Xigmatek Gaia CPU Cooler Review
By Rafael Coelho on October 21, 2011


This time we tested the Xigmatek Gaia CPU cooler. It has a tower heatsink, three 8 mm direct-touch heatpipes, and a 120 mm fan.

The Gaia seems to be the “bigger brother” of the Xigmatek Loki, which we recently tested. Its box is relatively small and simple, as you can see in Figure 1.

Xigmatek Gaia
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Figure 1: Package

The box contents are shown in Figure 2: heatsink, fan, manuals, thermal compound, and installation hardware. The cooler came with only one fan, but it comes with the hardware necessary to install a second 120 mm fan.

Xigmatek Gaia
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Figure 2: Accessories

Figure 3 shows the Xigmatek Gaia heatsink.

Xigmatek Gaia
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Figure 3: The Xigmatek Gaia

This cooler is discussed in detail in the following pages.

The Xigmatek Gaia

Figure 4 shows the heatsink from the front. It is simple, with U-shaped heatpipes disposed in one row at each side.

Xigmatek Gaia
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Figure 4: Front view

In Figure 5, you see the side of the cooler, where the thick (8 mm) heatpipes are visible. The sides are partially closed by folded fins.

Xigmatek Gaia
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Figure 5: Side view

Figure 6 presents the top of the heatsink. Notice the shape of the fins, which have reentrancies for the fan holders in both sides.

Xigmatek Gaia
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Figure 6: Top view

The Xigmatek Gaia (Cont’d)

Figure 7 reveals the base of the cooler, where the heatpipes touch the CPU directly.

Xigmatek Gaia
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Figure 7: Base

Figure 8 shows the Gaia heatsink with the rubber fan holders installed on one side.

Xigmatek Gaia
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Figure 8: Fan holders installed

In Figure 9, you can see the PWM fan (with a four-pin connector) that comes with the Gaia.

Xigmatek Gaia
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Figure 9: Fan


Figure 10 shows the clips for Intel CPUs installed at the base of the cooler. The Gaia uses the same retention mechanism as the Xigmatek Loki and has the same issue. It doesn’t allow sufficient down force to be applied to the CPU. In order to improve this, we bent the tips of the clips a little upwards.

Xigmatek Gaia
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Figure 10: Intel clips

After installing the clips at the base, you must install the backplate with four screws from the solder side of the motherboard, holding it in place by four thumbnuts, as shown in Figure 11.

Xigmatek Gaia
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Figure 11: Screws and thumbnuts installed

Then put the cooler in place and hold it using another four thumbnuts.

Xigmatek Gaia
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Figure 12: Heatsink installed

The last step is to install the fan, which is not an easy task since the rubber holders are too short and hard; we had to use pliers.

Xigmatek Gaia
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Figure 13: Fan installed

How We Tested

We tested the cooler with a Core i7-860 CPU (quad-core, 2.8 GHz), which is a socket LGA1156 processor with a 95 W TDP (Thermal Design Power). In order to get higher thermal dissipation, we overclocked it to 3.3 GHz (150 MHz base clock and 22x multiplier), keeping the standard core voltage (Vcore), which was the maximum stable overclock we could make with the stock cooler. Keep in mind that we could have raised the CPU clock more, but to include the stock cooler in our comparison, we needed to use this moderate overclock.

We measured noise and temperature with the CPU idle and under full load. In order to get 100% CPU usage in all threads, 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 the Intel stock cooler with a copper base (included with the CPU), as well as with other coolers. Note that in the past, we tested coolers with a socket LGA775 CPU, and 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 in the next page. Every cooler was tested with the thermal compound that accompanies 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 left panel of the case was open.

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 case and video board cooler fans so they wouldn't interfere with the results. 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 isn't 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 idle and 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 minimum speed on the idle test and at full speed on the full load test.


Idle Processor

Processor at Full Load

CoolerRoom Temp.NoiseSpeedCore Temp.


SpeedCore Temp.
Intel stock (socket LGA1156)14 °C44 dBA1700 rpm46 °C54 dBA2500 rpm90 °C
Cooler Master Hyper TX3 G114 °C47 dBA2050 rpm33 °C56 dBA2900 rpm62 °C
Zalman CNPS10X Extreme14 °C45 dBA1400 rpm27 °C53 dBA1950 rpm51 °C
Thermaltake Silent 115614 °C44 dBA1200 rpm38 °C49 dBA1750 rpm69 °C
Noctua NH-D1414 °C49 dBA1250 rpm27 °C49 dBA 1250 rpm53 °C
Zalman CNPS10X Performa14 °C46 dBA1500 rpm28 °C52 dBA1950 rpm54 °C
Prolimatech Megahalems14 °C40 dBA750 rpm27 °C60 dBA2550 rpm50 °C
Thermaltake Frio14 °C46 dBA1450 rpm27 °C60 dBA2500 rpm50 °C
Prolimatech Samuel 1714 °C40 dBA750 rpm40 °C60 dBA2550 rpm63 °C
Zalman CNPS8000A18 °C43 dBA1400 rpm39 °C54 dBA2500 rpm70 °C
Spire TherMax Eclipse II14 °C55 dBA2200 rpm28 °C55 dBA2200 rpm53 °C
Scythe Ninja317 °C39 dBA700 rpm32 °C55 dBA1800 rpm57 °C
Corsair A5018 °C52 dBA1900 rpm33 °C52 dBA1900 rpm60 °C
Thermaltake Jing18 °C44 dBA850 rpm34 °C49 dBA1300 rpm60 °C
GlacialTech Alaska18 °C43 dBA1150 rpm36 °C51 dBA1600 rpm60 °C
Deepcool Gamer Storm18 °C43 dBA1100 rpm35 °C48 dBA1600 rpm62 °C
Corsair A7026 °C56 dBA1900 rpm40 °C56 dBA1900 rpm65 °C
Deepcool Ice Blade Pro23 °C45 dBA1200 rpm38 °C52 dBA1500 rpm64 °C
AC Freezer 7 Pro Rev. 223 °C47 dBA1750 rpm44 °C51 dBA2100 rpm77 °C
Corsair H7027 °C60 dBA1900 rpm37 °C60 dBA1900 rpm61 °C
Zalman CNPS9900 Max27 °C55 dBA1600 rpm38 °C58 dBA1750 rpm63 °C
Arctic Cooling Freezer 11 LP25 °C45 dBA1700 rpm51 °C49 dBA1950 rpm91 °C
CoolIT Vantage26 °C60 dBA2500 rpm37 °C60 dBA2500 rpm62 °C
Deepcool Ice Matrix 60025 °C46 dBA1100 rpm41 °C53 dBA1300 rpm69 °C
Titan Hati26 °C46 dBA1500 rpm40 °C57 dBA2450 rpm68 °C
Arctic Cooling Freezer 1327 °C49 dBA1950 rpm41 °C53 dBA2300 rpm70 °C
Noctua NH-C1426 °C52 dBA1300 rpm37 °C52 dBA1300 rpm61 °C
Intel XTS100H26 °C49 dBA1200 rpm42 °C64 dBA2600 rpm68 °C
Zalman CNPS5X SZ23 °C52 dBA2250 rpm38 °C57 dBA2950 rpm69 °C
Thermaltake SlimX321 °C50 dBA2700 rpm46 °C50 dBA2750 rpm99 °C
Cooler Master Hyper 10121 °C50 dBA2600 rpm38 °C57 dBA3300 rpm71 °C
Antec Kühler H2O 62019 °C52 dBA1400 rpm34 °C55 dBA1400 rpm58 °C
Arctic Cooling Freezer 13 Pro20 °C46 dBA1100 rpm36 °C49 dBA1300 rpm62 °C
GlacialTech Siberia22 °C49 dBA1400 rpm34 °C49 dBA1400 rpm61 °C
Evercool Transformer 318 °C46 dBA1800 rpm33 °C51 dBA2250 rpm65 °C
Zalman CNPS11X Extreme20 °C51 dBA1850 rpm34 °C56 dBA2050 rpm61 °C
Thermaltake Frio OCK15 °C44 dBA1000 rpm27 °C64 dBA2200 rpm51 °C
Prolimatech Genesis18 °C49 dBA1050 rpm30 °C49 dBA1050 rpm54 °C
Arctic Cooling Freezer XTREME Rev. 215 °C41 dBA1050 rpm32 °C44 dBA1400 rpm60 °C
NZXT HAVIK 14016 °C48 dBA1250 rpm29 °C49 dBA1250 rpm55 °C
Antec Kühler H2O 92018 °C41 dBA650 rpm29 °C64 dBA2500 rpm49 °C
Zalman CNP7X LED18 °C45 dBA1950 rpm33 °C48 dBA2150 rpm58 °C
EVGA Superclock14 °C43 dBA1300 rpm27 °C58 dBA2350 rpm47 °C
Evercool Transformer 415 °C46 dBA1500 rpm26 °C53 dBA1950 rpm52 °C
Xigmatek Dark Knight18 °C47 dBA1700 rpm30 °C53 dBA2150 rpm57 °C
Xigmatek Aegir15 °C44 dBA1500 rpm27 °C50 dBA1950 rpm52 °C
Cooler Master GeminII S52416 °C45 dBA1300 rpm29 °C53 dBA1800 rpm58 °C
Enermax ETS-T40-TA16 °C40 dBA1050 rpm28 °C48 dBA1800 rpm55 °C
Corsair H8014 °C42 dBA2150 rpm25 °C52 dBA2150 rpm47 °C
Akasa Venom Voodoo13 °C40 dBA1000 rpm26 °C48 dBA1500 rpm51 °C
Xigmatek Thor's Hammer15 °C44 dBA1500 rpm30 °C50 dBA2000 rpm55 °C
Cooler Master Hyper 612 PWM19 °C45 dBA1400 rpm30 °C52 dBA1900 rpm54 °C
Xigmatek Loki17 °C44 dBA1850 rpm34 °C55 dBA2750 rpm60 °C
Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO14 °C44 dBA1250 rpm26 °C50 dBA1750 rpm50 °C
Xigmatek Gaia17 °C44 dBA1250 rpm32 °C46 dBA1500 rpm61 °C

In the graph below, at full load 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.

Xigmatek Gaia

Main Specifications

The main specifications for the Xigmatek Gaia cooler include:

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


The Xigmatek Gaia seems to be a bigger version of the Xigmatek Loki (sharing its problematic mounting mechanism). However, in our tests, it actually performed worse than the Xigmatek Loki. Maybe the problem is the fan, which is not strong (though it is extremely quiet).

In its present state, the Xigmatek Gaia is a very quiet CPU cooler, but if it had a stronger fan (or fans), and if there was a solution for the low pressure mounting mechanism, it would perform better.

Originally at http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/Xigmatek-Gaia-CPU-Cooler-Review/1410

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