Spire TME III CPU Cooler Review
By Rafael Otto Coelho on July 18, 2012


Introduction

The Spire TME III is a CPU cooler with a tower heatsink, five 8 mm copper heatpipes and two 120 mm fans. Let’s see if it is a good cooler.

The TME III is a new version of the Spire TherMax Eclipse II, which was an improved version of the original TherMax Eclipse, which performed poorly in our tests. We have no idea why Spire didn’t name this cooler “TherMax Eclipse III,” preferring the abbreviation instead.

The box of the TME III is shown in Figure 1.

Spire TME III
click to enlarge
Figure 1: Package

Figure 2 shows the contents of the box: the cooler itself with one fan installed, a second fan, a syringe of thermal compound, manual, and installation hardware.

Spire TME III
click to enlarge
Figure 2: Accessories

Figure 3 displays the Spire TME III.

Spire TME III
click to enlarge
Figure 3: The Spire TME III

This cooler is discussed in detail in the following pages.

The Spire TME III

Figure 4 illustrates the front of the cooler, which is covered by the 120 mm fan. Notice the small auxiliary heatsink over the base, which was also present on older versions of the product.

Spire TME III
click to enlarge
Figure 4: Front view

Figure 5 reveals the side of the cooler. The fins are folded, creating a closed surface.

Spire TME III
click to enlarge
Figure 5: Side view

Figure 6 shows the rear of the cooler, where the second fan goes.

Spire TME III
click to enlarge
Figure 6: Rear view

In Figure 7, you can see the top of the cooler, where the tips of the heatpipes are visible. Please notice that the fins are not plain, but have some kind of rugosity.

Spire TME III
click to enlarge
Figure 7: Top view

The Spire TME III (Cont’d)

Figure 8 illustrates the base of the cooler. The heatpipes touch the CPU directly, and there is a gap between them. The surface has no mirrored finishing.

Spire TME III
click to enlarge
Figure 8: Base

Figure 9 reveals the TME III without the front fan. The fans are held in place by four rubber pieces.

Spire TME III
click to enlarge
Figure 9: Without the fan

Figure 10 shows the 120 mm PWM fans that come with the TME III. The fans have extremely short wires, but the cooler comes with two extensions to connect them to the motherboard.

Spire TME III
click to enlarge
Figure 10: Fan

Installation

Figure 11 shows the backplate of the TME III, with the screws and nuts installed on the adequate holes for socket LGA1155 installation. Four plastic washers prevent the nuts from damaging the motherboard.

Spire TME III
click to enlarge
Figure 11: Backplate

In order to install the TME III, you need to put the backplate on the solder side of the motherboard, and then install the cooler in place, securing it with four thumbnuts.

Spire TME III
click to enlarge
Figure 12: Heatsink installed

After that, install the fans, as shown in Figure 13.

Spire TME III
click to enlarge
Figure 13: Cooler installed

Removing the cooler and observing the thermal compound “fingerprint,” we could be sure of a problem we noticed: the base of the cooler is far larger than the surface of our CPU, so only the three central heatpipes actually touch the processor. The heatpipes on the edges simply don’t pick up heat directly from the CPU.

Spire TME III
click to enlarge
Figure 14: CPU “fingerprint”

How We Tested

We tested the cooler with a Core i5-2500K CPU (quad-core, 3.3 GHz), which is a socket LGA1155 processor with a 95 W TDP (Thermal Design Power). In order to get higher thermal dissipation, we overclocked it to 4.0 GHz (100 MHz base clock and x40 multiplier), with 1.3 V core voltage (Vcore). This CPU was able to reach 4.8 GHz with its default core voltage, but at this setting, the processor enters thermal throttling when using mainstream coolers, reducing the clock and thus the thermal dissipation. This could interfere with the temperature readings, so we chose to maintain a moderate overclocking.

We measured noise and temperature with the CPU under full load. In order to get 100% CPU usage in all cores, we ran Prime 95 25.11 with the “In-place Large FFTs” option. (In this version, the software uses all available threads.)

We compared the tested cooler to other coolers we already tested, and to the stock cooler that comes with the Core i5-2500K CPU. Note that the results cannot be compared to measures taken on a different hardware configuration, so we retested some “old” coolers with this new methodology. This means you can find different values in older reviews than the values you will read on the next page. Every cooler was tested with the thermal compound that comes with it.

Room temperature measurements were taken with a digital thermometer. The core temperature was read with the SpeedFan program (available from the CPU thermal sensors), using an arithmetic average of the core temperature readings.

During the tests, the panels of the computer case were closed. The front and rear case fans were spinning at minimum speed in order to simulate the “normal” cooler use on a well-ventilated case. We assume that is the common setup used by a cooling enthusiast or overclocker.

The sound pressure level (SPL) was measured with a digital noise meter, with its sensor placed near the top opening of the case. This measurement is only for comparison 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

Operating System Configuration

Software Used

Error Margin

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

Our Tests

The table below presents the results of our measurements. We repeated the same test on all coolers listed below. Each measurement was taken with the CPU at full load. In the models with a fan supporting PWM, the motherboard controlled the fan speed according to core load and temperature. On coolers with an integrated fan controller, the fan was set at the full speed.

CoolerRoom Temp.NoiseSpeedCore Temp.Temp. Diff.
Cooler Master Hyper TX318 °C50 dBA2850 rpm69 °C51 °C
Corsair A7023 °C51 dBA2000 rpm66 °C43 °C
Corsair H10026 °C62 dBA2000 rpm64 °C38 °C
EVGA Superclock26 °C57 dBA2550 rpm67 °C41 °C
NZXT HAVIK 14020 °C46 dBA 1250 rpm65 °C45 °C
Thermalright True Spirit 12026 °C42 dBA1500 rpm82 °C56 °C
Zalman CNPS12X26 °C43 dBA1200 rpm71 °C45 °C
Zalman CNPS9900 Max20 °C51 dBA1700 rpm62 °C42 °C
Titan Fenrir Siberia Edition22 °C50 dBA2400 rpm65 °C43 °C
SilenX EFZ-120HA518 °C44 dBA1500 rpm70 °C52 °C
Noctua NH-L1220 °C44 dBA1450 rpm70 °C50 °C
Zalman CNPS8900 Extreme21 °C53 dBA2550 rpm71 °C50 °C
Gamer Storm Assassin15 °C48 dBA1450 rpm58 °C43 °C
Deepcool Gammaxx 40015 °C44 dBA1500 rpm60 °C45 °C
Cooler Master TPC 81223 °C51 dBA2350 rpm66 °C43 °C
Deepcool Gammaxx 30018 °C43 dBA1650 rpm74 °C56 °C
Intel stock cooler18 °C41 dBA2000 rpm97 °C79 °C
Xigmatek Praeton19 °C52 dBA2900 rpm83 °C64 °C
Noctua NH-U12P SE218 °C42 dBA1300 rpm69 °C51 °C
Deepcool Frostwin24 °C46 dBA1650 rpm78 °C54 °C
Thermaltake Frio Advanced13 °C56 dBA2000 rpm62 °C49 °C
Xigmatek Dark Knight Night Hawk Edition9 °C48 dBA2100 rpm53 °C44 °C
Thermaltake Frio Extreme21 °C53 dBA1750 rpm59 °C38 °C
Noctua NH-U9B SE212 °C44 dBA1700 rpm64 °C52 °C
Thermaltake WATER2.0 Pro15 °C54 dBA2000 rpm52 °C37 °C
Deepcool Fiend Shark18 °C45 dBA1500 rpm74 °C56 °C
Arctic Freezer i3013 °C42 dBA1350 rpm63 °C50 °C
Spire TME III8 °C46 dBA1700 rpm70 °C62 °C

In the graph below, you can see how many degrees Celsius hotter the CPU core is than the air outside the case. The lower this difference, the better is the performance of the cooler.

Spire TME III

In the graph below, you can see how many decibels of noise each cooler makes.

Spire TME III

Main Specifications

The main specifications for the Spire TME III CPU cooler include:

Conclusions

When we tested the original Spire TherMax Eclipse, we were disappointed by the poor performance of the cooler. Then the manufacturer released the TherMax Eclipse II, which looked exactly like the first one, but showed an excellent cooling performance.

Now we tested the third version of the same cooler. We say it is the same cooler; except for the fans, the TME III looks exactly like the previous versions. In addition, we discovered that the TME III, like the first one, performs poorly for a cooler of this size.

All that remains now is to wait for Spire to launch the TME IV. If the sequence continues, it should be a good cooler.

Originally at http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/Spire-TME-III-CPU-Cooler-Review/1595


© 2004-13, Hardware Secrets, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Total or partial reproduction of the contents of this site, as well as that of the texts available for downloading, be this in the electronic media, in print, or any other form of distribution, is expressly forbidden. Those who do not comply with these copyright laws will be indicted and punished according to the International Copyrights Law.

We do not take responsibility for material damage of any kind caused by the use of information contained in Hardware Secrets.