Tuesday, July 22, 2014

My Silverstone Heligon HE10 cooler is here and it's great!

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My new CPU cooler - the Silverstone HE01 - arrived on Sunday July 20. It came in a fairly larger box that I anticipated. Despite being a dual tower cooler, it was not supposed to be as large as the Silver Arrow SB-E Extreme cooler that I had in my rig a few months ago. That was because it comes with just one fan and the front tower itself was thin.

I quickly took my PC apart. As it wasn't that long ago that I installed the water cooler, I remembered the steps to quickly remove the Antec Kuhler 620 cooler. Then I got down to the real business - installation of the cooler.

There was no time for a photo-shoot. Everything came packed well. There was an instruction manual but it was of very low quality. A lot of instructions and diagrams were omitted from it. But with a little bit of common sense, I could install the cooler just fine. Mounting of the heatsink didn't take that long. It was much easier than the Silver Arrow because the spacing between the two towers was larger due to the 38mm fan that goes in between. Installation of the fan was harder as I installed the cooler with the motherboard plugged in. Like expected, there was no issues with the RAM clearance.

I was worried about the noise levels, but it wasn't as bad as the dual TY-143 fans in the Silver Arrow Extreme. It was not quiet at 2000RPM (it actually went up to about 2100RPM) of course, but it was more like the noise from the wind rather than the noise from the motor. I didn't play with the fan speeds at first. I just used the default Q-Fan settings on the fan. That caused the fan speed to ramp up reasonably aggressively depending on the CPU temperature. I tried playing Crysis 3 and the fan speed ramped up to about 1600RPM. Of course it would not be that aggressive if I chose a silent profile for the fan speed control.

So, what about the temps? I tested the CPU at 4.6GHz @1.28V (Vcore) and everything else at AUTO except RAM at XMP (2400MHz CL11) using x264 Stress Test and the maximum temperatures observed was about 83C. It kept the temps below 80C for the most part. I had the test running for 3.5hrs or 20 loops. This was with an ambient of 26C-27C. The exhaust out of the top exhaust fan of the case wasn't warm either. I guess there isn't much the CPU cooler can do as long as the gap between the CPU die and the IHS exists. To exploit the true potential of the cooler, I guess one needs to delid the CPU. There is no other way. It is unfortunate that Haswell is so unforgiving to the cooler.

I did try increasing the overclock to 4.7GHz and tried up to 1.34V, but the CPU wasn't stable. Well, I didn't play with the settings for long. Perhaps I can get it stable if I played with the VCCIN. But in terms of the CPU temps, it maximum I observed was 89C. This was only after few minutes.

I'm pretty happy with the cooler. I think I can install a second fan as well, but the fan itself is pretty expensive. About $17. So I have to be 100% sure that I would be able to install it. Then I guess I would be able to limit the fan speed to 1200RPM and get pretty much the same cooling performance as when running a single fan at 2000RPM. However, it seems that a lot of motherboards would prevent installing a second fan. But that’s a topic for another day.

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