In this review Frostytech is testing out the NZXT Havik 140 heatsink, a tower style CPU cooler designed for Intel socket 1366/1156/1155/775 and AMD socket AM2/AM3/AM3+/FM1 processors. The Havik 140 cooler performs pretty well as you'll shortly see. Before we get to the massive Frostytech thermal performance charts, let's take a look at some of the notable tweaks this heatsink employs to the standard tower cooler format.
For starters, the edge of each aluminum fin is squished slightly to form a blunt knife edge. The point of this (pun intended) is to make it easier for air to flow through the fin stack by decreasing overall air resistance. In other words, the leading edges of the fins are 'smoothed' over rather than blunt 90 degree obstacles. Next up are the dual 140mm fans and their wavy impeller blades. The unique geometry to the nine blades is supposed to reduce fan noise and produce "highly effective airflow", but that could just be due to the lazy 1200RPM both vaneaxial fans turn at.
Thermal solution manufacturers spend a lot of time making it difficult to remove heatsink fans, a few make it very easy to pull a fan off for the bi-annual dusting all heatsinks should receive. [You have de-dusted your CPU heatsink in the last 6-months, right?!?] Holding the fans onto the Havik 140's fin tower are a pair of rather long rubber bands which grip a groove cut into the side of the fin stack. This approach makes the two fans easy to install and remove, but we're a little concerned about the rubber holding up after a couple years inside a hot computer enclosure. I can think of one at least one Arctic Cooling heatsink where the rubber fan posts disintegrated and a Xigmatek heatsink where the rubber posts stretched and sagged under the force of gravity and constant heat.
The NZXT Havik 140 heatsink stands 169mm tall and weighs 1035grams. The cooler retails for around $70 at the usual U.S., Canadian and European online computer stores Frostytech recommends. Note that this cooler is not listed as being compatible with LGA1366 Intel CPUs but does have the mounting brackets to support it.
NZXT have built the Havik 140 heatsink with a 2.0mm fin pitch, lower velocity air can pass through without encountering the excessive resistance that dense fin stacks incur. The designers have also modified the edges of the aluminum fins with an eye towards this by tapering them slightly.
Rather surprisingly the Havik 140 heatsink does not feature exposed heatpipes at the base. Instead of six bare 6mm diameter heatpipes we find a standard nickel plated copper base plate soldered to the heatpipes. The copper acts as a heatspreader to distribute the heat energy from the CPU over a wider area. Ideally, all heatpipes receive about the same intensity of heat and this makes the entire heatsink more efficient. Exposed heatpipes lack this heatspreading capability, and particularly with smaller IHS processors, only a few heatpipes will receive the majority of heat energy from the processor.
The NZXT Havik 140 heatsink ships with two 140mm fans that attach to either side of the heatsink fin tower. Users can get by with only one fan if they so desire, but as the impeller speed is just 1200RPM, it's best to use both fans or swap the NZXT supplied fan out for a higher air pressure model. Note the rubber tabs and the groove they lock into to hold the fans in position.
Heatsink Installation Hardware:
NZXT's Havik 140 heatsink is compatible with Intel socket 775/1155/1156/1366 and AMD socket AM2/AM3/FM1 processors. The heatsink comes with one rear metal support bracket for Intel/AMD motherboards that will require you to access to the back of the motherboard. Depending on the computer case you may need to remove the board to install this heatsink. After the upper metal stand offs are installed, subsequent CPU swaps are straightforward.
AMD platforms make use of the same basic heatsink brackets, which is a shame since AMD supplies a heatsink retention cage on every single board.
The brackets take a little bit of time to install but will firmly hold the heatsink in place. For a tower heatsink that weighs 1035 grams, it's peace of mind.
UPDATE: A reader pointed out a glaring deficiency with the NZXT mounting brackets when the heatsink is installed 90-degrees to the standard AMD socket AM2/AM3/FM1 mounting holes - in other words, installed so the fans are blowing front-to-back.
In this orientation the length of the spring-tensioned screws on the bracket that rests over the heatsink base are insufficient to engage with the screw studs on the brackets attached to the motherboard. Thus, the heatsink is impossible to install.
The work around (which is not detailed in the user manual and may not suit all motherboards so use at your own risk) is to rearrange the metal brackets somewhat; invert the AM2 brackets and put the Intel brackets on top, then screw everything together as outlined in the manual. A confusing sentence I know, here's a picture worth a thousand words:
What this does is raise the screw studs attached to the metal motherboard bracket a few millimeters, allowing the spring tensioned screws to engage with the threads. Since two threaded studs are pointing down, be careful if attempting this and make sure the downward facing studs don't contact any part of the motherboard.
Depending on your motherboard model, in this orientation you may be limited to using low-profile memory modules. For example, boards like the Asus Crosshair V Formula have the DIMMs located so close to the AM3 CPU socket that large RAM heatspreaders will prevent the fan on the NZXT 140 from sitting correctly. There's really no way around heatsink/memory interference issues like this so it's a good idea to measure first and see how a prospective heatsink will fit in the space provided by the motherboard in question. Take the width and depth of the heatsink, divide by two and measure out from the center of the CPU socket out to figure your clearances.
FrostyTech's Test Methodologies are outlined in detail here if you care to know what equipment is used, and the parameters under which the tests are conducted. Now let's move forward and take a closer look at this heatsink, its acoustic characteristics, and of course its performance in the thermal tests!
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