Alpenföhn Atlas Review

Manufacturer: Alpenföhn
UK price (as reviewed):
£42.95 (inc VAT)
US price (as reviewed): Currently unavailable

Dual tower designs are common in monstrous, flagship coolers like the Noctua NH-D15 and Phanteks PH-TC14PE, but Alpenföhn is targeting a different, more niche crowd with its Atlas cooler. It's just 125mm tall, which is 10mm shorter than the Thermalright Macho 90 we reviewed recently and makes it a suitable candidate for many smaller cases and builds.

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Other than the height, the Atlas has a standard dual tower design. The fins are quite densely packed and angled upwards towards the middle, while the towers themselves are slightly off-centre to allow for greater RAM compatibility. The build quality is very good, and the five u-shaped copper heat pipes as well as the copper baseplate are nickel-plated for a consistent finish.

In theory, the Atlas could support three fans, but it's supplied with two and there are no extra fan clips – it's designed to have one fan in between the towers and one either pushing from the front or pulling at the back. These fans are 92mm models (with 80mm mounting holes) with seven blades and an all black colour scheme.

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Both fans have a nicely braided cable that terminates in a splitter connection, allowing you to control both from a single header. You also get a short 12V Molex adaptor which has a similar high-quality braiding, as well as two longer 7V Molex adaptors for low noise fan operation. However, these cables have the standard red, black and yellow wiring lazily exposed, which is a small slip in quality that is elsewhere pretty high. Still, it's good to have this additional functionality.

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Mounting is achieved via a universal metal backplate, through which mounting screws are passed, although LGA2011(-v3) users will attach these directly to the socket holes. Onto the screws you secure the relevant mounting arms, and on any socket you can install the cooler in any orientation. With the arms in place, a locking bar is placed over the cooler's baseplate and secured to the arms with the two pre-attached spring-loaded screws. It's good that these are pre-attached, but they can still be pretty fiddly, especially as the locking bar is quite easy to dislodge. In terms of thermal paste, a small tube applicator is supplied with enough goo for two or three mounts.

The final step, of course, is attaching the fans, once you've applied the anti-vibration washers to the fin towers that is. As with most coolers the fan clips are pretty hateful, frequently coming loose as you stretch them. In a large ATX case like the ones we use, it's possible to do this all inside a chassis, but in the smaller confines of the cases the Atlas is designed for, it could prove very frustrating, so external mounting is recommended.

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The offset fin towers mean that tall RAM modules are usually compatible, although not without caveats. Firstly, it means you either have to install the second fan resting on top of your RAM modules at the front of the heatsink, which will mean it's not optimally aligned, or install it at the rear of the cooler, in which case it may interfere with the rear exhaust fan. Lastly, tall modules on LGA2011(-v3) systems are not okay except in the outer most slots thanks to there being RAM slots on both sides of the CPU. Luckily, there's enough clearance for low profile modules to be used without any interference.

Specifications

  • Compatibility Intel: LGA775, LGA1366, LGA115x, LGA2011(-v3); AMD: Socket AM3(+), AM2(+), FM2(+), FM1
  • Size (with fans) (mm) 105 x 140 x 125 (W x D x H)
  • Fan size (mm) 92 x 25 x 95 (W x D x H)
  • Fan(s) 2 x 92mm, 400 ~ 1,800 RPM
  • Stated Noise 8 - 24.3 dB(A)
  • Extras 12V Molex adaptor, 2 x 7V Molex adaptors

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