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Thermaltake SpinQ heatsink review

Thermaltake SpinQ heatsink review

Thermaltake SpinQ image courtesy of Thermaltake.com

Thermaltake SpinQ (image courtesy of Thermaltake.com)

Thermaltake has been with us since 1999 and has served to provide enthusiasts with some of the most well-known and accessible cases, fans and heatsinks on the market. For many of us, our first foray into computer building and modification included a Thermaltake product like the old Dragon Orb or Volcano heatsinks, Crystal Orb chipset/VGA cooler, or the Smart Fan circa 2001. Always functional and eye-catching, it’s easy to see why Thermaltake products have been bringing aftermarket to the mass market for a decade.

In late 2008, Thermaltake announced the coming of the SpinQ heatsink which promised a new take on their prior orb designs. Through the use of six heatpipes and 50 cooling fins, the orb’s traditionally tall cylinder cooling structure could be laid on its side and fitted with a centrifugal fan to exhaust heat outward from the unit. The novel unit’s unique approach to cooling has garnered several awards including the CES Innovations 2009 Design and Engineering Award and the prestigious 2009 design awards from RedDot and the International Forum Design in Germany.

We’re happy to have this unique heatsink here at Icrontic for testing to see how well Thermaltake has married performance with aesthetics.

Specs

  • Compatibility: Socket 775, Socket 1366, Socket 754, Socket 930, and Sockets AM2/2+/3
  • Heatsink Dimension: 121.63(L) x 90(W) x 151.85(H) mm
  • Heatsink Material: 50 Aluminum Fins w/ Copper Heatpipes & Base
  • Heatpipe: 6 mm x 6
  • Fan Dimension: 80 x 85 mm
  • Fan Speed: 1,000 ~ 1,600 RPM
  • Bearing Type: Sleeve
  • Noise Level: 19 ~ 28 dBA
  • Max. Air Flow: 86.5 CFM
  • Max. Air Pressure: 2.22 mmH2O
  • Rated Voltage: 12 V
  • Started Voltage: 7 V
  • Rated Current: 0.45 A
  • Power Input: 5.4 W
  • MTBF: 50,000 Hours
  • Weight: 667 g

Packaging

The SpinQ in its native habitat.

The SpinQ in its native habitat.

Thermaltake has moved away from the black and orange designs that once dominated their products and have moved to the more modern and visually-pleasing style we see here in the SpinQ’s box. The new matte white and black box is windowed to expose its true contents. Outside, the box lists all the above specifications, pictures of the cooler’s profiles and a couple choice notes. The box serves to clearly present the SpinQ and frames it to let its design shine.

What's in the box?

What's in the box?

Inside the box we find the SpinQ held firmly in place by a sturdy clam shell that centers the unit in its packaging to protect it from damage. Unless the heatsink falls off the shipping truck and gets run over by a Greyhound bus, it’s very unlikely that users will get a unit damaged by the shipping process. It’s nice to know the fifty small fins will be pristine when you open the box. The heatsink itself is wrapped by its 3-pin power cable and a short secondary dongle with the unit’s adjustable rheostat on the end.

Always accessorize.

Always accessorize.

The plastic clam shell also contains a thin white box that holds the AMD mounting clip and Intel Socket 775 pin mounts, as well as multilingual instructions, a small syringe of thermal paste, and a case badge sticker. The pin mounts for Intel Socket 1366 processors and their instructions are included in a plastic baggie that’s loose in the box.

A Closer Look

Meet the SpinQ.

Meet the SpinQ.

The SpinQ, when removed from the box, is a stout unit. It weighs slightly less than the popular Thermalright Ultra 120 Extreme but it is thicker than most tower heatsinks on the market these days. Overall heights off the motherboard are in-line with other market offerings which clock in at the 150mm mark. Clearance problems aren’t anticipated.

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Mirror, mirror, on the base ...

Mirror, mirror, on the base ...

The flat base is nickel plated with a mirror finish and carries a protective plastic film that must be removed before installation. All six heatpipes converge upon the base. The upper side of the base features a raised bevel and slits to easily center the AMD processor clip; this makes installation a breeze. Furthermore, the locking cam on the included AMD clip uses a smooth plastic bushing to prevent metal-on-metal wear. For Intel systems, the spring clip attaches firmly to opposite sides of the heatsink base by four included machine screws.

This is the business end.

This is the business end.

The six nickel-plated copper heatpipes extend outward in a U-shape and intersect the 50 aluminum fins at equidistant points every 60 degrees — starting at 30 degrees from vertical — extending fully through the fins. The fan attaches via three screws on the side of the unit opposite the heatpipe entry points. The fan cage is centered in the middle of the fin assembly with the motor extending up to the half-way point. Blue LEDs are mounted in the fan motor, and they cast a pleasing blue glow throughout the unit. The glow is slightly brighter nearer to the motor’s mount due to the placement of the LEDs.

The 86 CFM fan draws very little power.

The 86 CFM fan draws very little power.

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Comments

  1. Komete
    Komete Good review and nice HSF. I'd imagine it would be important to have good air flow in the case. It would be hard to direct air flow to it so you would want the ambient case temps low as could be.

    Sure is flashy though. Hrmmm.. I like flashy.
  2. BuddyJ
    BuddyJ Thanks Komete. This thing really pushes the air around across the board. I think if you had a case with the standard one front and one rear fan + PSU fan, you'd be better off with something like this than with a tower-style HSF that only pushes air one direction.

    Stick it in an Antec Nine Hundred or NZXT Tempest, and it should really shine.
  3. DrLiam
    DrLiam This thing just looks very bad-ass. I'd buy one, if I had a cool see-through case to show it off.
  4. Mochan
    Mochan That thing looks awesome. I'd get one, but I already have a monstrous Coolermaster Hyper Z600. And I'm pretty happy with it, the pain it was to install!
  5. Cliff_Forster
    Cliff_Forster Probably an ugly idea, but in a closed case, might be a worthwhile experiment.

    What if you build a direct vent around the mouth of that monster, directly to the rear fan port on your case?

    I am betting this is a mod project that would pull your mobo temp down at least a couple degrees centigrade.

    This type of design really demands a case that rejects heat well at the rear. If you have that natively with a big fan, that's one thing, but with a fan and a duct, not practical mind you for a pretty case install, but for a closed case where temps are the only concern you might gain some performance guiding that side rejected heat through a duct right out the rear exhaust.
  6. Snarkasm
    Snarkasm Will ducting work when the fan pushes air radially outward from the fins, not side to side like other tower coolers? I'm not sure ducting to the mouth will do anything significant; the added airflow might help the fins cool faster, but that dispersed air will go into the case rather than through the duct, I think.

    Nice looks on the thing, I'll give it that.
  7. BuddyJ
    BuddyJ I don't think ducting would work with this fan because it takes in air from both ends of the fin cylinder. I suppose you could try ducting air into both mouths but it'd be hell on case space.
  8. lemonlime
    lemonlime Great review, Pete :)
  9. BuddyJ
    BuddyJ Thank you sir!
  10. Thrax
    Thrax You know you've reached ubiquity when the first thing on an enthusiast's mind is: "Does it beat a TRUE?"

    in b4 concave bases
  11. Cliff_Forster
    Cliff_Forster I see, so the majority of the airflow is pushing between those fins and not ejecting past the mouth of the cooler?

    Interesting. I have seen designs like this, but have never used one if I am being honest. Now that you guys say it, I see it a little better, its more like a cage fan than an axial in there.
  12. Snarkasm
    Snarkasm That's why they call 'er the squirrel cage. :D
  13. emjan101
    emjan101 Thermaltake has been around for a while now, and I have used their products in many custom installations for my customers. Their performance has yet to truely disappoint me, in fact they haven't yet. The most important thing that any system builder will ever tell you if they know what they are doing, is that the lower the ambiant temperature of the case, the better. So, this means that we need plenty of convective air flow in the case so that the CPU cooler can perform as it should. Then if we use a well made, good quality CPU cooler, we will get better performance from our processor.

    Why? Good Question.

    Because the cooler the etchings inside the CPU are, the faster the electrons can move through the chip. This is because the molecules are closer together therefore better and faster electron flow. This means faster throughput from your processor, and more room for overclocking if that is what you want to do.

    Great review guys...!!!
  14. John
    John I just bought this product and I am EXTREAMLY happy with it. It cools like NONE other.

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