We managed to get one of the early samples from non company sources so what you are about to read and see is going to be very similar to the shipping unit but it might differ a little.
VapoChill Micro is heat piped cooled, with three heat pipes going out of the socket base and shielded with a radiator. The pipes are filled with some special gas. The cooler has retention mechanisms for both Intel socket 775 and socket 939 and there will be a special retention mechanism for socket 478 as well. We got this unit with both mechanisms and tried to play with it on a socket 775 Pentium 570, 3800MHz CPU on the Abit Fatal1ty 925XE motherboard and later we tried it on DFI's NF4 SLI socket 939 and Athlon 4000+ clocked at 2400 MHz inside.
The socket 775 retention mechanism was easy to install. It works just like Intel's stock cooler retention mechanism. You push it and lock it and that's it. One interesting fact is that you can position the cooler however you like and you can rotate it in any direction as it has a round base that fits the CPU. You can find a way how to position it to have a better air flow in your case but you have to be careful not to touch any other case component. Oh yes.
We tried to stress the cooler with Pentium 570 at 3800MHz as it is a very hot processor. Whatever we did, we didn't manage to overheat the machine, it was operating from 45 Celsius to a maximum 65 when we stressed the machine with some of the intensive benchmarks. Intel's stock cooler was working normally at 52 Celsius going up to 67 Celsius. I don't need to mention that Intel Pentium 775 cooler get really noisy at these speeds. [Er, you just did, Ed.] The Asetek cooler was much more quiet.
When we played with an Athlon 4000+ we managed a 37 Celsius operating speed in idle mode and when we were working with a normal desktop environment we managed to max this CPU to 49 Celsius with some CPU intensive tests.
AMD's boxed cooler works at 38 Celsius in idle mode while it gets up to 54 Celsius when it is under heavy load. One thing that we noticed is that once the temperature rises to 54 Celsius it will take quite some time to drop close to the original idle mode temperature.
The VapoChill Micro can drop the temperature from a heavy load of 49 Celsius to its idle 37 Celsius in a matter of seconds. That's what we found fascinating and where we learned that this cooler is really efficient.
For us it's all about the noise and in idle mode this cooler can be very close to silent. We are told that there will be a fan regulator as well but we could not get one at press time.
In idle mode, the fan has one speed while in heavy load it starts rotating faster, making a machine noisier. I believe that's whatthe motherboard dictates to the cooler as these mobos are very smart these days and want to increase cooler RPMs once the temperature rises to a certain level.
All in all we like this cooler as it can cool your PC nicely and it will be quiet at the same time. That's all anyone really wants from a cooler. At an amazing price of close to 27, it might be a great choice for everyone and give Zalman some real competition. This is better than the coolers that AMD and Intel bundle with their microprocessors. All in all we like what we've seen. µ
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