Good-looking design: The Asus X-Mars Cooler
Though it's a well-known name in the computer industry, Asus is relatively new to the retail cooler business. The company offers its X-Mars CPU cooler for AMD platforms; the X in the product indicates that its product also supports X2 dual core Athlon 64 processors. At first glance the cooler looks a lot like the AMD boxed series, but closer inspection reveals two built-in heatpipes designed to quickly conduct heat away from the processor.
Asus is absolutely correct in describing this offering as "the light cooler for Dual-Core CPUs": at just over 14 ounces (400 g), this cooler is one of the lightest of our test candidates.
Asus has clearly worked on cooler installation, and has come up with an exemplary solution. This cooler may be mounted in seconds, and requires no tools to install, not even a screwdriver. Simply set the cooler on the plastic collar, slip the clamps onto their holders, lift the locking lever, and you are done. For the first installation users need not even reach for a tube of thermal paste, because it has already been applied to the cooler's contact surface. To facilitate a later CPU swap, Asus includes an additional tube of thermal paste in the retail package.
To keep thermal conducting paste from rubbing off while unpacking the device, the vendor shields the CPU contact area with a clear plastic cover.
The first installation is easy: simply drop the cooler into place and lock it down. Thermal conducting paste has already been applied.
Bravo, Asus! Every cooler should be this easy to install. Who wants to fool around for minutes at a time, armed with screwdriver and flashlight, fastening things together?