Weight (with fan): 750g Size (with fan): 165mm(H) x 127mm(W) x 116mm(H) D Fan Size: 120mm Fan Speed: 500-1700RPM Airflow: 16.87-57.33 CFM Noise Level: 12.67 - 27.18dBa Warranty: One year standard warranty Supported Motherboards: Intel LGA 775 ONLY
As we’ve seen in the last few months, building a truly excellent CPU heatsink is perhaps a bit more difficult than many would give manufacturers credit for. As well as striking the fine balance between cooling ability and fan noise, the mounting system of the heatsink and fan also prove a stumbling block for many, and a truly excellent cooler will be able to do all this at a price that isn’t equivalent to that of the processor it’s cooling.
It’s certainly a tall order but one Akasa thinks it can fill with its new heatsink, the 966 Blue Aurora. This is the next step up from Akasa’s excellent budget cooler the Akasa 965, which shocked us in our last group test with high end performance for a fraction of the price of similarly performing coolers.
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Akasa seems to be making a habit of producing quality bits of kit as of late, and are pretty proud of their talented heatsink design team - many of which previously left Arctic Cooling to join the Taipei based manufacturer. Let’s find out if the Blue Aurora can prove a worthy step up from the 965.
What’s in the Box?
Not a lot is in it, that’s what. Akasa have shipped the Blue Aurora with the absolute bare minimum of equipment, and all you get is the heatsink, back bracket, a tube of thermal paste and the installation guide. The reason the package is so sparse is that Akasa have chosen to only support LGA 775 motherboards with the Blue Aurora, so AM2 or 939 owners can click away right now – this one isn’t for you.
We’re surprised other coolers haven’t taken the same route and shipped as LGA 775 exclusives, for both cost and ease of use reasons. By only supporting one type of mounting socket, Akasa has been able to specialise the Blue Aurora’s mount bracket to the level that the Blue Aurora comes out of the box ready to go – there’s no fiddly brackets to fit first.
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Speaking of which, the cooler is shipped inside a moulded plastic surround, with the box cut to show off the cooler inside while providing some protection from knocks in transit. The remaining contents (that which there is) are included in a small separate box. It all seems well protected enough, and our sample arrived without a single fin out of place (until we dropped it post photo session – oops).
While the attached 120mm blue LED fan comes complete with a four pin PWM connector for automatic fan speed alteration via your motherboard, we'd still have liked to have seen something like a manual fan controller or voltage step down cable included in the box as well. Other than this though, we can't fault the sparse bundle included with the Blue Aurora - there's no need for extra or replacement fittings or bolts as the cooler is never meant to be dismantled, and it doesn’t really lament the loss of AM2 mounts as they make up such a small proportion of the enthusiast desktop CPU market these days (sorry AMD).