Vantec Aeroflow FX 120 CPU Cooler

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Posted by on Saturday, July 4, 2009 - 3:23am

overviewVantec's new coolers are named after their best selling cooler to date the Aeroflow 2. The new Aeroflow FX 92 and Aeroflow FX 120 are based on the ever popular tower design which all the top coolers share. Even with the similarities of these coolers they also had their differences. Whether it is size, number of heat pipes, number of fins or the number of fans it supports they all have characteristics that make them stand out from one another. The Aeroflow models boast the vastly becoming popular Heat-pipe Direct Touch Technology and a sweet white cooling fan. But is this enough for Vantec to become a real player in the air cooling market? We will put it up against the several other coolers to see where it ranks.

 

Introduction

Vantec has entrusted us to once again be one of the first sites to review one of their products, well in this case its two products. To get this review started I will begin with saying if you think Vantec was only about making hard drive enclosures and case modding you're totally wrong. In my past years in PC building and retail sales I have seen a couple of power supplies and even a CPU coolers here and there. We haven't seen Vantec produce a power supply or cooler in quite some time. Well that is about to change as Vantec sent us two new coolers. It seems that the evolution of air-cooling as taken a huge leap since the original Aeroflow and the Mach 1.

Vantec's new coolers are named after their best selling cooler to date the Aeroflow 2. The new Aeroflow FX 92 and Aeroflow FX 120 are based on the ever popular tower design which all the top coolers share. Even with the similarities of these coolers they also had their differences. Whether it is size, number of heat pipes, number of fins or the number of fans it supports they all have characteristics that make them stand out from one another. The Aeroflow models boast the vastly becoming popular Heat-pipe Direct Touch Technology and a sweet white cooling fan. But is this enough for Vantec to become a real player in the air cooling market? We will put it up against the several other coolers to see where it ranks.

Vantec impression of the Aeroflow FX 120

The Vantec AeroFlow FX 120 is a high performance CPU cooler. It incorporates a specialized 8mm diameter copper heat-pipe for optimum heat transfer. With its unique Heat-Pipe Direct Touch Technology (HDT), the heat-pipe is in direct contact with the processor and minimizes thermal resistance. Combined with a powerful 120mm PWM fan and fan vibration dampener, the thin & lightweight heat sink design allows the fan to easily dissipate the heat accumulated and minimizes noise. Excellent compatibility with its 3-in-1 mounting bracket, the Vantec AeroFlow FX 120 is a perfect choice for keeping your processor cool.

 

Packaging and contents

The way the Aeroflow FX 120 comes packed is really no different from alot of coolers on the maket. Like the OCZ Vendetta 2 and the others a small portion of the cooler is shown through a small window on the front of the box. The back of the box goes into details about the cooler and its benefits to the user. As far as accessories goes eveything is included to install it on most socket types including Intel's ancient 478.

Specifications

 Model: VAF-1225
 Heat Sink Material: Aluminum
 Dimension:
84x120x159mm
 Weight:
680 g
 Heat Pipe Size: 8mm in Diameter
 Number of Heat Pipe: 3
 Fan Dimension:
120x120x25mm PWM
 Bearing Type:
Fluid Magnetic Bearing
 Fan Speed: 1000 ~ 2200 RPM
 Airflow: 72.1 ~ 99.6 CFM
 Noise Level: 20 ~ 32 dBA

 

Closer look

Let's get the numbers out of the way so we can jump right into this review. The Aeroflow FX 120 stands just over six inches over the surface of the motherboard at a today's modest 680 grams. Both of these stats fit right in the area of the OCZ Vendetta 2 we reviewed a month ago. Depending on the mounting type this weight should not be a problem. We will talk about the mounting options later.

Like we stated before when it comes to tower designs in air-cooling there are a lot of likeness between each of the different makes of coolers. But the diversity is definitely there as well. When it comes to the Aeroflow the differences are silky and smooth. At a glance everything about it seems symmetrical as the fins are a perfect rectangle without any of the freakish shapes we have seen lately. Besides the white fan first thing that attracted me was the small squares cut in to the top fin which really isn't a fin but plastic. Honestly, I think it make the cooler look better but I don't see many people liking it for the fact it is plastic. Like most coolers the rest of the fins are pure aluminum.

Vantec did a great job when it came to making the Aeroflow look good. Not only is the top fin beveled squares attractive but also are the heat pipes. The end of the heat pipes are done in a way to where they look as if they were just pressed together. According to Vantec the diameter of the copper pipes are 8mm which is the same diameter as the Ninja 2 and OCZ Vendetta 2. There are only three pipes which starts at the top of the cooler and U-turns at the bottom of the base and up again.

Here we have the base of the cooler. This isn't your traditional base but a version of Heat-Pipe Direct Touch or HDT. This is something we first saw in the Xigmatek cooler and then made popular but the Vendetta 2 and Core Contact. The base isn't shiny at all but tests have gone to show shine and polish isn't everything.

The Fan

Vantec went way out of the lines of what we call normal when it came to the fan used on the Aeroflow FX. Vantec uses a solid white fan on this cooler. I think Vantec is going through a 'white phase' as this is the third product from them in a row what was white. If you are one that likes to coordinate your components this may or may not determine if you would consider this cooler.

The fan consists of seven blades and a four pin PWM controlled power header. Vantec has a reputation for silence and style and this fan fits both. The maximum noise level is 32 dB at 2200 RPM. The fans uses fluid magnetic bearing like what we have seen in Scythe and Noctua fans. In all the fans we have reviewed that used this technology has revealed quiet operation at their max rotation.

 

Assembling and Installation

This is another cooler that is extremely easy to assembly. All it takes is screwing on the proper brackets or in the case of the AM2 CPU sliding in the proper bracket. We show below just what the cooler looks like with each bracket mounted. One thing I must mention is the fan came already attached to the cooler saving some build time.

As usual we are going to use the Intel assembly for testing. After mounting the brackets its as simple as applying your thermal compound and mounting the cooler in the best direction for your application. The Aeroflow uses the Intel standard pushpins for mounting. Now there are some horror stories about this way of mounting a cooler but I have not experienced one myself. Knock on wood.

 

Testing

We have upgraded our test bench which means all other cooling reviews will not be recognized in future reviews. We will try to go back and retest some of the coolers on new test equipment to give the future reviews more substance.

Testing Experiment

Gigabyte GA-EP45-DQ6

Intel Core2Duo E8400 @ 4150 @ 1.296v

Crucial Ballistix PC6400

Microsoft Windows XP Pro

Sapphire Ultimate 3870

Maxtor Diamond 10 100GB

HP DVD740 drive

Coolermaster TX750

Noctua cooling fans for ram and chipset cooling

Not only does the equipment change so does the way we test. Gone are the way of running stability programs or games to generate a load on the CPU. We decided that the best way to generate a load is to also help a cause and there is not better way than folding. So from now on we will use Folding@home for system loading and report from there. Reported temperatures will be taken from Real Temp and voltages taking from CPU-Z.

Results

Granted the Aeroflow FX 120 did not outperformed the Thermalright Ultra-120, the once king here at Pro-Clockers. But it did do well enough to be consideration for someone that wants a good performing quiet cooler without the expense of having to also look for a cooling fan to pair with it. And if you are upgrading from the Intel stocker I would definitely give the FX 120 a once over as the Aeroflow was able to maintain a decent temp while folding and the Intel cooler could not hang.

 

Conclusion

The Aeroflow FX 120 is definitely the best cooler from Vantec. They should be really proud of what they have brought to the market. The cooler is good looking and quiet to the point where it can be used in any situation or environment. We like the fact that the cooler came assembled with the fan already as it eased the installation process some. And we can't forget about the direct heatpipe base it offers. The technology has proven to be very beneficial to the FX 120 as without it the cooler probably would not have faired to well in our test.

There are a couple of iffy points about the FX 120 would only be an issue to some. First is the white fan. I personally think it looked classy but I can see it getting dirty quickly so more time will be taking to clean it. The next issue would be the plastic atop the cooler. I honeslty can't say it hindered the performance of the cooler but it did look good. I am sure as more testing it done from various sites this question will get answered.

Pros
Lighter than some coolers
HDT base
Easy mounting without removing motherboard
PWN controlled
Quiet
120mm fan included
Vibration free fan mounting
Decent performer
Even fits 487 socket

Cons
White fan
Intel mounting assembly
White sleeving on power cable would have been nice

 

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