Installing the cooler was a fairly simple process, once I had read through the quick install sheet. The backplate, mounting screws, spacers and retention brackets bolt onto the motherboard by themselves, and the cooler then bolts onto the retention brackets via the hold-down bracket. Installing the fans, which is best done before the cooler is bolted down, consists of threading the rubber straps through holes on the fans, placing the fans on either flat side of the cooler, and pulling the straps to hook into the retention channels. Once everything is mounted, you can attach the fan cables to the splitter cable, attach it to the motherboard’s CPU fan header, and you’re good to go. It’s a fairly fast process, and if your case’s motherboard tray has the appropriate cut-out, you can even do so without dis-mounting the motherboard. As with many large coolers, we were forced to leave the first RAM socket empty to accommodate the front fan. The RAM used in our test system has tall heat spreaders on it, but given how far down the front fan extends when mounted, it seems unlikely that even normal height modules would fit.
Special care should be taken with the fan mounting straps, as they can easily snap if you pull on them too hard, or mis-align them. Once attached, the straps will hold the fans firmly in place. The loose strap in the picture above snapped after the cooler had been in use for about a week, likely due to a defect in the rubber. This is not likely to be a common problem, but we felt it worth mentioning. The other three straps still work just fine, and the cooler functions even with a loose hold-down on one side of one fan.
Testing was performed on the following system:
|CPU||Intel Core i5 2300 @ 2.8GHz|
|Heatsink||NZXT Havik 140|
|Graphics card||Sparkle GeForce GTX 465|
|RAM||2x4GB SuperTalent DDR3-2000 @ 1300MT/s, CL9|
|Sound||Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium HD|
|SSD||Crucial RealSSD 256GB SATA 6Gb/s|
|HDD||Western Digital Caviar Green 5400RPM 500GB|
|Power Supply||OCZ 750W Fatal1ty Series|
|Case||Silverstone Fortress FT-02|
|OS||Windows 7 Ultimate SP1|
The results speak for themselves: 40°C at idle, and 56°C under full load. Another thing to note is the cool-down time; once the load test was stopped, the CPU returned to idle temperatures within 10 seconds. Noise levels during the test were exemplary. At idle the fan noise was inaudible with the case open at 3 feet; under load fan noise rose to a barely audible hum. At no point was there any buzzing, screeching, clicking, or any other unpleasant characteristics to the sound.
Building a CPU cooler that is both powerful and quiet is a difficult balancing act; the desire for more airflow is ever at odds with the need to keep fan noise to a minimum. The Havik 140 manages to perform admirably on both counts, providing plenty of cooling muscle while remaining utterly silent under all but the heaviest loads. With an average price of $75 online at time of publication, it’s certainly on the pricier end of coolers, but we believe it is worth every penny. If you want performance and silence, this is the cooler to beat.
- Good cooling performance
- Quiet under load, silent at idle
- Easy assembly
- Front fan can block first ram slot
- Rubber straps can break if overstressed