With a comparatively small heatsink to what we've seen recently and just a single 120mm fan, we weren't expecting the cooling performance of the ETS-T40-TA to blow us away. Its delta T result in our LGA1155 test rig of 41°C certainly wasn't amazing, but it's actually only 2°C hotter than the best air coolers we've seen here. Given its low noise output, which amounts to a slightly discernible din, it's right where you'd expect it to be, on par with the low noise Zalman CNPS14X, and as such strikes an acceptable balance between noise and performance.
However, the ETS-T40 produced a result equal to a fail in our LGA2011 system, as it was unable to prevent our toasty CPU from reaching the temperature at which it automatically clocks down. After double and triple checking the test system and ensuring that the mount was secure and adequate thermal paste applied, the result was consistent, with the CPU clocking down after less than a minute under load in Prime 95.
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This may seem alarming, but the beastly heat the overclocked i7-3960X Extreme Edition CPU pumps out combined with a confined, low airflow chassis is enough to cause many coolers to fail. The small heatsink, combined with a single relatively low airflow and low noise fan, simply isn't formidable enough to shift the required amount of air away from the CPU.
All is not lost for the ETS-T40, despite it being unable to keep up with other coolers in our demanding LGA2011 test. The efficiency of LGA1155 CPUs means that the processor does a lot (but not all) of the work for the cooler already, and the ETS-T40 is a capable little cooler for such a system. It's as good a cooler as the CNPS14X in this arena, but its ease of installation is its major strength, and it caused us no more hassle than all-in-one water coolers. Its size will also appeal to some, and though the Arctic Freezer i30 is £5 cheaper and offers slightly better temperatures, it does so at a higher noise level.
With that said, it's not recommended for LGA2011 systems, as it simply cannot cope effectively enough with the heat that chips using this socket produce. In particular, overclockers using such CPUs will obviously want to steer clear.