Gelid Tranquillo CPU Cooler Review
By Rafael Otto Coelho on March 9, 2010


Introduction

Hardware Secrets Golden Award

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.

Gelid Tranquillo
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Figure 1: Box.

In Figure 2, you can see the box contents: heatsink, fan (not installed), instruction folder, a tube of gray thermal compound and installation hardware.

Gelid Tranquillo
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Figure 2: Box contents.

In next pages we will analise the cooler in details.

Gelid Tranquillo

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.

Gelid Tranquillo
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Figure 3: Front view.

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.

Gelid Tranquillo
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Figure 4: Side view.

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.

Gelid Tranquillo
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Figure 5: Rear view.

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.

Gelid Tranquillo
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Figure 6: Top view.

Gelid Tranquillo (Cont'd)

The heatpipes don't touch the CPU directly: the cooler uses a copper base. This base is polished, with a near-mirrored surface.

Gelid Tranquillo
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Figure 7: Base.

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.

Gelid Tranquillo
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Figure 8: Fan.

In Figure 8 you see the cooler with the fan installed. It is attached using two metal wire clips.

Gelid Tranquillo
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Figure 9: Fan installed.

Installation

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.

Gelid Tranquillo
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Figure 10: Support for socket LGA775.

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.

Gelid Tranquillo
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Figure 11: Installed on the motherboard.

Gelid Tranquillo
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Figure 12: Installed in our case.

How We Tested

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.

Hardware Configuration

Software Configuration

Software Used

Error Margin

We adopted a 2 °C error margin, i.e., temperature differences below 2 °C are considered irrelevant.

Our Tests

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.

CPU Idle

CoolerRoom Temp.NoiseFan SpeedBase Temp.Core Temp.
Intel stock14 °C44 dBA1000 rpm31 °C42 °C
BigTyp 14Pro (min)17 °C47 dBA880 rpm29 °C36 °C
BigTyp 14Pro (max)17 °C59 dBA1500 rpm26 °C34 °C
Akasa Nero18 °C41 dBA500 rpm26 °C35 °C
Cooler Master V1014 °C44 dBA1200 rpm21 °C26 °C
TMG IA1 (max)16 °C47 dBA1500 rpm22 °C30 °C
TMG IA1 (min)16 °C57 dBA2250 rpm21 °C30 °C
Zalman CNPS10X Extreme16 °C44 dBA1200 rpm21 °C29 °C
Thermaltake ISGC-10018 °C44 dBA1450 rpm35 °C49 °C
Noctua NH-U12P (low)15 °C42 dBA1000 rpm20 °C30 °C
Noctua NH-U12P15 °C46 dBA1400 rpm20 °C28 °C
Noctua NH-C12P17 °C46 dBA1400 rpm23 °C28 °C
Thermaltake ISGC-20021 °C43 dBA1100 rpm31 °C35 °C
Schythe Kabuto22 °C42 dBA800 rpm29 °C34 °C
Arctic Cooling Alpine 11 Pro20 °C43 dBA1500 rpm32 °C39 °C
ISGC-300 (min)18 °C42 dBA800 rpm26 °C30 °C
ISGC-300 (max)18 °C46 dBA1400 rpm24 °C26 °C
SilverStone NT06-E21 °C66 dBA2600 rpm30 °C41 °C
Zalman CNPS9700 NT22 °C48 dBA1700 rpm28 °C35 °C
Scythe Mugen-2 17 °C41 dBA 700 rpm25 °C30 °C
ISGC-400 (min)17 °C44 dBA850 rpm24 °C30 °C
Cooler Master Vortex 75220 °C48 dBA1700 rpm32 °C44 °C
iCEAGE Prima Boss (min)22 °C42 dBA1000 rpm29 °C36 °C
Evercool Buffalo17 °C51 dBA1850 rpm22 °C29 °C
Scythe Big Shuriken20 °C42 dBA900 rpm31 °C39 °C
Cooler Master Hyper TX321 °C44 dBA1700 rpm30 °C39 °C
Titan Skalli20 °C43 dBA1200 rpm27 °C34 °C
Prolimatech Megahalems Rev. B21 °C40 dBA800 rpm28 °C32 °C
Zalman CNPS9900 NT23 °C45 dBA900 rpm30 °C34 °C
Cooler Master Hyper N62021 °C44 dBA1200 rpm28 °C34 °C
Nexus LOW-7000 R223 °C46 dBA1400 rpm33 °C42 °C
Evercool HPK-10025EA20 °C54 dBA1900 rpm27 °C34 °C
Evercool HPH-9525EA23 °C50 dBA1900 rpm38 °C49 °C
iCEAGE Prima Boss II23 °C42 dBA1000 rpm29 °C35 °C
Thermaltake SpinQ VT24 °C45 dBA950 rpm32 °C39 °C
Titan Fenrir21 °C42 dBA950 rpm29 °C35 °C
Zalman CNPS 10 Flex23 °C40 dBA800 rpm32 °C39 °C
Tuniq Tower 120 Extreme24 °C43 dBA1100 rpm30 °C37 °C
Gelid Tranquillo22 °C41 dBA850 rpm29 °C36 °C

CPU Fully Loaded

CoolerRoom Temp.NoiseFan SpeedBase Temp.Core Temp.
Intel stock14 °C48 dBA1740 rpm42 °C100 °C
BigTyp 14Pro (min)17 °C47 dBA880 rpm43 °C77 °C
BigTyp 14Pro (max)17 °C59 dBA1500 rpm35 °C70 °C
Akasa Nero18 °C48 dBA1500 rpm34 °C68 °C
Cooler Master V1014 °C54 dBA1900 rpm24 °C52 °C
TMG IA1 (max)16 °C47 dBA1500 rpm27 °C63 °C
TMG IA1 (min)16 °C57 dBA2250 rpm25 °C60 °C
Zalman CNPS10X Extreme16 °C51 dBA1900 rpm24 °C50 °C
Thermaltake ISG-10018 °C50 dBA1800 rpm58 °C93 °C
Noctua NH-U12P (low)15 °C42 dBA1000 rpm28 °C59 °C
Noctua NH-U12P15 °C46 dBA1400 rpm25 °C54 °C
Noctua NH-C12P17 °C46 dBA1400 rpm37 °C76 °C
Thermaltake ISGC-20021 °C48 dBA1900 rpm42 °C68 °C
Scythe Kabuto22 °C47 dBA1200 rpm38 °C63 °C
Arctic Cooling Alpine 11 Pro20 °C51 dBA2300 rpm49 °C85 °C
ISGC-300 (min)18 °C42 dBA800 rpm36 °C64 °C
ISGC-300 (max)18 °C46 dBA1400 rpm31 °C56 °C
SilverStone NT06-E21 °C66 dBA2600 rpm39 °C96 °C
Zalman CNPS9700 NT22 °C56 dBA2600 rpm34 °C63 °C
Scythe Mugen-2 17 °C46 dBA 1300 rpm 28 °C54 °C
ISGC-400 (max)17 °C47 dBA1400 rpm36 °C69 °C
Cooler Master Vortex 75220 °C55 dBA2300 rpm48 °C92 °C
iCEAGE Prima Boss (max)22 °C53 dBA2000 rpm35 °C59 °C
Evercool Buffalo17 °C51 dBA1850 rpm32 °C67 °C
Scythe Big Shuriken20 °C50 dBA1500 rpm51 °C85 °C
Cooler Master Hyper TX321 °C53 dBA2700 rpm39 °C66 °C
Titan Skalli20 °C47 dBA1550 rpm37 °C69 °C
Prolimatech Megahalems Rev. B21 °C61 dBA2600 rpm30 °C51 °C
Zalman CNPS9900 NT23 °C56 dBA2000 rpm34 °C54 °C
Cooler Master Hyper N62021 °C50 dBA1650 rpm32 °C56 °C
Nexus LOW-7000 R223 °C53 dBA1900 rpm45 °C74 °C
Evercool HPK-10025EA20 °C54 dBA1900 rpm39 °C69 °C
Evercool HPH-9525EA23 °C50 dBA1900 rpm58 °C100 °C
iCEAGE Prima Boss II23 °C56 dBA2100 rpm32 °C56 °C
Thermaltake SpinQ VT24 °C52 dBA1500 rpm40 °C68 °C
Titan Fenrir21 °C50 dBA1600 rpm33 °C58 °C
Zalman CNPS 10 Flex23 °C61 dBA2600 rpm33 °C59 °C
Tuniq Tower 120 Extreme24 °C56 dBA1900 rpm35 °C60 °C
Gelid Tranquillo22 °C46 dBA1450 rpm31 °C60 °C

The next graph shows how many degrees Celsius the CPU core was hotter than room temperature during our idle tests.

Gelid Tranquillo

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 Specifications

Gelid Tranquillo main features are:

* Researched at newegg.com on the day we published this review.

Conclusions

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.

Originally at http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/Gelid-Tranquillo-CPU-Cooler-Review/940


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