Thermaltake Non-Interference Cooler NiC F4 CPU Cooler Review

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Thermaltake’s newest CPU cooler consist of four cooler models for now and the line-up is called the NiC or Non-Interference Cooler series. The reason behind the name is that the coolers allow for the builder or end user to fill all of their motherboard DIMM slots. This is something that is often not possible with most coolers because of their massive size. With that in mind, you can be at ease to know the series allows for maximum ram slot usage.

Thermaltake Non-Interference Cooler NiC F4 CPU Cooler Review

Introduction

When Thermaltake went into CES this year, their objective was to show consumers they are more than just another company manufacturing various hardware items. Thermaltake emphasized that their products address what gamers want as well as for those that are looking for elegance…. see the S21 chassis review as well as the power user. For the latter, please refer to our latest review product.

Thermaltake’s newest CPU cooler consist of four cooler models for now and the line-up is called the NiC or Non-Interference Cooler series. The reason behind the name is that the coolers allow for the builder or end user to fill all of their motherboard DIMM slots. This is something that is often not possible with most coolers because of their massive size. With that in mind, you can be at ease to know the series allows for maximum ram slot usage.

It’s great that we didn't need to fill all the memory slots but it is another issue if we have to sacrifice performance. Well, you don’t have to worry because each of the coolers on this series is rated to a certain wattage level. The Thermaltake NiC F4 model we will be looking at today is rated up to 180 watts of TDP. The other three models are the F3, C4 and C5 and are rated at 160W, 200W and 230W respectively.

Thermaltake’s take on the NiC F4

NiC Series incorporates a new CPU air cooler design which features a slim tower side flow design with a 120mm PWM/VR Fan. It efficiently optimizes cooling performance while allowing optimized compatibility with RAM of all kinds. It also enables the user to adjust the fan speed conveniently to a desired speed.


Specifications

P/N

CLP0606

Compatibility

Intel LGA
2011/1366/1155/1156/1150/775
AMD
FM2/FM1/AM3+/AM3/AM2+/AM2

Heatsink Dimension

155H*140W*50L mm

Heatsink Material

Aluminum Fins
Copper Heatpipes

Heatpipe

Φ6mm x 4 pcs

Fan Dimension

120 x 120 x 25 mm(L xW x H)

Fan quantity

2 pcs

Fan Speed

800-1600RPM

Rated Voltage

12V

Start Voltage

9.0V

Rated Current

0.17A

Power Input

2.04W

Air Flow

79.283CFM

Air Pressure

1.911 MM-H2O

Noise

18.0~ 30.2 dBA

Life time/Fan Life time

40,000 hours

Fan control

PWM

pin connect

4 pin

Cooling Power

180W

Weight

688 g

Features

NiC F4 Untouchable CPU Cooler:
All new Thermaltake NiC cooler series which consists of the F3, F4, C4, and C5 incorporates the proprietary technology. The new CPU cooler series' features include non-interference cooling space for ram and motherboard area, the advancement towards silence, performance and compatibility. Fully compatible with RAM of all kinds, ideally for power users to fill their RAM slots with high-end overclocked RAM.

New Standard Non-Interference Cooler
The new NiC Series coolers solve the problem that high performance RAM and CPU coolers cannot co-exist in the past. NiC series coolers achieve the best RAM clearance allowing user to install high end overclock RAM with coolers with ease.

Overclock design support up to 180W
Although the overall dimension of the cooler is smaller than before, but thanks to the design of the cooler, the performance is stronger than before. Heat is conducted from the CPU onto the cooler with Direct Contact Heat-pipes and then onto the aluminum fins with 4 Φ6mm U-shaped heat-pipes. This ensures the best possible heat dissipation performance conducting heat effectively.

Curved Aluminum Fins
Aluminum fins are specially designed in a curved shape to reduce back air resistance and at the same time maximize airflow through them. The 0.4mm thick aluminum fins also increase the overall thermal dissipation area.

Integrated Dual 120mm PWM fans
Dual 120mm PWM fans with adjustable silent fan blades between 800-1600rpm. Convenient tool-less fan clip design allows user to install/dismantle the fans with ease.

Universal Socket Compatibility
All-in-one back-plate design, the universal socket offers support all latest Intel and AMD platform.


Closer look

As mentioned about in this review, we already stated two solid reasons why we think the Thermaltake NiC F4 would be a must have cooler. Even with that being said, we still have to go through our normal testing routine and point out other important details about this new product.

The Thermaltake NiC F4 consists of a single tower of aluminum fins. When glancing over it, you will see that it looks similar to many other coolers we have seen before. The cooler weighs 688 grams or 1.5 pounds. Weight is definitely not an issue with this cooler and at 155 mm or 6.1 inches in height, it shouldn’t be a problem for any standard tower-style casing as well. 

The fin array setup is designed to keep noise levels down wherein the distance between each individual fan's spacing is just enough to make it efficient and will not require a high-powered fan. This could possibly keep the noise produced to a minimum.

The side of the cooler shows that the fins are bent in a particular design wherein it allows the air generated by the fans to effectively blow straight across the fin's surface without escaping out the sides which maximizes cooling.

This particular NiC model has four copper but nickel plated 6mm heat-pipes. Thermaltake did a good job of capping the end of the pipes keeping the cooler looking presentable.

You can see in the next image that each of the heat-pipes make direct contact with the CPU’s IHS once installed. This is a technique that we have seen in many other coolers we already tested. The two-part base is not the shiniest we have ever seen but that doesn't stop a cooler from performing well.

One of the things we like about this cooler is the two fans Thermaltake included with it. They could have easily just thrown in one and leave the burden of buying another fan to the consumer. Good job Thermaltake! The fans are red and black in color making it a perfect visual fit for many of the popular motherboards and cases out there.

The 120mm fans have a four-pin connector and are PWM controlled. Their rotation is rated at 800-1600 RPM. The CFM is 79.283 and has a noise level of 18-30 dBA.

The Thermaltake NiC F4 comes with all the accessories to connect the cooler to any of the existing CPU sockets today.


Mounting Images

The mounting to the Thermaltake NiC F4 is not too demanding. The one thing I would say to watch out for if you do not read instructions before installation is the fan wires. You definitely want to put these on before installing the cooler to the motherboard. If your motherboard has tall heat sinks surrounding the CPU socket, you will eventually have to remove the cooler and install the wires. There is no way around this.


Testing Methodology

For our testing we will be using the following procedures and parameters to acquire the necessary data:

  1. Thermal compound used is Arctic Silver 5
  2. Idle temperatures are recorded after the system has been allowed to idle for thirty minutes from the point Windows has finished loading.
  3. Load temperatures are recorded by running OCCT for twenty minutes on all available threads.
  4. Real Temp is used for the recording of all temperature sensor reading.
  5. PWM function is disabled via BIOS to allow the fans to run at full speed.
  6. CPU model and overclock speed used for testing are outlined below in "Test Hardware".
  7. Each cooler is first tested with one fan supplied from the manufacturer.
  8. Each cooler is then tested again with a second fan attached if provided by the manufacturer.

Test Hardware:

1. ASUS X79 Deluxe Motherboard
2. Intel Core i7 3930K Processor
3. Kingston HyperX 1866 DDR3 16GB
4. Kingston V+ 200 120GB Solid State Drive
5. ASUS BC12B1LT BD-Rom Drive
6. Thermaltake Frio Extreme CPU Cooler
7. MicrocoolBanchetto 101 Open Air Test Bench
8. Silverstone Strider Gold Evolution 850W Power Supply
9. ASUS Nvidia GTX 560Ti 448 Graphic Card

Results

 


Conclusion

There were a few things about the new Thermaltake NiC F4 we liked. The most important would be its performance. The cooler took on our moderately overclocked Intel 3930K and performed better than some of the larger coolers we have tested and it was done efficiently without a crazy amount of noise.

One feature, and perhaps are most notable one as Thermaltake said, is the 'non-interference' cooling space aspect. Yes, this is a big one for many users as coolers are getting to the point where if you really want to use a good air-cooler, you have to sacrifice your ram for another model in order to fit such huge cooler. Fortunately, that is not the case with the Thermaltake NiC F4. From the images we have shown you, the cooler with the fans attached on it still allowed the use of all eight slots on our test board.

Adding more heat pipes could have increased the cooling performance a little. But the included dual fans eliminated that route. When it came to the fans, we are pretty much pleased with the noise levels they produce. In PWM and strict 1500 RPM testing modes, we found the fans suitable to our liking and wasn't annoyingly loud at all. Were they quiet? No. They were slightly louder than the graphic card fan on the bench.

Our only real downside of the cooler was looking for retailers carrying it online. We search Google and Amazon to find no luck. We went direct to a couple of merchant sites and ended with the same fate. I am sure this will change in the coming weeks.

Note: Thermaltake personnel has informed us the reason for the lack of the NiC F4 is because we received our sample far ahead of release. It was also stated that we will see the cooler in a couple of weeks on the shelves of your favorite retailers and the sites of your favorite e-tailers.

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