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NZXT HAVIK 140 Heatsink Review

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The NZXT HAVIK 140 is the company’s first foray into the competitive air cooling market. It will be interesting to see if NZXT just cobbled something together or if they did some serious research into cooling modern CPUs.

NZXT was started in 2004 in Los Angeles, California,  with the original intent of being the number one designer and manufacturer of computer chassis, like the NZXT Phantom. Since then, they have expanded their lineup from being chassis specialists to supplying power supplies, fan controllers and fans, mice, notebook cooling and even premium computer cabling. Now they are looking to get into a highly competitive market; high-end air CPU cooling. They are going against established names such as Thermalright, Cooler Master, Noctua and Prolimatech that already have plenty of market presence, so they have better done their homework with their initial cooling solution.

Features and Specifications

(Courtesy of NZXT)

Features

  • Unique fan blades provide quiet 25 dB operation and highly effective airflow of 90.3 CFM
  • Six 6mm heatpipes with standard dual 140 mm fans for the most efficient conductivity.
  • Includes sturdy Intel/AMD mounting kits to accommodate a variety of motherboards and secure the heatsink during transportation.
  • Newly patented fins exceptionally slice passing air for increased ventilation and reduced noise.
  • 100% soldered copper base and aluminum fins with nickel plating to ensure resilience against deterioration, quality and long life.

Specifications

  • Materials – Aluminum / Copper nickel plated
  • Dimensions – 135(W) x 160(H) x 60(D) mm
  • Weight – 760 grams bare heatsink, 1035 grams with dual 140 mm fans
  • Mounting Pressure – 55-60 lbs
  • Fan Size – 140(W) x 140(H) x 25(D) mm, 2 fans included
  • Fan Bearing – Long Life (Oil leaking Prevention) plus shaft with Copper sleeve
  • Fan Speed – 1200± 10% RPM
  • Noise Level – 25 dB
  • Air Flow – 90.3 CFM
  • Connector – 3 Pin
  • Input Power – 3.6 Watts
  • Life – 30000 Hours

Looking at these features and specifications, it looks like NZXT was serious about putting forth a good product for their first cooling solution. The basic layout of the NZXT HAVIK 140 is much like other high end coolers such as the Thermalright Archon and Prolimatech Megahalems, with a rectangular shaped central fin body and using six heatpipes. Like the Archon, this heatsink comes with 140 mm sized fans, but two of them instead of just one like the Archon. This heatsink also spaces the heatpipes evenly across the full heatsink instead of of just making a couple of rows behind each other like the Venomous X or Megahalems.

This heatsink also has the same height as most heatsinks designed for 120 mm fans at 160 mm tall, which is very welcome as far as accommodating it in your case. They aren’t kidding about the fans having unique fan blades either. They are quite steeply pitched and they have “snake-like” bends to the blades. I haven’t seen any other fans designed quite like these and I don’t see them listed on their website for sale, so I am guessing that they had these specifically designed for this heatsink.

This heatsink is also a true “out of the box” solution, with all fans and mounting equipment for any modern Intel or AMD system. The bare heatsink had a measured mass of 734.5 grams and the fans came in at 150.5 grams each. The rubber straps used to hold the fans on the heatsink have a mass of 5.2 grams per set and the total mass of the heatsink and fan combination (including the fan mounts) comes in at 1031.4 grams.

Packaging

The heatsink ships in a nicely finished box measuring 8 1/2 X 7 7/8 X 5 15/16 inches (217 X 198 X 150 mm). Upon opening the box, you see that NZXT didn’t try to cheap out on the packaging, as the fans and heatsink are very well protected by form-fitting foam pieces that the components fit inside. On the front of the box, the marketing flack has been kept to a minimum, with the heatsink’s name printed on it along with a good picture of the heatsink with the fans installed and a short row of features posted in small boxes. The two sides of the boxes have pictures of the assembled heatsink taken from their respective sides along with some marketing spiel pointing out features on one side and the other has a paragraph telling you why their heatsink is so special. The back side of the box has more pictures, specifications and highlighted features they want to point out to potential customers. The overall color scheme on the packaging is well done in blacks, whites and grays and isn’t gaudy at all. Nice job on the whole, NZXT. I noticed a few misuses of words in their marketing; mostly common mistakes such as using “quite” when they mean “quiet”, but nothing that makes you scratch your head wondering what they were trying to say.

Front of box

Front of box

Back of box

Back of box

Right side

Right side

Top of box

Top of box

Cracked the box open

Cracked the box open

First Look and Installation

After removing the heatsink from the packaging, I saw a well designed and executed heatsink. The fit and finish of the heatsink and the parts included for mounting it are very good. The size of the actual heatsink itself (without fans) is very close to the same size of a Thermalright Ultra120 eXtreme (TRUE).

Heatsink securely packed

Heatsink securely packed

Box contents removed

Box contents removed

Heatsink and hardware

Heatsink and hardware

Mounting hardware

Mounting hardware

The instruction sheet included with this heatsink is basically a foldout poster sized piece of slick paper with pictures of the heatsink and hardware, along with a parts list breakdown on one side. The other side contain the instructions in nine different languages. The instructions are mainly depending on pictures, with a few comments per picture. I had no particular problem figuring out how to mount the heatsink.

Front of poster with parts list and breakdown

Front of poster with parts list and breakdown

Other side of poster with mounting instructions

Other side of poster with mounting instructions

The mounting method that NZXT decided to go with for Intel setups looks somewhat like the system used by Prolimatech with the Megahalems and Thermalright with the TRUE Rev. C, with a crossbar plate going over the heatsink base and screwing down to side rails. NZXT uses an all-in-one backplate though, that takes care of all modern Intel sockets and also AMD too, instead of having separate backplates. There are four riser screws that you install in the appropriate holes in the backplate for the socket you are mounting to with Intel, then run the riser screws through the motherboard. Then you slip on four plastic spacers on the riser crews and install the two side rails that the crossbar with screw down to. The crossbar is around 1/2 inch wide and has detents punched into it to center the heatsink. The heatsink base also has a machined slot on the top of it that the crossbar fits into, limiting side to side movement when the heatsink is mounted. The mounting system works well and is quite easy to install.

Mount very similar to TRUE or Megahalems mount

Mount very similar to TRUE or Megahalems mount

As for the heatsink itself, the fit and finish on it was flush and smooth. The base isn’t finished to a high gloss shine like the Venomous X, but had a good finish to it. The base is also bowed across the longitudinal axis, much like several other high end heatsink designs out there. I find that this does help with getting a good mount and makes sure that you get the best contact you can in the middle of the processor’s IHS, where the most heat will be concentrated. The heatsink itself is much the same size and shape as a Thermalright TRUE Rev. C. I took a few pictures of them side by side to highlight the similarities and differences.

Nice looking base

Nice looking base

Flat across this way

Flat across this way

Bowed this way on base

Bowed this way on base

Havik 140 (left) and TRUE (right)

Havik 140 (left) and TRUE (right)

TRUE (left) and Havik 140 (right)

TRUE (left) and Havik 140 (right)

TRUE (left) and Havik 140 (right)

TRUE (left) and Havik 140 (right)

TRUE (left) and Havik 140 (right)

TRUE (left) and Havik 140 (right)

Decent clearance on the ram side of heatsink

Decent clearance on the ram side of heatsink

Good clearance on exhaust side also

Good clearance on exhaust side also

The fans included with this heatsink aren’t the usual square design, but rather are round, with mounting holes protruding on both sides every 90 degrees. The mounting hole spacing on the fans is the same as on regular design 120 mm fans, which opens this heatsink up for mounting most open corner 120 mm fans on it too, if you want to look for more performance. The mounting system for the fans is a bit unconventional. Instead of using wire clips or brackets, NZXT uses some rubber pieces that connect between the two fan mount holes on each side and then you stretch the rubber band across the sides of the heatsink to some catches designed into the fins. It holds the stock fans securely and can even hold my Sanyo Denki compound fan securely, but I still don’t like this method of mounting fans to the heatsink. First, I found it to be kind of difficult to mount the fans inside the case because of clearance issues on the sides of the heatsink and I am using a large, full tower case. For someone using a mid tower or smaller case, especially if it has a top mounted PSU, might find it extremely difficult to hook the rubber strips on the side nearest the PSU without removing the PSU.

The main reason I don’t like it is that rubber will harden and crack as it gets older. So a few years down the road, you go to clean the dust bunnies off the heatsink and go to remove the fans and the rubber breaks. Then you are in a pickle because the heatsink doesn’t ship with spare rubber mounts and you will have to either try ordering some new rubber mounts from NZXT (and costing you some more money) or you will have to try to jury rig the fans with zip ties to the heatsink. I would much rather see a company use wire mounts like Thermalright and Prolimatech or use brackets like Cooler Master does with the Hyper 212 Plus. I was hoping to find some wire fan clips that will work with this heatsink, but I had no luck. I tried the Thermalright wire clips for a TRUE and they won’t work. I then ordered some Prolimatech wire clips for a Megahalems, but they are just a little too long. I could modify them though by shortening the depth of the clips by bending them and then maybe putting some of the rubber strips that Thermalright ships as vibration strips with their heatsinks on the heatsink body itself.

Top fan secure in foam caddy

Top fan secure in foam caddy

Second fan in same caddy packed below first fan

Second fan in same caddy packed below first fan

Fan with mounting rubbers attached

Fan with mounting rubbers attached

Closeup of how the rubbers attach to fan

Closeup of how the rubbers attach to fan

No real problems were encountered by me when using the various different fans with the NZXT fan mounting system. That is, besides the narrow clearances on the sides of the heatsink when hooking the rubbers on the hooks built into the sides of the heatsink itself. Wire clips would be much preferred.

Installed with Havik 140 fans

Installed with Havik 140 fans

Installed with 120 x 25 mm fans mounted

Installed with 120 x 25 mm fans mounted

Installed with 120 x 38 mm fans mounted

Installed with 120 x 38 mm fans mounted

Installed with "The Beast" mounted on it

Installed with "The Beast" mounted on it

 

Test Setup

Fan(s) Size (mm) RPM CFM dBA H2O Static  

Pressure

(in H2O)

Wattage Mass (g)
2x Havik CPU Fans 140 X 25 1200 90.3 25 N/A 3.6 150.5
2x Scythe Gentle Typhoon  

D1225C12B5AP-15

120 X 25 1850 58 26 0.081 1.0 195.5
2x Scythe S-Flex SFF21G 120 X 25 1900 75 35 N/A 2.88 182
2x Sanyo Denki San Ace  

109R1212H1011

120 X 38 2600 102.4 39 0.26 6.24 243
2x DeltaFFB1212VHE 120 X 38 3200 151.85 53 .445 12 403
1x Sanyo Denki San Ace  

9CR1212P0G03

120 X 76 6200/2700 

(compound)

300 70 1.93 86.4 753

I decided to phase in using the AP-15 Gentle Typhoon fans in place of the S-Flex SFF21F fans I have been testing with. The Gentle Typhoon fans have shown to be excellent performers both on heatsinks and on radiators and their sound is both quiet and unique in that it is a different pitch than most other fans around, which is very non-intrusive.

The testbed system is configured as follows:

  • Case – In Win Dragon Rider. The 220 mm side door fan has been shifted downward to give clearance for tall heatsinks such as this one. No other alterations have been made to this case.
  • Motherboard – Asus P6T
  • Processor – Intel Core i7 930, overclocked to 4000 MHz @ 1.304 v.
  • RAM – Corsair XMS3 DDR3 1600
  • Video Card – eVGA 7900GTX
  • Power Supply – HEC Cougar series S700
  • Hard Drive – Western Digital Caviar 250 GB SATA hard drive
  • Optical Drive – Lite On DVD-RW drive
  • OS – Windows Vista Ultimate 64 Service Pack 2
  • Arctic Cooling MX2 thermal paste was used for testing as I have found it to give good consistent results with no appreciable break in and it applies and cleans up easily.
  • All testing was done with the side door fastened in place on the case except for the Sanyo Denki 9CR1212P0G03 compound fan. I left the side door off on that one to keep from trapping air, since that Beast moves so much.

Test Methodology and Results

The testing methodology used is the same as I used with my previous reviews:

All energy saving features of the motherboard and processor were turned off to keep it from down clocking the processor speed and vcore. All fan control functions were turned off in bios to keep the fans at maximum speed. For processor temperature monitoring purposes, I am using Real Temp 3.46, with logging enabled at 2 second intervals. For room temperature monitoring, I am using a Fluke Model 52-2 and using a “K” type thermocouple that is inserted into the case front where the front intake fan is mounted. The Fluke records the maximum, minimum and average temps during the run at 1 second intervals.

Temperatures in my computer room were maintained as close as possible to around an 18 °C average during the run, as measured at the lower front intake fan by the Fluke. At the end of the test run, I logged the maximum, minimum and average temperature. The maximum and minimum temps are given as recorded by Real Temp, but the average temperatures have been adjusted to a constant 18 °C as derived from the Fluke average temps.

For loading the CPU, I used Prime95 version 25.8 using in-place large FFT’s and ran it for 30 minutes to stabilize temps. After 30 minutes, I would exit Prime95 and let the CPU idle for at least 10 minutes. The highest recorded temperature from the hottest core for each run was then recorded off of the Real Temp log, the lowest temperature on any core was recorded and the average temperature on the hottest core was calculated during the load portion of each run.

Each fan configuration was tested with three remounts of the heatsink, and the lowest average temperature run recorded, to minimize any problems between mount to mount installations. When testing in the extreme performance realm with the SanAce 9CR1212P0G03, it was installed in a push configuration, just like my tests with it on the other premium heatsinks I’ve tested.

The following chart gives the results I obtained with the fans tested above:

As you can see, this heatsink performed very well with the included fans. Performance picked up slightly with the Gentle Typhoons and there was continued scaling of cooling ability until it got to the point of the Delta fans. The big Sanyo Denki Beast saw hardly any improvement in cooling, which surprised me to say the least. But, that is on the very extreme edge of air cooling performance, and for 99.9% of people out there this is no problem. To see how this heatsink stacks up in its stock configuration against other recently reviewed heatsinks, we have the following chart.

The performance of this heatsink compares very well to the other heatsinks I have tested recently. It performs almost 4 1/2 °C better than the next best heatsink to it that I have tested their stock configurations. If increased noise doesn’t bother you, throw a pair of Sanyo Denki H1011 fans on it and gain another 5 °C better average temps.

Conclusion

Since this is a brand new product, we can’t go looking around the net to find retail pricing on it, but the MSRP is $74.99. At first glance that seems to be a high price, but you do get a complete cooling solution, with nothing else needed. At this price point, it is in the same general pricing range as the Noctua NH-D14 and Thermalright Silver Arrow, which are also complete cooling solutions and direct competitors of the Havik 140. What you get for your money is a very well-built heatsink that has very good “out of the box” performance and has a quality mounting package.

Where I find it somewhat lacking is in the attach mechanism that NZXT chose to use with the fans. While it does hold even very heavy fans such as the compound Sanyo Denki securely, it is still a bit of a pain to mount the fans on the heatsink with the motherboard inside the case, even though it got a bit easier with practice. You can add to that my concerns about the long term durability of the rubber straps to not break as the rubber ages and hardens. If NZXT would come up with some wire clips that engage the hook strips on the side of the heatsink like Prolimatech did with the Megahalems they would have a sure-fire home run here.

But, fan mounting concerns aside, NZXT has brought a very good product to the market and considering it is their first cooling product, a heck of a good job. As such, this heatsink earns itself an Overclockers Approved rating.

In closing, I would like to thank NZXT for giving me the opportunity to review this product before its official release. You guys have done a good job on your first effort in the highly competitive cooling market. If you address my few concerns on your fan mounting attach mechanism, I think you will have a good chance of breaking into the high performance air cooling market and be talked about side of such names as Thermalright, Prolimatech, Noctua and Zalman.

– Jim Gautreaux (muddocktor)

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Discussion
  1. Sorry for the late responses everyone. I went out to the rig yesterday and sat on my butt at the heliport most of the day; didn't get much time to check anything yesterday evening.

    Robert17
    Your comment about the rubber used to mount the fans is interesting. No doubt metal clips would be advantagous. But some rubber is designed for high heat usage. Did NZXT mention which rubber "alloy" was used?


    No, NZXT didn't specify what kind of rubber compound the straps are made of. But it felt a bit different from the rubber used with the fan pegs on the Corsair A70 and Transformer 3. It felt closer to a tire rubber compound than silicone rubber. I'm not worried so much about the rubber holding up to the heat, but rather how well it will age. And it still is a PITA to stretch the rubber over the hooks in a tight area. I found that even in that roomy case I test in, that I had to hook the side closest to the vid card first to get the rubber to engage the hooks well. And in a case with a top mounted psu crowding into the cpu area, I imagine it will be a real PITA to hook correctly.

    Since I bought the Megahalems clips, I plan to experiment with them and see how much modding they will need to work with the Havik.

    snowbrdd
    I'm interested in the fan. If it can beat gentle typhoons than all nzxt has to do is incorporate a normal system into it and mass market.


    The fans didn't sound to me any quieter than the GT AP-15 fans I also tested with, even though NZXT rates them at a little lower dBA rating. And while they might move more cfm in free air, I don't think they have quite the static pressure rating as the GT fans. But this is just conjecture, since I'm not set up to test for either of these numbers. I guess I need to eventually buy me some of the Thermalright fans that they include with the Silver Arrow heatsink. That's what the NZXT fans remind me most of in general shape.

    SupaMonkey
    Can you review the Scythe Susanoo next please?


    If Scythe will send me one, I would be glad to test it. But buying heatsinks for testing is an expensive proposition and I already spend too much doing so. Right now I have $90+ worth of heatsinks waiting for me to test I bought a few weeks ago.

    TheQuadFather
    i wonder if they are lying about those fan ratings? pretty obvious answer, looks like a good sink though, reminds me of some of the top dogs.


    My gut feeling is they are inflating the cfm and deflating the noise rating a little on both. And if you notice, they don't give any static pressure numbers at all. But they aren't bad fans at all.

    CompuTamer
    Cooler looks pretty good for a first try, but i'm interested in the fans. 90CFM each, at 24db and 1200 RPM? That's pretty dang good...


    See my above comment.;)

    If I could get it back, I would send 1 of these to Vapor (or Martin maybe?) who has a setup to test fans. But I don't want to lose the fan since it is part of this kit.

    And a FYI, since I still own my old TRUE Rev. C that I used in my original 6 heatsink shootout review, I plan to re-run tests on it with my present fan testing suite on my present test platform. That will give a known high performance heatsink to compare my present results to. The TRUE Rev. C came out a very close second in my original review to the NH-D14 with normal fans and absolutely smoked it with that Denki compound fan on it.
    Your comment about the rubber used to mount the fans is interesting. No doubt metal clips would be advantagous. But some rubber is designed for high heat usage. Did NZXT mention which rubber "alloy" was used?
    His D14, TRUE, TRUE Cu, VX, Megahalems, H50, H70, A70, and True Spirit testing was done with a different test system (i7 980x). So, they cannot be added to his chart for direct comparison. His HR-02 results could have been added, but that heatsink is meant for silence and not best performance.

    I'm not sure if he even still has all of his heatsinks from previous reviews. If he does, it wouldn't be a bad idea to retest them.

    From the design of the cooler, I would expect it to perform about the same as a VX, Megahalems, TRUE, etc.