Spire TherMax Eclipse CPU Cooler Review
By Rafael Coelho on April 6, 2010


Introduction

This time we tested TherMax Eclipse CPU cooler from Spire. It has a tower design with five copper U-shaped heatpipes and comes with two 120 mm fans. But how will it perform?

Eclipse box is made of card paper, with a front window that allow you to see the one of the fans, as you can see in Figure 1.

Spire TherMax Eclipse
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Figure 1: Box.

In Figure 2, you can see the box contents: heatsink, fans, instruction folder, installation hardware and a tube of blue thermal compound.

Spire TherMax Eclipse
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Figure 2: Box contents.

In the next pages we will analyse this cooler in detail.

Spire TherMax Eclipse

In Figure 3 you have a front view of the heatsink. It looks sturdy with thick fins and well-distributed heatpipes, everything nickel-plated for a nice dark metallic looks.

Spire TherMax Eclipse
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Figure 3: Front view.

In a side view you can see that the fins are folded, don't allowing the airflow to escape by sides of the cooler. But we've already seen a cooler with a similar heatsink: iCEAGE Prima Boss II.

Spire TherMax Eclipse
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Figure 4: Side view.

In a top view you can see the position of the heatpipes and the shape of the fins. Actually this heatsink is practically identical to the one found on iCEAGE Prima Boss II.

Spire TherMax Eclipse
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Figure 5: Top view.

Spire TherMax Eclipse (Cont'd)

TherMax Eclipse comes with two fans, shown in Figure 6. One of them has only a three-pin connector, intended to be plugged on the motherboard, while the other one comes with a three-pin connector and a standard peripheral four-pin connector, so you can plug it directly to your power supply, if your motherboard has no fan power connector available. Unfortunately, none of them have automatic PWM speed control. TherMax Eclipse also does not come with any type of fan controller.

Spire TherMax Eclipse
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Figure 6: Fans.

In Figure 7 we can see the rubber fan holders, also like the ones found on iCEAGE Prima Boss II. These holders are very soft in order to absorb all the vibration generated by the fans.

Spire TherMax Eclipse
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Figure 7: Fan holders.

In Figure 8 you see the base of the cooler, smooth but with no mirrored finishing. Heatpipes keep direct contact with the CPU.

Spire TherMax Eclipse
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Figure 8: Base.

Installation

To install TherMax Eclipse you must use a backplate, shown in Figure 9. The screws must be first installed in the correct holes depending on your CPU socket.

Spire TherMax Eclipse
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Figure 9: Backplate with screws.

After installing the backplate on the solder side of the motherboard, you must put the cooler over the CPU and fasten it with four thumbscrews. Only after that you can put the fans in place.

Spire TherMax Eclipse
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Figure 10: Installed on our motherboard.

In Figure 11, you can see the fans in place.

Spire TherMax Eclipse
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Figure 11: Fans installed.

In Figure 12, you can see TherMax Eclipse installed in our case.

Spire TherMax Eclipse
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Figure 12: Installed inside 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
Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus20 °C45 dBA1200 rpm27 °C35 °C
Spire TherMax Eclipse20 °C58 dBA2300 rpm25 °C34 °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
Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus20 °C52 dBA1900 rpm32 °C64 °C
Spire TherMax Eclipse20 °C58 dBA2300 rpm29 °C73 °C

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

 Spire TherMax Eclipse

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.

 Spire TherMax Eclipse

Main Specifications

Spire TherMax Eclipse main features are:

Conclusions

At first look we thought Spire TherMax Eclipse would be an excellent performer. Its construction quality impressed us and with five heatpipes and two fans it looked like we had a winner in our hands. After we realized it is virtually the same cooler as iCEAGE Prima Boss II - which performed very well in our tests - we got even more confident.

But the results from our tests surprised us, showing a mediocre performance. We checked the installation, looking for some error like an inverted fan or something of this sort, but it was all fine. Some readers could ask about the curing time of the thermal compound, but this could not produce a difference in our results that big and all other coolers were tested with no curing time. By the way, we are planning on a comparative test with different thermal compounds and we wish to make some experiments to know if the supposed advantage of a curing period is a fact or a myth.

TherMax Eclipse also has another problem: it has two strong fans without any kind of speed control. If you like silence, you must buy a fan controller as a sidekick for this cooler.

Therefore TherMax Eclipse is not a good cooler. Maybe not it is not a coincidence that Spire released TherMax Eclipse II, a product virtually identical to the model we tested, which may mean that the manufacturer knows about the low performance of the first version and improved it in a second incarnation.

Originally at http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/Spire-TherMax-Eclipse-CPU-Cooler-Review/964


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