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Thermaltake Volcano 6Cu And 6Cu+
Not too long ago I ran the Thermaltake Volcano 5 all aluminum cooler thru the torture chamber here at my place, and, well, I was less than thrilled by the under whelming performance from it, when it was beat out by other aluminum heat sinks that were several months older than it. However, along with the Volcano 5, Thermaltake also released 2 other heat sinks simultaneously; the Volcano 6Cu and the Volcano 6Cu+. Given Thermaltake's pretty well respected history in the heat sink world, I had some pretty high hopes riding on the 6's they sent me, now lets see if they held up to them or not.
Packaging and Construction
The Volcano 6's are a very, very similar design to the volcano 5 that we just covered. When placed side by side, you can't really tell the difference between the 2 heat sinks from a side view:
The only physical difference between the Volcano 5 and 6's is a relatively large copper insert on the bottom of the 6Cu series. It kinda looks like they took a very large copper coin and popped it into the base of the 5.
While I've seen cleaner heat sink bottoms before, the volcano 6's base looks pretty nifty. The copper insert is obviously the point of contact for the core, and it cones to you clean and very smooth. I saw no reason to lap the bottom of this heat sink, which is a major bonus in my book. As I have mentioned before, they sent me 2 heat sinks for the 6. One was the 6Cu while the other was the 6Cu+. Physically they're identical designs, with the difference being which fan they used on the cooler. The Volcano 6Cu uses a lower power fan; identical to the one used on the 5, while the 6 uses a higher power unit closer to the infamous delta black label fans. So they obviously made the 2 different ones for people either want a cooler that is quiet and efficient as opposed to those who aren't worried about noise and want something effective. Here are the fans with some more hard numbers on them:
Volcano 6Cu fan:
Volcano 6Cu+ fan:
The only interesting thing I note here is that on Thermaltake's site, the fan specs they list are notably lower in power draw than the actual fans say, by about 10%. Why is this? I can't exactly say, but the other specs seem to match up pretty well. One thing you might notice up there is that the CFM and dBA ratings on the fans are VERY friendly. 32cfm at 31dBA and 38cfm at 39dBA WOW! Those are great numbers, when you look at some other common fan specs. I.e. 38cfm at 48dBA or 26cfm at 31 dBA. The Thermaltake fans show up as very nice options to use.
The sink itself is packaged in a nicely designed cardboard box that the unit fits in snugly, which helps it avoid jostling during shipping. Nothing fancy, but nothing really lacking in that either. The one thing that isn't really present in with either of the 6's is a 3 to 4 pin adapter for power. While the 6Cu doesn't really need one due to the low power consumption, the 6Cu+ pulls about 5W of power, which not all motherboards can put out safely, and would be better off using the PSU over the motherboard for power.
Packaging and design:
Volcano 6Cu: 2/2
Volcano 6Cu+: 1.75/2
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 6's aren'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 itself 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 mechanism, but I wasn't overly impressed with it either.
Now we're getting to the part where the Volcano 5 fell thru on me here, the torture test. Lets see what the 6's do for me at this part...
Record the CPU temperature at idle (do a normal boot and then wait about half an hour for temps to stabilize and record.) Then record the temps at full load (after about 45 minutes of the CPU running 2 instances of Prime95.) Temperatures are taken in 3 spots; Motherboard probe from mobo monitor, CPU motherboard probe from mobo monitor as well, and finally core temps taken with a compunurse glued to the CPU core.
The Test Bed
Blizzard 280 midtower (Our Review)
Thermaltake Volcano 5 (Our Review)
Well, There's them numbers!!! I've got to say I'm more than satisfied with the Volcano 6's performance. The 6Cu, with the slower fan came surprisingly close to that of the 6035D, and then the 6Cu+ well, you can read the numbers, right? Wow!
Mind you, these were with stock fans on both of them. I was curious to see if the Thermaltake high CFM 60 was actually as good as the delta, so I ran another test. The Volcano6Cu with the 38cfm Thermaltake fan against the same cooler with the Delta 38cfm. Here are the results from the test:
Thermaltake Fan Vs. Delta
Well, there you have it! The Thermaltake 60mm DOES match the delta 60 for cooling. I think it's a keeper then. A 60x60x25mm fan that does the delta's work at about 10 dBA less; what more could you ask for?
Volcano 6Cu: 5/5
Volcano 6Cu+: 5/5
Pros and Cons
Well, while some other sites may not agree with my numbers, I ran the tests twice to be sure, I got the same thing. I did. I'd have to say that Thermaltake retains their spot in performance HS standings with this set of coolers. 'Nuff said.
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