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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.

  • amk09
    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.
    Reply
  • Crashman
    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.
    Reply
  • Twoboxer
    Its incomprehensible that the Hyper 212 was left out of this kind of review. That decision makes this article worthless.
    Reply
  • Wolygon
    "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.
    Reply
  • Twoboxer
    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?
    Reply
  • dogman_1234
    ^ 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!
    Reply
  • duk3
    How did the Zalman CNPS10X Performa get into this review at $35?
    Reply
  • sudeshc
    was waiting for this kind of article for some time now, thanks toms. Loved the article, thinking about to go with Zalman's Cooler.
    Reply
  • Crashman
    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.
    Reply
  • 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).
    Reply