Gelid Antarctica Review

October 13, 2015 // 3:26 p.m.

Tags: #cpu-cooler #gelid #gelid-antarctica-review

Gelid Antarctica Review

Manufacturer: Gelid
UK price (as reviewed):
MSRP £32.99 (inc VAT)
US price (as reviewed): MSRP $41.99 (ex Tax)

It's been over two years since we've reviewed a Gelid cooler here at bit-tech, but with our new test systems finally up and running we thought we'd take a look at the company's latest release, the Antarctica. This joins Gelid's Gamer range of products, and should thus be more geared towards performance than low noise, although the latter is promised by the Antarctica as well.

Gelid Antarctica Review Gelid Antarctica Review
Click to enlarge

The heatsink is definitely on the thin side, being only 74mm across – that's with the fan included. Therefore, it should have minimal issues when it comes to RAM clearance, and in this regard it is quite similar to the SilverStone Argon AR01. The single fin stack does stand at 160mm tall, however, so you'll need to check your case clearance to be sure of full compatibility.

Five copper heat pipes, which are nickel-plated for a consistent look, pass through a copper baseplate, tightly packed into the same horizontal layer. Gelid describes the heatsink as '3D optimised', which likely has something to do with the small heatsink built directly onto the baseplate. This series of vertical metal spikes will help to draw a bit of extra heat away from the baseplate, and will receive airflow from the large fan too, so it's a good use of space. Above this, the heat pipes pass into a single stack of fins, which Gelid claims have improved profiling.

Gelid Antarctica Review
Click to enlarge

We did note that the baseplate is relatively small, but Gelid boasts that the Antarctica is capable of dissipating up to 220W of heat, even with a low noise, slow spinning fan. That said, LGA2011 CPUs are not supported out of the box – you have to buy a mounting kit separately, suggesting the Antarctica is not really designed with them in mind.

The Silent 14 PWM fan comes in all black and is a nine-blade, 140mm model with 120mm mounting points. It sports a braided PWM cable, capable of controlling the fan between 450 and 1,500 RPM or so. The fan uses a hydro dynamic bearing and has a new PWM IC which Gelid says eliminates a clicking noise associated with older models. While the Antarctica ships as a single fan cooler, an extra pair of fan clips is supplied so you could add a second fan if you wanted.

Gelid Antarctica Review Gelid Antarctica Review
Click to enlarge

Since it doesn't use a universal mounting mechanism, the first part of the installation process needs you to install either the AMD or Intel mounting clips directly to the baseplate with some small screws. This is a little fiddly but it does mean that, regardless of which socket you're using, you can install the Antarctica to achieve either horizontal airflow (i.e. exhausting through the rear of a standard ATX case) or vertical (i.e. exhausting through the roof).

Gelid Antarctica Review Gelid Antarctica Review
Click to enlarge - The AMD mounting arms (left) and Intel mounting arms (right)

The cooler also uses a universal metal backplate which is easily strong enough to support the 635g weight (including fan). The procedure is fairly familiar and straightforward: long screws pass through the backplate and motherboard and are secured with nuts on the front side. With thermal paste applied (Gelid supplies a small tube of GC-Extreme), you then align the mounting arms with the screws, securing everything with spring-loaded screw-caps. Overall, it's a pretty easy process, especially as the cooler is thin enough so as to not block access to any screws – there's no awkward fiddling with wrenches or passing screws down through the fin stack, and it can all be done inside a chassis without any major hurdles. The most fiddly part comes at the end, as the fan clips have a basic design and a tendency to slip out of place as you stretch them to their locking points - they've got absolutely nothing on the awesome rubber ones that SilverStone uses.

As expected, there were no conflicts with memory slots on either our Intel or AMD test motherboards, so you're free to use this cooler along with full height RAM heatspreaders.

Specifications

  • Compatibility Intel: LGA775, LGA1366, LGA115x, LGA2011 (via separate mounting kit); AMD: AM3(+), AM2(+), FM2(+), FM1
  • Size (with fans) (mm) 140 x 74 x 160 (W x D x H)
  • Fan size (mm) 140 x 140 x 25 (W x D x H)
  • Fan(s) 1 x 140mm, 450 ~ 1,500 RPM
  • Stated Noise max. 27.8 dB(A)
  • Extras Additional fan clips

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