Recently we’ve been taking a look at some pretty high end CPU coolers which, despite the different fin configurations and heatpipe layouts, are all reasonably similar. The Cooler Master V8, which we are to take a look at in this review, is a litter different in that although it is based on a tower format design it has added heatsinks on both sides and a centrally mounted fan.
The V8 appears to be somewhat of a brute as CPU coolers go with its fiery red LEDs and countless heatpipes massing together at its base. Our i7 test rig has put to shame many a cooler in the past, so how will the V8 fare? Let’s find out…
- Can Handle Any High-End CPU (Even Under the Most Critical Heat Conditions)
- Modularized by 4 Separate Sets of Aluminium Fins
- Linked by 8 Diagonal Up-Rise Heat Pipes
- V8 Structural Design Allows Ultra-Quick Heat Transfer
- Precision Fan Control for Unsurpassed Cooling
Contents & Packaging
The packaging, though very simplistic in its design, is very effective with the red LEDs on the cooler cutting through the black background. The short description on the front distinguishes this as an 180W Cooling Solution so the 130W TDP of the i7 processors is well inside.
The fact that the cooler is LGA 1366 ready is also highlighted with a few Cooler Master Logos thrown in for good measure.
The back, in keeping with the simplistic theme, outlines the main features and lists the specifications in white font with a few close ups highlighting some key points.
With the cooler being compatible with so many different sockets and processors, the accessory list is a long one:
- LGA 775 Backplate
- AMD K8 Backplate
- LGA1366 Backplate
- Retention plates for AMD K8 and K10 motherboards
- Retention plates for LGA775 motherboards
- Retention plates for LGA1366 motherboards
- Plastic washers
- Rubber gin pads
- Steel screw nuts
- Thermal Compound
- Rear PCI slot panel for speed controller
- Instruction manuals
The PCI slot allows the fan controller to fit into it allowing adjustment from outside the case which is useful.
Cooler Master V8
Immediately it is obvious that the V8 is not your average tower format cooler; extra heatsinks have been added to each side with the 120mm mounted directly in the centre.
With both sides roughly symmetrical, air is drawn through the first two heatsinks and then pushed through the 120mm fan out the back. This would seem to be a better choice than front-mounting the fan as I doubt it would have a high enough static pressure to effectively push a decent airflow through all four fin arrays.
The top has a moulded black plastic cover which serves two purposes: firstly to hold the fan in place and secondly to keep the air flowing in the correct direction.
A Cooler Master badge sits in the centre with a V8 logo lower down and the plastic cover relates the cooler even more to its namesake engine with the plastic protection covers found in cars.
A total of 8 heatpipes are utilised in the design, which is the largest, to date, that I have encountered. Six of the pipes are fed through the central two towers with one heatpipes bending around in the outside heatsinks – this ensures the heat is evenly distributed to all areas of the heatsink for maximum heat loss.
The copper pipes are nickel-plated so as to match the aluminium fins and each pipe bends in differently at the bottom but they all pass through just above the base in
order for the maximum amount of heat to transfer to them and then be dissipated through the heatsinks.
The base has a mirror-like finish and is very smooth in order to create a good contact with the processor’s IHS.
Moreover, either side of the base are two screw-threaded holes for attached the retention plates for installation purposes.
Removing the plastic cover and adjoining fan requires the included alan key as the screws have star tops instead of convention crosses. An additional bracket and two screws also hold the fan in place at the bottom ensuring it is completely secure and not likely to wobble and thus vibrate against the heatsink.
The fan spins at 800 – 1800RPM and is rated at 17-21dBA and the nine-bladed black impeller has a hologram with a Cooler Master logo in the centre.
Two wires come from the fan: the 4-pin PWM (Pulse-width modulation) power connection and the silver fan controller allowing the user to increase or decrease the fan speed for different levels of cooling and noise.
With the fan removed, the true fin configuration can be seen; two pillars are either side of the fan with the extra heatsinks behind them. The layout is certainly unique and looks pretty attractive with the fins on the outer heatsinks perpendicular to the central ones.
The Test Setup:
|Processor||Intel Core i7 C0 920 @ 2.67GHz|
|Graphics Card||XFX 1GB Radeon 4870|
|Memory||OCZ Gold Triple Channel Platinum-10666 6GB (3 x 2GB)|
|Hard Drive||Seagate Barracuda 3.0GB/s 7200.10 500GB,|
Western Digital Caviar Blue 160GB
|Power Supply||NOX Apex 700W|
|Enclosure||Cooler Master ATCS-840|
|OS||Windows Vista 64-bit|
The mounting method for the LGA1366 socket is a little different than many mechanisms that other coolers use. Firstly two brackets screw into the base of the cooler and then the double ended screws into the brackets. To do these up they need to be tightened by turning them to the left, not the right, as this then prevents them from simply unscrewing when the other ends are done up – a cunning feature.
The screws then poke through the motherboard and the LGA1366 backplate behind before having nuts screwed onto them to hold everything tight and making a good contact with the CPU.
The installation is a little fiddly but once completed it does hold the cooler very securely in place.
At Verdis Reviews, we test CPU coolers by booting the PC up into Windows Vista and then taking temperatures in both idle and load states.
The temperatures are taking using Core Temp and averaging the four core temperatures. For idle testing, we simply leave the PC for 30 minutes and then come back and take the temperature readings. For load, we run prime95 for 20 minutes before taking temperature readings once more.
Thermal results will be recorded with the i7 920 CPU @ 2.67GHz (stock) and overclocked to 3.6GHz with Vcore and QPI voltages of 1.35V.
Finally, noise is that final factor that is tested; however, at Verdis Reviews, we are not yet at the stage where we can use high tech sound equipment and therefore, noise testing is left to the human ear – not the most scientific but it gives a good impression of how noisy the cooler is.
Ambient temperature was 18 degrees and a number of coolers were used for comparison purposes.
The Cooler Master V8 is able to come out on top not only with the highest fan speed but also beat the competition at low fan speeds. This is very impressive with the cooler beating some tough rivals namely the Mugen 2 and NH-U12P coolers.
In terms of noise outputs I didn’t really notice very much, even when setting the fan speed to a maximum, but of course the fan controller does allow the noise levels to be dropped down for the more noise conscious among us.
Xoxide have the V8 selling at $69.99 which in current conversion rates comes to about £42; of course this cooler has been out for a while now but £42 is a very good price for a cooler of this calibre.
Looking at the cooling performance alone, the V8 is an exceptional product producing consistent results at both stock and overclocked speeds and beating all the competition to stake its claim as the best CPU cooler, to date, in terms of the figures, that we have reviewed.
For the silent enthusiasts, the inclusion of a fan controller is a welcome one and allows the balance between cooling and silence to be set according. That said, even high fan speeds are not particularly loud.
The huge array of aluminium fins and copper heatpipes makes for a great cooler but it also makes for a giant one which in many smaller cases could cause mounting issues with its height.
However, overall the Cooler Master V8 is a class act, the main features are done well but so are the little touches, such as the fan controller and mirror-finished base, that all combine to produce a brilliant CPU Cooler that deserves every penny of its Editor’s Choice award!
- Great cooling
- Not very loud
- Fan Controller
- High quality build
- Multi-compatible with many CPUs/sockets
- Very large
Thanks go to Xoxide for providing the cooler for review.