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Mini-ITX CPU Air Cooler Round-Up

Today we're reviewing the SilverStone Argon AR06, Reeven's RC 1001 Brontes, ID-Cooling's IS-VC45 and the Shadow Rock LP from be quiet!.

Reeven RC-1001 Brontes

Next up is the RC-1001 Brontes Low Profile CPU Cooler from Reeven. Reeven is a newer company based in Asia with a focus on aftermarket cooling products. At the time of writing, Reeven's presence in the U.S. is still limited, with only one major retailer carrying its products.

The Brontes is a purpose built, low profile CPU cooler specifically designed to provide superior cooling in Mini ITX and HTPC systems, where the balance of adequate cooling and low noise is critical. At only 59mm tall, the Brontes should fit into a large number of compact systems without issue. The cooler comes packaged in a simple box that contains the cooler itself, as well as a small instruction manual, mounting brackets for both AMD and Intel CPU sockets, and mounting hardware for the brackets; unlike most other coolers, it also includes a small packet of thermal paste instead of the traditional syringe. While we would have liked a syringe instead of the pouch, as it helps to keep the thermal paste fresh for future installations, it's far from a deal breaker.

The cooler itself is a standard, downdraft style cooler with 45 aluminum fins, 4 heat pipes and a 100 x 12mm fan that's designed to handle CPUs with TDPs up to 95W. Although the polished base of the cooler isn't the perfectly flat, the slight bump in the middle of the cooler's baseplate didn't seem to produce any major negative impact on performance during our tests. Additionally, the cooler's baseplate is slightly offset to one side to ensure that there is adequate clearance between the cooler's heat sink and the RAM slots on the motherboard, so that users are not forced to use low profile RAM. The cooler's installation is straightforward and includes attaching the socket specific set of mounting arms to the base of the cooler, applying thermal paste, placing the cooler on the CPU, and then securing the cooler to the motherboard using the supplied screws.

Given that the Brontes features a raised heat sink and a downdraft style design similar to the Noctua NH-L12 (these designs tend to be more effective than tradition box style coolers), we have high performance expectations for the Brontes.