Supplied by Gigabyte
Gigabyte continue to introduce new heatsink products into the marketplace and each new release gets better and better. The Gigabyte G-Power BL is by far the best we’ve worked with yet.
Many may wonder why there is a such a great amount of choices when it comes to cooling a heatsink. Three reasons in the forefront are aesthetic appeal, performance and price. Consumers may shop by what product catches their eye. Others may shop by trying to achieve the lowest CPU temperature. Price has a large bearing on a decision to purchase. A heatsink that is overpriced may not sell no matter its appeal. Usually the PC enthusiasts shops around for a heatsink. They have a good idea of what they want and have read a few reviews and gotten input from friends or forums.
PC buyers who purchase a “box” typically don’t know or don’t care at the time of the purchase. They are buying a complete PC on a budget. Their priorities centre around getting the most CPU, RAM and video card for the buck. It’s afterwards that they begin to be annoyed by the noise from the heatsink fan that the OEM builder installed. This happened just the other day as a neighbour asked for my opinion. He showed me his 6 month old PC and asked if the noise was normal. That noise was the heatsink fan spinning away at over 40 dBA and it was very intrusive in the home office. My neighbour had just put up with it as he thought that was the way it was supposed to be.
The PC doesn’t have to be a noisy and perpetual annoyance akin to the whine of a travel hairdryer.
Gigabyte have taken an aggressive step into the heatsink arena with near to a dozen models to suit the wide range of needs, tastes and price ranges. All of them will be quieter than some of the inexpensive heatsinks that OEM system builders stick a buyer with. The Gigabyte G-Power BL (Blue LED) is the latest and it’s a quiet but impressive heatsink.
|Dimension||110 x 110 x 109 mm.|
|Base Material||Cooper w/ Nickel coating|
|Fan Speed||2000 rpm (default), 1700 rpm (lowest)|
|Bearing Type||Ball Bearing|
|Life Expectancy||50,000 hr|
The Gigabyte G-Power BL incorporates heatpipe technology to cool a processor. A heatpipe is quite simply a cylindrical tube partially filled with liquid that can vaporize. The heat from a processor transfers through the heatsink plate to the pipe. The liquid inside the pipe absorbs the heat and vaporizes. The heat in the vapor is carried away to the cooling fins and as the vapor cools it condenses and returns back to liquid form. The cycle of heat absorbed into the liquid turning it to vapor to be cooled and condense is continual and much more efficient than standard solid fin heatsinks. The heatpipe heatsink blends traditional fin cooling and heatsink technology to produce a more efficient cooling process.
There are four heatpipes with the Gigabyte G-Power BL.
The heatpipes are embedded into the nickel coated copper plate that is the contact surface to the processor.
Standard heatsinks are a usually a solid piece of aluminum and often have a copper core as the contact surface to the processor. Copper conducts heat more efficiently but is more expensive to machine. The fins are either machined into the aluminum heatsink or tacked on. The heatpipe changes the design and the contact plate looks more like a foot rather than a heatsink block. Remember that the plate is only the transfer point to the heatpipes which carry the heat away from the processor.
It’s rather a unique design and here’s why. A heatsink block will warm up to a certain balance point between the processor heat from the bottom and the fan cooling the fins on top. That heat stays in the entire block and the cooling fan either blows air into the fins that must do a right angle to exit out the sides.
The Gigabyte G-Power BL eliminates the right angle airflow resistance and, in effect, does two cooling jobs.
The cooling fan atop the fins can blow straight through all the fins. The airflow is, more or less, a straight line which is cooling job number one; to dissipate the heat coming from the heatpipe radiating to the fins. The second effect is that the air washes down onto the foot and socket area which provides a lesser cooling effect to that area.
Gigabyte have done well with the fin design.
There are a lot of fins and each fin is a much thinner plate than a most solid block heatsinks. Thin metal does absorb heat faster but, more importantly, it loses heat faster. The four pipes can be seen in the previous image running horizontally through the fins.
The base is protected by a shipping sticker. It’s a nickel coated copper heatsink foot that is machined polished. It could be easily brought to a mirror finish by a little wet and dry sanding but only the very picky enthusiast would find it necessary.
Gigabyte does supply a tube of thermal paste as noted in the previous image. The EVERFLOW fan spins at 2000 RPM producing 24.5 dBA and 42.5 CFM (model F129025DL).
The fan incorporates Gigabyte’s Quad-Way Airflow design. That’s a fancy combination of words that mean the fan box has slits.
These slits allegedly direct some airflow out the sides of the fan to wash over the immediate surroundings the socket area. It would be interesting to determine if these slits reduced the overall dBA versus a traditional solid box fan.
The fan is removable which is a considerate design inclusion. There would be nothing worse than a fan breakdown and no replacement fan. Know that the fan is rated for 50,000 hours which is over 5 years running 24 hours a day. Chances are the PC will be replaced before then. There are four posts that have a spring clip.
The clip lifts and the post can be removed. It just pops off.
The clips can be a bit tricky to get back on. There are two clips and a tab. The tab slides into the line indentation seen running horizontally across the fins in the following image. The clips sandwich the fan box holding it in place.
The fan also has four blue LEDs. The LEDs could feasibly be changed out to a different color if the user was careful with a soldering iron and the correct LED voltage.
The Gigabyte G-Power BL is pretty interesting as far as heatsinks go and there’s more than just the heatsink. The package includes a manual which could use larger images.
The Gigabyte G-Power BL is compatible with
- Intel ® Pentium ® 4 Processor Socket 870/670/570 (up to 3.8GHz)
- Intel ® Pentium ® 4 Processor Socket 478 (up to 3.4GHz)
- AMD Athlon Socket 939/754 up to FX55 and Athlon 64 4000+
- AMD Athlon Socket A up to XP 3200+
through the included clips and mounts.
There is also a voltage step-down connector which will reduce the fan speed approximately 300 RPM from a default of 2000 RPM to 1700 RPM. This effectively reduces the fan dBA from 24.5 to 21.3.
Socket 939/754 installation is just too easy. The clip can be slid into place once the heatsink is placed onto the processor.
It’s important to note that the heatsink is to be mounted with the “c” of the thermal pipes open to the backplane (rear of the case) and that the pipes be horizontal. The fan does, of course, glow blue.
The test system
- AMD Athlon 64 4000+ Processor (32-bit mode)
- Gigabyte GA-K8N Ultra SLI motherboard
- Gigabyte GV-NX66128D Video Card
- 2 x 512 MB Corsair CM512-3200XL TwinX DDR RAM
- LG 8x DVD+/-RW.
- 120 GB Seagate SATA Hard Drive
- Samsung 950p 19″ Monitors
- Generic keyboard and mouse
- Retail HSF
- AMK PC67 PC case (window, fans, cables, loom)
- FSP Blue Storm PSU
- Windows XP Professional Service Pack SP2 slipstreamed updated
Windows XP Professional with Service Pack 2, Post SP2 updates, WMP 10 and SATA drivers slipstreamed was used for operating system installation. Windows visual effects was set to ADJUST FOR BEST PERFORMANCE and system restore set to disabled. Pagefile set to 1024 MB fixed on a separate partition. The test system sat operationally idle for a period of 30 minutes in a 23 +/- 0.5 degrees Celsius room to obtain idle temperatures prior to running SiSoft Sandra CPU Burn-in (CPU arithmetic and multimedia test only) 25 consecutive times to obtain peak load temperature. Motherboard Monitor recorded results with secondary confirmation using Everest Home Edition.
Individual performance will vary with any particular or specific timings or tweaks enabled by you. Your own mileage may very.
It’s an all Gigabyte competition which demonstrates the wide variety of coolers that Gigabyte has available. Each has its unique visual appeal and each has a different price. The point is that there is a Gigabyte cooler to fit everyone’s needs.
The 3D Rocket Pro reigns supreme but not by much. The story become more interesting when fan dBA comparisons are made.
Now the true winner emerges. There is only a 1 to 2 degree difference in temperatures between the 3D Rocket Pro and the G-Power BL but over a 10 dBA difference at stock fan settings. The Gigabyte G-Power BL proves to be a better heatsink at both high and low RPM speeds as well.
The Gigabyte G-Power BL is a winner plain and simple. It is very efficient and very quiet. The cooler has good points through every phase of the design. It is easy to install. It supports both AMD and INTEL platforms. It is quiet. It is a high performer and very low noise levels thanks to the four heatpipes and dense fin design.
And it also has a cool blue glow. The only hesitation at the time of the review is that the Gigabyte G-Power BL isn’t readily available nor does it have a North American street price. The G-Power also comes in a “Pro” variety.
Our thanks to Gigabyte for
their support of this and many other sites.
|Bonus items & software||9.5||Fits Socket A/939/754 and Intel Socket 478/870/670/570|
|Design & layout||9.5||Love that heatpipe technology and the sheer amount of cooling fins.|
|Documentation||8||Pictures in the manual could be larger.|
|Overclocking features||9.5||Matches within a degree heatsinks with 10 dBA noiser fans|
|Presentation||9.5||The packaging certainly outclasses any competition in a cardboard box.|