You are in a budget but need to replace that stock fan that came with Intel's P4 processor? Cooler Master might just have the solution for you. Heat sink is made from aluminum and this alone brings down the costs compared to more expensive copper but also affect the cooling abilities. As the name indicates the cooler uses the same fan that has been found on few earlier coolers by Cooler Master. This blower type of fan should compensate the weaker heat transfer capabilities of the heat sink with better air flow between the fins but more on this on the later part of the review. For more information about the blower fan you should refer our Cooler Master's Aero 7 -review.
Technical data on the blower:
|Fan Dimensions:||70 x 70 x 70 mm|
|Rated Speed:||1900 - 3500 rpm|
|Air Flow:||10.9 - 20.0 CFM|
|Noise:||23.6 - 37.5 dBA|
|Rated Voltage:||7 - 13.8 V|
Specs of the Heat Sink:
|Heat Sink Dimensions:||83 x 68 x 45 mm|
|Thermal Paste:||Shin Etsu 7762|
|Thermal Resistance:||0.51 - 0.38°C/W|
There are couple of things that should be noted from these specs. Noise level of the blower with its highest speed is rated to 37.5 dBA and because of this I doubt that you will be running this unit with this highest setting 24/7. With the slowest setting the rating is only 23.6 dBA and that is really silent. Sound coming from the fan will get annoying around 3000 RPM and because there isn't that much difference in cooling power after this mark, most of the users should be happy with the noise levels that they will get in normal use. Other thing worth noticing is that Cooler Master uses Shin Etsu thermal paste. You should find some pretty good reviews about their products in the internet and I was very pleased to see regular thermal pad replaced with this stuff.
Content of the package is quite similar than with the other coolers made by Cooler Master. Heat Sink with the blower fan, 3.5" and PCI plates to mount the potentiometer, four screws for the 3.5" face plate, knob for the potentiometer and a case badge. Wires coming from the blower; 4-pin to 4-pin power splitter, three pin sensor wire for the motherboard and the potentiometer for RPM adjustment. Don't think that there should be anything more added to the bundle and buyer of the unit will get all the needed stuff to get started.
It is nice to see that Cooler Master is still offering these two mounting options for the potentiometer. Not all systems have spare 3.5" drive bays for frontal mounting but there are many users that don't want to adjust the speed of the fan by reaching to the PCI slots at the backside of the computer. Offering these two methods for mounting should not bring the price up that much so hopefully we will see them included in the future too.
Fan itself seems similar to the older models but is rated to use less current. With dual ball bearings and matured electronics the fan should have a long life span without mechanical failures. This all in theory because we have no way on testing this kind of long term durability but should there be any problems you always have warranty.
29 fins in total. They are located quite close to each others but you should not have problems with dust building up on top of the fins like with many other coolers. Also the blower fan will give even air flow to all parts of the cooler so there isn't any "dead spots" under the fan motor like with ordinary fans. It is also possible to turn the fan 90 degrees to intake air horizontally or vertically when trying to find the optimal cooling power. Mounting mechanism, while made out from clear plastic, feels tough and secure and helps to keep the costs down.
Base of the heat sink is smooth and were covered by a protective "plastic cup". When preparing for the tests I started to remove the pad and got surprised by the fact that there isn't regular thermal pad at all. Thermal paste used here is pre applied to the base of the heat sink and this makes the installation of this cooler really simple and fast. Also from this image you can clearly see how thick the base of the heat sink is. This seems rather odd because adding this kind of mass between the CPU core and the cooling fins only stores the heat energy. Making the base thinner thus making the fins taller should improve the cooling but again, this all in theory because I don't have the tools to modify the cooler in this way and test it.
Adding this little Case badge to the package was a nice touch and I don't think that by adding this kind of "extra items" will bring the costs up that much. Badge is made out from aluminum so it will add a certain amount of class even to the most regular cases.
Installation of the cooler was really easy and the clip mechanism worked beautifully. I have never liked the mounting clips that are used with boxed cooler's from Intel and was really pleased to see that there are better ways on doing it. Large tabs are provided to protect your fingers while you apply a slight pressure when installing and this makes the whole process really clean and easy. Party because of there isn't any instruction manuals bundled with the cooler.
I used a P4 2.4C fsb800 CPU running at 2.8 GHz for the tests. DFI Lanparty I875 board and all the temperatures were measured with Winbond's Hardware Doctor v188.8.131.52. Idle temperatures were measured from the system that had been idling for 30 minutes. After that the setup was stressed with CPUBurn for 30 minutes and the temperatures were recorded. Thermal paste used on Intel's stock cooler was Artic Silver2.
It is quite clear that the Aero 4 Lite is more efficient cooler than Intel's boxed one. Even with the slowest setting, rotating only 1900 rpm the cooler performed really well and were almost silent. Highest setting gives that extra cooling power but the noise is something that you will not want to hear from your box all day long. RPM values were also measured with Winbond's HWDoctor and it indicated 1900 with the slowest setting and 3590 with the highest so they are at par with the specs.
|Cooler Master Aero 4 Lite (D14-7J74F)
+ Cooling power
+ Adjustable RPM
+ Two potentiometer placement options
+ Low noise with low RPMs
- Too tall for some setups
- Very loud with high RPMs
Aero 4 Lite performed really well and if you are looking to replace that stock Intel cooler but don't want to spend too much money, go get one. I've seen this cooler go with as low as $20 and with these specs and bundle it's a great deal. Quality of the unit is high and I think that you will end up with the same conclusion that I did. I can recommend this cooler to anyone running their system with stock speeds or with light overclocking. Cooler Master states that the unit should be able to handle 3.6 GHz P4 in the future too so your investment should be protected.
Please note that if you have a case that has the power supply mounted in front of the motherboard, there may not be enough space to install this cooler. Don't think that this includes more than few percent of potential buyers but had to bring this to your attention.