In this article Frostytech is examining at Forcetake's air cooled memory heatspreaders, but unlike our normal CPU heatsink reviews we won't be doing any temperature measurements.
The Forcetake Mars RAM cooler heatspreaders are made from 1.4mm thick anodized extruded aluminum. Four 0.5mm thin thermal interface pads and two 1mm thick thermal interface pads are supplied in the package along with silicon thermal compound. The thermal paste is only for the connection between the aluminum and copper heatpipe, it is not to be spread on the memory. Two heatsinks are included in each package, so you can retrofit a complete pair of single or double sided memory.
The design of the Forcetake Mars RAM cooler heatspreaders is pretty compact, an important consideration when dealing with memory modules that are packed closely together. Each Mars RAM cooler measures 9.5mm thick, stands 61.5mm tall, and is 126mm long. On one side of the heatsink the heatpipe overhangs by 18mm.
The heatpipe assembly can be rotated 180 degrees on each memory module, so the best bet is to loosely tighten the screws, place the memory on the motherboard and then adjust the angle of the heatpipe before tightening the screws finally. There is a small channel running the entire length of the memory heatsink for the heatpipe, so when the Mars cooler is disassembled to install the RAM, this channel should be coated with the thermal grease.
If you happen to use a pair of bare DDR/2/3 memory and are concerned about heat levels, Forcetake's Mars RAM cooler will likely improve memory cooling over stamped sheet metal heatspreaders by some degree. The 36mm tall section of copper fins increases surface area to better take advantage of moderate air movement across the memory region, either by case fans or from exhaust airflow from the CPU heatsink itself.
Another nice aspect of this product is the use of thermal pads. Fragtape isn't as effective as true thermal interface material, mostly because fragtape isn't capable of filling the space appropriately, so it's good to see Forcetake have provided real thermal interface pads with this product.
Based on our experiences, we do NOT recommend removing heatspreaders from DDR2/DDR3 memory that already use them... it's just too easy to damage the RAM.
Unfortunately, that difficulty removing pre-installed memory heatspreaders limits your options if you believe memory cooling is an issue inside your PC.
It's tricky to say for certain whether you actually need memory heatspreaders, if the memory manufacturer hasn't already provided them. There is no mistaking the heat that can be produced by performance DDR2 and DDR3 modules, but these types of RAM hardly ever ship without heatspreaders attached. Certainly the added surface area provided by the Forcetake Mars cooler will improve cooling.... it's just removing the old thermal solution which may be a problem. In most computer systems a well positioned fan will do wonders for decreasing memory temperatures, so consider that option before running out to buy anything.
In any case, Forcetake's Mars RAM heatsinks appear to be a well designed product; they use good thermal interface pads, offer some level of customization with respect to the orientation of the copper heatpipes, and are easy to install.
For more reviews on the latest heatsinks and cooling solutions, rely on FrostyTech's inventory of 400+ heatsink reviews. Here are a few other articles that you might enjoy as well...
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