Thermaltake is one of the leaders in today's air cooling solutions. Having gained an unsavory reputation in cooling for its Orb line of coolers, which worked particularly well on the Pentium III line of processors, their lackluster (and core-crushing, in some cases) performance for the Socket A line of processors from AMD were disappointing enthusiasts everywhere. This was one of the stimuli for putting more emphasis on the Volcano line when advertising to the hobbyist/enthusiast market, and Thermaltake did very well with the Volcano 6 Cu+, and later with the Volcano 7. The Volcano 7+ is what will be evaluated today, Thermaltake's newest (and probably most successful) cooler to date.
This heatsink forges a new path for the Volcano line, being the first to strut its stuff with an entirely copper sink, rather than an insert like the original Volcano 7, and both Volcano 6 Cu models. The sink has 36 fins for maximum surface area exposed to the fan in a rather apocryphal naming scheme called "tiny fin" technology. How technological thinner fins are is rather questionable, but they are nevertheless a benefit. The Volcano 7+ is housed in an aluminum shroud with a non-standard 70mm fan. A very unique feature about the Volcano 7+ is its versatility: It comes ready to be assembled/converted to fit either a socket A or a socket 472, which makes things a little easier for both Thermaltake and the consumer. Finally, the fan comes with a very nifty feature: a speed control, with high, medium, and low settings. Do you have an overclocking day? Probably. Do you have a "I-hate-that-jet-engine-under-my-desk!" day? If you don't, you're deaf or you've been to too many heavy metal concerts. The versatility of having a variable speed fan doesn't force a long term compromise on anyone. Now one can finally get a little bit of sleep while that download finishes. Honestly, this is the most versatile cooler that Hardware Pub has ever seen. It differs from the original Volcano 7, which had a temperature monitor that would adjust fan speed based on case temperature. While this did use the minimal amount of RPMs to maintain a set temperature, it gave the user essentially no control of the threshold. Allowing the user to exert fan control is certainly a nice feature to see.
unit comes unassembled, so as not to presume which processor the buyer would be
using, keeping both AMD and Intel happy. The heatsink is quite heavy, a very
tangible feeling of cooling potential. The package also includes a great deal of
screws for the heatsinks various "modes", obviating a hunt for the right size in
that plastic cup in the computer room. Note in the picture to the left that the base of
the Volcano 7+ almost has a mirror finish. There are a few visible
imperfections, but the base is essentially error free: only the most
nit-picky enthusiasts would break out the sandpaper. Kudos to Thermaltake on the base.
The clip used for the socket A attachment is a little wearying. Because of the way that the heatsink is assembled the single spring clip is not attached very well. This means that it bounces around while attempting installation, and can give a headache. Further still, it necessitates using a screwdriver, which, with one fell swoop, can lead to a damaged motherboard. Finally, it only uses one of the feet on the Ziff socket, which can be maddening for those who transport their computers quite often. A broken central foot narrows the line of available heatsink models. More companies should be using the three-foot attachment method, or the 4-screw method championed by Swiftech.
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