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Three Down-Draft Heat Sinks: The Last Of A Dying Breed?

Enermax ETD-T60-VD: Cooling Performance And Noise

Cooler vendors might tell us that down-draft designs aren't intended for the same applications that cross-draft coolers excel in. But, in the end, cooling performance is still just that, and we’ll benchmark these down-draft models just like any other heat sink.

First up is Enermax's ETD-T60-VD. It weighs in at 530 grams and sports 54 aluminum fins placed next to each other, vertically. It stands about 120 mm tall. The bottom of the cooler and its six 6 mm-diameter heat pipes are made of copper. The pipes don't make direct contact with the CPU, and they don't come out of the cooler's base on either side and run up through the heat sink, either. Instead, four heat pipes emerge out of one side, and two come out of the other. They stretch through the aluminum fins and protrude out just a few millimeters.

Enermax boasts about its "Vortex Generated Flow" and "Vacuum Effect Flow" design features. These refer to small spoilers and fin flaps that purportedly optimize the air flow to maximize cooling. How does all of that translate to real-world performance?

The ETD-T60-VD does well, though it can't quite compete with the best cross-draft coolers listed in our CPU Cooler 2011 charts. This is especially obvious at lower fan speeds (1000 RPM), or about half of the 1910 RPM maximum that we measured. At idle, Enermax's cooler keeps our CPU 7.8 degrees Celsius higher than the ambient temperature. At full load, this jumps to 37.8 degrees Celsius. The maximum CPU temperature is 59 degrees Celsius, which is acceptable, and there’s always the option of cranking up the fan’s speed if things get too hot.

Then again, Enermax's ETD-T60-VD produces an annoying 48.2 dB(A) at its maximum fan speed. Slowing it to 1000 RPM brings the noise down to 32.1 dB(A). That's still not great, but it's at least quiet enough to not be glaring in a normal office environment.

  • boulbox
    My h100 is horrible compared to this :(
    Reply
  • JohnnyLucky
    WOW! Sound levels are way above advertised levels.
    Reply
  • killerclick
    Scythe coolers are the best overall, but 1000+ RPM is just too high.
    Reply
  • Darkerson
    I used to have a Thermaltake Dualorb, and it was really nice because both fans would also blow over the ram and and chipset heatsink. I am currently using a 2500k running at 5GHz with a CM Hyper 212+, and my ambient on the cores is around 28-30, and peak is on average about 67-68c. At any rate, interesting article.
    Reply
  • luciferano
    JohnnyLuckyWOW! Sound levels are way above advertised levels.
    Don't forget to account for ambient noise, which is already often higher than the rated loudness of many coolers.
    Reply
  • with the enermax and noctua both @ $68 the scythe is a steal @ $40 on amazon.
    Reply
  • antemon
    coolermaster didn't send in their vortex (which is what i have)
    Reply
  • merikafyeah
    It has been my life-long dream to pair a Cooler Master GeminII S524: bit.ly/PiVHxw
    with the greatest 140mm desktop PC fan in existence, the Sanyo Denki 9LB1412M501: bit.ly/QOHXJA
    Specs: 140x140 51mm 138CFM 2000rpm 39dBA 12V 0.5A
    Essentially the most perfect balance of airflow to noise I have ever seen.

    I can only imagine how well this fan can cool not only the CPU but virtually the entire upper half of the motherboard as well. Alas, my dream will remain a dream since although I know where to buy the fan, the min. order quantity is 10, pushing the total price to at least $500; way out of my reach.

    But speaking of which, Tom's, why not compare motherboard voltage regulator and RAM module temps with these top-down coolers vs tower coolers? Myself and many overclockers will be extremely interested in these temps.
    Reply
  • doive1231
    You could just get an Ivy Bridge CPU and sleep tight.
    Reply
  • rantoc
    Top->Down coolers are my favourite choice for building normal non-oc rigs since they cool so much more than just the cpu, as for overclocking "real water" cooling with extra spot on fan for the voltage regulators + ram is my favourite. Seem some forget that with water/air tower designs the MB don't get much often needed airflow around the upper part of the MB.
    Reply