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OCZ Gladiator MAX CPU Cooler (English Version)


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REVIEW : OCZ Gladiator MAX CPU Cooler

REVIEWERS : lunatic, ptolemeos and D.Tasos. Photos by Lowbss.

PROVIDED BY: OCZ

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INTRODUCTION

OCZ is a well known company in the computer industry. Either for good and fast RAM memories or reliable power supplies and SSD disks, all of us, more or less, have heard and appreciate. But we were surprised when we found out that she entered the field of processors’ cooling, so we were a bit wary about this product.

Therefore, today we will get to know the company’s new model in the processors’ cooling industry, with the code name OCZ Gladiator MAX.

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Namely we will thoroughly analyze and compare its performance in relation to two other mainstream coolers, in order to figure its capabilities, according to any possible demand of a modern system.

Let's see on the next page the package that reached our hands.

PACKAGE

PACKAGE

At first glance, the packaging gained our attention with its fine appearance. Because of the images of the heatsink on the package we got really excited and we expected a very interesting product. In the following photos you can see that for yourselves.

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On the face of the packaging, there is transparent plastic window through which one can easily notice a 12 cm fan with the OCZ logo in the center.

Looking more closely we can see the 4 heat-pipes at the base, that take advantage of the Heat-pipe Direct Touch technology.

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On the back side of the box there is a picture of the Gladiator Max’s heatsink, where the fins and its funny shape stand out. Furthermore, (as in the front side) the OCZ logo with the product name and the phrase "High Performance CPU Cooler" hulked in the sides of above image.

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Looking at the side of the package, we can see the technical features, applications and technologies that are embedded in the new model of the company and additional information written in six languages (English, German, French, Italian, Spanish and Russian).

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More information about the technical features and the performance of the cooler on both default and overclocked conditions, will be presented later in our review.

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On the next page we will get inside the package.

CONTENTS

CONTENTS

As shown in the official site of OCZ, the package should include a heatsink, a 12 cm fan, special brackets in order to connect the cooler with the supported sockets, thermal conductor paste as well as the manual with the installation instructions. According to the above mentioned, the package was full, since there was no missing component. The fact that both the heatsink and the fan were carefully wrapped in order to absorb any vibration and avoid possible damage, that could occur during transport, is quite impressive. As a result the quality and reliability of the product is ensured.

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The cooler is compatible with Intel’s LGA 775 socket (Core 2 Duo / Quad / Extreme, Pentium 4, Celeron) and AMD’s AM2, 754,939 or 940 socket (Athlon 64/FX / X2, Opteron, Sempron).

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Before we take a closer look at the cooler, let’s report in detail its technical features.

TECHNICAL FEATURES

TECHNICAL FEATURES

• H.D.T (Heat-pipe Direct Touch) Technology

• 4 Pure Copper Wall Heat-pipes allow superior heat transfer

• Anti-vibration Rubber Design for noise reduction

• Light weight aluminum fins

• 120 mm highly efficient PWM (Pulse With Modulation) fan

• Ultra Quiet function

• Easy to install: LGA 775 push-pin / K8 & AM2 tool-less clip

Heatsink dimensions: 63 (L) x 120 (W) x 165 (H) mm

Weight: 780 g (with fan)

Voltage: 12 V DC

Current: 0.15 A

Fan dimensions: 120 x 120 x 25 mm

Speed: 800-1500 rpm

Noise level: 19-26 dBA

Bearing type: Rifle

Life expectancy: 40000 hrs

The dimensions of the “gladiator” are absolutely normal and it has a relatively low weight. Also the fan is noiseless even at 1500 rpm.

Time to take a closer look at the cooler on the next page.

THE COOLER

THE COOLER

What triggered our interest was the design of the heatsink. As you can see in the next photos, on the one side the fan is installed, while the shape of the other side prevents us from placing one more fan to create a push-pull configuration.

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Looking from above, the curved logo of the company can be easily distinguished in the center of the heatsink.

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The 4 entirely copper heat-pipes mentioned in the beginning, along with 42 aluminum fins are the ones responsible for better induction of heat.

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Also, on both sides of the heat-pipes we can easily notice two small slots in which the brackets are attached and through them the cooler gets tagged on the motherboard.

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The 12 cm fan that comes with the cooler has in the center of its facade the logo of OCZ, while on the other side there is information about the voltage and current, the product code, country of manufacture etc.

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The connection of the fan to the heatsink with the 4 anti-vibration rubber screws, included in the package, was quite easy. The only thing needed to be done was to place them on the fan and then mount it on the heatsink. As shown in the following photos there are special cavities in the sides of the cooler for more reliable application of the fan on it.

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A picture of the cooler with the fan on it.

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LGA 1366 MOUNTING KIT (OPTIONAL)

OCZ has anticipated in advance for those who already use Intel’s new socket (s1366). Unfortunately, Force II does not come with the OCZ Gladiator MAX but it’s really worth buying it because of its compatibility both with LGA1366 and LGA775. Force II contributes to the safer and better mounting of the cooler. On the next photos you can see some pictures of the 1366 mounting kit.

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The most important thing to say is that the manual is very informative and the installation really easy. All the components are masterpieces but the best of all is the 3M tape in the shape of the backplate.

On the next page we will get to know the system we used for the tests and we will install our “gladiator” to the motherboard for the upcoming measurements.

TEST SETUP

TEST SETUP

What we intended to do was to conduct the tests in ideal environmental conditions with constant temperature. That's why we chose the test be done on a benchtable with constant room temperature of 28C.

The trials were made with two different processors to have a more detailed view of the capabilities of the “gladiator”. An E8400 and a Q9550 were the two processors we used with three different coolers. Those were the stock cooler of E8400, a Zalman CNPS7700 and of course the OCZ Gladiator MAX. Furthermore, the tests took place in both default and overclocked settings. We used Arctic Cooling’s MX-2 thermal conductor in our tests.

Specifically:

CPU: E8400/Q9550

MOTHERBOARD: Asus P5K Pro

RAM: Muskin XP2-8500 (2x2GB)

PSU: Zalman ZM600-HP

COOLER: Stock Intel / Zalman CNPS7700-AlCu / OCZ Gladiator MAX

Measurement and benchmark software used:

CPU-Z (voltage and frequency measurement)

Core Temp (Temperatures)

HWMonitor (Temperatures)

SpeedFan (Fan calibration)

Prime95 (Stress test)

The tests were made with exactly the same way for each processor and cooler. Prime95 (small FFTs) was used for 4 minutes on each measurement except for some cases that had to be stopped earlier because temperatures exceeded 78 C. That’s why we use the result 78 C for all temperatures above this limit. Actually the temperatures would get much higher. Between the measurements there was always a break of at least one minute. Furthermore, the voltage of the CPU was the lowest possible in order to achieve stability of the system.

The following table shows the types of measurements that were taken.

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In overclocked condition, E8400 was set to 3.8GHz (420x9) under voltage 1.35V and Q9550 was set to 3.6GHz (425x8.5) under 1.21V.

Before the results, let’s have a look at the cooler mounted onto the motherboard. The remarkable point is the sleeving of the fan’s cable that apart from useful is also nice looking.

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RESULTS

RESULTS

Stock cooler

Let’s take a look at the results of E8400 using the stock cooler that comes with it. The following chart shows the measurements taken by the E8400 at stock cooler with default settings.

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The next step was to overclock E8400 at 3.8GHz and try the stock cooler. The results were more or less expected. The stock cooler could not cope with the temperatures as they exceeded 78C.

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Although we knew that E8400’s stock cooler didn’t stand a chance against Q9550, we decided to test the quad core processor in default settings. The next chart demonstrates our results.

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This is where the tests with the stock cooler end. The fun part begins…

Zalman CNPS7700

Our goal was to compare the “gladiator” with a mainstream cooler. That’s the reason why we chose the Zalman CNPS7700. For the calibration of the fan’s rpm we used FanMate2. Let’s see the results of E8400 in both default and overclocked settings.

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As shown in the above charts, Zalman CNPS7700 is much better than the stock cooler. Now let us take a look at how Zalman CNPS7700 performs under the heavy load of a Yorkfield.

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Zalman’s cooler maintains the temperature under 70C even in the stress test of Prime95. However, the temperatures reached higher levels when we overclocked our Q9550.

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The results of the above chart clearly state that Zalman CNPS7700 is not sufficient for an overclocked quad core processor. In any case, the temperatures should not go beyond 65C no matter the reason the system is used for. Now the spotlight turns to the OCZ Gladiator Max.

OCZ Gladiator MAX

The time for the “gladiator” to enter the arena has come. The OCZ Gladiator MAX is set, E8400 is on default clocks and let the games begin…

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Obviously there is no difference between the “gladiator” and Zalman’s cooler in the idle test. However, OCZ Gladiator MAX is 4 degrees cooler than CNPS7700 in the stress test of Prime95. On the next chart we can see the results of E8400 at 3.8GHz.

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The results are very interesting as the MAX is 8C below its main opponent. Because of the 4 degrees difference between the “gladiator” and Zalman’s cooler in E8400 at default frequencies we weren’t expecting a difference of 8 degrees at overclock. As we will see below this is not a coincidence... For now let’s see a test without a fan.

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Apparently the cooler is designed to work with a fan installed. But even without that, the temperatures are lower than those expected.

After a few hours of testing the moment we were waiting from the beginning has arrived. It is high time for the OCZ Gladiator MAX to face a very hot quad-core like Q9550. In the following chart the results of the first test are shown.

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The results demonstrate a smashing defeat of the “gladiator’s” competitors. Especially when the fan is in minimum rpm the differences from Zalman CNPS7700 are 14 degrees. However, the OCZ cooler had yet to show its real potential...

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Based on the previous measurements we never expected something like that. The difference in temperature between OCZ Gladiator MAX and Zalman reached 21 degrees under full load (max rpm)! The difference is great but certainly not unreasonable. We will explain the reason why that happens later in our review. For the time being let us remember what we‘ve seen so far.

In the following chart we can see in perspective the three coolers at maximum rpm of their fan under 100% load. That is to say, the best result each of them can achieve.

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What really matters though is not simply the difference between two temperatures, but the percentage difference. That’s why in the table below we indicate how much hotter the two others are, compared to the OCZ Gladiator MAX in the stress test of Prime95.

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It should be noted that the comparative rates with the stock cooler are much higher than those in the table because the temperature did not stop rising when it reached 78 degrees. Simply we did not risk to continue the test. What is important to note is the comparison with the Zalman cooler. As seen from the above table, the "paradox" we mentioned earlier is verified. Namely, the larger the thermal load the better the OCZ Gladiator Max is towards the Zalman CNPS7700. Indeed, Zalman’s cooler is nearly 26% hotter than the new model of OCZ at the ultimate test we subjected them. This is certainly something we didn’t expect from the beginning.

CONCLUSION OF MEASUREMENTS

CONCLUSION OF MEASUREMENTS

It’s time for us to explain why OCZ Gladiator Max is so much better than the others.

First of all, we have to say that the stock cooler can not even be considered an opponent of the "gladiator”. Zalman CNPS7700 made a good performance but still is not enough against our “gladiator”.

As we mentioned earlier, OCZ Gladiator MAX features 4 solid copper heatpipes mounted inside 42 aluminum fins. That’s why the MAX is much better under heavy thermal load. Its heat induction is outstanding and as a result low temperature is a piece of cake for OCZ Gladiator MAX. So there is no “paradox” in the table of the previous page.

A very interesting consequence of the exceptional heat induction of OCZ’s cooler, is that there are minor differences in temperature between minimum and maximum rpm. In both cases the cooler is noiseless.

On the next page, we’ll end our review and mention some final details.

THE END

THE END

A very interesting review has now reached an end. After many hours of testing it is difficult for someone to be separated from OCZ Gladiator MAX.

With its performance it can certainly be considered a very good and reliable cooler. But MAX had some negative elements.

Let’s start with the advantages that truly are plenty. From the very beginning we acknowledged the fine packaging of the “gladiator”. The Heat-pipe Direct Touch technology that OCZ Gladiator MAX uses is a very significant asset that contributes to its excellent performance. Furthermore, we were really impressed by the noiseless function of the fan even at the maximum of its capabilities (~1500 rpm), as well as by the included 4 rubber screws that prevent vibrations from happening while the fan is working. Wrapping up the list of the advantages, we cannot omit the compatibility with both Intel and AMD’s latest sockets, as well as the highly competitive price of $50.

The only drawback we came across was the push-pin mounting system. From a cooler of the level of OCZ Gladiator MAX we expected the installation to be done via backplate and not something like that. Undoubtedly, for some people this can be considered an asset since it contributes to the quick and easy installation and removal with a few moves and not with the use of a screwdriver.

Briefly:

Pros

• Packaging

• Heat-pipe Direct Touch technology

• Noiseless function

• Performance

• Price

• Intel-AMD compatibility

• Rubber screws anti-vibration design for noise reduction

Cons

• Push-pin mounting system

We recommend it without second thought to anyone who needs a quiet while at the same time efficient CPU cooler, that can cope with any possible demand.

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