NZXT Havik 120 Heastsink Review

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Going in the heatsink testbed today is a new offering from NZXT, the Havik 120. I tested its older brother, the Havik 140 several months ago and found it to be a pretty decent performer. The Havik 140 was designed to accept either 140 or 120 mm fans. This cooler, as the name implies, is only designed to use 120 mm sized fans. The design philosophy on this one is just a little bit different than their first offering, so we are going to put it through the mill and see how well it cools a 200+ watt heatload.

NZXT is a multi-faceted company producing a variety of computer products, from chassis and chassis accessories and power supplies to cooling solutions for your CPU. Their first cooling solution was put on the market last year and this cooler will be their second effort at a premium cooling solution for your overclocked processor.

Features and Specifications

(Courtesy of NZXT)

Features

  • Revamped 120mm FZ Fans with 13 blades for intense silent cooling
  • Nickel-plated copper base material
  • Four 8mm pipes and aluminum fins for attaining maximum dissipation into fans
  • Fan speeds up to 1500 +/- 10% RPM and 22 dBA silent cooling with airflow of 75.8 CFM
  • Aero-dynamic fin design for improved airflow
  • Universal bracket compatible with Intel and AMD CPUs
  • Rubber mounting for noise absorption

Specifications

  • Materials: Aluminum / Copper Nickel-Plated
  • Dimensions: 125(W) x 160(H) x 58(D) mm (heatsink), 125(W) x 160(H) x 112(D) mm with fans
  • Weight: 680g (excluding fans and mounting kit), 980g (with dual 120mm fans)
  • Mounting Pressure: 55-60 lbs
  • Fan Size: Dual 120(W) x 140(H) x 25(D) mm
  • Fan Bearing: Long Life (Oil-Leaking Prevention)
  • Fan Speed: 200 +/- 10% RPM (low); 1500 +/- 10% RPM (high)
  • Noise Level: 18-22 dBA
  • Airflow: 61.5-75.8 CFM
  • Connector: 3 Pin
  • Y-Split Cable: White connector for low speed; black connector for high speed
  • Input Power: 3.6 W
  • Life: 30,000 Hours
  • Compatibility: Intel Socket: 2011, 1366, 1155, 1156, 775 CPUs, AMD Socket: AM3, AM2+, AM2 CPUs

From looking at the features and specifications that NZXT gives us, this heatsink also looks like it should be a good performer. They have changed up from the Havik 140 a bit by going with four larger 8 mm heatpipes instead of six 6 mm heatpipes and the fans are totally different. They have also included a couple of “Y” splitters for you to use for powering the fans, with one of the splitters having an inline resistor to lower voltage for lower speed, quieter operation. The “Y” splitters will be handy for motherboards that don’t have an abundance of headers on them and they don’t have to be used unless you want to run the fans at a lower speed with the one with the resistor installed in it. This heatsink did come with the necessary hardware to mount it to the newer Intel LGA2011 motherboards.

The Havik 120 has a measured mass of 643 grams and the fans that are included with it averaged 143.0 grams each as measured by my Ohaus Model 2610 triple beam balance. These numbers are a little bit lower than the numbers given by NZXT for the heatsink and fans.

Packaging

The packaging of the Havik 120 is much the same type of packaging that the Havik 140 came in. The box itself is of heavy cardboard construction and the heatsink and components are secure in foam packaging inside. NZXT wanted to make sure you received your new heatsink with no damage. The box measures 7 3/4 X 6 1/2 X 6 1/4 inches (197 X 165 X 159 mm). On the outside of the box, the pictures, specification and marketing material are done much the same way as the Havik 140 in a nice looking black/white scheme.

Top of box.

Top of box

Bottom of box.

Bottom of box

Front of box.

Front of box

Back of box.

Back of box

Left side of box.

Left side of box

Right side of box.

Right side of box

First Look and Installation

Upon opening the box, you immediately see the instruction sheet and the backplate for mounting the heatsink. On the side that opens, the rest of the mounting hardware is contained in a plain white box. The heatsink and fans are securely held in place by form fitting foam padding.

Back plate packed on top of packaging.

Back plate packed on top of packaging

Mounting hardware and power splitter cables for fans.

Mounting hardware and power splitter cables for fans

Intel mounting hardware.

Intel mounting hardware

More Intel & AMD hardware and rubber fan mounts.

More Intel & AMD hardware and rubber fan mounts

 

The heatsink itself is of conventional tower design, with the four 8 mm heatpipes bent into a “U” shape, rising up through the fin stack on both sides.

Full View

Side View

Top View

Bottom View

The fans included with this heatsink are a bit unique. Instead of the rotor having seven or nine blades, these fans have thirteen blades to them. The blades themselves are rather thin and paddle shaped. They are regular non-PWM type fans, but NZXT includes a resistor splitter cable with this heatsink so that you can run the fans at a lower speed. These are a new series of fans for NZXT, as you can’t find these for sale except with this heatsink. I did find that the numbers quoted by NZXT as to CFM and sound to be a bit optimistic though. According to the numbers they give, these fans should be noticeably quieter than Gentle Typhoon AP-15 fans and should also give better performance because of supposedly higher CFM numbers they give. I didn’t find the fans to be any quieter than the AP-15s by ear and a 4 dBA difference should be noticeable. I found that the AP-15 fans gave very slightly better temperatures than the NZXT fans, even though they are rated almost 18 CFM less. Not that the stock fans didn’t give good performance, but I wish that companies would settle on a common standard for measuring CFM, static pressure and noise levels.

Exhaust side.

Exhaust side

Suction side.

Suction side

The mounting system for the heatsink is the exact same system used with their earlier heatsink, the Havik 140. They have updated it to have mounting hardware for LGA2011 though, so this heatsink will accommodate any modern Intel or AMD system. While I find the mounting hardware to not be of the same caliber as the mounting hardware included with heatsinks from Prolimatech, Noctua or Thermalright, it is plenty strong enough and simple enough to mount on the motherboard and give secure mounts. I did run into a somewhat unusual problem with mounting on my AM2 fit test board, in that when I installed the side rails to finish the box off for AMD mounting like the instructions show, the threaded studs the crossbar bracket screws to were too low and I couldn’t engage the studs with the spring loaded nuts on the crossbar. To remedy that situation, I ended up having to install the straight side rails above the “W” shaped end rails instead of below. It felt like I still had a very solid mount on the AMD system after doing this modification.

Mount on LGA775 board.

Mount on LGA775 board

Backplate on LGA775.

Backplate on LGA775

Mount on AM2 board.

Mount on AM2 board

Backplate on AM2.

Backplate on AM2

Mount on LGA1366 board.

Mount on LGA1366 board

Backplate on LGA1366.

Backplate on LGA1366

The mounting instructions come printed on a single, double-sided sheet of paper. The instructions are pretty straightforward, except for the problem I ran into when mounting on my AMD test fit board. Other than mounting the straight side sections above the “W” end section instead of below for AMD, I had no problems with the mount.

Instruction sheet, front.

Instruction sheet, front.

Instruction sheet, back.

Instruction sheet, back.

The base of the heatsink is pretty well-finished. You can see some very faint lines along the long axis of the heatsink, but you don’t feel much of anything if you run your fingernail across it. The base is flat across the short axis and very slightly bowed going across the long axis.

Flat this way.

Flat this way.

Very slightly bowed this way.

Very slightly bowed this way.

Next are some pictures of the Havik 120 mounted on my LGA775 board and my AM2 board, seeing if there are any clearance problems on those two platforms. I had no clearance problems on the 775 board with clearing the RAM slots, but with the AM2 board the intake fan overhung the first two RAM slots. This shouldn’t be a problem unless your RAM has tall heatspreaders however.

Plenty of clearance for the ram slots on LGA775.

Plenty of clearance for the RAM slots on LGA775

Side view on LGA775 board.

Side view on LGA775 board

Mounted on AM2 board.

Mounted on AM2 board

Side view on AM2 board.

Side view on AM2 board

Mounted on AM2 with fans. Note intake fan overhangs ram.

Mounted on AM2 with fans. Note intake fan overhangs RAM.

Side view clearly shows how much the fan overhangs the ram slots.

Side view clearly shows how much the fan overhangs the RAM slots

There were no clearance problems encountered on my LGA1366 test system board. It had plenty of clearance between the 25 mm thick fans I tested and the first ram slot. The 38 mm thick fans I tested with did overhang the first RAM slot only and of course the 76 mm thick Sanyo Denki overhang all RAM slots except the last one. I also tested this heatsink with some Thermalright TY-140 fans too, which are 140 mm fans that have 120 mm spacing on the mounting holes. The TY-140 fans were able to be mounted on this heatsink with little problem, but don’t expect to mount true 140 x 25 mm fans on it that use 140 mm mounting hole spacing. I had no problems with the rubber fan straps holding any of the fans tested securely to the heatsink, even the 120 x 76 mm Sanyo Denki compound fan.

Mounted on test system with stock fans.

Mounted on test system with stock fans

TY-140 fans mounted on Havik 120.

TY-140 fans mounted on Havik 120

38 mm thick fans mounted on Havik 120.

38 mm thick fans mounted on Havik 120

The Beast mounted on Havik 120.

The Beast mounted on Havik 120

Test Setup

The fans used for testing this heatsink are as follows:

Fan Size RPM CFM dBA Static Pressure (inH2O) Wattage Mass (g)
2 x AF-FZ120-01 120 x 25 1200/1500 61.5/75.8 18/22 N/A 3.6 143
2 x Gentle Typhoon D1225C12B5AP-15 120 x 25 1850 58.0 26.0 0.081 1.0 195.5
2 x ThermalrightTY140 160x140x26.5 900~1300  56~73 19~21  0.0614 2.4 163.2
2 x S-Flex SFF21G 120 x 25 1900 75.0 35.0 0.15 2.88 182
2x Sanyo Denki San Ace 109R1212H1011 120 x 38 2600 102.4 39.0 0.26 6.24 243
2x Delta FFB1212VHE 120 x 38 3200 151.85 53 0.445 12 403
Sanyo Denki San Ace 9CR1212P0G03 120 X 76 6200/3800 300 70 1.93 86.4 753

 

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. No other alterations have been made to this case.
    • Motherboard – Asus Rampage II Extreme
    • Processor – Intel Core i7 930, overclocked to 4015 MHz @ 1.303 v.
    • RAM – Corsair XMS3 DDR3 1600
    • Video Card – EVGA GeForce GTX550 Ti
    • 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 runs with the compound Sanyo Denki fan. The side door was left off when testing with it because of the extreme CFM and static pressure of the fan.

Test Methodology

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 3.60, 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 in the charts 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 and adjusted to a constant 18 °C.

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.

The Results

First up are the results I recorded with the Havik 120 with various fan combinations mounted:

Well, we are seeing some pretty darn good performance out of NZXT’s second heatsink offering here. It shows good performance with the fans it comes with and does show some performance scaling with more powerful fans. That seems to plateau at around the 100 CFM mark, as there was little continued scaling of performance after that mark. There was less than 1 °C gain in performance going from the 100 CFM Denki H1011 fans to the 300 CFM Sanyo Denki compound fan.

Next up, I decided to compare the performance of the Havik 120 against its older brother, the Havik 140 when using the same fans. I had tested both with five of the same fans and the next chart shows the average temperatures recorded with those five fans.

Looks to me like the engineers that designed this heatsink had their act together with the Havik 120. It beats its older brother across the board in performance when they are both using the same fans. Their decision to go with four 8 mm heatpipes looks to be more efficient at heat removal that the six 6 mm heatpipes that were used in the design of the Havik 140. Good job, NZXT!

The final chart is my standard 4 GHz comparison chart showing the Havik 120 in relation to other heatsinks I have tested on my present test platform.

As you can see here, the Havik 120 is well up into the top third of the heatsinks I have reviewed. This heatsink is no slouch at good performance when cooling a hot running overclocked processor.

Conclusion

NZXT has come up with another winner in cooling performance with their second CPU cooler with the Havik 120. It’s a little more compact than their earlier Havik 140 and brings a bit better performance to the table also. There are a few quibbles I have with the heatsink, but nothing that would turn me off from recommending it for your system.

I find personally that their mounting system lags the quality feel that companies such as Prolimatech, Noctua and Thermalright have with their mounting systems, but it does work well on Intel-based systems. For AMD, I couldn’t get it to mount when using their recommended way to connect the RM system together, but simply moving the straight sections of the RM from mounting under to mounting them over the “W” sections of the RM cured that problem. I am not a giant fan of the rubber fan mounting system either. Not that it doesn’t hold the fans well; it holds them in place very well and even secured the Sanyo Denki compound fan in place securely. I worry about the rubber breaking down over time and breaking. NZXT does give an extra rubber fan mount, which is a big plus too in case one does break. So these points are minor, at best, and don’t detract much from a very high performance cooling solution.

As for cost, I found the Havik 120 to be very reasonable, especially since it is a true “out of the box” solution requiring nothing extra (except for the TIM of your choice if you don’t want to use theirs). I found the Havik 120 for sale for $49.99 and free shipping at Newegg.com and Amazon.com. This pricing also puts this cooler in direct competition with the Thermalright True Spirit 140 too, since after shipping costs are added the TS140 ends up slightly more expensive than the Havik 120. Both are superb performers, with the True Spirit 140 slightly edging out the Havik 120. The Havik 120 is also slightly shorter in installed height and slightly narrower than the True Spirit 140, allowing it to fit in setups where the True Spirit 140 might not fit. With all that said, I can easily give the Havik 120 an Overclockers Approved rating for its performance while meeting a reasonable price point.

In closing, I would like to thank NZXT for sending the Havik 120 this way for me to test. I found that not only did they make a sightly smaller cooler, they also made it even more efficient than their first heatsink model, the Havik 140. The packaging on their cooling products protects the heatsink well during shipment, making it very unlikely that you will receive a damaged heatsink when you buy it. It is a good looking cooler too and gives adequate clearance for the RAM slots for many boards. On boards that it does overhang a RAM slot or two, the fan sits up high enough so that you shouldn’t have problems with RAM such as the G. Skill Ripjaws X heatspreaders to fit underneath the fan.

Stay tuned, as I have a couple more reviews that will be coming out soon. One is a lower profile type heatsink for narrower style cases and the other is the review of Thermalright’s new model True Spirit, which they released under their own name instead of Cogage like the first model. See you all then.

– Jim Gautreaux (muddocktor)

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Discussion
  1. HM very well done.
    Will be interested to see future reviews.
    The EVGA Superclocked may be of interest, as would the CM Hyper 212 EVO. The Enermax T-60s and the CM GeminII S524 come to mind as affordable top down if not super low coolers.
    It would be interesting seeing results from the T-60 with different fans, and the S524 with both other 120 and 140mm fans.
    Thank you!
    Thank you.
    I do have an EVO waiting to be reviewed at the house when I get some time. I was able to buy it for little cost to me because I was able to sell the TS140 I reviewed recently to a friend locally. As for the other heatsinks, if the companies will send me a review sample I will review them. But my budget for buying heatsinks for reviews is pretty sell busted right now, since if they don't send a review sample it comes out of my pocket. I won't review another Prolimatech offering until they decide to send something to review, as I have already given them a free ride for the Megahalems and the Genesis by buying those myself. And this EVO will probably be the last Cooler Master cooler I review unless they send me review samples too.
    Thank you, especially for prompt reply, perfectly understandable.
    The EVO review will make a good "comparison" benchmark!
    Appreciate the effort and dediicaion involved