Holiday Buyer's Guide 2007: Part 1

Gigabyte Volar GH-PSU21-FB CPU Cooler

by Toby Digby

Gigabyte has long been recognized as a maker of quality motherboards. More recently, the company has been making a name for itself in other product arenas, especially in the CPU cooling department. Their latest offering is the Volar, a large (122 x 125 x 141 mm) heatpipe-based cooler that features a 120 mm fan mounted at a 45 degree angle up and away from its heatsink (and the CPU socket).

The Volar cooler features a large, multichannel solid aluminum heat spreader right underneath the 120 mm fan, which draws air through and conducts heat away.

We really appreciate that Gigabyte bundles brackets for mounting on either LGA 775 or K8 sockets, as well as a "fan speed control" cable in the retail package. The cable features an inline resistor to lower fan speed from 2000 to 1500 RPM, though you may not need this capability, inasmuch as the fan emits only 23 dBA at 2000 RPM.

Mounting the fan up high at a 45 degree angle enables several interesting benefits. For one, it offers more clearance for an ever increasing number of passive cooling devices mounted around the CPU socket on modern motherboards. For another, the fan position lets it cool other components as well.

At a price of around $40, this is a nice cooler whose stylish looks do not hamper its quiet, efficient operation. Our only beef is that it uses four plastic retaining clips to attach to the motherboard that look like they might break with repeated mounts and dismounts. Other than this minor beef, we think this is a cooler that anybody with room inside the case to support its considerable height (5.55" / 14.1 cm) will find both attractive and functional.

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  • Mike-TH
    I know this is an old review, I just wanted to warn potential second-hand buyers that the fans in this case are simply crap. If the side panel is left on, my system overheats rapidly. I have seen it get to 80c in a short while when playing WoW. If the panel is left off, it stays under 65c.

    I have a stock i7-920 cpu, GTX-275 graphics and 6gb ram. a velociraptor 300g and 2 WD 2tb 7200rpm drives, along with a DVD-RW drive. Nothing fancy, nothing overclocked, nothing out of the ordinary.

    I bought a box of replacement fans that should help with cooling, once I get off my lazy bum and actually DO the replacing.