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Enermax ETS-T50 Axe Cooler Review: Solid-Value Air Cooling

Our Verdict

This is a fine five-heatpipe CPU cooler for just above $50, delivering overclocked cooling potential without breaking the bank.

For

  • Cooling performance
  • Simple installation and solid, integrated mounting hardware
  • Quiet operation, even at 100% speeds
  • Directional rear diffuser

Against

  • Limited color choice (black or white)

Features & Specifications


Enermax is known as a maker of PC power supplies and cooling fans, but it has also been expanding its brand by producing CPU air and liquid coolers aimed at the performance market. Enter the ETS-T50 Axe, Enermax’s current flagship CPU air cooler. It is a large, direct-contact, five-heatpipe unit with some interesting features.

In the spirit of keeping it simple, the ETS-T50 Axe is available either painted black or white; ours happened to be the handsome, matte-white finish.  The front fan (120x25mm, branded by Enermax) is rated at 62.32 CFM at 1800 RPM and sports 36 white LEDs around the circumference. The lights can cycle through five lighting patterns manually using a small, connected button switch. 

The fan blades themselves have shiny silver-adhesive strips, causing a mirror-ball reflection of the lighting at operating speeds. When the PC boots up, the cooling fan runs a 10-second phase of reverse cycling to help rid the blade surfaces of dust accumulation. The fan is powered by a four-pin PWM connector, and the fan cabling itself is sleeved in white nylon braid to match the rest of the cooler. The LED switch is really the only awkward component of the entire cooler, as it is a simple button at the end of a 5.0” (127mm) wire that dangles alongside the four-pin PWM cable.

Instead of a second fan, the rear of the ETS-T50 houses a unique directional air diffuser. It rotates 360° to project warm exhaust air toward the nearest case fan of your choice. The slats of the diffuser are also angled to assist with directional funneling, and like the fan, it snaps on and off the ETS-T50 easily by means of side clip brackets.

Enermax designed the ETS-T50 to make use of directional airflow within the cooling tower, adding angular folds of the cooling fins themselves, as well as vortex wings around each heatpipe for air channeling. 

Five direct-contact copper heatpipes, plus an integrated aluminum block base, are milled to a near-mirror finish, with nearly seamless surface mating of the copper and aluminum. 

The tower base top is engineered with cooling fins milled into the aluminum block. Spring-tension screws are permanently affixed to the side wings using snap retainers, which should help end the balancing-act dramatics among the CPU cooler, a screwdriver, and not enough hands.

Enermax ships the ETS-T50 Axe with hardware to support most current Intel and AMD sockets, although Threadripper currently does not make the list. A generous amount of Enermax's Dow Corning TC-5121 thermal paste comes in the box, with a syringe applicator and a spreader.

One item that is not included, but that is almost necessary for installation, is a very long Phillips screwdriver. You will need it to reach the back spring-mounted bolt, which is hidden beneath cutouts in the cooling fins and due to the 0.75” (19mm) rear offset. It is possible to reach the screw from a slight angle, but the face of the bolt head is rather shallow, making it prone to stripping with the teeth of a screwdriver. A visit to your favorite hardware location (alas, likely not called "Tom’s Hardware") can alleviate this problem.

Installed, the ETS-T50 Axe does retain a slight overall rear offset of just over a quarter inch (6.4mm), as the rear diffuser is slimmer than the cooling fan out front. Having installed the cooling tower with the fan and directional diffuser removed, they now easily snap on around the front and rear face of the cooler. The "V" design seen on the top cooling fin, as well as the "closed" sides of the interlocking fins, gives us a glimpse into the air channeling within the cooling tower. And while the cooler is slightly offset, we still didn’t witness any interference with large memory DIMMs.

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