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Coolermaster XDream HSCV83 Copper Heatsink Review
Coolermaster are one of the staple heatsink manufacturers in the world so it's no surprise that they are never far behind on a trend while still managing to make it their own. As low noise heatsink manufacturers like Verax and Zalman reap the rewards of their individual low noise technologies, mainstream cooling companies have had to be content with adapting existing heatsink manufacturing techniques to meet consumer demand for less noise.
The main options at hand have typically been to use thermally controlled fans, fan rheostats which allow the user to adjust the speed (and hence noise), or larger fans which often don't need to spin as quickly as their miniature counterparts.
While there are bound to be a few die-hards who will stick by their Delta 'screamers' to the end, most of us would really prefer to have the 24x7 computer generate about as much noise as a calculator, ie. nothing. Computer cooling is not quite at the level yet, but we are getting closer with each passing day. In the mean time, Coolermaster have produced the HSCV83 "XDream" copper skive heatsink to help us in the low noise heatsink department.
The HSCV83 comes with a small potentiometer that is hardwired directly into the fan. The potentiometer enables the user to manually adjust fan RPM with the turn of a dial. The upside to this configuration is that user can force the computer to be as noisy or quiet as desired - at the lowest setting the heatsink is virtually silent, at the fastest, pretty damn loud. The downside is that adjustments are not dynamic - meaning if you crack out a few hours of intensive gaming the HSCV83 will not adjust its speed to compensate for the elevated CPU thermals during that period.
Shielded behind a large domed plastic fan grill which has spaces large enough for a molex power connector to easily pass through (ie. not the best solution) the gold-coloured fan rotates at between 2000RPM and 4800RPM.
Because the fan requires as much as 0.8A of current which could damage a motherboard over time, the fan draws its power from a molex passthrough connector. A separate three-pin jack plugs into the motherboard to deliver the RPM signal.
Along with Coolermaster HSCV83 comes a 3.5" aluminum bay cover and standard steel expansion slot PCI bracket. The fan-speed potentiometer can be bolted to either of these face plates (lead wires are 19" long) with the intent of allowing the user to control fan speed without having to crack open the case and poke around inside. In the composite picture to the left we have shown the dial on each faceplate.
If you have an aluminum case, you'll be pleased to see that the 3.5" aluminum bracket is tastefully done, and will blend in nicely. By mounting the dial on the PCI bracket you can put it in a less obvious location, but as the potentiometer is not removable it has to go in either one of these locations. The component is primarily metal, so leaving it dangling around in the case could be a quick route to shorting out a circuit on the videocard or motherboard.
In spite of all the fancy extras with the Coolermaster XDream, it's the actual heatsink which matters most as far as we are concerned. Build quality on this puppy is really nice, and we're especially pleased to see Coolermaster have not abandoned their tool-free three-prong clip for a cheaper alternative. Now, let's take a closer look at the HSCV83 and see what really makes it tick...
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