At £48, Nexus’ VCT-9000 is one of the more expensive coolers we’ve seen recently. However, we immediately had our concerns about its design as it feels very light compared with many of the coolers we’ve seen previously.
The VCT-9000 has just five heatpipes – one 8mm and four 6mm – while most other coolers at this price have six. The heatpipes make direct contact with the CPU heatspreader, but the contact plate is one of the worst we’ve seen, with huge gaps between each heatpipe. These need to be filled with thermal paste to avoid leaving large areas of your CPU’s heatspreader to fend for itself.
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Another issue is that the fan is angled at around 30 degrees from the vertical heatsink, so it doesn’t blow air directly through the find. This can only mean that airflow through the heatsink will be reduced. However, a small gap behind the illuminated, PWM-controlled 120mm fan’s shroud means that some air will find its way onto your motherboard, which is useful.
Meanwhile, a plastic sleeve is attached to the bottom of the heatpipes to prevent them from being scratched. Unfortunately, though, this leaves behind a thick, tacky adhesive, which is a nightmare to remove.
However, we became even more exasperated when we tried to install the VCT-9000. To reach the screws that secure it to the motherboard, the cooler has to be dismantled, which means that you’ll almost certainly have to remove your motherboard from the case to install it. What's more, the fan is mounted so low that it fouled the heatsinks on both of our test motherboards.
The cooler came very close to fouling the heatsinks on our AM3 test rig
Employing a little skulduggery, we managed to remove the Socket AM3 mounting bracket from the motherboard, secure it to the VCT-9000 and then reattach it. This meant that the mounting mechanism cleared the heatsink, but was still resting against it. The situation wasn't quite as rosy in our LGA1155 system, though, in which we could only mount the cooler vertically so that the fan blew air towards the solid roof of the case.