A Closer Look
The space-themed packaging is a nice touch, and doesn’t distract from the important info. The Earth-to-Mars transition in the background makes a point some might not catch; while Mars’ rusty soil might remind one of the hot deserts on earth, its greater distance from the sun and thin atmosphere mean that it is a much colder planet than Earth. For a CPU cooler, this is a pretty clever association to make.
The feature list on the back is pretty self-explanatory, and comes with a pretty good—if small—set of product photos. The note about “Star craft II design” skates a little too close to trademark infringement for comfort; Marketing might want to have a word or two with Legal before letting that out into the wild.
Opening the box up, the first things we see are the manual and the accessory box. You’ll have need of both, so set them aside where you can find them again.
Opening up said accessory box, we find an unusually well organized layout. The dual-use backplate sits right on top, where you can’t miss it. Below that, and a protective plastic cover, are the rest of the tools you’ll need to mount this cooler. You’ll need to supply your own Phillips head screwdriver, but everything else is provided, and sandwiched into its own little compartment in the foam insert. Compared to the “toss it all in a poly bag” approach most other manufacturers use, this is a welcome departure.
The cooler itself is sandwiched between two meaty Styrofoam bookends. This should be adequate to protect it from all but the most brutal shipping mishaps, but as always, check the cooler carefully for damage if you see any dents or other signs of rough handling on the packaging.
In what is becoming a trend for Thermaltake, the front and back of the cooler are both covered by a fan. In this case, Thermaltake elected to use a pair of 130mm LED fans, both bolted to a plastic enclosure that slides over the top of the cooler.
Here’s where that “Star craft II design” comes into play; the top of the cooler is clearly meant to evoke the chunky-but-functional look of Terran technology and buildings from Starcraft II.
Removing the fan shroud—or “Dazzling Cover”, as Thermaltake would have it—is a simple matter of pulling out on two tabs with fingertips and sliding the whole thing up until it clears. With that out of the way, we see a design that should be very familiar to enthusiasts by now: a tower of fins joined to six heatpipes.
Looking at the unshrouded cooler from the side, the U shape of the heatpipes becomes more apparent. Also apparent is the very close spacing of the fins; this is not a good cooler to use in a passive setup.
Looking at the bottom of the cooler, we can see both the clearance around the mating surface and the holes for the mounting hardware.
The mating surface itself is exactly what you’d want, flat and smooth with no noticeable defects. It’s not polished to a mirror shine, but that doesn’t measurably improve performance anyway. The surface is smooth enough to make out a somewhat blurry reflection, which is as smooth as you need.