Thermaltake v14 Pro - or n00b?
The design of the of v14 Pro is very similar to that of the Thermaltake v1 we reviewed last year, with heatpipes running at a diagonal angles out of the core, and then curving back in and through the fanned out cooling fins to transfer heat throughout the entire cooling fin stack.
This time though, Thermaltake have added an additional two heatpipes, bringing the tally up to six copper heatpipes, totalling an enormous 173cm in length. All the heatpipes are uni-directional, with just the sealed tips emerging from one side of the heatsink’s core, and the full length of the heatpipe from the other which then curves back in over the heatsink at varying heights, running through the fanned out cooling fin array.
The array itself is split in two forty four fin arrays, one on either side of the cooler with the 140mm cooling fan mounted between them. The fins are arranged vertically rather than horizontally and in line with the fan’s airflow, with air being first drawn through one fin array, and then blown back out through the other.
Each array has three heatpipes running through it at different levels ensuring optimum heat dissipation, and the separate arrays are held apart by two copper struts which have been soldered onto the outside of the fin arrays around the mid-level heatpipes to stop the fins shifting inwards and jamming the fan.
Sadly these soldered on support struts don’t seem to be up to much, and we managed to knock one off during our testing process. Without these struts there’s nothing to stop you accidentally bending the two fin arrays towards each other during fitting, blocking the cooling fan from spinning and leaving you with a suddenly passive cooled CPU cooler – not exactly a attractive circumstance, and an example of pretty poor cooler design.
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This is a real disappointment, and it doesn’t reflect well on Thermaltake, especially as we’ve already found one of its cooling products to be rather poorly designed already this week
. We treat every product that comes through our offices the same, and some coolers, like the Zalman 9700 or the OCZ Vendetta, are still used by us on a regular basis in our testing. These coolers have survived literally hundreds of separate of fittings unscathed, and yet within less than a day of use we’d already managed to break the Thermaltake v14 Pro.
Other than the heatpipes and these copper support struts, the full weight of the cooling fin stack is supported by the heatpipes, although the cooling fan is mounted separately on a small mount that’s screwed onto the top of the heatsink's core.
The core itself is made of two metal blocks moulded around the heatpipes – one copper which sits on the bottom of the heatsink forming the thermal transfer surface, and another made of aluminium that sits on top of the copper block, fully encasing the heatpipes and with screw holes / pre-cut ruts for the mounting brackets. The two are very firmly fixed together, and there are no gaps around the heatpipes at all – a flaw that we’ve seen in the past on some of the larger heatpipe coolers.
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The base itself is well finished to a mirror shine, although the peel back plastic panel used to protect it in transit still
doesn’t have anything on it to say “remove me!” - a problem handed down from the V1. Less savvy users might not know to remove this resulting in severely compromised performance and, worst case, a nice pool of melted plastic all over your CPU and motherboard.
The centrepiece of the whole heatsink though is the massive blue LED lit 140mm cooling fan in between the two fin arrays. Mounted on a support strut rising from the aluminium section of the coolers base, the fan has no surrounding “shroud” or casing, allowing air to be drawn in and exhausted over a wide radius. However, in our experience fans without a casing or shroud tend to blow air all over the place rather than where it’s needed the most – in this case through and then back over the cooling fins.