sits below the heatsink; this contains all the fitting brackets as well as a base plate for Intel 775 CPU based motherboards. It is also worth mentioning that you also receive a small syringe of Nexus TIM and a nifty spreader/applicator which is very handy for whatever TIM you decide to use.
 
 
Appearance
 
Taking a look at the cooler itself, you can see it’s a good looking bit of kit. The fan, which is recessed within the heatsink itself and is of the 92mm flavour, it’s worth noting you cannot swap it out. It features a temperature sensor which keeps the fan running between 1500 – 2500 rpm, depending on how hot things are getting.
 
Nexus XiR-3500 Copper Edition Top Down Nexus XiR-3500 Copper Edition Fan
 
For an additional bit of flare, the fan features two orange LED’s, which are not going to be to everyone’s taste and unfortunately you cannot turn them off.
 
Nexus XiR-3500 Copper Edition Fins Nexus XiR-3500 Copper Edition Heatpipes
 
The Nexus XiR-3500 features 4 x 6mm copper heatpipes which are sandwiched between the copper base and the aluminum Skivetek heatsink.  The heatpipes have allowed the guys at Nexus to raise the main body of the cooler away from the cpu socket allowing them to create an impressive array of ultra thin fins which extend above the fan.  Theres plenty of surface area here for heat transfer, this coupled up with the aluminum heatsink below should yield some impressive results.
 
Nexus XiR-3500 Copper Edition Base Nexus XiR-3500 Copper Edition Base
 
The base of the heatsink itself, I have to say I was not that impressed with, even with the efforts that Nexus went to; to protect it, the finish wasn’t that great. (I’m not sure if this was just my review sample as looking around the web others have not had the same blemishes, so this may be a one off). Judge for yourself, it’s not really bad, but I believe it could be better.


Nexus XiR-3500 Copper Edition CPU Cooler Page: 3
Installation & Test Setup
 
Installation was pretty straightforward, to be honest. The instructions, whilst not brilliant were pretty simple to follow. First off you needed to choose the correct mounting brackets for your system. You need to attach these to the base of the heatsink by loosening off the screws which, hold the aluminium heatsink to the base plate and then slide the brackets required into place and bolt back down. This clamps the brackets in place between the SkiveTek heatsink and the copper base.
 
Nexus XiR-3500 Copper Edition Fitted Nexus XiR-3500 Copper Edition Installed
 
You then need to fit the supplied washers to the upper surface of your motherboard, protecting it where the brass bolts fit though. It’s then a case of common sense when tightening the heatsink to the motherboard. Over tighten and you could damage the board. Too loose and the performance will be affected.
 
If you’re an AMD user then you’re in luck. You may not even need to remove your motherboard from your case. I would still suggest you do though.
 
Nexus XiR-3500 Copper Edition Nexus XiR-3500 Copper Edition Installed
 
With the rev 2 cooler the original 775 brackets have been modified slightly too also incorporate the spacing require for the 1366 fitment. As you can see it certainly looks the part when fitted.
 
So let’s get onto the testing....


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Test Setup
 
On the day of the testing, the room used was at a constant 21°c. The system used comprised of the following components:
 
• Intel core i7 920
• Asus P6T OC Deluxe Palm
• 6gb of Corsair Dominator Ram
• BFG 295GTX
• BeQuiet 1200w psu
• Arctic Cooling MX-2 TIM
 
To keep the test fair, each heatsink was fitted and tested 3 times, for idle and load temps. The heatsink was cleaned between installs using Akasa’s Tim Clean. The PC was allowed to idle once booted into windows for 15 minutes, before the idle temps were recorded. To simulate full load, Prime was ran on all 4 cores for a full 20 minutes before load temps were recorded. The results were then calculated using the average.
 
I used Arctic Cooling’s MX-2 as my TIM of choice, as I believe it’s an excellent paste to work with. Easy to remove and re-apply when needed. For Temperature measurement I used core temp 0.99.5 beta and Prime 95 25.9 was used to load all cores on the CPU.
 
Shall we take a look at the test results...?
 
 
The results of the idle test show us that the Nexus XiR-3500 beats the stock Intel cooler by a good 6°. The Vendetta II beats the XiR-3500 by 1° although XiR-3500 was a lot quieter. Things are looking good so far for the Nexus XiR-3500.
 
 
As you can see from the above chart, the Intel Stock Cooler is barely up to the job of keeping the i7 920 cool. It was also making a right racket while it was at it.
 
The OCZ Vendetta II while doing a very good job and being a lot quieter then the Intel Cooler was also still keeping up its whine.
 
Onto the Nexus, what can I say? It’s within 3°c of the OCZ Vendetta II but, here’s the killer. It’s almost silent. The cooler really does do what it says on the tin!! For a silent cooler, to turn in results like that it’s brilliant.
 
I was that impressed with how well the Nexus coped with the temperatures, I decided to see how far I could clock my i7 920 with it. Now I’m a water cooled guy and I know my chip is stable up to 4.2 GHz using 1.4v under water at very good temps.
 
I decided to see how the Nexus would cope with a bit of clocking.
 
 
 
As you can see from the above charts the temperatures have increased by 6° when under full load but remember this is running at an overclock of 3.4 GHz which I think is a very good achievement.
 
 
I decided to soldier on and see what the temps would be like using 1.25v and running the CPU at 3.6Ghz. As you can see above the Nexus XiR-3500 does quite a good job at keeping the heat from core i7 920 in check even when clocked to 3.6Ghz.
 
Onto the conclusion.............
 


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Conclusion
 
Nexus XiR-3500So let’s run through what we have seen so far. The Nexus XiR-3500 is straightforward to install, in most cases it will require the removal of your motherboard for fitting, but what performance heatsink doesn’t? Weighing in at 796g the cooler certainly isn’t the heaviest out there, once installed the cooler feels stable, it’s not going to move around or in the worst case scenario fall off the motherboard causing some damage on its way. The whole product has a feel of quality about it, the gold packaging is easy to identify and pleasing to the eye. Everything is neatly packaged and well presented whilst keeping the heatsink safe in transit, scoring brownie points with me Nexus even bundle a spatula for spreading the supplied paste.
 
Performance wise, what can I say? The Nexus XiR-3500 does a stirling job, the core i7 920 can be a toasty chip and at stock speed the XiR-3500 held the temperature at 68°C under full load. This blew away the stock Intel cooler and was a lot quieter while doing so. Running an Intel i7 920 overclocked to 3.6ghz under full load the Nexus XiR-3500 kept the temperatures in check at 79°C that’s very impressive for an almost silent cooler, remember folks this was carried out on what was probably the hottest day we will have this year. Most coolers would be sweating under the strain while the XiR-3500 kept its cool and remained silent.
 
I challenge you to ask any performance pc enthusiast what is one of the most annoying features of their pc. I bet the answer would be noise. Nexus have risen to this challenge and provided us with an excellent solution.
 
 
Nexus I salute you on your achievement.
 
 
The Good
- Silence
- Build Quality
- Packaging
- Looks
- Did I mention Silence!
 
The Mediocre
- Beaten by the Vendettta II
- Finish on the base of my review sample
- Not being able to change the fan
 
The Bad
- Nothing to report
 
 
Overclock3D Silence Award 
 
Thanks to Nexus for providing the XiR-3500 Copper Edition for review. Discuss this review in our forums.