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GlacialTech Igloo 5750 Silent CPU Cooler Review

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AkG

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“Inspiring Cooling Technology”


GlacialTech Igloo 5750 Silent CPU Cooler Review



Manufacturer Product Page: Global glacialtech
Product Number: Igloo 5750 Silent
Availability: Mid February 2008
Price: $40 MSRP
Warranty Length: 1 year



In the never ending search for quieter and quieter computers one of the easiest and fastest ways to reduce a noisy system is by swapping out the stock CPU heatsink and fan. While the stock coolers that come with modern day CPU’s are very good in comparison to those from the days of yore, noise levels are not really their forte. Intel and AMD engineers who design & spec the stock coolers are more concerned with its abilities to handle high thermal loads yet still be “price competitive”. As the old saying goes “You can have Cheap, Efficient or Quiet….pick any two.”

Today we will be looking at an aftermarket cooler that will be released shortly and is marketed as a not only a budget cooler but a “silent budget” CPU cooling solution. GlacialTech may be a newcomer to the marketplace, as they only opened for business in April 2006, but the founders of the company are anything but inexperienced. These founders consist of not only 8 PHD's but also 3 factory owners. This gives them the theoretical and the practical knowledge to make some great cooling solutions. The end result of all this knowledge is that they should be able to release a quiet CPU cooling solution that will not "break the bank" so to speak.

Today we will be lookin at the GlacialTech Igloo 5750 Silent is an interesting cooler in that unlike the 5710 model (which is a tower design) this cooler is not only a down-draft style cooler that comes with not one but two 92mm low rpm fans in a typical push-pull setup. Equally interesting is its ability to fit just about any CPU on the market. While we will be pushing the Igloo 5750 as far as it can go thermal load wise, this review will laso focus on silent the fans really are, and answering the age old question: “are two fans really better than one?”. After all, if you are looking for a silent pc you are more than willing to give up raw performance for this highly laudable goal and not everyone wants to beat the latest world air overclocking record. More importantly one of the GlacialTech's stated objectives is to produce not only efficient cooling solutions but quiet ones as well.

Something that should also be mentioned is that the "Silent" model is one of two 5750 coolers from GlacialTech. In addition to the product we will be reviewing today, GlacialTech has released a "PWM" model which looks the same but its fan speeds vary depending on the thermal load. In addition, this PWM model has a pair of deeper fans which can potentially move more air. This makes the PWM model a more likely candidate if you are cooling a CPU which produces more heat rather than aiming for near-silence.

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SKYMTL

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Packaging & Accessories

Packaging & Accessories

Igloo_5750_box1.JPG
Igloo_5750_box2.JPG

On first inspection of the box one is left with mixed feelings. The box seems to be designed for retail store shelf sales, and it shows in the compromises that had to be made to make it competitive in that marketplace. On the positive side, the box is crammed with relevant information that would certainly help a first time buyer in making a purchasing decision; especially if that first time buyer was expected to see this box on display at his local computer store. More importantly than the provided information, they would not only be able to read about its specifications and how it works but you actually be able to see it. This here is the sticking point for me; the box’s integrity and ability to protect the product from damage is severely compromised by this big hole in the front of the box. Yes, a picture is never as good as actually seeing a product, but when there is only a thin plastic covering between the cooler and the great outdoors, it just doesn’t instill one with confidence.

On the positive side, the top of the box has an integrated carry handle which was a nice touch and certainly makes it a more user friendly shipping container. No one likes their brand new purchase to slip from their hands and crash onto the cold, hard ground of their local computer store’s parking lot, or worse still become a purchased item because it slipped from their hands as they were looking at it and landed on the store’s floor! After all the old adage “you break it, you bought it” is always in effect in retail sales.

Igloo_5750_box_open.JPG

Unlike the exterior of the box, this internal arrangement was not a list of compromises; rather it is a seamless blend of protection, cost reduction and ease of opening. The thin plastic covering that you can see from the outside of the box is actually the top part of an easy to remove, molded two piece plastic container that has not been heat sealed together; rather it is attached by molded in “snaps” that (pardon the pun) make it a snap to take apart. This makes for a very easy and intuitive removal with no tools or scissors required. One has to simply snap off the top half of the plastic container, remove the heatsink & fan combo, remove the small protective cap on the bottom of the heatsink and install it. No hassle, no sealed plastic clamshells to break into and best of all no chances of damage while removing it from the box.

Igloo_5750_manual.JPG
Igloo_5750_AMD.JPG

The list of accessories that come with the Igloo 5750 is on the short side of the spectrum. Besides a simple instruction pamphlet with lots of pictures you get a case badge. This is quiet common for the Igloo 5750’s price range and was not only expected but can be considered standard operating procedure for today’s cost cutting “value added” marketplace. Other than the instructions and case badge the only other accessory was a small plastic bag that contains the alternate hardware mounting brackets for AMD systems. However, as the instruction pamphlet states, no back plate / mounting bracket was included for either Intel or AMD systems. You are expected to use what comes standard with your motherboard, or do without. However, since it did include the necessary hardware to mount this cooler on virtually any modern day CPU, this small corner cutting can be easily overlooked.

Overall, the Igloo 5750 leaves one with a fairly pleasing first impression. Compromises had to be made to make its packaging work in its intended marketplace and it is definitely a case of function following form. With additional layer of protection, for example a cardboard box with Styrofoam “chips”, it is a functional packaging scheme that is more than acceptable for long distance shipping.
 

AkG

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First Impressions

First Impressions

Igloo_5750_cooler.JPG

Upon first inspection one is left with the feeling that this cooler was originally a tower design heatsink that had the heatpipes accidentally bent 90 degrees. Essentially that is what down draft style CPU coolers such as the Igloo are. In this case however there is only support coming from one side, so instead of looking like a strange square it has a more "C"-like design. This is where its design starts to run amok, for unlike other similarly designed coolers the opposite side of the baseplate and fin assembly is not reinforced. This means that not only is the full weight of the unit being suspended by the heatpipes but the constant torque and vibrations from the fans are also being absorbed by the heatpipes. This makes for a unit that does flex alot and does make its long term viability a bit of a question mark.

There are pros and cons to down draft coolers. On of the major cons is that hot air is funneled down and over the cpu itself which can increase heat but and the same time, this deign ensures air movement to cool of the MOSFET and hot chipsets on the motherboard. Another relatively minor pro is that down draft coolers are usually of a lower profile than tower designs. This can be a major issue or a non issue, it all depends on what case you are intending to mount this cooler in. Someone interested in a quiet HTPC will have different priorities than someone who has a full tower case.

As noted, since the hot air is being blown down and across the CPU base this cooler’s biggest weakness is its own design. As thermal loads increase more and more of the cooler's potential will be used in cooling the heatsink's base plate rather than the CPU. Of course, one could argue that if properly implemented this “hot” air can be recycled and actually help cool the cooler's base plate. After all, the more air movement the more time for heat to be radiated / moved away from the CPU. To a certain extent this is true, but it is true only as long as the air moving over cooler base is cooler than the CPU. In a nutshell down draft CPU coolers can be more than adequate solutions just as long as the thermal load is low enough or the design is efficient enough, or even if the cooler’s fan(s) can physically move enough air. This is a known issue with this style of cooler and there are a few partial solutions to it.

Igloo_5750_fins.JPG

The easiest solution to this known issue is allowing the base of the cooler to act like a small heatsink. GlacialTech’s engineers did not make the base of the cooler flat, rather they designed small fins to trap and recycle the air current created by its two fans. These small fins significantly increase the base’s cooling surface area and all this extra space goes a long way to keeping the cooler from becoming its own enemy.

Igloo_5750_heatpipe.JPG

Another partial fix is more of a "brute force" option: add more heatpipes. The more heatpipes, the more efficient the cooler and the more likely it is to perform well at higher thermal loads. Unfortunately, and unlike some other down draft coolers, the Igloo 5750 only has four short 6mm diameter heatpipes coming from only one side of the base plate. If GlacialTech had made the 5750 a “double 4” style cooler or even had designed it with eight of these short “half length” heatpipes this could have helped with this thermal load problem. Then again maybe 4 heatpipes was found to be the optimal solution.

Igloo_5750_pins_front.JPG

Still another solution avaible to enginers in combating down draft coolers thermal inefficiency is to give the cooler a large enough fan, thus enabling enough air movement to make this whole potential issue a moot point. After all, when finesse fails brute force usually doesn’t. There really is no such thing as overkill when it comes to cooling today’s CPU’s or as my grandpa used to say “when in doubt get a BIGGER hammer”. In the case of the Igloo 5750 Silent model, the fans used are 92x92x20mm meaning that they are not only smaller than most down draft’s 120mm fans they are also a lower profile. This means that they not only have to spin faster than 120mm fans to move the same amount of air, they even have to spin faster than normal full height 92x92x25mm fans. This coupled with the fact that this particular 5750 is marketed as having “silent” fans that rotate at a relatively slow 1400rpm does not instill confidence in the potential performance of this down draft cooler. However, it does have two of these small fans in a push - pull configuration so it does have some potential to outperform a single full height 92mm fan. Later in the review we will see just how good (or bad) these small fans are.

Please note: A “push – pull” configuration is where one fan (on one side of the heatsink) pushes air through the fins and over the heatpipes, and the other fan (conveniently located on the opposite side) “pulls” the now hotter and heavier air away from the cooler. In this instance the air is then blown down and over the coolers base plate.

On the positive side the fans themselves are securely mounted to the partially enclosed fin array with standard screws. This makes for a very secure mounting and does make swapping out a dead fan very easy. The down side to this style of mounting does mean that all the torque and vibrations from the fans are transferred directly to the heatpipes that are the sole means of support. We will talk about the fans in greater detail later in this review but for right now it is suffice to say that constant flexing and vibrations from these fans can be considered a major flaw in this units design, which could have been easily overcome with the inclusion of some sort of vibration dampening agent (e.g. springs or rubber washers or even rubber mounts instead of screws).

Igloo_5750_heatpipe_fins2.JPG
Igloo_5750_heatpipe_fins.JPG

As you can see, the cooling fins are fully enclosed on all sides by either metal shrouds. This does have the admirable advantage of protecting them from knocks and bangs. On the down side, since they are enclosed their cooling potential is actually slightly lowered and static pressure that the fans have to overcome is actually increased. As with all things engineering related, this is the end result of a series of compromises. The metal enclosure does cause the fans to work harder, but it also allows for a solid mounting surface for the fans and it gives added “Bling” to an otherwise average looking cooler. Overall, I think that GlacialTech made the right choice.

Igloo_5750_height.jpg

One thing worth mentioning is that while this can be considered “shorter” than some tower coolers it is by no means “short”. In fact it is about twice as high as the stock Intel 775 cooler. Its height was by no means an issue and in fact in a CoolerMaster CM690, we were able to keep the two door mounted 120mm fans on and still close the case door with room to spare. However, the Igloo is a bit too high to fit into most HTPC cases.

Igloo_5750_TIM.JPG

Also on the positive side the Igloo 5750 came with its own Thermal Interface Material (aka "TIM"). It came pre-applied and was a grease base TIM and not the cheaper (and older) wax pad style. However, as we will show later, one should really invest an additional few dollars and apply a good after market TIM like Arctic Cooling MX-2 or Arctic Silver AS5.

Igloo5750_base.jpg

Here you can see that the base is even and but does show some major tooling marks. It should have been polished a lot more before leaving the factory. It is not the worst polished base we have seen but it is not the best either. Overall, the level of quality at this price point is below average.
 
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AkG

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Fan Design / Bearing Information

Fan Design

Igloo_5750_fan.JPG

Each 92mm, 7 blade fan use on Igloo is rated to spin at constant 1400 rpm. At this speed it can move over 21.18 cubic feet of air per minute and is rated at ultra low 15.2 decibels

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What is interesting is the fact that GlacialTech opted for a 4 pin fan connector. I find this curious as this is a constant speed fan that can not take advantage of either PWM or Voltage changes. The easiest and likeliest answer is that it was cheaper for GlacialTech to spec one connector for both the “PWM” and “Silent” models of the Igloo. In any case, if your motherboard does not support 4 pin headers (such as older 939 systems) it does not matter. Let the extra pin “hang over” the edge, as it is not like that 4th pin actually does anything.

Igloo_5750_fan.JPG

As for construction, GlacialTech opted for “Superred” Cheng Home Elctronic Co. Ltd CHB9212ABS-A low profile fans. These fans are made from light black plastic with standard 92mm mounting holes and a full frame design. In a nutshell these fans look like a regular 92mm fan except they have a thinner profile and thus the fan blades have a shallower profile as well. This also means that unlike the stock cooler with its “frameless” design air can only be channeled in from above the fan. This has the potential for creating more air turbulence, and thus more noise. This is something that you most certainly do not want on a CPU cooler with the term “silent” in its name.

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The 5750 uses standard 92mm x 20mm 1B1S bearing fans so if the fans included do not meet your needs or you want PWM fans that have a higher rpm (yet can idle even slower) it should be relatively simple and straightforward to replace them. Of course you will have to splice the two fans into one connector but that too is a fairly straightforward proposition.

Rather that rely on MTBF numbers, an easier and better way to get a “feel” for what the manufacturer thinks is the real length of time a product should last is too simply look at the length of warranty provided. The length of warranty has been calculated to be long enough so that customers feel secure in purchasing it BUT still short enough that it will be “out of warranty” when most fail. Taken for what its worth, GlacialTech’s Igloo 5750 comes with a 1 year warranty.


Bearing Information (The 1B1S Bearing Explained)

Before continuing I would like to explain exactly what 1B1S or “1 ball, 1 sleeve” really means, and why it is a less than optimal long term solution for a silent cooling solution.

As I am sure you are all aware a computer fan is nothing more than a regular old “axial fan” that has been with us long before electricity was discovered, just on a smaller scale. This type of fan relies on a spinning shaft with blades to force air past itself in a parallel orientation. The easiest way to think of how they work is to imagine the axle of you car. The axle transfers the energy of your “engine” to your wheels, which in turn spin and move the car. In this case the engine is magnets mounted on the axel and around it. Electricity causes the magnets to have the same N/S pole orientation (which reverses themselves very quickly, yet always in sync with each other) which in turn causes them to repel each other, this creates a spinning force which intern rotates the blades on the end of the axel.

As with any moving mechanical parts you need a way to reduce friction and keep the axel (or Rotor in our case) from seizing or even welding itself to the sides of the shaft. This is where bearings come in. For the sake of our discussion, lets us keep it simple and say that there really are only two main types of bearings: “Sleeved” and “ball bearing”. In both types of design the bearing surface is stationary and only the Rotor/axel spins.


Sleeved Bearing Design

sleeve_bearing.gif

In a sleeved bearing design the Rotor (or axel) is nearly literally surrounded by a sleeve of metal, and there is the potential for contact between the bearing and the Rotor for almost the entire circumference of the Rotor axel. This porous metal (almost always bronze) is impregnated with lubrication, and the space between the sleeve and the Rotor is also packed with lubrication. The rotation of the Rotor causes a thin film to quickly build up between it and the bearing; thus reducing metal to metal contact to almost zero for the entire length of the bearing. It is for this reason that sleeve bearings are extremely quite and stay quite almost up to the point of failure. Their noise is best described as low pitched hum (think of a muted bass guitar’s low note hum).

However, since there must be a small gap between the Rotor and the bearing surface the lubrication does have a tendency to outgas or evaporate under normal use. When the lubrication is gone so it the friction reducing effects of the bearing. This is when sleeves become very noisy very quickly, worse still is the fact that the majority of the lubrication has to be of an thin oil to achieve the goal of its design. Because it is thin oil and not a “grease” it does not last as long as a ball bearing design which relies on more “grease” based lubrications. Worse is the fact that it is not a feasible proposition to refill them as the Rotor and bearing are not an end user replaceable part. However, this design is a very durable design that is more shock resistant than ball bearing designs. This is due to the fact that there are no small delicate springs to be damaged. Anything that can damage the sleeve also causes catastrophic failure of the fan. Their biggest weakness is the fact that they should only be mounted w/ the Rotor in a horizontal orientation, any other orientation and gravity works against the principles of the thin oil layer, making lubrication (pardon the pun) spotty at best.


Double Ball Bearing Design

2b_bearing.gif

What the number preceding “ball bearing” refers too is not the number of balls but the number of “races” or rings of ball bearings a true ball bearing design has. In a true ball bearing design there is two of these rings of ball bearings working together to stabilize and reduce friction of the Rotor. One is on the “inner” or bottom edge of the Rotor and the other is on the “outer” or top edge of the Rotor. These races of ball bearings are the only two points of contact between the shaft of the fan and the Rotor. What this means is that while the bearing surface is smaller than that of a sleeved design, the amount of stress is greater. These two small points of contact are all that keep the Rotor from becoming unstable and slamming into the side of the shaft. Due to the inherent nature of the design ball bearings to produce more noise than sleeved bearings from the begging and they do get nosier as they age.

This is caused by the fact that it has multiple small spinning balls that are being held in place by tension, so you not only have the main bearing surface friction to deal with it also has to deal with the spring to ball friction as well. This additional friction causes additional noise. This of course is an oversimplification of the flaws of the ball bearing design. However, take my word for when I say that a sleeved bearing produces not only less noise, but the noise it does produce is not as noticeable or annoying as ball bearing noise (think high pitched electric guitar vs bass guitar).

Ball bearings not only produce more noise they are also a lot more delicate than their sleeved counterparts. This is because the springs and ball themselves are extremely small and have to be precisely in alignment for them to work. A ball bearing fan can receive shock that will not damage the exterior of the fan but will damage the bearing raceways.

Please do not get me wrong, ball bearings due have their positive aspects. The biggest of which is that can take higher temperatures, which would kill a sleeved bearing. This is mainly due to the fact that they are a sealed bearing meaning that they can have thicker lubricants that are more resistant to burn off. Add in a longer life expectancy, and the fact they are not as sensitive to mounting orientation and you do have the makings of a fairly nice fan design, albeit, a louder than necessary one.


1 Ball, 1 Sleeve Bearing Design

1b_bearing.gif

Recent innovations have made not only sleeved bearings more durable, but they also have made ball bearings quieter. Unfortunately the “1 ball, 1 sleeve” design is neither a new design nor an improvement over either of the others. In a nut shell this design seems as if it was designed by a committee. On paper it should have some of the added durability of a ball bearing design, and it should have some of the noise reducing properties of a sleeved design. However, the real world is not a paper world and in the real world that committee did get some things right and some things wrong. In the real world the 1b1s design does have a lifetime similar to a true 2 ball bearing design. They are also slightly more heat resistant (still below 70c) and shock resistant (depends on where the shock occurs…ball bearing “end” vs “sleeved” end). They are also less sensitive to orientation and are in fact just as good as a true ball bearing design in this area. However, in my opinion in the only area worth improving on is that of noise, here they not only got it wrong, they got it completely wrong. In this one important area, 1B1S’s are not only louder than sleeved, they can be even louder and even more whinny then 2 Ball Bearing designs and just like 2BB’s they get worse as they age (think badly tuned high note on a electric guitar vs. a classic Fender Stratocaster). Not exactly a great tradeoff in my opinion.

To understand what 1B1S is, one simply has to look at a diagram of it. It becomes quite clear that all the 1b1s design team did was to cut both a ball bearing shaft and a sleeved shaft in half and meld the two together. Literally, one surface area (usually the outer race way) is a ball bearing design and the other half is a bronze sleeved bearing. In the end, 1B1S’s do have their own pro’s and con’s but what on earth made GlacialTech decide on this design when they wanted to make a “silent” heatsink? It is certainly not playing to its strengths, and the only logical reason we could think of was the fact that 1B1S’s designed fans are cheaper than 2 ball bearing fans. This is one area where you should not cut corners, especially if you are trying to cater to a fanatical market niche like the “Silent PC” crowd!
 

AkG

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Installation

Installation

Igloo_5750_pin.JPG
Igloo5750_front_pins.jpg

As stated earlier, and like most other coolers in its price range, the Igloo 5750 Silent does NOT come with a back reinforcing plate. Rather, it relies on standard mounting pins to support its weight. While weighing in at a relatively svelte 508 grams is not problem since Intel's specify a maximum weight of 550 grams, it IS a problem for AMD systems. AMD’s maximum recommended weight is 450 grams or nearly 13% less. While one can understand the reasoning behind this cost saving measure it does show that any AMD compatibility considerations were done as an afterthought. This would also explain why it comes ready to be installed on an Intel 775 system, yet you have to do some extra installation work to make it fit an AMD system.

Igloo_5750_pins_front.JPG
Igloo5750_front_pins2.jpg

In most cases this lack of backplate could be considered a "feature", since it would make it fairly quick & easy to install on an Intel 775 system. Unfortunately, this was not the case with the Igloo 5750. The first issue that makes installation a hassle is that the amount of space between its lowest fan and the 4 base plunger connectors is very cramped. Making things even worse is the fact that the “front” two plungers are located underneath the bottom fan. While they are only recessed by approximately an inch or so, this means that you can’t apply force directly down on the plungers; rather, you have to bend your finger in and around the bottom fan and use leverage to push the plungers all the way down. This can be complicated by mounting direction, in that if your motherboard has any large heatsinks the amount of room you have to work with is even further reduced.

In the end, it was found that removing the motherboard and installing then Igloo 5750 was much easier and less time consuming than trying to install it while in a computer case. It was also found that removal of the 5750 was also much easier when the motherboard was outside the computer case. With it in the case the sometimes cramped conditions did not leave enough room to properly turn the plungers so that they could “pop” free. The worst combination found was when the heatpipes were pointed towards either the video card or the memory. When in these two orientations the plunger nearest the top rear of the case was almost impossible to properly seat or unseat.

Igloo5750_memory_side.jpg
Igloo5750_cooler_heatpipe_side.jpg

On the positive side, you can install this cooler in any direction you wish, without fear of it touching any surrounding parts. Even better is the fact that it did not seem to make any difference which way you do mount it, as it will give equal performance whether pointed up, down, left or right. Orientation also did not affect motherboard temperatures in any way. They were just as good as when the stock cooler was installed, but they were no worse either. It also did not matter how many fans are installed in the system. Even when 4 of the 6 120mm Scythe fans in our case were disabled, and while temperatures did rise, they were within 1 degree c for both the Igloo as the Intel stock coolers (with the Igloo being slightly cooler). If your motherboard has a different cooling setup than a Gigabyte DS4 or Asus Maximus then the Igloo 5750’s orientation may make a difference…or it may not. Only with trial and error will you be able to decide if your motherboard prefers a particular mounting orientation.

Igloo_5750_TIM.JPG

Staying on the positive side, the Igloo 5750 came with its own Thermal Interface Material (aka "TIM"). It came pre-applied and was a grease base TIM and not the cheaper (and older) wax pad style. However, as we will show later, one should really invest an additional few dollars and apply a good after market TIM like Arctic Cooling MX-2 or Arctic Silver AS5. This makes installing this cooler a bit easier for novices.

Igloo_5750_AMD.JPG

Overall, this can considered a quirky heatsink to install for Intel 775 systems. Depending on your level of experience this can be a huge deciding factor on if you purchase the Igloo or not. After all, not everyone has the time, inclination or even the comfort level to remove a motherboard and then re-install it. If you are planning on using it on a AMD system expect the installation time to be at least double what it was for Intel systems as you do have to swap out the 775 hardware mounting and install either the 939 or AM2 kit. Overall this was not a user friendly heatsink to work with and you should really plan out in advance how you are going to install it; or better still, remove the motherboard first and then install it outside the case.
 

AkG

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Subjective Tests

Subjective Tests

These test are the main tests I do on any aftermarket part that I am planning on using in a build. If they don’t sound or feel "right" I bin them and use alternatives. Whether that means a completely different brand or just another one from a different batch greatly depends on the priorities of the build (i.e. noise vs. performance vs. longevity vs. style vs. cost).


Finger Spin Test

Just as the name suggests I give the unplugged fan a quick spin with my right hand index finger while holding it vertically in my left. This is done to see how much friction a fan produces (via the length of time it takes to stop and perceived speed at which it rotates); but mainly it is done to feel how well balanced the fan is. If the fan feels unstable then it is most likely unbalanced. This fan may have a drastically reduced life expectancy and may catastrophically fail taking other computer parts with it.

The GlacialTech fans produce a fairly muted whirring/clicking sound that is common in ball bearing fans. This noise is not very pronounced but it was certainly was present. However, it did not have any wobble or make any loud obvious noises that signify an unbalanced or poorly made fan. While it sounded better than a lot of ball bearing fans I have heard it was not anywhere near as good as a true sleeved bearing fan. Overall it felt well balanced but not overly smooth. I do have to wonder how well it will work when hot, dirty and for extended periods of use.


Noise and Vibration

While holding the fan in my left hand, I plug in the fan into a 3 to 4 pin molex adapter (in this case letting the 4 pin “hang over”) and then turn on the computer. This way the fan is running at full speed and I can easily feel for any vibration it creates and listen for any noise. I do this while holding the heatsink in the orientation that it will be when installed. In this instance, I held it horizontally (both “up” and then “down”).

Considering the speed at which these fans run the Igloo 5750 was quiet but it did create some felt vibrations. Overall it did not feel like a sleeved bearing fan, rather is felt like a poorly implemented ball bearing fan. While the amount of vibrations was small, one does have to wonder what accumulative effect these vibrations will have on integrity of the unit in the long term.


Tap Test

While holding the heatsink and fan in my left had I gently “tap” both the heatsink and then the fan. In the case of the heatsink it allows you to hear and feel how well made it is. In this instance the unit felt fragile and too flexable to me. I am sure that the heatpipes are more than robust enough for their intended purpose but extra attention was taken during installation. The Igloo 5750 felt like if it was dropped or knocked off the side of the case then it would become damaged or break into two pieces.

The fans themselves didn’t have much “slop” or forwards and backwards motion to the rotor assembly, which is good as it should help keep the spinning fan from becoming off balanced. Overall they felt and acted like a good sleeved bearing design. As long as loose, “hanging down” wires are not an issue I am sure that the fan blades are more that adequate for their intended purpose. They did however exhibit a lot of flex when tapped and overall felt and looked cheap.

There was a surprisingly large amount of flex when the fan and fin assembly was tapped. This flex was of course the heatpipes themselves flexing and it certainly was not a reassuring sight to behold. I truly doubt that they will break from someone using the fans and fin assembly to position the base properly or “rotate” the TIM in place, but I wouldn’t completely trust it to not break either.

The fins themselves also feel less than sturdy but as they are enclosed on all sides by either fans or metal this is moot point. They are more than strong enough not warp under heat and that is the only criteria that they have to meet. Overall, the approximately 40 fins are more than adequate for the job and should me more than durable as well to meet the demands placed upon them.


Weight and Construction

This test consists mainly on how it "feels" in your hands.

The Igloo 5750 has a very striking to look to it. It is flashy and is a unique enough design that it will look very good in a windowed case. This would be doubly true if you swap out the fans for fans with LED’s. However, its construction did leave a lot to be desired. Yes it is lighter than a lot other down draft fans, it is by no means a light weight. It does still weigh over pound and most of its weight is in the fan and fin assembly. Relying on the heatpipes to support the fan and fin assembly’s full weight does not instill confidence and it screamed “corner cutting” and “cost overruns”.

Overall it felt and looked like a CPU cooler that the engineers had to make too many compromises on to keep it in its intended price range.
 

AkG

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Testing Methodology

Testing Methodology

All comparison testing was done on a closed case system with an ambient temperature of 15c. Recorded temps were as reported via Prime95 and confirmed with CoreTemp. Average load temps were taken after 15 minutes of running Prime95 v25.3 and are taken directly from Prime95’s temperature text file. MS Excel was used to average the results of all cores (whether it was 2 in the case of the e4600 or 4 in the q6600). Idle temps were taken 15 minutes after Load testing ceased. Motherboard temperatures were recorded using SpeedFan.

Except where noted, Arctic Cooling MX-2 thermal paste was used for all tests. Application of thermal paste was according to manufacturer's instructions, and allowed to cure for 24 hours under moderate load prior to testing. All tests were run 4 times and only best results are represented.

e4600_stock.jpg
q6600_stock.jpg

The “Intel Stock Cooler” mentioned in the following results are actually two separate coolers both of which came with the CPUs . The e4600 is the smaller aluminum base style cooler while the q6600 OEM cooler is aluminum and copper design. The Thermalright Ultima 90 is used for comparison and contrast only. Unlike the Igloo 5750, the Ultima 90 does not come with its own fan. For this review it was paired with a Scythe F 120mm fan.


Notes about Overclocking

For e4x00’s that use 1.28volts I consider 1.4 volts to be the most that I would seriously consider for a moderate-to-long term overclock. Yes you can go much higher but the longevity of the cpu is then called into question. For the same reason, I consider 1.45volts to be highest that I would comfortably go with a Q6600. Just as importantly all Intel’s CPU’s should max out at LESS than 60c as this is also what I consider the safest, maximum long term overclocking temp. For the purposes of these tests I was willing to overlook temperatures as long as they stayed below 65c and did not peak over 70c.

With these two general guidelines I overclocked both systems until either one (or both) of these "rules" was needed to be broken to continue.

Overclocking was accomplished by increasing FSB speed and then Vcore (only if necessary).

Before testing for idle and max temperatures Orthos was run for 1 hour to make sure that it was stable at a given overclock and voltage. If both finished with no errors SuperPi set to 32m was run twice. After the stability testing was accomplished the given system was allowed to sit idle for 30minutes before starting the official tests. IF both of the above stated guidelines were not broken then testing continued with an increased overclock. These steps were then repeated until 1 or both of the general guidelines were broken.

As they have no bearing on these tests the RAM’s voltage and timings are not recorded, the RAM was set to run at or as close to as possible PC-6400 speeds by running various cpu : memory dividers. Please do not consider this a full “how to” review on overclocking or “safe guidelines” for overclocking nor even an indicator on how well a given CPU will overclock. IF you are interested in OC’ing your system, and use these guidelines we at HWC take no responsibility for the results. Bad Things can happen if you are not careful.

Complete Test System:

Processor: e4600 or Q6600
Motherboard: Gigabyte p35 DS4
Memory: 4GB G.Skill PC2-6400
Graphics card: XFX 7200gt 128mb
Hard Drives: 1x Western Digtal Se16 500GB
Power Supply: Thermaltake Purepower RX 600W
Case: Cooler Master 690 w/ 6 Scythe E fans
 

AkG

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Intel E4600 Temperature Testing

E4600 Temperature Testing

E4600 Maximum Idle Temperatures

e4600_idle.jpg


With MX-2 TIM the Intel stock cooler does do a credible job of keeping this dual chip cool, but it was outclassed by the Igloo 5750. Even the Thermalright Ultima was only able to reduce its idle temperature one degree celcius further. This slight difference may be in part due to MX-2 vs. Stock TIM that was used on the 5750. However, the Igloo’s 5750 fan was more noticeable than the stock cooler which was idling at only 700+rpms. It should also be noted that due to the loads on the CPU being so minimal during idle, there was very little seperation between the different coolers we tested here.


E4600 Avgerage Load Temperature

e466_load.jpg


This is where it gets interesting, and you can really see why spending extra dollars for an aftermarket cooler is worth it. Not only was the Intel Stock cooler completely outclassed by the Igloo 5750, but at higher loads and overclocks, it produces an incredible amount of noise. At an overclocked speed of 3.2GHz the stock cooler's fan was moving as fast as it could and was VERY noticeable above the other fans in the case. Whereas the Igloo’s 5750’s constant speed was just as “quiet” at 3.3GHz as it was when the system was idling. Please note that while the 5750 was quiet it was still noticeable above background fan noise. Overall, this is a good first result for the Igloo.

Testing was stopped at 3.5GHz due to the fact that my e4600 can only go that far with 1.4 volts.
 

AkG

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Q6600 Temperature Testing / TIM Performance

Q6600 Temperature Testing


Q6600 Idle Temperatures

q6600_idle.jpg


This Kentsfield quad produces much more heat while evening idling. Once again the 5750 was able to easily handle its thermal load and was very quiet while doing it even though the processor would lock while at higher speeds. Of course, the Ultima 90’s more efficient design did start to highlight the Igloo’s limitations.


Q6600 Average Load Temperatures

q6600_load.jpg


This really shows the design limitations of the Igloo 5750. While it was much better than stock and while it did allow for a better OC, its constant RPM fans really started to struggle under the increase thermal loads. It was just as quiet at 3.2GHz as it was when at 2.4GHz but the numbers really do suffer for it. It should be noted however that if you are using an overclocked quad core processor, Glacialtech recommends the Igloo PWM model instead of the Silent model we are reviewing today.

Please note: the Ultima 90 was not at its thermal limits, rather this is how far this particular q6600 will OC with 1.45volts. If we had been willing to increase the vCore to 1.5 volts 3.6GHz is possible but it is outside our comfort zone.


Stock Thermal Compound Performance

stock_vs_MX2.jpg


One of the concerns with a budget cooling solution is that the included thermal paste may not perform as well as retail thermal pastes. With this in mind, we will attempt to provide comparisons between included thermal paste and a quality retail thermal paste for our air cooling reviews. In this instance Arctic Cooling MX-2 was used as a comparison and contrast between the factory applied TIM.

In the case of the Igloo 5750, a quite a significant difference was found between the factory stock compound and MX-2. While the differences are minor, they are still significant enough not to be discarded as a statistical anomaly due to slight temperature and/or humidity difference during testing conditions.

If one is so inclined, removing the pre-applied TIM and using an aftermarket thermal compound can help increase the effectiveness of this CPU cooler. Not everyone has the aptitude or willingness to do this, and in the end it is safe to say that the factory applied TIM is a decent choice, not a great choice but still decent. However, this minor additional time and expense does make sense and will pay dividends if you are looking for as low a temperature as possible or even a slightly higher overclock.
 
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