Vantec P3D 5030 Cooler Review

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Vantec was kind enough to send their latest P3 Cooler, the P3D 5030, to us for an evaluation of its cooling effectiveness. I have to say at the outset that this is one helluva P3 cooler – the only one I have seen to date that has the potential to beat the Global VEK 12 in cooling ability!

Note I say potential: The Vantec comes with 2 4000 rpm 50 mm fans made by YS Tech, the same company that makes the 26 cfm 60x25mm fans Global Win uses on many of their high-performance heatsinks. More on this as the testing unfolds.

Now I test heatsinks in a very simple but fiendishly clever way: I use a 40 watt peltier to simulate a CPU which generates 40 watts of heat. I have a little test rig which places a thermal probe on the peltier’s cold side, giving me its temperature. I measure the ambient temperature, then subtract the cold side temperature from the ambient to give me a reading of how much heat is being dissipated by the heatsink. Notice: No system variables, no CPU variables, no case variables – just the heatsink and heat. I use 2 power supplies – one just for the peltier and one for the fans.

I ran these tests over 2 days, switching back and forth among the heatsinks during each testing period to achieve stable results. The results you will see are averages over this period. The peltier can yield a temperature differential of about 70-75 degrees, so any sink which can yield that much of a difference is really pumping a lot of heat. Let’s call this Delta T.

As a basis of comparison, I tested the Vantec against the Alpha P125 and the Global Win VEK 12. I did not expect the Vantec to come close to the Alpha (it didn’t) but I did want to see how close it could come to one of the best heatsinks I have tested, the VEK 12. And herein lies a tale – I BEAT the VEK 12, although admittedly with some hacking that anyone can do.

On To The Tests
OK – the first test compares the Delta Ts of the Vantec to the Alpha and VEK 12 (higher is better):

Alpha P125: 72.7 F
Global V12: 64.4F
Vantec P3: 61.8 F

Not bad for the Vantec P3 – only 2.6 F warmer than the VEK 12 – I was surprised at how close this is considering the VEK 12 uses 26 cfm fans. Now the Vantec is taller than the VEK 12 and obviously the increased surface area has a lot to do with its cooling efficiency – kudos to the Vantec engineers for a solid design. But can I get closer to the VEK12; can I BEAT the VEK 12? A hacker’s challenge if I ever saw one!

Now the Vantec is a damn fine looking heatsink – it has a shroud that is nicely molded and has some curves to it – nice in comparison to some of the blocky designs you see. I pop the cover off (very easy to do) and look at the way the fans are mounted to the cover; just slipped over some plastic posts. After a fair amount of ju-jitsu to the posts, I get the original fans off and mount 2 50 mm 10,000 rpm fans onto the shroud (The Vantec guys are getting uneasy).

UPDATE 8/18/99: Vantec informed me that they have replaced the fans I tested with 5200 rpm fans pushing 12.5 cfm air flow – performance obviously better.

Back to the test rig and, son of a gun, the VEK 12 is 64.4 F and the Vantec is 64.0 F! Now this is getting interesting. More Cooling! – How? The Vantec shroud has a molded-in finger guard as part of the shroud, a plastic grate. Get the snips, snip snip and off comes the grate (The Vantec guys are now gasping for breath).

Now I run the test and BAM! the Vantec equals the VEK 12 – 64.4 F for each. Now that’s something! But wait – we can do better!

As I looked at it, I noticed that the top of the heatsink is pretty wide – could we fit some YS Tech 26 cfm fans on there? Off comes the cover and with some tape (obviously screws are better but did not have the right size handy) I mount 2 YS Tech 26 cfm fans on the Vantec – perfect fit! Now I run the ultimate test:

Vantec P3: 66.2 F
VEK 12: 64.4 F

SCORE: Vantec Vanquishes VEK!!

Now this tells us something really significant – this Vantec is a better heatsink than the VEK 12, all things being equal. Now get this – I look at the bottom of the heatsink and find holes which match up to the mounting pattern of the Celeron Slot 1 CPUs. With a little smithing, the Vantec could probably be adapted to the slot 1 Celerons (if you are not inclined to go Alpha and like to tinker a lot) and the Vantec can give you a better cooling solution for a slot 1 Celeron than the VEK 12!!

CONCLUSION

Vantec has designed one fine heatsink – not an Alpha killer by any means, but the next best thing. If you are reluctant to hang one pound of heatsink on your P3, or just want a really fine P3 heatsink, the Vantec P3D 5030 is tops in my book. I will use the Vantec in systems I build for “normal” people, although I may trash the Vantec fans and substitute the 10,000 rpm fans instead.

Bravo Vantec – a job well done!

Other Vantec P3D 5030 Reviews

BX Boards Review
Hard OCP Review
Firing Squad Review
Overclockers Workbench: Vantec – VEK 12 Comparison

Vantec Web Site


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