OCZ Tempest CPU Cooler Page: 1
Introduction

Dominating the overclocking scene for over 6 years, OCZ have always been know among enthusiasts for their extreme memory and high performance power supplies. Not content with being "king of the hill" in these two sectors, OCZ now have their sights firmly set on the high-end air cooling market.

When purchasing a new CPU from Intel or AMD, you will quickly find that the stock coolers simply aren't up to the task. This is where solutions from other manufacturers come in to play - and specifically the OCZ Tempest cooler which I'll be taking a look at today.

About OCZ
"Entering the memory market in August 2000, OCZ Technology was built around the determination to manufacture the best high speed DDR and RDRAM. OCZ was founded by enthusiasts, for enthusiasts, and our commitment to the end-user has not digressed. OCZ Technology has been an innovator in many areas. We were the first manufacturer to make Dual Channel optimized memory available to the public, which originally took advantage of nVidia's Twinbank or Dual DDR architecture, found in their nForce chipset. We have now taken that technology and tailored it for the Canterwood, and Granite Bay chipset's. OCZ developed and was the first to implement ULN technology, which has been a critical element in our manufacturing process for some time. We at OCZ diligently work to improve communication with CPU and motherboard chipset manufacturers prior to the release of their products. Only in this manner can we fine-tune our memory's SPD settings, ensuring a synergistic relationship between the memory module, memory controller, and microprocessor. In today’s rapidly evolving semiconductor industry, such communication is not simply research, but a necessary component of our manufacturing process."


Packaging

The secure packaging of CPU coolers is very important. Metals such as copper and aluminium can easily be damaged transit, hindering the cooling abilities of the heatsink.

OCZ Tempest Box Front OCZ Tempest Box Back

OCZ have chosen to package the Tempest in a clear plastic box with a card insert that spans all sides of the packaging. Around the back of the box OCZ have listed the full specifications of the cooler including its supported socket types, fan specifications, noise levels and the cooler weight.

One minor gripe I had with the packaging was that the heatsink did not appear to be secured in any way, allowing it to freely move around in the box. However, after shaking the box vigorously, I can confirm that it was not possible to cause any damage to the heatsink and therefore shouldn't cause any problems during shipping.

OCZ Tempest Box Side OCZ Tempest Box Side

Both sides of the box contain further information on the Tempest, including a more in-depth description of the supported socket/processor types and a full features list which can be seen over the next page.



OCZ Tempest CPU Cooler Page: 2
Specifications

The following information has been taken directly from OCZ's Website:

"Designed and built to address the demanding cooling requirements of gamers and enthusiasts, the OCZ Tempest is the pinnacle of air and heat pipe cooling technology. The Tempest features four copper heat pipes that rapidly transfer heat away from your CPU up into the dense fin array where the heat is quickly and effectively dissipated. The Tempest's superior heatsink layout allows for a compact footprint while still delivering maximum cooling efficiency and can be used with the vast majority of motherboards and cases.

Gamers will appreciate the Tempest's quiet operation and unrelenting cooling during even the most intense gaming. The Tempest also gives enthusiasts the unprecedented freedom to customize their cooler by providing two sets of mounting holes to accommodate a wide range of replacement fans. Additionally, the fan mounting hardware ensures different fans can be easily swapped in and out without having to remove the installed Tempest heatsink.

The Tempest is quick and easy to install and includes mounting sets for AMD 939/940/AM2 sockets and Intel 775/478 sockets.

Dominate performance-robbing heat, improve system stability and performance—chill out with the OCZ Tempest. "


OCZ OCZ OCZ OCZ

• For Sockets AMD 939/940/AM2, Intel 775/478
• Pure Copper base plate (Titanium coated) and 4 heat pipes for superior heat dissipation
• Pure Aluminum fins for ultimate durability
• Weight (w/out fan) 580g

Includes
• 92mm Fan Mounting
• Hardware for all above CPUs
• Thermal Compound

Fan Specs
• Low-Noise 2500RPM +/-10%
• 44.0 CFM
• 2-Ball Bearing
• 3 pin connector
• Blue LEDs

• Dimensions: (L)95.25 x (W)87.62 x (H)51.24mm



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Appearance

OCZ have never been shy in the looks department, coming up with some of the most radically designed products in the industry and I'm pleased to say that the Tempest is no exception..

OCZ Tempest Appearance OCZ Tempest Appearance

OCZ Tempest Appearance OCZ Tempest Appearance

Featuring 4 copper heat pipes, a total of 36 polished aluminium fins and a 92mm blue LED fan, the Tempest is certainly one of the most classy CPU coolers I've ever used. Small touches like the OCZ embossed logo add to the quality appearance ensuring that the Tempest won't look out of place in even the highest-end computers.

The Tempest works upon the tried and tested heat pipe design utilised by many other modern CPU coolers. The copper pipes draw heat from the base and transfer it to the aluminium fins of the cooler where it can be removed by the fan.

OCZ Tempest Base OCZ Tempest Base

The base of the Tempest has been machined down to a perfectly flat finish and then Nickel plated. This gives the heatsink a flawless and reflective contact area which should aid in heat transfer between the CPU and cooler. During transit, the base of the Tempest is protected from scratches by a plastic film which is easily removed and leaves no residue.



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Installation

The OCZ Tempest weighs in at a total of 580 grams, which unlike a lot of other high-end coolers is actually within the socket weight limit guidelines set out by AMD and Intel. I'm pretty sure that OCZ could have got away with mounting the Tempest directly on the Intel/AMD heatsink brackets, but instead have erred on the side of caution and provided custom mounting mechanisms for all socket types. The installation procedure below will be completed on an Intel D975XBX "Bad Axe" socket 775 motherboard.

OCZ Tempest Instructions

OCZ Tempest Mounting OCZ Tempest Mounting

Credit has to be given to OCZ for providing an instruction leaflet containing detailed images and explanations on how to mount the Tempest on all supported sockets. This is a great relief considering I almost had a heart attack when coming face to face with the large bag of screws included with the cooler.

Step 1 Step 2

Step 1: Install the retention bracket to the back of your motherboard. This allows for the weight of the cooler to be evenly spread over the CPU socket area.

Step 2: Place the non-conductive washers over the socket holes to prevent any possible short circuit occuring.

Step 3 Step 4

Step 3: Install the mounting frames over the CPU socket area holes and securing the screws through the motherboard into the retention bracket in Step 1.

Step 4: Screw mounting bracket "ears" on to both sides of the Tempest between the fins and the base (I almost messed up here!).

Step 5 Step 6

Step 5: Put fresh thermal paste on the CPU and install the cooler over the top. Install the two screws either side of the cooler, screwing the cooler into the mounting frames from step 3.

Step 6: Place the fan mounting plate over the top of the heatsink and clip down using the latches at both sides of the plate.

Step 7 Done!

Step 7: Screw the fan into the mounting plate.

All in all, it took me a total of 22 minutes to install the Tempest. I found the instructions to be clear and easy to follow, however the installation was slightly fiddly and left me wondering if OCZ could have found an easier way to mount the Tempest.



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Testing

In order to test the capabilities of the Tempest, I am going to be installing it on a rather toasty Intel Prescott 630 CPU. Idle and load temperatures will be taken at stock speeds with a room temperature maintained at 25ºC.

To ensure that the comparison between the Tempest and Intel's stock cooler remains fair, I will be using fresh Arctic Ceramique on each of the heatsinks. The heatsinks will be mounted a total of 3 times, and an average calculated from the results.

Below is the full specification of the test PC:

Processor: Intel P4 630 3.0ghz Prescott 2mb Cache 800mhz FSB
Motherboard: Intel D975XBX "Bad Axe" (Intel 975X Chipset)
Graphics Card: XFX 6600GT PCI-E
Hard Disk: Hitachi Deskstar 80gb SATA-II 8mb Cache
Power Supply: Silverstone Zeus 560w
Software: Windows XP SP2

During the tests, the fan speed was set to a constant 100%. Even at this speed the fan managed to keep reasonably quiet with the only noise being the sound of air passing through the heatsink fins.

OCZ Tempest @ Stock OCZ Tempest @ Overclocked

At stock settings the OCZ Tempest performed admirably. Beating out the Intel cooler by a total of 5°C idle and a whopping 10°C load, it just goes to show the advantages that can be had by switching from your stock cooling solution.

Overclocking the CPU and increasing the voltage up to 1.50v made the advantages even clearer. At these settings the Intel cooler was unable to keep the heat produced by the Prescott under control and caused the test machine to shut down a few seconds after power on. The Tempest on the other hand had managed to keep the CPU temperature at borderline safe values.



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Conclusion

The OCZ Tempest is a great first attempt in the air cooling market by OCZ. Sporting amazing looks and a low profile that ensures greater compatibility with motherboards and cases, the Tempest fills a hole in the cooling market where size is traded for performance.

The manufacturing quality of the Tempest is exceptional, and nothing less than I would have expected from OCZ going by their previous product portfolio. The heatsink base proved to be perfectly flat, and the Nickel plated coating ensures a robust and reflective finish long into the future.

I must admit being slightly shocked by the price of the Tempest, coming in at £37 over at SpecialTech, which in my opinion is a lot of money for a cooler of this type. In addition, the installation seemed a little over-complicated for a cooler that could most likely have existed on the stock Intel & AMD mounting mechanisms. However feel free to voice your own personal opinions over in our forums.


Pro's
• Great looks.
• Flat, reflective base.
• Acceptable noise levels
• Compatible with all modern sockets.
• Big Improvement over stock cooling solutions.
• Great performance for its size.

Con's
• Tricky to install (requires motherboard removal).
• Expensive compared with most other coolers.


Editors Choice

Thanks to OCZ for providing this cooler for review.

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