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Re-Printed From SLCentral

Thermaltake Volcano 5 HSF
Author: Mike Kitchenman
Date Posted: October 19th, 2001
URL: http://www.slcentral.com/reviews/hardware/cooling/thermaltake/volcano5

Introduction

Thermaltake is and ahs been a pretty well known company in the heat sink business, ever since they released their now famous "Golden Orb" (or Gorb for short.) It was one of the first heat sink designs that was both efficient and really stylish at the same time. Since then, they have continued with their well known "Orb" line of coolers with other designs such as the Silver Orb, Super Orb and the latest Dragon Orb. Along with the popular Orb coolers, Thermaltake puts out a couple other lines of coolers that tend to get less attention, most likely due to the fact that they don't look as cool as the Orb coolers.

One such line from Thermaltake is their Volcano line of coolers. Their older Volcano 2 unit received a fair bit of press when it hit, but nothing incredibly overwhelming came from the cooler. The Volcano 3 came and went with nary a word spoken of it. The Volcano 4? Unsure, as of yet. It appears to have vanished without a trace. However, recently, Thermaltake came back with a roar, and added 3 new coolers to their volcano line of units. The all Aluminum Volcano 5 and the Copper based Volcano 6Cu and 6Cu+. This time out, I'm going to take a look at their Volcano 5 and see how it handles itself in my torture chamber.

Packaging And Construction

Thermaltake packages their sinks pretty sparsely, but definately adequately. They had a box made for the Volcano that was pretty danged close to the perfect size for the unit, and the thick cardboard, I'm sure, does a more than adequate job of protecting the cooler. Inside the box you'll find the cooler pre-assembled and all, meaning its a pull-it-and-install-it kinda job. One thing you will see (you'd almost have to be blind not to see it) is a very large plastic slip covering on the bottom of the sink protecting the pre-applied thermal pad. With big writing on it telling you to remove it before use. Thats a definate bonus, cuz when people forget to do that... it really stinks.

The heat sink itself is a pretty solid unit, its made entirely out of aluminum and is a single piece design. The cooling fins and everything are part of the base of the unit. The cooler has 22 fins going down the length of the unit, with a break in the middle for the heat sink clip. A somewhat diffrent feature here is the cover that Thermaltake uas attached to the top of the heat sink. This piece apparently serves a few purposes:

1) Forces the fan air to stay in the heat sink longer

2) makes for a more secure fan mount (similar to how the Vantec 6035D worked it)

3) Gives them a nice place to write the heat sink name on the top. (OK, well, maybe not so much for that reason.)

The fan that came attached is a nicely designed everflow fan. It moves a solid 32 cfm of air at a respectable 31dBa Unlike most coolers I've reviewed so far, make that ALL the coolers I've reviewed so far, this one only draws a bit over 2 watts of power, meaning this can be plugged into your motherboard at no risk to your fan headers. (A major bonus, because RPM monitoring is a really nice feature to be able to use.)

Packaging/Construction: 1.75/2

Installation

Well, along with every other heat sink out there, one of their major features/drawbacks is ease of installation (or complete lack therein.) Well, the Volcano 5 isn't really here or there. I've had easier clips pass my desk, however I've also had much worse clips mass thru my skinny little fingers, too. So, I'm not that upset by it.

Installation required a flat head screwdriver like SO many other sinks to today as well, not a surprise. It attached itsetf pretty securely and the relatively lightweight sink made for a very safe install feeling. You don't feel like you're crushing the chip (assuming you're following Johnny's instructions.) So all in all, I don't have a beef with the clipping mexhanism, but I wasn't overly impressed with it either.

Installation: 2/3

Cooling Performance

Now that the little guy's installed, lets see how he does in the torture chamber I call a case...

The Test

Run the system after a normal boot for a while, and get idle temps. Then see how well it keeps the numbers down by kicking in Prime95 and burning those CPU cycles. The probe on the motherboard reports temps in motherboard monitor.

The Testbed

  • Blizzard 280 Case
  • Asus A7V Motherboard v1.004c
  • Tbird 800 @ 1GHz 1.85v
  • Arctic Silver 1
  • The Candidates
  • Stock Thermaltake Volcano 5
  • Stock Vantec 6035D Copper Cooler (Our Review)
  • Modded* Vantec 62540 Aluminium Cooler (Our Review)

The 62540 had the delta fan removed, and the testing was performed with the same fan as the Volcano 5 uses during testing. This was done to see how the Volcano 5 stacks up against another strong aluminum cooler with the same airflow.

Well, the candidates have applied, the gauntlet's been thrown, and the guests are ready. Lets get the show on the road here.

The Results:

Idle
  CPU Probe (Compunurse) Mobo CPU Probe Mobo Room
Volcano 5 42.8 C 37 C 23 C 18.1 C
Vantec 6035D 35.5 C 35 C 23 C 18.5 C
Vantec 62540 With Fan From Volcano 5 39.2 C 37 C 23 C 18.7 C

Load
  CPU Probe (Compunurse) Mobo CPU Probe Mobo Room
Volcano 5 48.5 C 40 C 23 C 18.4 C
Vantec 6035D 39.2 C 37 C 23 C 18.6 C
Vantec 62540 With Fan From Volcano 5 44.4 C 40 C 23 C 18.7 C

Well, there's the numbers. Unfourtinately I was quite disappointed here in the Volcano 5's performance. I was fully expecting the 6035 to beat it, as it is a copper cooler and was using the delta fan. However, I had been hoping to have it at least match the 62540 for performance. It didn't do that unfourtinately. This means I'm gonna hve to give it a low score for cooling.

Cooling: 2/5

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • All aluminum design is very light
  • Fan mount is great
  • fan is really quiet
  • Fan is low-draw model and can be hooked onto motherboard
  • inexpensive

Cons

  • Poor performance respectively

Conclusion

Well, I think the numbers here speak for themselves, the Volcano 5 doesn't hold its own in the beat-down testing. Hopefully the Volcano 6 fares better. The 6Cu and 6Cu+ are up next for testing, lets see if thermaltake can pull it off with one of those guys.

Re-Printed From SLCentral