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Digital-Daily : Cooling : coolers-p4-2004q2

Intel Pentium4 Coolers Roundup. Q2`2004

Intel Pentium4 Coolers Roundup. Q2`2004
Author: Aleksandr Mitrofanov
Date: 25.05.2004

Gigabyte 3D Cooler Ultra (GH-PCU31-VH)

Quite recently, we tested the Gigabyte GH-PCU21-VG (3D Cooler) which left somehow dubious impressions. The major complaints about that cooler were about the high price, low performance at the minimum speed (and high level of noise at the maximum speed). As a result, the cooler took an interim position between the "quiet" and "high-performance" coolers, and by the sum of its qualities lost to both.

But then the new model - Gigabyte 3D Cooler Ultra (index GH-PCU31-VH) whose distinctive features are copper fins (the cooler of previous model had fins made of aluminum) arrived at our test lab.

Gigabyte Cooler3D Ultra

Prior to unpacking the cooler, let's briefly list the bundle items:

Gigabyte Cooler3D Ultra Inbox
  • Gigabyte 3D Cooler Ultra;
  • Fastening for Pentium4 motherboards;
  • Fastening for Pentium4 motherboards;
  • Fastening for Athlon XP (SocketA) motherboards;
  • A tub of proprietary thermo paste;
  • Rotational speed regulator + a cap for the rear panel of the PC housing;
  • Setup manual in 10(!) languages;
  • Power supply adapter.

Compared to the aluminum-made model, there aren't any changes but for a small detail: the cap with a speed regulator is colored golden (a trifle but accentuates a higher rank :).

The cooler design hasn't undergone any essential changes. On the copper base, there are two bent "heat pipes" with copper plates threaded on.

The point of contact between the pipe and the plate has been given increased focus: soldering is used here. As a result, the speed of the heat sink does not degrade, and after starting a demanding application the plates turn hot within a few seconds.

Air circulation between the fins is provided by a powerful pipe fitted in the center of the cooler. Cold air is sucked from the open upper part and then runs through all the fins. Therefore, the "Achilles' heel" of many coolers is still there: the "dead spot" (the area under the fan where air circulation is minimum). Partly because of such operating principle, the cooler was dubbed "3D": air is blown in circle, in all the directions.

Gigabyte Cooler3D Ultra Top

Then - to change the rotational speed, a regulator fitted on a 3" cap is used. If required, the regulator can be fitted on the rear panel of the PC housing. To this end, there is another cap in the bundle.

The very first impression of the cooler after the start: the noise level hasn't changed. That is, at the maximum speed no comfortable work is possible. Personally, I could stand the noise only after reducing the rotational speed to 3000RPM (the maximum speed is 4500RPM, the minimum - 2000RPM). As regards the minimum speed, the cooler operation hardly can be regarded as completely noiseless (like that on a Zalman 7000). However, considering that the fins of Gigabyte 3D Cooler Ultra are made of copper, we can hope for a substantial performance boost in the quiet mode.

There was nothing to complain about the cooler base: the processing quality is 9/10.

Gigabyte Cooler3D Ultra Base

To protect the surface against scratches during transportation, there is a special sticker on the base.

Reminding it once again that Gigabyte 3D Cooler Ultra can be installed in all whatever "desktop" systems: Socket 478 (Pentium4), SocketA (Athlon XP) and Socket 754939 (Athlon 64). Installation on every platform is intuitive. But if the inexperienced user would like to install a cooler on his own, then there is a well-illustrated user's manual for assistance.

And lastly: following the computer fashion, engineers at Gigabyte installed 4 blue LEDs in the upper part of the cooler. As a result, the exterior of the product has been much improved (although even without LEDs the cooler looks fantastic :).

Conclusion: no doubt, the release of the Ultra model will allow Gigabyte go deep into the dense rows of high-end cooler manufacturers. There are the following considerations: at the maximum speed, the aluminum cooler Gigabyte 3D Cooler lagged only 2 C behind the leader - Zalman 7000Cu. This means that the fully copper cooler by Gigabyte can gain the crown (although at the expense of high noise level). Also, use of copper fins will allow to preserve high efficiency within the below 3000 RPM range where the noise level is not a hindrance to the comfortable work (and quite probably will be able to compete with Zalman 7000Cu at that either).

In the "Performance" section, we'll see how these forecasts come true.


  • Gigabyte Cooler3D Ultra
  • Asus Neptune MH7 and AH7
  • Asus Crux MM7 and AM7
  • Performance and conclusions

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