Alpenfohn K2 Review
It's holy trinity time chaps. Performance, looks and noise is what matters when we assess a cooler (ease of fitting is also a factor, but that messes up the "trinity thing").
Looking at performance first it's easy to see that at both 4.0 and 4.2GHz the K2 is sitting on the shirt tails of the big boys. What surprised me though was that it wasn't a lot closer to them. After all it has the right ingredients with 8x6mm heat pipes, Nickel plated copper contact plate and twin Aluminium fin stacks. Being roughly the same dimensions and set up as both the D14 and the Silver arrow, the K2 should really be posting temps very much on a par with them. It is however consistently 4-5 degrees warmer. Even more surprisingly it's also bettered by the NZXT Havik 140 at 4.2GHz. At 4.4 GHz the K2 falls by the way side, no longer able to keep up with the big boys.
Things are slightly improved when we appraise the looks of the K2. The split frame fans with soft rubber coating are some of the nicest looking fans i've seen. Stunning though the performance of the D14 is I don't think anyone out there can honestly say they find the "prosthetic arm" pinky beige they use for their cowlings anything remotely close to attractive. Perhaps Noctua thought that combining it with "Poo brown" would make it look better? Who knows, but I don't think so. Unfortunately the K2 is still up against the Silver Arrow, and although it perhaps pips it to the post in the looks steaks, there's not a lot in it.
Where the K2 really does excel is in the noise department. for such a large cooler it is remarkably quiet. This is perhaps in no small part down to the low rpm of the fans (this might also account for the lower performance to some degree). Not silent, but then nothing that moves truly is, I was actually quite amazed at how little noise the fans made even at the 12volts we test at.
Fitting the K2 is a simple affair, once you've managed to read the microfilm instructions. The fans clip on easily and the whole affair is accomplished in 10 mins or so with no bleeding or swearing which is always good.
At £55 the K2 plonks itself straight into enemy territory. Sure it has the looks, and is quiet but in my eyes that's not enough to make up for the slightly below par performance when compared to it's immediate competition. The K2 isn't a bad cooler, it's just that there are better options available. If you want great looks and quiet operation it's a valid option. If you want outright performance then look elsewhere.