Today I will be looking at a heatsink from Evercool, the Transformer 4. This is the first heatsink I have ever had from Evercool, and it came delivered along with another offering from them, the Transformer 3. I consider the Transformer 4 to be their high-end offering, since it has four heatpipes and comes with two fans for a push-pull setup. I decided to take it for a test drive first, then follow up with the Transformer 3, which only has three heatpipes and comes with only one fan. The Transformer 4 is set up in conventional tower style with a heatpipe direct touch base and utilizes four 8 mm heatpipes. It also comes with two PWM 120 X 25 mm fans. From the specifications of it, this heatsink sounds like it might have what it takes to be a killer cooling solution. And we are going to see if it’s an Optimus Prime or a Wheelie (for you Transformers movie buffs out there).
Evercool Thermal Corp., Ltd. is a Taiwanese company founded in 1992 that specializes in manufacturing fans and thermal cooling solutions. They have their own factory located in Guang Dong China and say their company is among the top five cooling fan manufacturers in Taiwan. I don’t know about that, but I have seen their fans for sale occasionally from a few vendors. This heatsink will be my first experience with any of their thermal cooling solutions however.
Features and Specifications
(Courtesy of Evercool Thermal Corp., Ltd.)
- Four heatpipes in 8mm, large aluminum fins with Heat Pipe Contact provide effective cool.
- All-in-one socket design for compatible with both Intel LGA 775/ LGA 1366/ LGA 1156 and AMD K8/AM2/AM2+/AM3.
- User can choose to install one or two 12cm silent fans (PWM Function) according user’s need to achieve great noiseless and cooling capacity.
- Brightly silver and solid appearance.
- Easy installation.
- Overall Dimension : 130 x 122 x 160 x mm
- DC Fan Size : 120 x 120 x 25 mm
- Heatsink Material : Aluminum Fin+Heat Pipe (heatpipes are actually copper)
- Bearing Type : Ever Lubricate Bearing (Long Life bearing)
- Rated Speed : 800~2200 ±15% RPM (PWM Function)
- Noise Level : <17 dBA
- Rated Voltage : DC 12 volts
- Weight : 843.5 grams
- Model Number : HPJ-12025
As you can see from their features and specifications, this heatsink comes with mounting solutions for all modern sockets for Intel and AMD. And since the above is directly quoted from their web page on this heatsink, Evercool didn’t bother spending any money on getting a native English speaking person to properly translate their message to us either. I also found conflicting information on the linked web page as to some of the specifications. The linked page seems to have the proper specs for this heatsink, but there is a pdf file linked there under downloads that says the heatpipes are 6 mm and the fans are single speed 1000 rpm models.
To clear up any inconsistencies, I physically measured the heatpipes and they are 8 mm in diameter and the fans included with this heatsink are PWM fans and at full speed they do spin much faster than 1000 rpm. Like the Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus I recently reviewed, this is another complete “out of the box” cooling solution, with nothing else needed to put this cooler to work on your system. The bare heatsink itself masses at 588.2 grams and the full assembled mass of the heatsink with fans attached is 861.7 grams, which is almost 20 grams more than their advertised specifications. The mass of the heatsink and the fan/clip assembly were checked with my Ohaus 2610 triple beam balance.
This cooling solution comes in a sealed plastic blister pack that measures approximately 11 1/8 X 7 1/4 X 5 3/8 inches (283 X 184 X 136 mm). I am not a fan of sealed plastic blister packs because most of the time you ruin them for further usage when opening them up. I much prefer box packaging for my heatsinks. The blister pack did protect the heatsink decently through shipment, so I can’t complain too much though. The cardboard backing in the blister pack has a bunch of marketing spiel on the back, pretty much quoting the specifications above and one little blurb that made me laugh; “Free Collocation Makes Much Colder And Quieter”. Right above this quote is a side view picture of the heatsink showing airflow coming in through the intake fan and out through the exhaust fan, with heat being transferred up through the heatpipes. Evercool, you really need to hire a native English speaking person to translate the message you are trying to get across. On the inside of this cardboard piece are the instructions for installing on LGA1366 and LGA775 for Intel and K8 and AM2/AM3 for AMD. There is a supplemental page included that has mounting instruction for mounting this heatsink on LGA1156/1155 for Intel systems. The instructions also included plenty of fractured English, but also include pictures, so it isn’t too hard to understand the directions.
First Look and Installation
Upon removing the heatsink from the packaging, the first thought that crossed my mind was that it sure was shiny. The fans are finished with a plastic chrome finish and the top fin of the heatsink is polished and the ends of the heatpipes are covered with chromed caps. The fans have the wiring sleeved up to within 1″ of the fan body too, which is nice, and a 3 pin dual fan adapter also comes with this heatsink, in case you only have one free fan header left on your motherboard. Some people might like all the shininess, but I value function much more than looks. Besides being shiny, there is nothing unusual about the fans included with this heatsink, with a conventionally designed seven blade impeller. The fans are held on the heatsink body by wire clips that engage along the sides of the heatsink and mount to the fan via the regular fan screw holes at the corners. While they can be a bit tricky to engage and disengage from the heatsink without bending fins, they do hold securely with all the fans I tested with.
The heatsink itself is of the tower style heatpipe direct touch variety, utilizing four 8 mm heatpipes bent in a “U” going through the base and into the fins. All four heatpipes are aligned one behind the other, which minimizes flow restriction but also limits optimal heat transfer to the fins a bit. The base of the heatsink is pretty well finished, with very slight machining marks showing in the aluminum the heatpipes are mounted into and the base is flat. The heatpipes are spaced approximately 3 mm apart in the base. The mounting equipment used for mounting this cooling solution to LGA1366 systems consists of a back plate that has four riser studs that go through the motherboard, with a stamped steel “H” shaped crossbeam that goes across the top of the heatsink base in a slot cut into the top of the base. This is held in place by four thumb nuts that don’t have springs, depending upon “H” beam deflection torsion to hold the heatsink securely. I have used this kind of mount in the past with the Corsair A-70 and if implemented right, works well.
Unfortunately for Evercool, the implementation by them pretty much sucks. Setting it up per their directions, the “H” beam doesn’t even make up tight to the heatsink base when the thumb nuts are bottomed out. It was so loose I could actually rock it off of the IHS by putting a slight amount of force on the side of the heatsink. Seeing this, I took the heatsink and mount off the board and started adding layers of duct tape across the base plate to tighten up the mount. After applying approximately a 3 mm layer of duct tape across the back plate, I had a mount that applied adequate clamping force to the heatsink.
A few more comments about the mounting methods for other sockets now. For LGA1156, they use four brass risers that screw directly through the motherboard without a back plate and for LGA775, K8 and AM2/AM3, they have a combo back plate for mounting that also utilize the brass risers. The whole mounting system included with this heatsink looks like it was originally designed some years ago and then they added the LGA1366 back plate to it and didn’t even bother with a back plate for the LGA1156 mount. This kind of work is sloppy in the extreme. I ran the first set of tests with the mount as above. For the second run, I removed the layers of duct tape and turned the “H” beam upside down, which gave some tension when mounted up. The “H” beam has a raised center on it from the stamping process, which gives some extra space. It also made the “H” beam not sit in the recess in the top of the heatsink base quite right too, but was usable. For the third run, I added the layers of duct tape back and kept the “H” beam upside down. That gave me the most tension, but I also had to be extremely careful as I think I could have crushed the socket on the motherboard if I would have torqued the thumb nuts down to refusal. In any case, the purchaser of a heatsink shouldn’t have to go through these kind of shenanigans to get their heatsink mounted properly.
Fans used for testing were as follows:
|Fan(s)||Size (mm)||RPM||CFM||dBA||H2O Static Pressure |
|2x Stock Evercool fans |
|120 X 25||800-2200 |
|2x Scythe S-Flex SFF21F||120 X 25||1600||63.7||28||N/A||2.4||178|
|2x Scythe S-Flex SFF21G||120 X 25||1900||75||35||N/A||2.88||182|
|2x Sanyo Denki San Ace |
|120 X 38||2600||102.4||39||0.26||6.24||243|
|2x DeltaFFB1212VHE||120 X 38||3200||151.85||53||0.445||12||403|
|1x Sanyo Denki San Ace |
|120 X 76||6200/2700 |
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 (German HEC, not US model) 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 to the case except for testing with the Denki 9CR1212P0G03 which pushes so much air I didn’t want to trap any waste heat inside the case.
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 heatsinks I’ve tested it with.
The following chart gives the results I obtained with the fans tested above:
As you can see here, once you get a decently tight mount, the performance is pretty good. But it took the additions of several layers of duct tape to the mounting back plate to tighten up the mount enough to get the results shown above. Without adding the duct tape to the back plate, I would have had problems even getting to the desktop at stock speeds without over-temping and the system shutting down. And you shouldn’t have to go through those kind of modifications just to get the product to work correctly.
Just for comparison purposes, here are the results of the Transformer 4 in stock configuration compared to the last heatsink I reviewed, the Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus in it’s stock configuration, which I rated as Overclockers Approved:
As you can see in the above graph, the Transformer 4 soundly bests the Hyper 212 Plus in their stock configurations. But, that is with my modifications to the mounting system with the Transformer 4 and the Hyper 212 Plus had a mounting system that is clearly superior in every way to the Transformer 4.
Looking around the internet, I found the Evercool Transformer 4 selling for as low as $34.99 plus shipping. That is definitely good pricing for this level of performance. But, what we have here is a heatsink that performs well, which is held back by a poor mounting system that doesn’t work correctly out of the box. In order to get good performance, you have to do modifications to the back plate to tighten up the mount. And along with that, you also have to deal with fractured English mounting instructions too. If Evercool could revise their mounting system to something more like Cooler Master uses with the Hyper 212 Plus, I would give this an Overclockers Approved rating. But as it stands, all I can do is rate it an Overclockers Meh.
In closing, I would like to thank Evercool for sending the Transformer 4 for me to test. And they sent the Transformer 3 with it, which I will be reviewing very shortly. So stay tuned, the Transformer 3 review will be coming very soon!
-Jim Gautreaux (muddocktor)