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Heatpipes are very efficient at conducting heat energy from one location to another, so it only makes sense to lay these pipes perpendicular to the cooling fins so heat is dispersed over the greatest surface area possible. The opposite is done here, effectively putting these heatpipes in close vicinity (3mm or less) to just four aluminum fins.
The other 6mm diameter copper heatpipe runs from the business end of the Gigabyte Volar heatsink and around through the two-halves of the 117mm diameter extruded aluminum heatsink. It creates a circle about 75mm across, at a point just before the aluminum fins bifurcate. A liberal amount of thermal adhesive is used to hold it in place, hopefully ensuring a good thermal joint between the two components. You can see the outline of this internal gray ring in the photo below.
This aspect of the Volar's design is unique, and has potential if we assume a reasonable joint thermal resistance is achieved. The heatpipe makes contact with every single bifurcated aluminum cooling fin, effectively conducting heat to a large surface area in the one location which receives the highest volume of airflow. Some restriction occurs because of the 9mm wide blob of hard thermal adhesive, but at least it races around through the 2.5mm thick web of the fin.
The downside as we see it with Gigabyte's approach, is that nagging 50mm wide center ring of solid extruded aluminum. It doesn't really serve any useful purpose, and receives the least airflow for that matter. It conducts the heat from the two center heatpipes outward to the aluminum fins, but I suspect the Volar heatsink would benefit more from its removal, and another internal ring of one or two heatpipes in its place.
Having broken the Gigabyte Volar heatsink down by components, it really does just seem to be aluminum extrusion stock re-purposed from its original intention.
The Gigabyte Volar heatsink comes with clips for Intel and AMD processors. Depending on your computer, one clip or the other is attached to the base of the heatsink with a couple machine screws.
Intel users will be able to use the standard plastic heatsink retention posts that work with the holes in the motherboard around the processor socket. Even though the Gigabyte Volar heatsink weighs 640 grams and could conceivably come with more rigid mounting hardware, it's nice not to have to remove a motherboard from its case just to install a CPU cooler.
The AMD bracket works with the center lug on socket AM2/754/939/940 heatsink retention frames. The only step is to first screw on the stainless steel base plate which centers the Volar heatsink within the motherboard heatsink retention frame. A bracket goes over this, and a cam lever applies the appropriate force once toggled down.
Base Finish and Flatness
Flipping a heatsink over to inspect the business end is often a simple indicator of overall cooler quality. More practically speaking, a heatsink is in many ways only as effective as the contact it makes with the processor - the flatter and smoother the better. Base finish is one of the criteria that Frostytech measure in the course of evaluating heatsinks, and it involves two distinct aspects. Surface Finish is the first; this is calculated with the aid of Surface Roughness Comparator that has a cross section of common machine surface finishes and their numerical surface roughness equivalents in microinches. The second is Surface Flatness. This is tested with an engineers straight edge or proven flat surface, in two axis.
The base of the Gigabyte Volar heatsink is cast copper, and it has a smooth sanded finish; surface roughness is ~16 microinches which is considered excellent. The copper base is very slightly concave at the center.
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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