UK Price (as reviewed): approx £49.99 (inc VAT) US Price (as reviewed): approx $74.99 (ex Tax)
With larger and cheaper all-in-one liquid CPU coolers beginning to hit the market and more and more companies throwing their weight behind the technology, 2013 looks set to be a year of healthy competition in this area as manufacturers begin to seek alternative solutions to those offered by CoolIT and Asetek. Not everyone is so keen to embrace closed loop coolers, however, as Gelid proved in early January with the announcement of its Black Edition heatsink.
Click to enlarge - The large Black Edition cooler can support up to three 120mm fans
Compatible with all the usual Intel and AMD sockets, the Black Edition measures 160mm tall and weighs just shy of 1kg with its two included fans attached. It's certainly a hefty piece of hardware, then, and its weight may be a little more than some are willing to strap to their precious motherboards. At £50, it's also on the pricier side of the air cooling market, still some way off the most expensive coolers.
The Black Edition features four 6mm thick heat pipes and three 8mm thick ones for a total of seven. As with the GX-7 before it, five of these run straight through the flat copper baseplate with the remaining two soldered on above, apparently to help draw more heat away from the centre of your chip. The dual aluminium towers have a dense set of thin fins for increased surface area.
Click to enlarge - The cooler has seven heat pipes running through two dense sets of aluminium fins
The pair of towers is also responsible for the Black Edition being able to support a trio of 120mm fans, with Gelid kindly supplying two. One of these is the 15mm deep Slim 12 model, which comes pre-attached to the front of the cooler. Its slim profile means it saves some space, but on our LGA1155 board at least it still blocked the nearest pair of RAM slots. A standard size Silent 12 model is also provided, designed to sit between the two towers by default, and extra clips are provided for a third fan to be added too. Both fans support PWM speed control and an adaptor is provided so that they can both be attached to a single CPU fan header.
Unless you have a very spacious case, in all likelihood it will be necessary to mount the cooler with your motherboard removed from its chassis. With sockets other than LGA2011, you'll need to fasten a backplate to your board with a series of screws and standoffs which make things a little fiddly. Next on are the mounting plates, which are a little easier and only need to be tightened by hand.
Click to enlarge - It can be difficult to fasten the mounting screws through the gap between the two towers
With everything lined up, you'll need to apply some of the accompanying Gelid GC-Extreme thermal paste and place the cooler onto your CPU, before using a long screwdriver to fasten two spring loaded screws to the mounting plates through the gap between the two towers. Finally, you'll need to slide the middle fan into place while trying to keep its fan clips in place, and then use said clips to secure the fan to the cooler. Getting this fan into place proved to be a bit of a hassle as the clips kept coming out of place. All in all the mounting procedure does provide a very secure and tight fit, but could reallt do with being simplified somewhat.