Enermax ETS-T40 CPU Cooler
To provide continuity the test set up is as always
Gigabyte UD3R V2
Intel i7 950 @ 4GHz 1.25v
Mushkin Radioactive 2000MHz
Corsair Carbide 500R
For the first test we set our i7-950 overclocked to 200x20 @ 1.25v for a clock speed of 4.0GHz. We allow the system to idle for 10 minutes and then run Prime95 'maximum heat maximum stress' setting for a further 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes we note the temperatures of all cores and the ambient temperature of the room. An average of all cores is taken, then the ambient temperature is removed from this figure and this gives us the delta temperature. Delta is the temperature difference above ambient which is a truer reflection of the heat-sink performance rather than mere maximum figures. Testing in an Igloo or the Sahara would give vastly different maximum temperatures, yet the Delta could be the same.
The second test follows all steps from above but with a 200x21 @ 1.35v for 4.2GHz overclock, the extra voltage in this test allows us to see if the heat-sink can cope when extreme loads and overclocks are applied. Regretfully although at idle the cooler was able to stay at a reasonable delta T of 20.5 degrees, after only 5 minutes of Prime load testing the indicated temperatures exceeded the 90 degrees limit above which a cooler is considered to fail the test.
When categorising the performance of a cooler I tend to refer to what I call the "Holy Trinity" Namely Looks, Performance and Noise. The perfect cooler has yet to be made so until such time as the what I will call "The Arrival" we are left with assessing coolers according to the Holy Trinity.
From an aesthetics point of view the ETS-T40 is elegant in the classical sense. You could say "well isn't it just another shiny heat-sink", and to some extent you'd be right, but it's the details that lift this cooler just above the average. The quality of the Nickel plating is high and the overall feeling is one of quality. The ETS-T40 feels sturdily made, the finish is blemish free, the heat-sink fins are straight with nice machine cut edges, all inter-fin spaces are equal, the fins don't shift around when you press on them, I could go on, but I think you get the idea here. And of course, as mentioned at the very start of the review the appearance of the cooler is further lifted by the inclusion of the Apollish fan. The unit included is the Blue bladed blue LED fan which having 12 LEDs gives a pleasant blue glow to the fan and the inside of your case.
From a performance perspective the cooler doesn't perform as well as many of the of the others on the list, and lets be honest with ourselves, with a cooler of this size (70mm deep remember) we weren't expecting it to have graph topping levels of cooling. It holds it's own quite nicely at 4.0 GHz which after all is by modern standards is one of the toastiest chips around, so if it can keep that cool at at 4.0GHz odds are it will handle a higher clock on some of the more modern and cooler running units. The accessory pack does include a set of clips to mount an additional Fan to the opposite side of the cooler, and it's probably that this would reduce the temps somewhat although I doubt to the point where it would pass the 4.2 GHz test.
Noise wise the cooler is quiet, with a manufacturers rating of between 16 and 26 dBA. The ETS-T40 was tested at 12v with the fan at it's full speed of 1800rpm the fan was outputting it's maximum 26dBA and I have to say that although it was audible it was indeed very quiet. I mentioned earlier in the review that Enermax factory mount the fan for you. So what I hear you say, well part of the factory mounting is the inclusion of rubber dampers between the cooler body and the fan, the idea of these being to reduce the transmission of vibrations from the fan through to the body of the cooler. The effect of this is a total absence of any of the "chime" that can sometimes be heard when the speed of the fan installed matched the resonant frequency of the Aluminium fins on the cooler.
So we've talked about the Holy Trinity, however if want to get the full flavour of a cooler we must also include in the equation ease of installation. This is where this cooler really picks up points. So often a wonderful cooler is spoiled by having a fitting mechanism that makes you want to hurl it out of the window. The BeQuiet Dark rock Pro for example is practically a 2 man affair if you want to do it without taking the motherboard out, and even then it requires great dexterity and the liberal use of"naughty" words. No such issues here I'm pleased to say. I hesitate to say so but this cooler is a joy to fit. Why a joy? well if every time you come to test a cooler you feel a sense of deep seated fear and foreboding when you read the instructions it really is quite a wonderful moment come across one where there's no pain and anguish involved. Add into this the fact that you aren't going to have to worry about it interfering with high profile RAM and I think you get a bit of an idea of where I'm coming from.
Pricing information for the TA model is looking at being £34.99 when it finally floods the retailers which ofr its performance is very well priced but does not come in as our cheapest good performing cooler. There are better performers out there of course, but few that cost as little as this.
So what have we got then...Well it's a nice looking cooler from the "Classical" school of cooler design. No plastic cowlings or matte black finish, just good old fashioned Nickel plated quality. It's quiet and performs OK, able to hold a mid level overclock. It's a joy to fit and won't give you any RAM compatibility issues. So although not a top performer in the numerical sense I feel it's a quality product and for that reason I'm bestowing a Silver award.