Roundup: Six Sub-$40 Performance CPU Coolers Compared

Xigmatek Gaia SD1283

The most impressive thing about Xigmatek’s Gaia might be that the company rolled most of its former improvements into a single $30 product.

The Gaia stats off with one of the smoothest direct-touch heat pipe bases that we’ve seen, a design that certainly reduces latent heat, while supposedly reducing CPU temperature. Our tests don’t measure latent heat, but CPU temperature will be a big part of the evaluation.

A groove directs airflow down the sink’s center, while partly-enclosed sides also help to reduce pressure loss. Unlike the similar effort from Gelid, Xigmatek’s Gaia is designed to support fans on both the front and back, if desired.

A universal support plate fits AMD sockets as well as LGA 1156, 1366, and 775. Xigmatek adds enough rubber pins to support a fan on each side of the Gaia, but only one is included in the package.

Long screws and spacer nuts attach the socket support plate to the motherboard, while the cooler’s mounting brackets are attached to the cooler base using smaller screws. The brackets engage the support plate’s screws using a second, shorter set of nuts.

AMD installation follows this same procedure, though the rectangular bracket allows the cooler to fit only one way. For most motherboards, the result is the preferred cross flow orientation.

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  • "Its incomprehensible that the Hyper 212 was left out of this kind of review. That decision makes this article worthless."


    Read the article before posting please.
    22
  • amk09i wished you included a cooler such as the coolermaster hyper 212, that seems to be a highly recommended cooler and it would have been nice to see how it squared up against these ones.
    We did:
    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/lga-1156-heatsink,2535-4.html
    That's why the same system was used for both tests. It's all mentioned in the article, too.
    18
  • i wished you included a cooler such as the coolermaster hyper 212, that seems to be a highly recommended cooler and it would have been nice to see how it squared up against these ones.
    13
  • Other Comments
  • i wished you included a cooler such as the coolermaster hyper 212, that seems to be a highly recommended cooler and it would have been nice to see how it squared up against these ones.
    13
  • amk09i wished you included a cooler such as the coolermaster hyper 212, that seems to be a highly recommended cooler and it would have been nice to see how it squared up against these ones.
    We did:
    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/lga-1156-heatsink,2535-4.html
    That's why the same system was used for both tests. It's all mentioned in the article, too.
    18
  • Its incomprehensible that the Hyper 212 was left out of this kind of review. That decision makes this article worthless.
    -23
  • "Its incomprehensible that the Hyper 212 was left out of this kind of review. That decision makes this article worthless."


    Read the article before posting please.
    22
  • Sorry, I read your Opening page, the thermal results page, and the conclusion page. Did I miss how these products compare to the Hyper 212?
    -20
  • ^ Or water cooling. It was a great article but, How about comparing to Hydro cooling and add an AMD system too. Intel is great at generating heat, AMD is better thought!
    -4
  • How did the Zalman CNPS10X Performa get into this review at $35?
    -10
  • was waiting for this kind of article for some time now, thanks toms. Loved the article, thinking about to go with Zalman's Cooler.
    1
  • duk3How did the Zalman CNPS10X Performa get into this review at $35?
    It was $35. It went up at Newegg about a week ago, but if you look around enough you might find the launch price elsewhere.
    3
  • Just wanted to say thanks for the article. And I think it's extra awesome that you actually respond to the comments/questions (I just read through the other roundup from earlier this year).
    3
  • good article. it would be nice to see the standard cooler on the charts just for comparison though.
    6
  • Great article tackling the budget builder but with an overclocker's heart :P. There are a few things I would like to mention/request:
    - Heatpipe orientation .. I know all about capillary action but since I don't know of any manufacturer that advertises/places the type of wick they use on the box of the cooler, believing that all coolers are the same and therefor heatpipe orientation does not matter, is a bit idiotic. I know that on a open test bed with the motherboard sitting flat/horizontally the heatpipe orientation isn't relevant but inside a PC case it might be .. and here is my dilemma. Did some research about this, but other then forums and "i believe so" arguments I haven't found anything relevant on this subject. The thing is I was looking these past few weeks at reviews for arctic cooling's 13 on different websites and even though the test method (and room temp)is slightly different from one reviewer to the other, the temp values differ quite a bit which is normal but the biggest difference seams to stem from it's orientation in a pc case.

    Main point of my rambling ... since this is probably one of the oldest tech websites out there, could you bust/prove this myth? Get a bunch of coolers from all price ranges (i have a feeling that cheaper coolers would turn up a bigger difference in values that the expensive ones) and place them est-west and north-south inside a closed pc case. Run a couple of tests and gives us the results.

    PS: i know that case fans matter but since most pc cases now have a psu mounted at the bottom and there is a exhaust fan/grill at the top, you could use that as the "standard case" for this test.
    8
  • Thanks tom.
    Great article.
    I wanted a comparison between the CM 212+ and Xigmatek Gaia.
    I think i'm going for the Gaia for its easier installation and to use it in a 2-fan setup with a fan that i allready have and don't know where to use it.
    It would be even better if you added the performance of the coolers that support 2-fan setups.
    0
  • djmik21Thanks tom.Great article.I wanted a comparison between the CM 212+ and Xigmatek Gaia.I think i'm going for the Gaia for its easier installation and to use it in a 2-fan setup with a fan that i allready have and don't know where to use it.It would be even better if you added the performance of the coolers that support 2-fan setups.

    Sorry, but the Hyper 212+ is too old to be part of a "new for 2010" cooler roundup, but that's why the link was provided in the article and the response thread:
    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/lga-1156-heatsink,2535-4.html
    0
  • I knew that and so i went and compared the test results and that's how i decided on the gaia.
    thnx again
    0
  • does every page HAVE to have a popup ad/page?
    1
  • tarawadoes every page HAVE to have a popup ad/page?
    Nah, I have mine disabled.
    3
  • CrashmanNah, I have mine disabled.


    funny
    0
  • Crashman nice article ... seriously.

    I can see this time you took your time editing it and the end result is excellent.

    On an unrelated note ... any news on whether your "grumpiness" is improving or can I expect a "slap" for my cheeky comment ... heh heh.

    Seriously, If this is the new standard required for the other reviewers then the rest (Bar Chris and Don) have some work to do mate.

    Well done ... very well done.
    1
  • Thanks Crashman for the review.

    Are you guys adding a "Coolers P/P rank" anytime soon? That would be so helpful 8)

    Cheers!
    0