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Titan Fenrir and Skalli CPU Coolers Review

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AkG

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Titan Fenrir & Skalli CPU Coolers Review





Today we are going to look at another new comer to HWC: Titan Technology Ltd. While Titan Tech is not exactly a well known company they do have over 20 years of manufacturing experience under their belts. Way back in 1989, a small Taipei based company called “Sogic Computer Co.” was founded and out of this small seed grew Titan Technology Ltd since back in 1992 the Sogic name was changed to Titan and the rest as they say is history. Titan is now a multinational company offering not only CPU cooling solutions but also a myriad of other cooling related items such as fans and GPU coolers. They even have their own factories to build their designs (located in China) which ensures higher quality standards are met throughout the production process.

In this review, we will be looking at a pair of Titans: the Fenrir and the Skalli. The Fenrir really needs no introduction as it has been making the rounds as one of the premier (if not THE premier) H.D.T cooler out there and we are really looking forward to putting this beastly product through the wringer. The Skalli on the other hand is another matter all together, and is aimed at a completely different market niche. While the Fenrir is aimed at high overclocking enthusiasts (or the silent PC enthusiast), the Skalli caters to those with smaller case environments or who will delve into moderate overclocking which requires a low noise, budget friendly cooling solution. This philosophy is accentuated by it’s used of “only” two 8mm heatpipes in its HDT base and a smaller, slower 100mm case-less fan.

Even though both products represent totally different target markets, they will surely provide an excellent comparison to one another and show exactly what both budget minded and enthusiast consumers can expect.

We should also note that we just recently introduced our new and improved testing methodology in the all-encompassing “7 Cooler Roundup”. However while we felt that this methodology did make for “apples to apples” comparison we also acknowledge that improvements can always be made and have done just that. As with most enthusiasts we spend a lot of time, effort and money actively looking for the coolest running CPU we can find. This may be will and fine for a end user it does make reviewing air coolers more difficult and can skew the potential of a given after market cooling solution. To this end we have found an older, hotter running “C0” stepping 920 which will really weed out the pretenders from the pack.

<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Air_Cooling/Titan/twins.jpg" border="0" alt="" />
 
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AkG

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Meet the Coolers

fenrir_logo.jpg


Titan Fenrir



Manufacturer's Product Page: Click Here
Part Number: TTC-NK85TZ
Tekwiki: Titan Fenrir TTC-NK85TZ - TechWiki
Availability: Limited in Canada
Price: ~$50 USD


The Fenrir is built from the ground up to not only challenge the best of the best but also BE the best of the best. As such, it uses four massive 8mm heat pipes in direct contact with the CPU to help keep it cool and is backed up by an impressive looking fin array. To help it become the best on multiple systems, Titan has included mounting equipment for both Intel 775 & 1366 as well as AMD systems. On paper this sounds like one hell of a powerful cooling solution.

Unfortunately, the Titan Fenrir is almost impossible to find in Canada right now and about the easiest place to find it is from an e-tailer located in the US. If by chance some major deity takes a liking to you and intercedes on your behalf and you do find the Fenrir in Canada, expect to pay about $55 to $60 since goes for about $53USD right now from FrozenCPU. This is actually not too much coin to ask for a CPU cooling solution of this (supposed) calibre but it is not exactly inexpensive either.

While the Fenrir does sport 8mm heatpipes, the devil is in the details as performance of HDT coolers really comes down to execution. After all, we have be disappointed in the past by ill-refined yet massively built HDT coolers so while this cooling solution has great potential on paper, things could go horribly wrong.

fenrir_mfg.jpg




skalli-logo.jpg


Titan Skalli



Manufacturer's Product Page: Click Here
Part Number: TTC-NC05TZ
Tekwiki: Titan Skalli - TechWiki
Availability: limited
Price: ~$39 USD


While the Fenrir is all about being the biggest and the best, the Titan Skalli is more about refinement, ease of use and silence. While it “only” sports two heatpipes in direct contact with the CPU they are the massive 8mm units and as such may surprise us when once the rubber meets the road. Also unlike its massive brother. this cooler supports not only AMD, Intel 775 & 1366 but also the new 1156 systems (1156 is sported by the new V2 Fenrir but our sample was the older, original model).

The Titan Skalli is also as rare as hen teeth here in Canada and once again your best bet is to look south of the border. Since Titan seems to be a forward thinking company we would not be too surprised if this availability issue changed sometime in the future but as it stands, you can find it in American e-tailers for about $39 USD. This is in the high end of the budget orientated price range and it has some fierce competition coming from every angle. The big question we have is how well is it going to do and is it worth not only your hard earned money over better known competitors.

We really wonder if its dual heatpipes (8mm or not) backed up by a much smaller fin array with a smaller fan have what it takes to make the grade. While we will not be holding it to the same level of expectation as the Fenrir, it still has to perform on the testbed or we are not going to be impressed.

skalli_mfg.jpg

 
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AkG

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Titan Fenrir Specifications

Titan Fenrir Specifications



fenrir_specs.jpg

fenrir_specs2.jpg

fenrir_specs3.jpg


fenrir_5.jpg
fenrir_11.jpg

 
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AkG

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Titan Skalli Specifications

Titan Skalli Specifications


<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Air_Cooling/Titan/skalli_specs.jpg" border="0" alt="" />
<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Air_Cooling/Titan/skalli_specs2.jpg" border="0" alt="" />

<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Air_Cooling/Titan/skalli_5.jpg" border="0" alt="" /> <img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Air_Cooling/Titan/skalli_6.jpg" border="0" alt="" />
 
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AkG

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A Closer Look at the Titan Fenrir

A Closer Look at the Titan Fenrir


Titan_Fenrir_box_f_sm.jpg

OK, lets get this out of the way first and then take a fair & balanced look at the Fenrir: we HATE clam shell packaging. To us nothing says “we think our potential customers are criminals” more than heat sealed clamshell packaging. Who in their right mind would try to five finger discount a box this big? Sigh, OK now that our blood pressure is back down under 180 / 105 lets take a closer look at this “box”.

After noticing the heat sealed clamshell packaging, the next thing we noticed was the fact that the thin plastic membrane doesn't do too well at protecting its contents from the more likely suspects: gravity and blunt force trauma.

Titan_Fenrir_box_b_sm.jpg

On the positive side, the box is colourful and contains massive quantities of data about the Fenrir which resides inside. We also liked the fact that the fan is on prominent display in all its chromed goodness. In case you do not know your Norse methodology well enough lets just say “Fenrir” is a giant wolf that is supposed to kill Odin during end of the world battle called Ragnarök.

Titan_Fenrir_box_open_sm.jpg

Opening this “box” is an exercise in patience and dexterity but like many clam shell schemes, box cutters or scissors makes the task fairly easy. That being said, Titan certainly puts a lot of faith in the sturdiness of their design but helping to cushion the Fenrir of blunt force trauma is a layer of cardboard and another pair of internal plastic “boxes” in which the Fenrir and fan reside. It may not be the best protection scheme we have seen, but it is far, far from the worst either; and does elevate this scheme from unworthy to decent.

Titan_Fenrir_access_sm.jpg

Moving on to the list of accessories we can say that we were impressed by the bountiful offerings which do go a long way to overcoming our distaste for the Fenrir clamshell packaging. As with most of the big boys in the CPU cooling world, this is a backplate supported cooler which comes with support for Intel 775, 1366 and AMD systems. Recently, Titan released the “Fenrir V2” which basically adds support for Intel 1156 systems so if you do have a newer 1156 system be on the look out for the second version of this cooler. You also get an installation instruction pamphlet and tube of “Royal Grease” TIM. Rounding out the list of accessories is a 4pin to 3pin low noise adaptor which reduces the speed to about 1300rpms (think Noctua Low Noise adaptor…for a MUCH faster fan). While you can just let the extra pin overhang your motherboard if the board doesn't support PWM, this adaptor is a nice touch which will make for a cleaner looking and quieter install.

Titan_Fenrir_ang_sm.jpg
Titan_Fenrir_complete_sm.jpg

While the Fenrir may not be as heavy as a log like some of the other big coolers we have looked at in the past, it is certainly no lightweight when it comes to the design and construction of its fin array. One of the biggest issues we have with many HDT coolers is not the fact that they have been paired with an inadequate fin array. You can literally have the most efficient means of sucking heat away from the CPU but but if the heatpipes cannot be in turn effectively cooled, your CPU temperatures are going to be mediocre at best. We are glad to report that the Fenrir has one down right massive fin array which when paired with a good fan should result in some extremely good temperatures.

Titan_Fenrir_ang_bot_sm.jpg

Getting a bit more specific this cooler weighs about 550 grams (without the fan attached) and is 156mm x 124mm x 107mm in size. All in all it is on the higher end of the weight and size spectrum for HDT coolers, but like we said earlier is isn't in the Super Heavyweight weight category either.

Titan_Fenrir_top_sm.jpg

In an interesting twist, the tops of the heatpipes have not been capped or covered and are on display for all to see. We say that this is interesting and noteworthy as it is obvious that Titan has spent a lot of time and effort in the ascetics department but seems to have missed the boat when it came to cleaning up those heatpipes.

Titan_Fenrir_top_side_sm.jpg
Titan_Fenrir_heatpipes_row_sm.jpg

Moving onto the fins themselves, and helping to explain the X design of the fin array we can see that much like the OCZ vendetta 2 (we reviewed HERE awhile back) the fins have indentations stamped into them to help funnel the air flow. This should help keep the air from escaping out the sides before cooling the heatpipes. It also looks like the four large heatpipes of this cooler have not been offset and are actually lined up in a straight “front to back” row, much like the Prolimatech coolers use.
 
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AkG

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A Closer Look at the Titan Fenrir Cont'd

A Closer Look at the Titan Fenrir


Titan_Fenrir_front_on_sm.jpg
Titan_Fenrir_face_sm.jpg

Much like some coolers we have seen in the past, the Fenrir cannot mount a second fan with out some sort of “ghetto mod”. This certainly does put this cooler at a disadvantage as nine times out of ten…two mediocre fans will beat one great fan. On the positive side, the “face” of the Fenrir is not a slab-sided affair and should help not only reduce static pressure but also help channel the air away from the edges and keep it in the fin array (or at least keep it in there long enough to cool the heatpipes).

Titan_Fenrir_heatpipes_sm.jpg

When we took a look at the base of this cooler we come to the real magic of its design. While it may not be the first large U shaped 8mm heatpipe based designed CPU cooling solution we have looked at, this may be the first that has the makings of a winner. Taken as a whole this makes the Fenrir’s heatpipes so “wide” that Titan has to bend the heatpipes in towards each other to make sure that all are touching the CPU. We have a feeling that this cooler has been designed for larger, higher TDP CPUs such as the Intel i7 series and as such may not be totally effective when paired with a smaller Intel 775 pin style CPU.

Titan_Fenrir_base_sm.jpg

Taking a close look at the actual base of this cooler we can see that it is well polished and there are very minor gaps between the aluminum pillars and the flattened heatpipes. The Titan Fenrir’s base is right up there in terms of finishing quality with the Cooler Master Hyper 212+ in this crucial area. In contrast, the Xigmatek Thor’s Hammer had a massive fin array but it lacked a good base and thus was unable to be all it could be.

Titan_Fenrir_fan_sm.jpg

The 120x25mm fan which accompanies the Fenrir appears to be an “in house” design by Titan which is labelled as TFD-12025H12ZP and is thus a “Z-Axis” high speed 120mm by 25mm thick fan. Titan states it runs between 800-2150RPMs while at its maximum speed it is rated to move 78.41 CFM of air and do it with an impressive 2.794mm (0.11inch) of static pressure. With its ability to go as low as 800rpms or as high as 2150, this (on paper) sounds like one mightily impressive fan which should stay fairly quiet for most of its operating range and only ramp up as necessary.

Titan_Fenrir_fan2_sm.jpg
Titan_Fenrir_4pin_sm.jpg

The “Z-Axis” moniker is a proprietary bearing design so details on it are slim to say the least. However, after touching and listening to it we feel fairly confident in saying this is a twist on the standard Rifle Bearing design. It does exhibit the same “click-clack” sound and feel that we have come to associate with rifle bearing fans, but it does this so subtly that it we may be wrong and it may be just a 2 ball bearing hybrid. While we put very little stock in “MTBF” numbers it is rated for 60,000 hours which does lend a lot of credence to our Rifle Bearing theory.

We should also mention that this fan is not only 4 pin PWM capable, but is also fully sheathed in a nice black nylon braid. This combined with the chromed blades does make for one down right striking and very clean setup.
 
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Titan Fenrir Intel LGA1366 Installation

Titan Fenrir LGA1366 Installation


As with most of the larger CPU cooler we have looked at, to begin the installation of the Fenrir you really should first start by removing the motherboard from your case so you can install the backplate.

Titan_Fenrir_backplate_sm.jpg
Titan_Fenrir_bracket_sm.jpg

Like many coolers on the market, the Fenrir takes a multi-purpose approach to the backplate and thus only needs to include two for all the supported systems. The first backplate is the multipurpose one for AMD and 775 systems, while the second separate one is for 1366.

To install this backplate, one simply lines up the proper mounting holes and inserts the four attached pillars through them. Having these pillars already attached does save a moments work for you and makes the installation on 1366 systems that much easier. It is little things like this that really shows that the engineers took the time to get the installation right.

Titan_Fenrir_bracket2_sm.jpg

Once the pillars are in place you can then gently lay the whole works down. While this backplate does not have any double sided tape to hold it in place, this is not that of big a deal as you just need to hold onto the protruding pillars to keep the backplate in position.

Titan_Fenrir_bracket3_sm.jpg

With the CPU prepped and ready to go, you simply grab the “all in one” top bracket (which is used for ALL system types) and thread it through the base of the Fenrir. This bracket has two small notches which line up with notches in the top of the base and thus secure the Fenrir in place. With this top plate in position you then gently lay the Fenrir down on top of the CPU; all the while making sure the four pillars of the backplate thread through their appropriate holes in the top plate.

Titan_Fenrir_install4_sm.jpg

With the top plate and Fenrir in position you then just have to thread on the large capped nuts and secure the entire works together. You need not worry about over tightening as the nuts are capped and thus can only go so far before being physically stopped by themselves.

Titan_Fenrir_fan_inst_sm.jpg
Titan_Fenrir_install5_sm.jpg

With the Fenrir heatsink installed and ready to go you just have to mount the include chromed fan to it which is accomplished via two wire brackets. These brackets fit into a notch running the entire length of either side of the Fenrir and like all wire retention brackets rely on tension to keep the fan in place. In a similar tweak to the Cooler Master Hyper 212+, yet not as easy to remove, these wire brackets have a large square indent which sticks out to aid in removal.

Titan_Fenrir_install1_sm.jpg
Titan_Fenrir_install2_sm.jpg

With the fan now mounted all that is left is to plug in the fan and reinstall the motherboard. Overall, this installation is fairly easy but we do have a few concerns over compatibility. When we mated the top plate with the four pillars, the top plate came with in micrometres of touching the main motherboard heatsink. If your motherboard’s heatsinks is even slightly larger than ours, you may not be able to install this cooler in the typical East / West orientation. The other issue we came across is that while the fin array starts up high enough to easily clear the other main motherboard heatsink (in this case the Northbridge one) the wire retention clip did come close to touching it. This is not that big a deal as its not likely to cause any issues,

Titan_Fenrir_install3_sm.jpg

On the positive side, the fan did NOT come in contact with our memory and there was a good centimetre or more distance between the two. All in all, if you desire to use this cooler on your system some in depth research may be needed, or as the old saying goes: “Caveat Emptor”.
 
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AkG

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Titan Fenrir AMD Installation

Titan Fenrir AMD Installation


On the AMD side of things, installation was almost as easy as when using an Intel system, but it does have a few extra steps to it. To start, your motherboard should be removed from its case you will then have to take off the standard AMD backplate and retention ring. This last step is needed as unlike many coolers, the fenrir comes with its own AMD backplate. The upside to having to do this is that, and unlike many you CAN install the Fenrir in a more typical East / West Orientation on an AMD system

Titan_Fenrir_amd_bracket_sm.jpg

While the 1366 install used the custom 1366 backplate, the AMD installation requires the use of the other “multipurpose” backplate. Simply line up the right holes in the base of the motherboard and thread the included screws through their appropriate holes. We recommend doing this one at a time as these screws secure the four top brass standoffs.

Titan_Fenrir_amd_bracket2_sm.jpg

The next step is actually the same as the Intel side of things as you need to grab the “all in one” top bracket and thread it through the based of the Fenrir. Then gently lower the Fenrir and top plate into position making sure that the four brass standoffs go through their appropriate holes in the top plate. When this is accomplished you then thread the capped nuts into place….just like the Intel install.

Titan_Fenrir_amd_install_sm.jpg
Titan_Fenrir_amd_ramblock_sm.jpg

All in all, it may be a little more complicated than the Intel installation but the ability to install this cooler in the more typical East / West orientation on an AMD system does in our opinion make up for the added effort. As with the Intel installation, we do have a few concerns about compatibility. However, and unlike the 1366 installation, we did not encounter any issues with the top plate coming into contact with anything. The only really potential stumbling point is that the wire retention brackets of the fan did come in contact with the tops of our Mushkin ram’s heat spreaders. While this ram is a little taller than some models, it is not that tall and if you are using more esoterically cooled memory modules, you may run into issues. However, the very fact that we did not have move the ram to alternative slots is impressive as we have found AMD motherboards to crowd the CPU cooler area more than most Intel motherboard do.
 
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A Closer Look at the Titan Skalli

A Closer Look at the Titan Skalli


Titan_Skalli_box_f_sm.jpg
In Norse Mythology Skoll (old Norse for Treachery) or Skalli depending on your translation to English is the son of Fenrir. Considering this cooler mounts a smaller fan and “only” has two 8mm heatpipes we can understand why Titan made this the Fenrir’s little brother. So while we can understand the naming scheme we have to ask: why does this smaller, less extreme and less expensive cooler get a better box than its bigger brother?

Titan_Skalli_box_b_sm.jpg

The box itself is festooned with details that will help a you make an informed decision on whether or not this is the right cooler for you. For shipping purposes, we aren't a fan of the window but we guess it is necessary if this thing is sold on store shelves.

Titan_Skalli_box_open_sm.jpg

While the external packaging design may differ from the Fenrir, one thing which is very similar is the internal protective scheme. For all intents and purposes, the Skalli comes enclosed in a large two piece plastic protective enclosure. This combined with the cardboard exterior does make a combination that is light weight yet more than capable of handling life’s bumps and bruises.

Titan_Skalli_access_sm.jpg

The list of accessories is on one hand a little more restrained than the Fenrir’s, but on the other hand it does include the necessary hardware for Intel 1156 support. In grand total you get a small tube of TIM, an instruction pamphlet, AMD retention bracket, 775 push-pin based brackets and dual 1156/1366 push-pin retention brackets which are already installed unto the Skalli. All in all, the quality is good but we wish this cooler came with a backplate as we are not fond lovers of aftermarket push-pin setups.

Titan_Skalli_ang_sm.jpg
Titan_Skalli_front_sm.jpg

Unlike its bigger brother the Fenrir, the Skalli is not really designed to be a massive overclock enabling beast. Rather it is all about low noise, low profile and ease of installation. It is with this thought running through our heads that we took a close look at the Skalli and walked away fairly impressed.

The Skalli is a fairly lightweight cooler which weighs only about 450 grams (approximately, with fan attached) and is (at its largest points in all three dimensions) 110mm x 95mm x 152mm. Needless to say its not exactly “small” but is more “right sized” for many consumers needs.

Titan_Skalli_top_sm.jpg

The biggest and most obvious difference between this cooler and the bigger Fenrir is size. While the Fenrir has a down right massive fin array this cooler has a fin array more reminiscent of a miniaturized Hyper 212+. What is an issue is how thin the fins are and their oddly scalloped, hour glass looking sides. On the positive side these smaller fins require a lower static pressure and slower fan to get the job done but in some ways they can also impede the airflow.

Titan_Skalli_clip_sm.jpg

Interestingly, the Skalli's fin array has the capability to mount two 100mm fans but unfortunately it is not only hard to find 100mm fans but Titan decided to only include one set of fan clips. On the positive side, this does mean you can mount its single fan on either side of the array so installation issues should be minimized. As a side note, Thermalright Ultima 90 fan clips will not fit this unit as the fin array is actually larger than most other 100mm coolers, which makes finding compatible fan clips next to impossible.
 
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A Closer Look at the Titan Skalli Cont'd

A Closer Look at the Titan Skalli


Titan_Skalli_caps_sm.jpg

To us if you can find two decent 100m fans and have a desire to swap out this cooler’s quiet and good looking fan you are most likely going to have to fabricate your own rentention clips from wire stock. That may not sound too hard but we really wish this cooler had mounted either a slightly smaller 92mm fan (and had accompanying smaller clips) or at the very least included as second set of these odd ball clips. On the positive side, the Skalli is a large dual U shaped 8mm thick heatpipe cooler and unlike its bigger quad wielding brother the Fenrir, the tops of the heatpipes have been capped in metal to give a very nice and clean look.

Titan_Skalli_face_sm.jpg

Since the Skalli is of a relatively small stature, it needs to rely on engineering to overcome its limitations so it is nice to see that the surface of the fins should help reduce the work load of its single fan.

Titan_Skalli_base_sm.jpg

Moving onto the base we were once again impressed by the level and quality and workmanship on display. Both the large metal brackets and heatpipes are polished to a mirror; however, where there are only two 8mm heatpipes to wick away heat from your CPU so we have to wonder if this cooler would be better suited for older (and smaller) CPUs like the venerable 775.

Titan_Skalli_fan_sm.jpg

As with the Fenrir cooler the 100x25mm fan which accompanies the Skalli appears to be an “in house” design made by Titan. This case-less fan is labeled as TFD-10025LL12ZP and is (like the Fenrir’s) marketed as a “Z-Axis” fan. Titan states it runs between 8000-1500RPMs. At its maximum speed this oddball fan is rated to move a moderate 46.58 CFM and do it with 1.27mm (0.05inch) of static pressure; all things considered this is fairly impressive given its size and speed.

With its ability to go as low as 800rpms yet max out at a moderate 1500rpms, this fan (on paper) sounds like it has been built from the ground up to be powerful enough, yet quiet enough to perform well in a variety of situations. We just wish it had either been slightly smaller (at a more typical 92mm) or larger (at 120mm) as either solution would have allowed for easier replacement with aftermarket fans; fans which may be more suited to your needs better than a “jack of all trades” fan like this one.

Titan_Skalli_4pin_sm.jpg

On the positive side the fan on the Skalli is 4 pin PWM capable and just like the Fenrir’s its wires are finished in a nice braided sheath. This combined with the fan's strikingly handsome chromed blades does make for one heck of a setup.
 
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