Gelid Tranquillo CPU Cooler Review
By Rafael Otto Coelho on March 9, 2010
Today we are going to test Tranquillo from Gelid, a CPU cooler with a tower design, four U-shape heatpipes, one 120 mm fan and focused on silence. This cooler has identical specs to Noctua NH-U12P, Thermaltake ISGC-300 and 3R System iCEAGE Prima Boss, which we have already tested and have performed nicely. Will Tranquillo perform well too? Check it out!
In Figure 1, you can see the cooler box, in light card paper, with white, gray and green shades.
In Figure 2, you can see the box contents: heatsink, fan (not installed), instruction folder, a tube of gray thermal compound and installation hardware.
In next pages we will analise the cooler in details.
In Figure 3, you can see the front side of the heatsink. The fins are firm and with a good gap between them. We can also notice a small auxiliary heatsink on top of the base.
On the cooler side the fins are folded in order to avoid the air to escape - so the air pushed by the fan passes entirely by the heatsink. In Figure 4 you can also see how the heatpipes are very close to each other at the base level.
In Figure 5, you can see the back of the heatsink. You can notice that the heatpipes are not in the same row, thus allowing cool air to better reach them.
In a top view (Figure 6) you can see the position of the heatpipes. The plastic piece aparently has only aesthetics purpose, because it doesn't cover the tips of the heatpipes. There is support for only one fan. Note how the fins are not "plain": they have a small rugosity, which causes a little turbulence on the airflow, helping the heat transfer process.
The heatpipes don't touch the CPU directly: the cooler uses a copper base. This base is polished, with a near-mirrored surface.
In Figure 8, you can see the fan that comes with the cooler, with white blades and a black frame. It has PWM automatic speed control, an thus its connector is a four-pin type. An amazing detail is that the wires are covered by a plastic mesh cover, giving a good aspect to the product.
In Figure 8 you see the cooler with the fan installed. It is attached using two metal wire clips.
The installation system used in Tranquillo is relatively simple and very effective. For AMD processors, you just need to screw two clips to the base and then fasten them to the motherboard frame. For Intel CPUs, however, you must screw two clips to the base of the cooler (In Figure 10 you see the socket LGA775 clips in place), put the respective backplate on the solder side of the motherboard, put the cooler over the CPU and attach it using four spring thumbscrews.
In Figure 11, you can see the cooler installed on our motherboard and, in Figure 12, inside our case. A detail you must consider when installing this cooler is that you must install the fan only after fastening the cooler to the motherboard, otherwise you will have trouble acessing the thumbscrews that hold the cooler in place.
We are adopting the following methodology for our CPU cooler reviews.
First, we chose the CPU with the highest TDP (Thermal Design Power) we had available, a Core 2 Extreme QX6850, which has a 130 W TDP. The choice for a CPU with a high TDP is obvious. To measure the efficiency of the tested cooler, we need a processor that gets very hot. This CPU works by default at 3.0 GHz, but we overclocked it to 3.33 GHz, in order to heat it as much as possible.
We took noise and temperature measurements with the CPU idle and under full load. In order to achieve 100% CPU load on the four processing cores we ran Prime95 with the "In-place Large FFTs" option, and three instances of the StressCPU program, all at the same time.
We also compared the reviewed cooler to the Intel stock cooler (with copper base), which comes with the processor we used, and also with some other coolers we have tested using the same methodology.
Temperature measurements were taken with a digital thermometer, with the sensor touching the base of the cooler, and also with the core temperature reading (given by the CPU thermal sensor) from the from the SpeedFan program, using an arithmetic average of the four core temperature readings.
The sound pressure level (SPL) was measured with a digital noise meter, with its sensor placed 4" (10 cm) from the fan. We turned off the video board cooler so it wouldn't interfere with the results, but this measurement is only for comparative purposes, because a precise SPL measurement needs to be made inside an acoustically insulated room with no other noise sources, which is not the case here.
We adopted a 2 °C error margin, i.e., temperature differences below 2 °C are considered irrelevant.
On the tables below you can see our results. We ran the same tests with the coolers shown on below tables. Each test ran with the CPU idle and the with the CPU fully loaded. On BigTyp 14Pro, TMG IA1, NH-U12P and ISGC-300 the tests were done with the fan at full speed and at minimum speed. The other coolers were connected directly to the motherboard and it controls the fan speed based on CPU load level and temperature on PWM models. ISGC-400, iCEAGE Prima Boss, Megahalems Rev. B, Thermaltake SpinQ VT, Zalman CNPS10X Flex and Tuniq Tower 120 Extreme were tested at minimum speed on idle test and at maximum speed on full load test.
|Cooler||Room Temp.||Noise||Fan Speed||Base Temp.||Core Temp.|
|Intel stock||14 °C||44 dBA||1000 rpm||31 °C||42 °C|
|BigTyp 14Pro (min)||17 °C||47 dBA||880 rpm||29 °C||36 °C|
|BigTyp 14Pro (max)||17 °C||59 dBA||1500 rpm||26 °C||34 °C|
|Akasa Nero||18 °C||41 dBA||500 rpm||26 °C||35 °C|
|Cooler Master V10||14 °C||44 dBA||1200 rpm||21 °C||26 °C|
|TMG IA1 (max)||16 °C||47 dBA||1500 rpm||22 °C||30 °C|
|TMG IA1 (min)||16 °C||57 dBA||2250 rpm||21 °C||30 °C|
|Zalman CNPS10X Extreme||16 °C||44 dBA||1200 rpm||21 °C||29 °C|
|Thermaltake ISGC-100||18 °C||44 dBA||1450 rpm||35 °C||49 °C|
|Noctua NH-U12P (low)||15 °C||42 dBA||1000 rpm||20 °C||30 °C|
|Noctua NH-U12P||15 °C||46 dBA||1400 rpm||20 °C||28 °C|
|Noctua NH-C12P||17 °C||46 dBA||1400 rpm||23 °C||28 °C|
|Thermaltake ISGC-200||21 °C||43 dBA||1100 rpm||31 °C||35 °C|
|Schythe Kabuto||22 °C||42 dBA||800 rpm||29 °C||34 °C|
|Arctic Cooling Alpine 11 Pro||20 °C||43 dBA||1500 rpm||32 °C||39 °C|
|ISGC-300 (min)||18 °C||42 dBA||800 rpm||26 °C||30 °C|
|ISGC-300 (max)||18 °C||46 dBA||1400 rpm||24 °C||26 °C|
|SilverStone NT06-E||21 °C||66 dBA||2600 rpm||30 °C||41 °C|
|Zalman CNPS9700 NT||22 °C||48 dBA||1700 rpm||28 °C||35 °C|
|Scythe Mugen-2||17 °C||41 dBA||700 rpm||25 °C||30 °C|
|ISGC-400 (min)||17 °C||44 dBA||850 rpm||24 °C||30 °C|
|Cooler Master Vortex 752||20 °C||48 dBA||1700 rpm||32 °C||44 °C|
|iCEAGE Prima Boss (min)||22 °C||42 dBA||1000 rpm||29 °C||36 °C|
|Evercool Buffalo||17 °C||51 dBA||1850 rpm||22 °C||29 °C|
|Scythe Big Shuriken||20 °C||42 dBA||900 rpm||31 °C||39 °C|
|Cooler Master Hyper TX3||21 °C||44 dBA||1700 rpm||30 °C||39 °C|
|Titan Skalli||20 °C||43 dBA||1200 rpm||27 °C||34 °C|
|Prolimatech Megahalems Rev. B||21 °C||40 dBA||800 rpm||28 °C||32 °C|
|Zalman CNPS9900 NT||23 °C||45 dBA||900 rpm||30 °C||34 °C|
|Cooler Master Hyper N620||21 °C||44 dBA||1200 rpm||28 °C||34 °C|
|Nexus LOW-7000 R2||23 °C||46 dBA||1400 rpm||33 °C||42 °C|
|Evercool HPK-10025EA||20 °C||54 dBA||1900 rpm||27 °C||34 °C|
|Evercool HPH-9525EA||23 °C||50 dBA||1900 rpm||38 °C||49 °C|
|iCEAGE Prima Boss II||23 °C||42 dBA||1000 rpm||29 °C||35 °C|
|Thermaltake SpinQ VT||24 °C||45 dBA||950 rpm||32 °C||39 °C|
|Titan Fenrir||21 °C||42 dBA||950 rpm||29 °C||35 °C|
|Zalman CNPS 10 Flex||23 °C||40 dBA||800 rpm||32 °C||39 °C|
|Tuniq Tower 120 Extreme||24 °C||43 dBA||1100 rpm||30 °C||37 °C|
|Gelid Tranquillo||22 °C||41 dBA||850 rpm||29 °C||36 °C|
CPU Fully Loaded
|Cooler||Room Temp.||Noise||Fan Speed||Base Temp.||Core Temp.|
|Intel stock||14 °C||48 dBA||1740 rpm||42 °C||100 °C|
|BigTyp 14Pro (min)||17 °C||47 dBA||880 rpm||43 °C||77 °C|
|BigTyp 14Pro (max)||17 °C||59 dBA||1500 rpm||35 °C||70 °C|
|Akasa Nero||18 °C||48 dBA||1500 rpm||34 °C||68 °C|
|Cooler Master V10||14 °C||54 dBA||1900 rpm||24 °C||52 °C|
|TMG IA1 (max)||16 °C||47 dBA||1500 rpm||27 °C||63 °C|
|TMG IA1 (min)||16 °C||57 dBA||2250 rpm||25 °C||60 °C|
|Zalman CNPS10X Extreme||16 °C||51 dBA||1900 rpm||24 °C||50 °C|
|Thermaltake ISG-100||18 °C||50 dBA||1800 rpm||58 °C||93 °C|
|Noctua NH-U12P (low)||15 °C||42 dBA||1000 rpm||28 °C||59 °C|
|Noctua NH-U12P||15 °C||46 dBA||1400 rpm||25 °C||54 °C|
|Noctua NH-C12P||17 °C||46 dBA||1400 rpm||37 °C||76 °C|
|Thermaltake ISGC-200||21 °C||48 dBA||1900 rpm||42 °C||68 °C|
|Scythe Kabuto||22 °C||47 dBA||1200 rpm||38 °C||63 °C|
|Arctic Cooling Alpine 11 Pro||20 °C||51 dBA||2300 rpm||49 °C||85 °C|
|ISGC-300 (min)||18 °C||42 dBA||800 rpm||36 °C||64 °C|
|ISGC-300 (max)||18 °C||46 dBA||1400 rpm||31 °C||56 °C|
|SilverStone NT06-E||21 °C||66 dBA||2600 rpm||39 °C||96 °C|
|Zalman CNPS9700 NT||22 °C||56 dBA||2600 rpm||34 °C||63 °C|
|Scythe Mugen-2||17 °C||46 dBA||1300 rpm||28 °C||54 °C|
|ISGC-400 (max)||17 °C||47 dBA||1400 rpm||36 °C||69 °C|
|Cooler Master Vortex 752||20 °C||55 dBA||2300 rpm||48 °C||92 °C|
|iCEAGE Prima Boss (max)||22 °C||53 dBA||2000 rpm||35 °C||59 °C|
|Evercool Buffalo||17 °C||51 dBA||1850 rpm||32 °C||67 °C|
|Scythe Big Shuriken||20 °C||50 dBA||1500 rpm||51 °C||85 °C|
|Cooler Master Hyper TX3||21 °C||53 dBA||2700 rpm||39 °C||66 °C|
|Titan Skalli||20 °C||47 dBA||1550 rpm||37 °C||69 °C|
|Prolimatech Megahalems Rev. B||21 °C||61 dBA||2600 rpm||30 °C||51 °C|
|Zalman CNPS9900 NT||23 °C||56 dBA||2000 rpm||34 °C||54 °C|
|Cooler Master Hyper N620||21 °C||50 dBA||1650 rpm||32 °C||56 °C|
|Nexus LOW-7000 R2||23 °C||53 dBA||1900 rpm||45 °C||74 °C|
|Evercool HPK-10025EA||20 °C||54 dBA||1900 rpm||39 °C||69 °C|
|Evercool HPH-9525EA||23 °C||50 dBA||1900 rpm||58 °C||100 °C|
|iCEAGE Prima Boss II||23 °C||56 dBA||2100 rpm||32 °C||56 °C|
|Thermaltake SpinQ VT||24 °C||52 dBA||1500 rpm||40 °C||68 °C|
|Titan Fenrir||21 °C||50 dBA||1600 rpm||33 °C||58 °C|
|Zalman CNPS 10 Flex||23 °C||61 dBA||2600 rpm||33 °C||59 °C|
|Tuniq Tower 120 Extreme||24 °C||56 dBA||1900 rpm||35 °C||60 °C|
|Gelid Tranquillo||22 °C||46 dBA||1450 rpm||31 °C||60 °C|
The next graph shows how many degrees Celsius the CPU core was hotter than room temperature during our idle tests.
The next graph gives you an idea on how many degrees Celsius the CPU core was hotter than room temperature during our full load tests.
Gelid Tranquillo main features are:
* Researched at newegg.com on the day we published this review.
At first look, Gelid Tranquillo gave us a déjà vu feeling, because it uses a design very similar to other coolers we tested, like Noctua NH-U12P, Thermaltake ISGC-300 and 3R System iCEAGE Prima Boss. The good news is that almost all the coolers with this design achieved a good performance in our tests and Tranquillo was not an exception: its performance was compatible to some of the best coolers we tested so far.
The better news is the fact that Tranquillo was one of the quietest coolers we've seen (better said, heard) so far. With the CPU idle it is virtually inaudible, as the hard disk spinning noise is far more intense than the noise level produced by the cooler. Even under full load it keeps a low noise level, justifying its name ("tranquillo" means "calm" in Italian).
Another added advantage is its price: it costs less than most coolers with similar performance. Considering that its installation is simple and solid, the only point where Tranquillo does not shines is on the looks, because it has no nickel-plated fins, LED fan our other aesthetic pluses, but in a general way the result is a beautiful and harmonious looks.
In other words: Tranquillo is an excellent cooler, with good performance, quiet, easy to install, beautiful and relatively inexpensive. So, it receives the Hardware Secrets Golden Award.