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Deepcool Gammaxx 400 Slim-Tower CPU Cooler Review

Deepcool Global pushes its value message with low pricing, but can its $30 Gammaxx 400 provide enough cooling power for a high-end processor? We compare it to two of our favorites to find out!

Test Results And Conclusion

We retain the hardware configuration from previous reviews to make all of our results comparable. Both the Gammaxx 400 and Noctua NH-U12S feature 120mm fans, while the Shadow Rock Slim puts a 135mm fan with 120mm hole spacing on a heat sink designed for 120mm fans.

Having never experienced superior cooling from direct-contact heat pipes, I've always thought these were a marketing ploy meant to excuse cheaper construction techniques. Might Deepcool's Gammaxx 400 be the first cooler to prove that notion incorrect?

The Gammaxx 400 produces incredibly good thermal results, though its more-powerful fan could be the key to those low temperatures. That fan also does a good job of cooling the CPU's PWM-based voltage controller.

Indeed, the fan produces more noise than competing models. Still, 31.2 decibels at full speed aren't so bad when used in a case with good noise isolation.

The Gammaxx 400 has a worse noise-to-cooling ratio than the Shadow Rock Slim at full speed, but a better cooling-to-noise ratio when cranked down to 50 percent duty cycle. Duty Cycle is an important concept because the fan controller is also PWM-based.

The Gammaxx 400 might trade blows with the Shadow Rock Slim in cooling-to-noise ratio, but comparing that performance metric to price allows Deepcool to drive home the value message. At a mere $30, it's far cheaper than the Shadow Rock Slim and less than half the price of the NH-U12S.

How could it be so much cheaper? To begin with, Deepcool doesn't have the "window dressing" of a finished top plate with aluminum caps over the tips of its heat pipes. We can also be relatively certain that the fan bearings won't last as long, since Deepcool warranties the unit for a mere two years. Yet at this price difference, we could replace the fan twice and still find at least equal value to the Shadow Rock Slim.

The superb price for Deepcool's Gammaxx 400 puts this editor in a difficult position, since the performance is only on par with the Shadow Rock Slim. If I were building a machine to show off, I'd certainly pay a little more for that pretty top cap. But who am I kidding? I don't actually pay for computer parts unless I'm building for the System Builder Marathon. And then I'm paying with someone else's money.

Keeping in mind that the System Builder Marathon always ends in a value competition, Deepcool's $30 Gammaxx 400 is the cooler I'd choose for value. In fact, I plan to use one in my next build. It might not be the cooler I'd always choose, but it is the one I'd choose most often, and that makes it the first low-cost part to earn the respect of an Editor's Choice award.

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Thomas Soderstrom is a Senior Staff Editor at Tom's Hardware, covering Cases, Cooling, Memory and Motherboards. Follow him onTwitter.

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  • Traciatim
    Personally, I think this would have been a better comparison if it was done with the current value champ of forum recommendations, the Coolermaster 212 EVO. That has always been the go to cooler for recommending to people with new builds or not very specific requirements because it's fairly cheap and works well in almost any case.

    Reply
  • kunstderfugue
    I'd have loved to see this cooler compared to the 212 EVO. Because if it's as good as these tests show it to be with that price tag, we might have ourselves a new King of the Hill.
    Reply
  • Val Cyril Estrada
    I dont know why people are spending almost a hundred dollars on a noctua when you can get this for the same or better cooling performance. Im using this but replaces the LED fans with Corsair SP120s since i have black and white themed system with deepcool color changing RGB lights
    Reply
  • Onus
    I really hope this finally silences the incessant parroting of the Hyper212 EVO. I'd seen a good review of the 300, and I'm glad the 400 is consistent with that.
    Nice job, covering a budget cooler!
    Reply
  • Calculatron
    Wow, I am seriously impressed by this.
    Reply
  • Chris Droste
    who pays $100 for the Noctura? that's a $65 part all day, Val.
    Reply
  • Onus
    Thomas, you have batted one out of the park with this one. Imho, solid, budget parts are something people want to see, in any / all categories.
    Reply
  • zodiacfml
    I reckon, this seems to perform slightly better than a Hyper212 EVO.
    Reply
  • Darkbreeze
    Great review, couple of things I feel I need to interject though. As usual, and as mentioned in the Shadow rock slim review comments, not offering comparisons to the 212 EVO, as mentioned here already, makes little sense when you're trying to show budget cooler performance and value.

    The 212 EVO is the budget cooler that 90% of recommendations focus on, therefore, you need a review of that unit and you need to begin offering comparisons to it.

    Secondly, I'd REALLY like to see you retest this unit with a higher quality fan installed. If it's as good as your results indicated, then I think the addition of a higher quality bearing fan like the NF-F12 PWM or one of the Cryorig, Thermalright, Scythe or Phanteks fans that have quieter, longer life bearings would be a great thing to look at since it would still keep the price under fifty bucks.

    If the performance is still good with one of those fans, it makes it an even better option versus something like the U12S at 65.00 or more.
    Reply
  • Xaltar
    I have been a fan of DeepCool's products since I picked up a Gammax 300 a while back. While their fans leave a lot to be desired their tower coolers offer fantastic performance for the money. My Gammax 300 even cools my 6600k respectably when I am switching it in and out of review boards (simple mounting system makes it handy for in and out jobs). I still prefer my Thermaltake Frio for hardcore overclocking but for a 24/7 light OC the gammax does the job well, that and I don't have to worry about warping my CPU substrate.
    Reply