Heatsink Installed

Deepcool Lucifer K2 Review

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Deepcool has been building computer cooling hardware for years. They started with fans. Then they made cases and heatsinks. We are reviewing a new entry, produced under Deepcool’s sub-brand, Gamer Storm. Today: the Lucifer K2. That’s four brand names for this heatsink. That last is a mountain in the Karkorams, second highest in the world. Will it cool as well as its lofty name? Let’s find out.

Lucifer K2 overview

The picture above is from Deepcool, who also provided the heatsink. As will become apparent, the cooler is too asymmetrical to stand by itself.

Introduction

Deepcool is an interesting company founded in 1996. Its website has an OEM subsite that has a number of “cool” products in it. Clearly, they make their own stuff.

Deepcool says this about their new heatsink:

Lucifer K2 is a new generation of Lucifer V2. It has preserved some key features from Lucifer V2 of great heat dissipation performance: fanless design, 6 high-performance heatpipes. However, Lucifer K2 has a slightly different in some detail aspects compared with Lucifer V2, It features polished pure copper base and bundled silent 20 mm slim fan. Also, breakthrough has been created for its special designed perfect compatibility of memory installation.

So we know that this cooler was created from an existing fanless design. It is also set up to be compatible with tall RAM heatsinks.

Features and Specifications

Features (from, the product page):

  • More than 1,000,000 mm² devour heatsink, even the fanless equipment is capable of cooling CPU up to 130 W with the help of good airflow channel inside the case.
  • Deflected heatpipe design offers a perfect compatibility of memory installation, all memory slots can be used freely.
  • 6 copper heatpipes are firmly stacked into the aluminum fins to conduct the heat quickly.
  • The copper base with a convex shape to touch CPU closely, the gapless touch accelerates the heat transfer from CPU to the cooler efficiently.
  • One 120x120x20 mm slim PWM fan built for a better silent level with good cooling performance.

Specifications of the Lucifer K2:

Overall Dimension 146.5×131.5×163 mm
Heatsink Dimension 140x110x163 mm
Fan Dimension 120x120x20 mm
Net Weight 1047 g
Rated Voltage 12 V DC
Operating Voltage 10.8~13.2 V DC
Starting Voltage 7VDC
Rated Current 0.21±10% A (MAX)
Power Input 2.52 W
FAN Speed 600±150-1800±10% RPM
MAX Air Flow 61.93 CFM
Noise 18.2~32.4 dB(A)
Bearing Type Hydro Bearing

K2 Packaging and Overall View

The Deepcool Gamer Storm Lucifer K2 comes in a plain cardboard box, with the heatsink features listed on the side. On the back we have the specifications. It is all so understated, and plainly meant to be recycled. See the faintly crushed corners? The box kept the cooler safe.

Box. Front View

Box. Front View

Box. Rear View

Box. Rear View

Inside the main box is a smaller box for small parts – they are not really accessories, as you will see. Under the small parts box is the heatsink, held in the center of the main box with soft closed-cell dense foam, and inside that is the K2. Let us look at the top view. Yes, the top fin is stamped aluminum. Yes, it is as thin as it looks.

Open Box

Open Box

Top View

Top View

Here you can see the heatsink in a more traditional view. It is off-center enough that something must hold it up, so here is your picture of the small parts box. In the side view you see why the box is there: the heatsink is quite asymmetric. That fan is 20 mm thick, BTW. It looks a little askew because it came that way in the box.

K2 Front View

K2 Front View

K2 Front View

K2 Side View

K2 Closeup

We will start with a side view of the K2. Notice how thin the fins are, and will they carry enough heat? Otherwise, there are the six 6 mm heatpipes. Look at those fan clips; I hope they will be large enough to grasp with fingers. A bottom view of the K2 shows that it comes with a sticker protecting the base. The face of the fan’s plug shows that it is a 4-pin PWM plug.

K2 Side + Fan

K2 Side + Fan

K2 Bottom View

K2 Bottom View

Here is a picture with contrast enhanced to show the small parts bags. The bags were labeled, folded and stapled. Out of their bags – let’s see: going clockwise, we have two baseplate shoes; four thumbscrews; four threaded spacers, two flipped up to show their stuck-on black washers; a tension bar with two captive tension screws; two backplate screws with cammed through-bolts; two load-bearing side brackets; the backplate; and inside it, two unencumbered through-bolts. You can see two sets of threads on the through-bolts: the near ones for the spacers, and the far ones on the tips for the thumbscrews.

K2 with Small Parts

K2 with Small Part Bags

K2's Small Parts

K2’s Small Parts

The first picture here shows soft padding at the corners of the fans that will keep the fans from rattling against the fin stack. Finally, a closeup of the fins clinging to the heatpipes. These look to be press-fit, not soldered. How well they transfer heat remains to be seen.

Fan Corner Pad

Fan Corner Pad

Heatpipes Press-Fit to Fins

Heatpipes Press-Fit to Fins

Your instructions — pictures with captions, in multiple languages.

14

Mounting the Lucifer K2

You begin mounting the K2 by thrusting the through-bolts through the backplate. Cams on the bolts keep them from turning. Then you slide on the shoes until they click into place. When you are done you will have a backplate assembly. The shoes and the through-bolts work, but they are fussy. The assembly pokes the through-bolts through the motherboard, where the spacers screw onto the lower threads of the through-bolts. This is clever: you can screw two of them down, then let go of the backplate – the assembly has been fastened in place. Finish off by screwing on the other two spacers. You would probably like the threaded spacers, which can hold the backplate in place while you screw in the other spacers, but that is the last thing you will like.

Baseplate Assembly

Baseplate Assembly

2 Spacers Installed

Two Spacers Installed

Now you put the side brackets down on the top side of the motherboard – pay attention to the instructions, so you get the proper orientation: the part with the thread goes down. The instructions do not say that; you have to look at the pictures. You will find yourself communing with the instructions to get it right. You wouldn’t want to put those plates in upside down. As for the threaded sockets, there is no guide cone for the tensioning screws; there is nothing to capture the ends of the screws when you are fishing for the screw-hole. Next, fasten the thumbscrews. This picture illustrated two, to show how it’s done.

Next, it is time to put the tension bar on the heatsink, mount the heatsink and screw it down. Here is where it all goes to heck. First of all, the double-sided tape doesn’t stick very well, so you have a loose bar. Then, the fact that the captive screws are in slots means that it is hard to hold the bar down and get the screws in the holes. You need to get three hands in there, and there isn’t room. It gets worse. Remember I talked about fishing for a screw-hole? The captive tensioning screws are held captive in slots, apparently to make them compatible with both Intel and AMD. That means you are trying to find the screw-holes from the top, blind, while they slide back and forth with no pit to capture the screw tips; the screw tips themselves have no pilot shafts, so no help there. The process was frustrating and difficult. It’s a good thing this is a practice mount. In fact, I recommend several practice mounts. For one thing, the tension bar abuts the motherboard’s VRM heatsink. This is an example of the motherboard manufacturer and the heatsink manufacturer both going to the limits of Intel’s specs, and it ain’t pretty. The collision makes it difficult to mount the tensioning bar. Doable but difficult. That is what a mounted K2 looks like.

Side Brackets Installed

Side Brackets Installed

Heatsink Installed

Heatsink Installed

Here is another picture of the K2 on the practice motherboard. This motherboard has four RAM sticks. There is space between Row 4 and the fan. So the heatsink – with a 20 mm fan – clears a motherboard set up with RAM in all the slots.

A word about putting the fan on the heatsink. The clips seem to delight in leaping off the fan. You get one clip on, but it’s not centered. Normally, that means lifting the clip and moving the fan, but here it means lifting both sides of a single clip separately to disentangle the clip from the heatsink. Typically, you would put the fan in place, then lift your case. With this system, because you again need three hands to place a fan, you first lift the case, then install the fan. That way, gravity is your friend – it provides the third hand. Now you have the top clip on the fan, but you’re not done, the other clip needs to go on. Working between my bench top and the heatsink, sometimes with pliers, I got the second clip on. Thinking about it all in retrospect, you should install the heatsink on your motherboard and put the fan on it; only then install the motherboard in your case.

Before you mount the K2, peel off the protective label and look at the bottom of the heatsink — the contact surface. This being raw copper, we have grooves instead of a polished mirror surface.

K2 On Mothjerboard

K2 On Motherboard

Contact Surface

Contact Surface

This is what the included TIM looks like when you extrude it onto the HIS. It came out a nice rounded micro-pea; but it slumped to what you see here. This was the best mount, BTW. A trial mount with a larger amount of TIM resulted in higher temps.

Because of the width of the fin stack, the trial included some 140 x 25 mm fans. Here you can see two mounted. The pull fan at the back of the heatsink just clears the back wall of the case. If you like to remove the rear grills on your cases, know that this heatsink will fit. You should remove the grill to use two standard fans, though.

TIM

TIM

Overhead of K2 with Two 140x26 mm Fans

Overhead of K2 with Two 140 x 26 mm Fans

If you use standard thickness fans, you will have to forego using the fourth RAM slot. The tension screw will prevent your 140 mm fan from settling too low, though. This will put a 140 mm fan a little bit above the nominal top of this heatsink. Again, look at those fan clips.

RAM Clearance with Standard Thickness Fan

RAM Clearance with Standard Thickness Fan

Side View of 2 140 x 26 mm Fans

Side View of 2 140 x 26 mm Fans

Testing Setup

CPU Intel i7 4790K @ 4.5 GHz
Vcore Set to 1.23 V, read at up to 1.248 V
Vrin Set to 1.8 V, read at down to 1.704 V
GPU Intel HD Graphics 4600, integrated into the i7 4790k
Motherboard Gigabyte Z97X Gaming-7
RAM Crucial Ballistix Sport Ultra Low Profile; 4 x 2 GB
SSD Samsung 840 EVO 500 GB + 1 TB
PSU Seasonic SS-460FL 460 W Fanless
Heat Stress Software Linpack with AVX2 – LinX 0.6.5 user interface
Operating System Windows 10, 64-bit
Core Temp Log Real Temp
Ambient Temp Log Digital TEMPer USB Thermometer, with logging software
Package Watt Log Intel Power Gadget 3.0
Sound Pressure Meter Tenma 72-942
Fan Airflow Meter Extech AN100 Anemometer

Deepcool Provided the Lucifer K2. Comparators included a Noctua NH-D14 SE2011, which was purchased retail at the end of 2013 and a Prolimatech Megahalems, which was purchased retail at the end of 2009. Prolimatech did send the hardware needed to convert it from a Rev. B to a Rev. C. Each heatsink was mounted on the night before testing. This gave the TIM most of a day to do any migrating it was going to do.

Linpack runs in surges. When the temperature is graphed, you see ragged plateaus. In looking for cooling solutions, you want to know how well a heatsink cools those plateaus. So the temps under 70 °C (the valleys) are ignored in analyzing to core temps.

Each test run was 30 minutes in duration. The last 20 minutes of each run was measured, and the core temperature logs were analyzed in Open Office spreadsheets. An Intel chip reports its temps in one degree increments, so for best accuracy these reports should be averaged in aggregate. Here the core temps were measured once a second, resulting in 1200-line spreadsheets. Three test runs were averaged.

The digital thermometer measuring air temp reported its measurements in increments of 0.1 °C. The ambient temperature was measured every five seconds, resulting in 240-line spreadsheets. The mean ambient temp was subtracted from the mean core temps, resulting in a net temp for each run. The net temps were then averaged.

The Wattage did not appear to be predictable, but it normally ranged plus or minus 2%. The main value it has is a check on the system, to make sure the CPU is heating up properly. The CPU package normally ran just under 140 Watts during Linpack surges, so it represented a cooling challenge for a heatsink. Heating less than 130 Watts was ignored, because that was when the CPU was resting between Linpack surges.

The Sound Pressure level was measured 1 meter from the heatsink, with the motherboard set vertically, the way it would in your case. The ambient noise for this testing was 31 dBA. So the net SPL is the sound pressure level measured at 1 meter, less 31 dBA.

To measure the fan’s output, the fan was placed in a box that allows the airflow to mix. The outflow was then measured in CFM by the anemometer, which averaged 10 readings.

Because the heatsink was fairly wide, I tried using 140 mm fans with it to get a quieter sound. You would probably consider the Thermalright TY-140, so I tested the heatsink with one and two TY-140’s. They are oval fans, and use the same screw-hole placement that 120 mm fans use.

After the NH-C14S review, the heatsink sat for weeks. This turned out to be a mistake, for the bottom of the heatsink, the contact surface, was convex. It produced great cooling – too great. Letting the heatsink sit so long dented the HIS or something, because heatsinks that previously cooled the CPU no longer did so. Now the old CPU throttled from max temps. So what you see here is a new CPU. Advances in the year since the i7 4790K was introduced means that we had to run the CPU slightly faster to get it hot enough to really test these heatsinks. These results, then, cannot be compared with earlier results.

Testing Results

The K2’s fan strongly resembles Deepcool’s GS120. It does have specs, as noted above. Deepcool promises about 62 CFM. They deliver 76 CFM, as measured by the anemometer here. Upwind you hear only air sounds, but downwind you hear definite clicking at 60% duty – about 1200 RPM – and up.

The cooling results:

K2_results

The ambients ran at 22 to 23 °C, so a net temperature of 67.9 °C means the core averaged 90 °C on its plateaus. Since Linpack spikes, the highest core temp on that run was 97 °C – one degree higher and Real Temp would have logged it. That means the runs with a single fan were curtailed from three to one. Running with two fans did not produce much of a difference, so that put an end to the quiet fan experiment.

When the heatsink was remounted, the net temp was 0.8 – 1.2 °C higher than the first mount. So I did not pursue runs from the second mount. I did try a fanless operation. Here the stress software was Linpack without AVX. The CPU cores throttled rapidly.

Conclusions

Before we come down too hard on the K2, we must remember that it is cooling one hot system. The overclock may not seem great, but the heatsink in coping with Linpack + AVX2. It barely keeps the CPU from throttling, but it does accomplish that. So you might consider that the K2 is at the bottom of the major leagues. It had to work hard to get as far as it did: that little fan was high pitched and audible through masking noise. The K2 made the most noise of the heatsinks tested, yet sounded louder than its SPL reading. But it is in the majors. I could name you some heatsinks that will not keep this system from throttling.

Deepcool is pursuing the enthusiast. It sells nice fans. The Deepcool Gamer Lucifer K2, for all of its names, is not a great heatsink. The cooling is mediocre, but that is OK. There is a place in the market for heatsinks that produce mediocre cooling. Aside from its performance, however, are the other aspects. From the thin fins to the mounting system to the thin wires that made up the minimal fan clips, it felt as if Deepcool was phoning it all in. Technically, yes, they put together all the elements of a heatsink. Six 6 mm heatpipes – check. Heatpipes running through a copper contact block (are they soldered?) – check. Backplate – check. Means to fasten down the heatsink – check. Fins – check. Fan – check.

We have already gone over the nightmare involving the various bits of the mounting hardware. I had hopes when I saw the raw copper bottom, but they didn’t pan out. Why didn’t this heatsink cool any better than it did? Perhaps the contact surface didn’t contact well enough, despite being pure copper. Perhaps the heatpipes were not soldered to the contact block. Perhaps they were not press-fit with enough metal-to-metal contact to transfer heat to the fins. Perhaps the fins were not thick enough to carry heat along them for dispersal to the air. For whatever reasons, the Lucifer K2 did not cool like a premium heatsink. But it did OK.

Let us look at that mounting system for a moment. The contact surface showed barely any convexity. It will not ruin your CPU. This is a good thing. The heatsink is held down with spring-tensioned screws. This is another good thing. When you look at some other heatsink mounts, this is not a mount with excessive pressure. But getting this thing mounted is a difficult task, one that you would not want to repeat.

As I worked with it, the Lucifer K2 seemed like a forty-dollar heatsink in today’s marketplace. Inexpensive all the way, it seemed like an entry product designed to work its way into the low end of the market. Imagine my shock when I saw that it carried an MSRP of $80, a premium price. Looking at Newegg, I see they have the fanless version of this heatsink for $10 off a MSRP of $65, and free shipping. Even with a $10 discount and free shipping, you would be paying too much for this. One good thing about this was that it can keep a hot system like this one barely under 100 degrees. Most of you will not be doing prolonged runs of Linpack with AVX2, so this heatsink should be adequate for that. But not for $80. For $80, you can do better.

K2 Pros

  • Skewed to leave clearance for tall RAM
  • Relatively light weight
  • Threaded spacers
  • Keeps a hot system from throttling
  • Tensioning screws use springs
  • Nearly flat contact surface

K2 Cons

  • Cheaply made
  • Frustrating mounting system
  • Frustrating fan clips
  • High pitched fan can be heard through masking noise
  • The fan clicks
  • Overpriced, even at a discount

Click the stamp for an explanation of what this means.

– Ed Hume (ehume’s author page)

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Discussion
  1. Ouch..... It's even worse coming in after the amazing Ninja review. Double the price and half the performance....... that's bad.
    Thanks for the review. Good to know what to stay away from.

    How much room is there left between the spring coils when screws are tight? What is the tension the springs create on the mount? I'm never tested them so don't know. I do know the spring tension the first mounting is much higher then 2nd or 3rd time they are compressed. This leads me to believe the springs are not very good .. as in do not consistent in the pressure they create.