Once you’ve reviewed a good number of CPU coolers, you start to get a feel for what makes a good one. When you hold an HSF in your hands and scrutinise the manufacturing techniques you can get a good indication of whether it’s likely to flop or make it into discussions
the Buyer's Guide . Weightiness, a decent size, the use of several 8mm heatpipes, good bonding between the various component parts, all of these factors are usually indicative of an effective cooler.
The NesteQ SilentFreezer 1200 appears to have all the hallmarks of a decent HSF - four hefty 8mm copper heatpipes run straight through the aluminium contact plate, and have a flattened side so they come into direct contact with the CPU heatspreader. The heatsink proper is also a sizeable affair, measuring 125 x 108 x 155mm (W x D x H). It looks great - so we were keen to find out just how good our powers of precognition were.
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The NesteQ has a 120mm fan with 4-pin PWM header attaches to the heatsink with metal retention clips. Although it’s big, the cooler isn’t actually that heavy. Its 731g weight is less than the comparably large Thermalright Ultra 120 eXtreme 1366 RT which is 60g heavier and feels far more solid. The mounting system of the NesteQ cleverly adapts all CPU sockets (LGA775, LGA1366 and AMD Socket AM2, AM3 754, 939 and 940) to use the AMD mounting mechanism, which is then attached to the cooler. The downside of this is that if the mounting mechanism didnt work very well then the cooler would perform poorly on all sockets.
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As standard, AMD motherboards have two clips on either side of the socket to clip a lever into, which presses the centre of
the heatsink’s contact plate onto the CPU. Two similar mounting brackets for both LGA775 and LGA1366 ship with the NesteQ. Once these socket clips are attached to your motherboard, you can simply clip on the cooler in the blink of an eye.
Attaching the mounting bracket to an LGA1366 board requires the use of a backplate, so you may need to remove your motherboard from the case before installing the cooler in your Core i7 rig. The cooler ships with a small tube of TIM, which proved ample for our three
test installations. The TIM is an unusually dry and metallic paste that looks like some kind of robotic wasabi. While it’s very difficult to scientifically test the thermal conductivity of TIM in real-world circumstances (you've got cure time, and surface purity to contend with), we can report that it spreads incredibly well, making it easy to achieve a thin, even layer of coverage.