The Silver Mountain, or SM as it will be known from now on, is a large silver heatsink conforming to fairly standard (yet with novel touches) design. It’s about 4cm tall (an inch and a half or so in old money), and very nice and shiny. The box didn’t state material, so I guessed aluminium.
Wrong!! it’s copper, anodised with silver! w00t! That certainly had me impressed, but what would it mean in practise…? Well, read on.
Note: This is the site’s first ever review! 2001!
So excuse any air of inexperience. It’s because of inexperience.
1: SM Packaging
2: SM Lapped base
3: SM Fins and shroud
4: Chrome Orb
5: Orb clip
6: Orb fan
7: My Orb mod
8: Silver Mountain
9: SM design
10: SM fan
11: SM screw holes
12: SM manual
13: SM heat compound
The SM comes lovingly wrapped in a perfect polystyrene abode (image 1), and atop the monster heatsink is a fan worthy of it’s own fans, the delta 60mm. “ooh” i hear you mumble quietly. Well, this is something special because these fans hit 7000+rpm, and move a helluva lot of air, hella quickly. However, to do this means it’s also mega-hugely-f**k-off loud, which might be a problem for some ppl… me, I am mildly annoyed by it, but more happy that it’s keeping my 1.2Ghz beast nice and cool on these hot summer days.
The bottom is nicely “lapped” – i.e. shiny as can be, which apparently is better for contact between core and heatsink (image 2).
The fins themselves look pretty cool (har har…) and there’s plenty of em (image 3). There’s a shroud over the top too, where the fan screws on (more on that later…) which apparently helps airflow.
Anyway, I thought I’d compare it with the only other heatsinks I own:
In the Red Corner, the ThermalTake Chrome Orb. Boasting a funny round design, and funky chrome fins, it looks the business but does it perform?
In the Blue Corner, the Silver Mountain itself. Looking more like an actual heatsink, and certainly making plenty of noise, it’s got a lot to do to live up to it’s price tag…
And in the Dark Corner, sitting alone, it’s the GlobalWin FOP38. A classic design, which DID have a 80mm fan attached, but now borrows the SM’s Delta fan.
Let the games begin…
The heatsinks are rated by the following characteristics:
and also a selection of brief notes about each one.
First up, the
ThermalTake Chrome Orb. (image 4)
The Chrome Orb is fairly noisy actually. I think perhaps the fact that the fan is INSIDE the fins means air is forced out through them, making a fairly irritating whining noise. With case lid on, though, the sound is fairly muffled. Pretty quiet really.
The Orb looks very good, and is well manufactured – all the fins are parallel and the base is firm and nice and smooth. 2 pads on the base are intended to help seating on Durons/Tbirds.
3. Clip: (image 5)
The clip on these received mixed reviews, but I think it is excellent. Very easy to get on and off, and sits tightly on the CPU. The pads mean no shim is needed.
Unfortunately, this is where the Orb is let down. Being fairly old, it was designed when 600-800 was the norm, not 1Ghz+. Although rated to 1.2Ghz, it doesn’t really cut the mustard. In it’s defence, it has been a very hot summer, so it’s been battling against high air temperatures anyway.
Idle – 40ish.
Load – 60+ – crashing after lengthy game playing.
5. Fan: (image 6)
The Orb has an internally mounted fan, running at 5500rpm or so. Nowhere near as noisy (or powerful…) as the Delta fans, but it does the job (kinda…). Standard 3 pin motherboard fan plug.
Less than £10 @ tekheads.co.uk
Used to be a contender, cooled my Duron 600 admirably, but now it’s old, and a bit past it Good as a budget cooler for lower end Duron machines.
As you can see in image 7 I modified my Chrome Orb to fit on my KT7-RAID… a new version as since come out which fits on KT7′s, but this was hardly difficult to do.
A bit past it, but tries its best.
Next in the chair, the
(no pictures, sorry, as it’s in my PC )
Slightly quieter than the SM with the same fan, perhaps somehow due to fin design. Bearable, but really quite noisy.
Standard square heatsink design, though nice and sturdy looking. Top fins are slightly curved where fan sits. Fan clips on with clever clips, negating need for screws (although screwing on a fan grille is recommended… if you want to keep all your fingertips).
Terrible clip, SO tight to get on and off. I can’t really stress enough how scary it is putting this on, I used a shim and I was still worried, it is SO tight.
Pretty impressive really. Expected less from it, given it’s age.
Idle – 35ish (that was on a hot day, today it’s at 27c).
Load – 45ish – had no temperature related crashes.
Delta 60mm, 7000rpm, borrowed from the Silver Mountain. Very very loud, but very very good. Pushes crap loads of air bloody quickly, hence the noise it makes.
Just over £15 for the FOP38, another £10 or so for the Delta is bought seperately (prices from tekheads.co.uk)
Old and reliable, but the clip is absolutely terrible, very scary :S. A decent choice at the price, although once again the clip rears it’s ugly head, and is a real reason NOT to buy this heatsink. Of course, you might only have to put it on once (unlike me – I change heatsink quite a lot) in which case it’s only one heart attack…
Old but still kicks about with the big kids.
… and finally, the
Akasa Silver Mountain (image 8)
VERY VERY loud. Screams at you from inside your PC, drowned out the noise of 4 80mm fans and an exhaust blower. Yes, this is REALLY loud. Got it? IT’S LOUD!
2. Design: (image 9)
Cool polished silver, intriguing design of fins. Would do you proud through a case window if you dabble in such madness. Slightly gold effect when looking through the fins, not sure why… a hint of copper perhaps? I shall have to do my research. Fins are visibly slotted into the base, rather than being moulded from one piece of metal (which is pretty unlikely i guess due to costs). Looks the biz. Fully snazzy.
Good design, sturdy hold and not too much forced required. A screwdriver is needed to clip in on securely though (a flat headed screwdriver fits in the clip, and you push down on it to hook it over the socket clips).
Now this is where the SM should really shine. I was told by the (slightly dodgy) vendor that this would outperform a ThermoEngine, and indeed that he had seen the results for himself. Well…
Idle – 30ish
Load – 40-45
Remember this was on a very hot day, about 30 degrees outside. I’m pretty impressed by it myself… not having used a ThermoEngine I can’t compare though. Not that much better than the FOP38… but I think the Delta is what makes this heatsink, and indeed the FOP… the fan seems to perform extremely well.
5. Fan: (image 10)
Delta 60mm, 7000rpm included with heatsink. Fan screw holes are on the shroud, and on mine were worn hence the screws rattle a bit. (image 11) I was quite disappointed by that, I expected better workmanship on such an expensive heatsink.
NOTE:I was sent a replacement for free by Akasa UK (Lapicon) that works perfectly, so I assume it was badly handled (or used??) by the retailer. Thanks to Adrian at Lapicon for that.
£35. Yep, Thirty Five Pounds. It’s a lot of money in my book, and more than I really wanted to spend… but it seems to do it’s job pretty well, and hopefully will be transferable to the next processor I get and remain up to the task. Very expensive though…
Impressive, if excessively expensive. Poor workanship for fan attachment – screw holes were worn and screws rattled. Overall very good, but… ARG it costs so much .
Comes with decent instructions to help you with installation (image 12).
Also comes with a small syringe of white heat transfer compound (image 13). I used Arctic Silver, but this stuff does the job too.
Good lucking, nice and weighty, but earth shattering? No. Ear shattering… yes.
So there you have it. The Akasa Silver Mountain is a worthy contender in the battle between top heatsinks… but really, it doesn’t do that much better than a FOP38 borrowing its fan. And it’s bloody bloody loud. But it looks reet sexy, and when the world economy is destroyed maybe the silver plating will be worth a house?
The Delta 60mm seems to be the real star of the show… I’m off to buy a dozen. And some ear defenders.
See you next review!