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Aerocool Deep Impact DP-101: The appearance is certainly unique, but will the Deep Impact's Supertube give us the performance we are looking for?

Date: May 26, 2003
Manufacturer:
Written By:
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Introduction

As the speed from CPU's has grown, so has the amount of heat generated requiring an evolution from the once passive heatsink to an active form. Over the years, as the heat increased, so did the size of the HSF to compensate. Different materials and ever increasing fan speeds all helped to reduce temperatures with HSF's becoming larger and in most cases louder.

Along the way designers and engineers sometimes made additional changes to the basic premise of the HSF in an effort to gain an extra foothold in the fight against CPU heat.

The most common addition right now is the heat pipe which has allowed manufacturers the possibility of reducing fan speeds without compromising performance. What we are about to look at today is something similar but expands on the idea somewhat. Ok, let's get right in there and see how the technology of our review item, the , functions and performs.

Specifications

Heat Sink Specification
Dimension Tube -110 mm, 42 Fins - 58x62mm(each)
Material Superconductor Tube + Aluminum Fins
Cooler Weight 400g (no fan)

Fan Specification
Dimension 60x60x20mm
Bearing 1Ball 1Sleeve
RPM 3000
Air Flow 13.3 cfm
Noise Level 24 dba

Applications
Intel: Coppermine all, Celeron allAMD: Duron all, Athlon (TB) all, Athlon XP 3000+ and above

Technology

Yes, a technology section for a CPU Cooler. The main technology used on the Deep Impact cooler is what is a sort of Superconductor, with the heat being transferred to the central stem of the cooler ready to be cooled by the surrounding fins. The Supertube used here has a wide range of applications, and is something that has been researched at length.

How this works is as the name suggests heat is conducted straight into the stem, which is filled with various chemicals and then vacuum sealed. The chemicals form 3 basic layers inside aimed at delaying corrosion and oxidation. Like the heat-pipe technology used by CoolerMaster and others, as the inorganic liquid compound inside is heated, it becomes a gas which then rises to the cooler parts. As it is cooled it returns to a liquid once again and moves to the hotter parts to start the process all over.

So just how efficient is the Supertube? When it comes to metals, silver is the best conductor with silver pushing 10.312 K (watts/inch C). The Supertube on the other hand is capable of 72.184 K (watts/inch C) which even beats diamond at 16.000 K (Just for reference copper sits at 9.7790 K). Naturally, silver and obviously diamond are too expensive to use in this sort of application but the Supertube is lot easier on the wallet. How well this will equate to CPU cooling we shall discover later.

Ok let's have a look at the package.

A Closer Look

The package is of clear plastic with cardboard packing, allowing you to see the main unit. You immediately notice the length of the Deep Impact; this is no small cooler. Opening the package you find that the fan and other extra's are concealed in the bottom and top parts of the cardboard packing, safely tucked away.

The extras include the fan, 4 screws, a syringe of Stars silver thermal paste and the 1 page English instructions. This means that some assembly is required but it isn't anything difficult, just simply screwing the fan into place.

The unit is surprisingly not as heavy as it looks thanks mainly to the fact that this is a copper insert attaching to the tube core (with the tube being filled with the compound for heat transfer), with the surrounding material being aluminium. The sample we have here includes a blue shroud on one side, which lifts the fan away from the fins and guides it through the HSF.

The shroud is branded with the Aerocool logo in relief on both sides and attached to the top most fin structure with 2 screws. I would have preferred to see the shroud attached to the bottom as well as the top, and whilst it isn't a problem per say, it would have just been more reassuring.

You can clearly see the Supertube running through the centre and protruding slightly from the top. The overall shape is square'ish from the top with the corners of the fins curved as a safety precaution. The bottom part of the unit is the same as some other HSF's in that the tube makes contact with the CPU die via a copper insert, and surrounding this is an aluminium base.

The base is smooth to the naked fingertip and appears to be flat and even, but you can plainly see the machine marks. A little lapping would probably do some good, and it wouldn't take much to bring it to a mirror finish. As you may have noticed from the picture, yes, you can remove the surrounding aluminium although it would serve no practical purpose.

The clip for this cooler is a pretty big let down. That's not to say it doesn't work properly or anything, but I was surprised to see it hanging free from the sink. Now when I say hanging free I mean it is possible to mount this sink in the 4 compass points directions(but of course only one direction is the actual correct way) because the clip is not attached physically to the base at all. You could even mount the unit and if the clip is pushed to one side have the cooler sitting to one side of the Zif socket more than the other, i.e. not central with the CPU die. OK, this cooler is aimed at those with a bit of experience in these matters, but with it's promise of near silent cooling this HSF could appeal to many more users who don't have a clue. Like I said, the clip works fine but I really think this is an area Aerocool could improve upon immensely.

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