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Vantec Aeroflow VA4-C7040 Socket-A: Lately, heatsinks have been getting bigger and fans have been getting louder to cool todays processors. Vantec bucks the trend, and has something a little different.
Date: November 9, 2002
Catagory: Cases & Cooling
Written By:

It's not everyday that we see a large manufacturer buck the trend and do something different. Vantec is one such company, and in the era of copper heatsinks, they have done the unthinkable and released an aluminum (mostly) one.

As most enthusiasts already know, copper is typically the preferred material (as opposed to aluminum) in performance coolers. Copper can absorb heat much faster than aluminum, but retains heat longer. For overclockers, I can see where copper's heat absorption can be handy when an overclocked CPU initially powers on. The heat created may be too much for aluminum coolers, but it may be handled by copper ones.

With so many performance coolers on the market for the AMD Athlon, I'll admit I was a little surprised when the Socket-A cooler arrived at our door. It's larger than a stock AMD cooler, but it isn't a 500+ gram cooler, nor does it have a monsterous 80mm fan on it. Will it have what it takes to compete in the enthusiast market?


Model No.: VA4-C7040
CPU Socket: 370/7/A (462)
Rated Voltage: 12V
Rated Current: 0.30 A
Power Consumption: 3.84W
Bearing Type: TMD (Tip-Magnetic Driving)
Fan Speed: 5600 RPM
Airflow: 35.5 CFM
Noise Level: 38 dBA
Outline Dimension: 74.5 x 74.5 x 60.0 mm
Weight: 384.0 g
Life Time: 50,000 Hrs

Click for larger image

The majority of the Aeroflow's construction is aluminum. There is a copper core inserted into the base, much like how Thermaltake does with their Volcanos. The copper core is only inserted into the base, and not throughout the heatsink. One engineering achievement (ok, that may be a little over the top) is that the CPU core will make direct contact with the Aeroflow copper core. I've seen heatsinks with copper cores misaligned with the CPU core. The end result is usually poor performance.

There is a shroud to help raise the fan off the surface of the heatsink, as well as to secure the fan. By raising the fan, the "dead spot" (the area directly beneath the center of the fan) is alleviated somewhat as the majority of the moving air actually happens a little further away from the center of the fan.

The fin layout is nothing like I've seen before. Removing the fan reveals a criss-cross pattern, and Vantec doesn't use any tricks like thin fins in the design. There is almost a windtunnel like design to it, which would explain why it's called an Aeroflow...

It's not apparent in the photographs, more so in their diagram, but the fin design encourages "directed" air turbulance. Typical heatsink design has air blowing into the heatsink, where it exits in every direction. The Aeroflow on the otherhand has the air moved out of the heatsink in an orderly fashion. We mentioned earlier that the copper core does not run through the height of the heatsink. Combining this design decision, the shroud and the use of the Y.S. Tech TMD Fan allows for as much air as possible to flow through the heatsink.

The Aeroflow uses a 70mm fan, courtesy of the . There was a big hoopla when these fans were first announced, mostly because they moved the motor from the traditional center. One key benefit is potentially more airflow. With a center moter, fan surface area is reduced (we're talking in the case where fan sizes being equal), thus the fan will have to spin faster to put out more air pressure. The TMD fan moves the motor to the 4 corners of the enclosure, reducing the size of the center core, which will allow for more fan surface area. The secondary benefit is that with a reduced core, the "dead spot" is also not as bad as before, and the air turbulance will happen closer to the fan, hence improving cooling if the distance between the fan and heatsink is small. Finally, the TMD Fan is reported to be quieter than traditional ball bearing fans of equal airflow.

One issue I encountered was that the fan wasn't recoginized by our KT3 Ultra2. We got a warning that no fan was installed, when in fact it was. The fan was obviously spinning, and I needed to disable CPU fan detection in the BIOS to stop that alarm from driving me crazy. I also noticed something, which may be a minor benefit to the magnetic design of the fan, where after turning off the PC, the fan continue to spin for a good two times longer than a standard fan. Obviously, it isn't spinning full speed, and it is slowing down (to a complete stop) when you turn off the computer, but any "extra" cooling I can get is great.

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