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After using a performance/dollar CPU cooler for around a year, I decided it was time to dip into the “high-end” air cooling solutions. The Venomous X recently entered the game, and I found a good deal on it (free shipping reeled me in), so I pulled the trigger. I’ve done some detailed testing to see if my buy was worth the money, and today, I present a summary of my testing and results for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy!
Specifications & Features
Thermalright’s Website: Venomous X
- Size: 127mm (W) x 63mm (D) x 160mm (H)
- Weight: 755g (Excluding fan and bracket system)
- Heatpipes: Six 6mm sintered heatpipes
- Copper Base: C1100 pure nickel plated copper base with ultra-shine mirrored surface.
- All new patented multiple support pressure vault bracket system allows users to add pressure to the bracket system (40-70 lbs.), and have a more efficient and secure mounting. (1366/1156/775)
- Mirrored copper base increasingly upgrade the quality and the performance of the heatsink.
- Special bent winglet design allows hot air to pass the heatsink more rapidly.
- Heatsink is nickel plated to ensure the best quality and performance, and could last for years.
- Soldered heatpipes and copper base and fins to ensure the best thermal conducting efficiency.
- Six sintered heatpipe design. All heatpipes are nickel plated to slow the oxidation deterioration to the heatpipe and to ensure longer usage and performance of the heatsink.
- Including 2 sets of 120 x 25mm fan clips and Chill Factor II thermal paste.
- Convex copper base design to ensure the highest thermal conducting thermal efficiency between the cpu and the heatsink.
The Venomous X is very well packaged: plastic wrapping and foam secures all sides. A separate “accessory pack” is placed on top of the heatsink, and it’s the first thing you see when opening the Venomous X. The installation instructions and a case badge are placed between the heatsink and accessory pack.
Here, the heatsink removed from the packaging and shown at a few different angles.
The base has a mirror finish. I checked the convexity/concavity of the base, and as advertised, it is slightly convex to put more pressure where the die is located. Also, it seems the convex shape isn’t spherical, it’s elliptical, so the base isn’t equally convex in all directions. On this particular VX, the base is more convex in the direction parallel to the heatpipes, and less convex in the direction crossing the heatpipes. So, depending on how the cores are aligned on the die, the VX may perform better in a certain orientation. More on this in the results section.
The accessories: Chill Factor 2 thermal paste, thumbscrews, back plate, top plate, pressure plate, wrench, anti-vibration strips, and fan clips. I’d like to note that the fan clips are described as 120x25mm fan clips in Thermalright’s features, but since the clips are attached to the side of the fan closest to the heatsink, you can use fans of any width with these clips.
Mounting the back plate was easy enough. The built-in screws on the back plate just slide back and forth to fit LGA775, LGA1156, or LGA1336 mounting holes. Then, the double-sided thumbscrews are used to secure the back plate.
The top plate just drops in over the double-sided thumbscrews, and another set of thumbscrews is used to secure the top plate.
The pressure plate needs to be added next. The first picture is the mount without any added pressure, and you can see the plate is flush with the heatsink base. The second picture is after the pressure knob has been turned as far as possible, and you can now see a gap between the plate and heatsink base. That gap makes it possible to easily spin the VX while it’s mounted. This makes me wonder, if your case isn’t perfectly level, then would the VX slowly turn on it’s own over time? If that were to happen, then would it have any effect on cooling?
Test Setup & Methodology
- Intel E8400 E0 @ 8x500MHz (4GHz)
- Thermalright Venomous X
- San Ace 109R1212H101 @ 2600RPM (100%)
- Gigabyte EP45-UD3P rev 1.0
- G.Skill 2x2GB DDR2-1066
- Intel X25-M G2 80GB
- Corsair HX520
- Varied vCore between 1.23750-1.38125v to increase heat.
- Arctic Silver 5 was used instead of Chill Factor 2 for consistency with my HDT-s1283 tests, which were done before I received the VX and Chill Factor 2.
- Used 5 minute ORTHOS runs for load temps.
- Ambient Temp ~21˚C. A thermal sensor was placed in front of the “push” fan to measure ambient temps.
Thermalright VX vs Xigmatek HDT-s1283 in Push Configuration (MattNo5ss)
Unfortunately, I don’t have any other “high-end” heatsinks to pit the VX against, although I do have the HDT-s1283 (w/ Bolt-Thru Kit) which is one of the the best performance/dollar heatsinks available. I expected the VX to outperform the HDT-s1283, but not by the margin at which it did. These tests use a single fan pushing air through the heatsink, the typical setup for most users. The results show an almost consistent difference in temps (ΔT) between the two heatsinks, averaging 8.3˚C. The reason I say almost is because if you look closely at the graph or table, you’ll notice the ΔT slightly increases as the CPU gets hotter. This means the VX performs even better at higher temps, this can be seen in ΔT > avg ΔT at those higher temps. So, for those who like getting every last MHz out of their CPU, the VX is a great option. If you’re one of those guys/girls that just likes a mediocre overclock with great temps, then the average 8˚C improvement of the VX over a performance/dollar heatsink is HUGE and definitely worth the price premium.
Thermalright VX: Push vs Push/Pull Configurations (MattNo5ss)
These tests use two fans, one pushing air into the heatsink and one pulling air out. This setup is typically for those who need to keep their temps as low as possible to get the highest overclock out of their CPU. As expected, Push/Pull will improved temps between 1-2˚C. It’s not a lot of improvement, but some nonetheless. It’s also worth noting that the change in temps between Push and Push/Pull increases as the load temp increases. So, the hotter your CPU runs, the more Push/Pull will lower temps. This correlates to the slightly better performance of the VX over the HDT-s1283 in the previous tests. The VX performs better at higher temps, and even better at higher temps with two fans in Push/Pull. Again, that can be seen in ΔT > avg ΔT at those higher temps.
After the convexity tests, it was theorized that the VX may perform better depending on the orientation of the heatsink. Also, after noticing the VX can be easily twisted when the pressure knob is tightened, I pondered the thought of the VX twisting on its own in a typical case that isn’t level.
Test Setup (MattNo5ss)
- Same test setup as previous tests.
With the dual core CPU, the heatsink’s orientation had a negligible effect on temps, it was within margin of error. This was expected because the E8400’s die is in the center of the CPU (see below). Also, on a dual core CPU, any gradual twisting of the heatsink over time shouldn’t cause a noticeable effect on temps for the same reason.
Test setup (baditude_df)
- i7 950 @ 4GHz HT w/ 1.248 vCore
- ASUS Rampage II Extreme
- Thermalright VX
- 1x San Ace 109R1212H1011 Push @ 1800RPMs (~70%)
- MX-2 Thermal Paste
- Ambient Temp: 23˚C
- Loaded with Rosetta
Temps in the Front/Back Configuration:
- 66˚C, 70˚C, 68˚C, 75˚C (Each reading is one of the cores)
- 69.75 ˚C Avg
- 9˚C Core Spread (Difference between the coolest and hottest cores)
Temps in the Top/Down Configuration:
- 64˚C, 66˚C, 65˚C, 69˚C (Each reading is one of the cores)
- 66˚C Avg
- 5˚C Core Spread (Difference between the coolest and hottest cores)
There is an obvious difference in performance when the VX is mounted in different orientations on a quad core CPU. The i7 950 die is shaped like a rectangle and extends more towards the edge of the CPU (see below). The best orientation for the VX on this CPU would be with the flattest axis along the length of the CPU die. In baditude_df‘s case, a change in heatsink configuration netted him ~4˚C cooler temps. With a quad core CPU, like the i7 950, gradual twisting over time could affect temps due to the die shape. How much will it affect temps? Probably not a whole lot; the allowable angle of twist isn’t very large.
With the results of these tests, I’m very pleased with my purchase. It’s hard to be disappointed with an 8-10˚C improvement in temps, depending on fan configuration. I believe the main reason for the VX performing so well is its new pressure mounting system which guarantees good contact with the CPU. I’d like to reiterate that if you own a quad core CPU, and since the VX has a convex base, then be sure to test it in both Top/Down and Front/Back configurations before a final mount is made. Whether you’re a “hardcore” overclocker or just like getting a mediocre boost in performance, then the Venomous X is the air cooling solution for you.
Before I go, I’d like to thank baditude_df for letting me use his results in this article. I couldn’t have made a comparison of CPU die vs mount orientation without him.
I hope you enjoyed the read as much as I enjoyed doing the testing!
– Matt T. Green (MattNo5ss)