asetek VapoChill Micro Review: Ultra Low Noise

Cooling/CPU Cooling by piotke @ 2005-08-09

asetek started with phase-change cooling, then they added water-cooling units to their product list, and today we see their first air cooled heatsink. Is their evolution backwards? The VapoChill Micro is very competitively priced, promises to remove up 150W of CPU generated heat, silently, and it weighs less then a feather. Too good to be true? Let?s find out.

  • prev
  • next

Installation & Test setup

Installation :

Normally the first step you take when installing a heatsink is getting some thermal compound on the CPU and heatsink, the Micro comes preinstalled with a “layer” of this and it surely facilitates installation for the first-time users out there.

Madshrimps (c)
Click for bigger picture...

Installation is straightforward, the Micro uses the A64 retention bracket, you remove the two screws of the bracket, place the Micro and hold-down on your CPU, put the screws back into place and you’re all set!

Madshrimps (c)

Now the tricky part is the fan duct, it’s made out of quite flexible plastic and to secure the fan you need to use push pins, so you end up messing around with this construction far longer then it took you to install the heatsink.

The fan duct does not fit tightly over the Micro’s radiator, which means there is room for movement; now add a fan and you have instant vibrations, which leads to increased noise. For a product called “Ultra Low Noise” this is quite an oversight. The Coolermaster Hyper6 suffered the same fate with its fan duct, adding rubber grommets would remove any vibration issues.

The included fan controller does it job well, but the construction of the unit leaves room for improvement, one of the fan power connectors needs a better solder job as during testing the connector just broke off. I was able to reattach the connector with my trusty solder-iron, but how many people have such gear lying around?

Madshrimps (c)

Test setup & Methodology :

Piotke's Test Setup
CPUAMD Athlon 64 3000+ "Winchester"
  • Asetek Vapochill Micro
  • Thermalright XP-90C
  • Scythe SGOGUN
  • MainboardAsus A8N SLI
    VGAAsus Geforce 6600 GT
    Memory2*512 Mb A-Data Vitesta DDR600
    PSUAntec TrueControl 550 Watt

  • all results were taken with room temperature at ~26°C, but temp fluctuations, different mounting and user error can account up to 1-2°C of inaccuracy in the obtained results. Please keep this in mind when looking at the results. Each heatsink was tested repeatedly; if I got questionable results the test was restarted.
  • Setup was installed in a case less environment
  • Noise level of each fan was recorded with SmartSensor SL4001A, the sensor was placed ~65cm away from the HSF. The lowest dBA reading in the test room was 30 dBA. The Papst 120mm fan gave <30dba readings so it’s very quiet!
  • System was stressed by running K7 CPU Burn for 30min (after Thermal Compound’s burn-in); this application pushes the temperature higher then any other application or game we’ve yet encountered. Speedfan was used to log maximum obtained temperatures.
  • Arctic Silver kindly send us their “Lumière” thermal testing compound which has the same colour as Ceramique, but only a break in time of 30min!

    Our contestants in today’s roundup:

    Madshrimps (c)
    Madshrimps (c) Madshrimps (c) Madshrimps (c)
    Click for bigger picture...

    Where are all my fans?

    Ah, here they are, I used one extra 92mm fan for the XP-90C and Micro, the Scythe was equipped with a larger 120mm model as it only supports this size of fan.

  • Papst 4412F/2GLL
  • Panaflo FBA09A12H
  • Asetek Ultra Low Noise Fan

    Each fan was run at High and Low setting with the asetek fan controller, here’s the RPM readout I got:

    asetek high: ~ 2200 rpm
    asetek low: ~ 1100 rpm
    Panaflo high: ~ not showing?
    Panaflo low: ~ not showing?
    Papst high: ~ 1250 rpm
    Papst low: ~ 675 rpm

    I have no idea why the Panaflo did not show values; the asetek offers a wide range of CFM output and drops its noise consistently when you turn the dial to the "low" side of town.

    The three coolers installed:

    Madshrimps (c) Madshrimps (c) Madshrimps (c)
    Click for bigger picture...

    • prev
    • next