First off, let’s bring some more light in terms of what Enermax’s ETS-T series family is and what models are available for the end consumer.
- ETS-T40-TB – this option features a silent 120 mm fan T.B.Silence with no LED lights and no coating on the heatsink. The fan has a minimum speed ot 800 RPM and maximum speed of 1800 RPM, generating airflow level of 147.30 m3/h and noise level in the range of 10-21 dBA.
- ETS-T40-W “White Cluster” – featuring a white coating on the heatsink, this version offers not only looks, but also performance – since it has the fastest fan of all three models Cluster Advance 120 mm fan with 4 white LED’s- operating range of 800-2200 RPM and generating airflow level of 180 m3/h. The noise level is increased, as expected due to the high RPMs – 17 to 31 dBA. Cluster Advance fan is featuring Adjustable Peak Speed (APS) which are actually user adjustable profiles – Silent Mode / Performance Mode / Overclock Mode.
- ETS-T40-BK “Black Twister” – this is the actual cooler we’ll be testing and reviewing today. It features also a 120 mm fan, which I’ll be describing later in the article.
So, basically the main difference between the three coolers are the fans coming in the package. According to your cooling needs you have the option to choose from silence or performance. It’s a good thing that Enermax offers different fans with the same heatsink, not only for a better product range, but to save its customers the job of finding a replacement fan if the included one doesn’t meet the user’s requirements, as is the case with other CPU coolers.
|The front side of the package||The side/back of the package|
T40 Black Twister was packed in a standard carton box with a nice front photo of the cooler inside, surrounded by some blue space effects to boost the looks of the box and actually it looks pretty nice I have to say. On the other side there are all the features that the cooler offers and also the so important technical specifications. Everything is neatly printed on the box, explained in pictures and backed up by useful information, so that you may get a better idea of the cooler without taking it out of the box.
So after spending a couple of minutes examining the outside of T40’s box I opened it and this is the view I got:
The cooler assembly was surrounded by pre-folded recycled paper and seemed to be intact in terms of transport damage. On top there was the fan, beneath it was the heatsink and next to the heatsink, inside a small compartment was a nylon bag, containing all the parts needed for installation.
Inside the nylon bag there were two smaller bags with additional parts. The whole package contained:
- 1 x Metal backplate
- 4 x Plastic washers
- 4 x Metal screw pillars
- 4 x Metal screw pillars for Intel® LGA 2011 socket
- 2 x Metal bracket mounts for Intel® CPU
- 2 x Metal bracket mounts for AMD® CPU
- 4 x Nuts for bracket mounts
- 1 x Pressure mounting plate
- 2 x Nuts for pressure mounting plate
- 1 x Angled wrench
- 4 x Fan brackets
- 8 x Anti-vibration rubber strips
- 1 x Tube with thermal grease
- 1 x Installation guide
Overall the package content is rich and the user manual is well compiled. After spending 2-3 minutes reading it, it became clear how to install the bracket and then the cooler with the fan. So before proceeding with the installation and test environment, we need to explain all the parts in this CPU cooler, beginning with the heatsink.
Enermax T40 Black Twister Heatsink:
|The front side of the heatsink||The top side of the heatsink|
T40 Black Twister heatsink has physical dimensions of L 139 x W 70 x H 160 mm and weighs 610 g. In terms of looks the heatsink is covered in matte black coating, covering the entire piece, without the contact plate. On the top aluminum fin stands the Enermax logo in silver and contrasts with the overall black finish. The heatsink is using copper heatpipes for heat dissipation and there are a total of four, 6 mm in diameter with thermal resistance of 0.085 °C/W. While checking out the structure of the heatsink I couldn’t help noticing the interesting design of the fin stack. Enermax implemented different technologies to increase the cooling capabilities of the heatsink by optimizing the airflow – Stack Effect Flow (SEF, patented), Vortex Generator Flow (VGF, patented) and Vacuum Effect Flow (VEF). Small holes and bumps in the fins make air travel faster through the cooler, resulting in increased performance and lower temperatures.
|The side of the heatsink||The back of the heatsink|
I should say that the coated finish really gives a premium look and feel to the heatsink, even the heatpipes and the top of the contact plate are in matte black. Although it’s a bit of a fingerprint magnet and dust might be easily visible when it builds up inside a case, but that’s not a issue at all. The design of the heatsink allows for a second 120mm fan to be installed in a push/pull configuration and Enermax was kind enough to supply a second pair of metal clips for the purpose.
The Direct Touch copper contact plate was covered with a transparent adhesive nylon piece, so I recommend cleaning the surface area before applying thermal compound to minimize the risk of mixing glue with thermal grease. Also, make sure to apply enough thermal compound due to the gaps between the base of the contact plate and the copper heatpipes, they absorb small quantities of paste and that may result in poor cooling performance later on. The contact plate looks very well and it seems that everything was painted at first and then the milling process was conducted, resulting in fairly good smooth finish of the plate itself and nice contrast between the pure copper and coated copper.
Okay, I think that sums up the information about the heatsink and we may proceed to fan examination.
Enermax T40 Black Twister Cooling Fan:
|Front of the fan||Back of the fan|
As I’ve said earlier in the article, three fan options are available out of the box – this version is supplied with the T.B.Apollish 120 mm cooling fan. The fan has dimensions of 120 x 120 x 25 and most importantly it has PWM control via the medium length cable, which is also nicely sleeved in black to correspond with the overall black theme of the cooler. T.B.Apollish is supplied with Twister Bearing Technology, allowing for easy removal of the fan blades for cleaning and maintenance. The frame of the fan is black, while the seven blades are semi-transparent with mirror-like strips at the end to increase the lightning effect of the 12 bright blue LEDs. T.B.Apollish rotates from 800 to 1800 RPM, allowing for airflow level of 56.51 – 129.09 m3/h correspondingly, while remaining reasonably quiet with 16 – 26 dBA. Another interesting specification about this fan is the air pressure that it produces and it’s quite good actually – even at 800 RPM the fan has 0.97 mm-H2O static pressure, while at 1800 RPM that figure is 2.28 mm-H2O – so I expect the fan to perform reasonably well, considering its specs so far.
Now I believe it’s time to install the fan on the heatsink and see what the actual T40 cooler looks like.
|The heatsink and the fan
||The heatsink and the fan assembled
Here is the finished T40 cooler, ready to be installed on the motherboard and later on put to the test.
Earlier I installed the rubber pads on the back of the fan to prevent vibrations passing through the heatsink and making unwanted noise. The rubber pads actually play a big role in the fan attachment, because the metal clips are longer and if you decide not to install the pads on the fan, you might not be able to clip it into place without modifying or bending the clips. Nonetheless, the whole structure seems quite sturdy, the fan doesn’t wobble around and is secured in place.
Proceeding with the installation we have to prepare the mounting kit.
We are using the Intel socket 1150 mounting parts, but the kit is compatible with AMD sockets as well, or to be exact:
- Intel® – LGA 775/1150/1155/1156/1366/2011
- AMD® – AM2/AM2+/AM3/AM3+/FM1/FM2
For the Intel socket 2011 there are stand alone mounts in a nylon bag, neatly labeled Intel 2011. As you can see from the photo I’ve already placed one of the screws into the corresponding opening.
|Test motherboard||Preparing the brackets|
T40’s installation is pretty much straightforward – you have a piece of backplate that needs to be attached to the socket and later on to attach the heatsink to that bracket. After installing the four standoffs/screws it was time for the installations of the rails that serve as support for the contact plate and the whole heatsink assembly.
|Bracket rails||Contact plate and bracket|
Via the included nuts I tightened everything by hand and was surprised by how well everything matched together and how strong it felt as a support. It was time for thermal paste application. And here is a photo of the backplate behind the motherboard.
The cooler is attached to the bracket with a pressure plate and two nuts (included wrench) so the amount of pressure going to the CPU and contact plate is regulated via this pressure plate.
|Pressure plate and contact plate||Tightening the nuts|
Aluminum block is used for the plate so it is extremely light, but strong enough to withstand the pressure levels for perfect contact. Use the supplied wrench to tighten it up (also doable with a Phillips screwdriver).
I have to say that it’s quite handy to have the option of using either a screwdriver or a wrench to tighten the cooler, because if you are performing the installation process inside a case, then the wrench is practically unusable and a Phillips screwdriver comes in handy.
And here is the completed installation of the T40 CPU cooler.
For a single tower cooler it is compact in size and the only clearance issue I had and other may have is the space between the fan and the first RAM slot. Although my RAM is with high heat spreaders I believe that even lower RAM modules might interact with the fan, unless you move it a little higher on the heatsink.
However, installing the RAM on the second and fourth slot was the way to go in my case and I was ready to install the motherboard in the case to conduct my tests and see what this cooler might bring in terms of looks and performance levels.
|Installed T40 cooler||RAM clearance|
Before continuing with the tests let me show you what the cooler looks like inside the chassis and most importantly – to check out the blue LED effect that I am eager to see from the beginning of the article.
|With left panel removed||With left panel closed|
|LED lighting with removed left panel||LED lighting with closed left panel|
Wow! Although a little amplified by the camera lens, the LED effect this fan makes is absolutely stunning. I love the blue LED color, it even has the intensity to light up the internals of the case through the tinted side panel – I am really impressed so far.
Now, after I am done examining and installing the cooler, I believe it’s time to check its performance and show it to you.
CPU: Intel i5-4670K, socket 1150
- At standard frequency 3.4 GHz (at 1.02V, set to Auto when not OC-ing)
- At low overclock frequency of 4.0GHz (at 1.24V)
- At medium overclock frequency of 4.4 GHz (at 1.25V)
- At high overclock frequency of 4.5 GHz (at 1.30V)
Motherboard: AsRock Fatal1ty Killer Z87
Video card: MSI AMD R9 270X HAWK 2G
Memory: A-Data XPG 8 GB Dual channel, running at 1600 MHz, 9-9-9-24
Hard drive: Western Digital 640 GB Black Series
Case: Fractal Design ARC XL
Power supply: Corsair RM750 W
Cooler: Enermax T40 – Black Twister
Thermal paste: Enermax, included in the package contents.
The case is cooled by several fans, all set to Silent mode in BIOS. Two 140mm front intake fans Thermalright TY-140 spinning at about 600 RPM, one Noctua 140mm NF-P14 rotating at about 300-900 RPM, acting as exhaust.
And here are the results of the performance of T40:
|Enermax T40 @3.4 GHz 1.02V||Enermax T40 @4.0 GHz 1.24V|
|Enermax T40 @4.4 GHz 1.25V||Enermax T40 TD02 @4.5 GHz 1.30V|
All of the results have been summed up in the following charts:
And the fan speed during the performed tests:
After I was done with the testing I believe the time has come to share my final words and initial impressions of this illuminated CPU cooler.
1. Enermax T40 – Black Twister performance:
Build quality – Well, actually I have no complains here, except for the fan brackets – I find them not corresponding to the overall build quality of the cooler – at least some rubber pads on them would be a nice touch in future revisions. There was no cracking or clicking while I reviewed the unit, no broken parts, nothing to complain about. The paint on the heatsink was intact and all fins were evenly spaced with no bending to them. The mounting kit also surprised me with its build quality. Great job from Enermax, really.
Performance – Now, for this price you get a very good, if not excellent cooler when keeping the GHz on the CPU (at least Haswell wise) low to moderate. The cooler does an outstanding job keeping the CPU at 63-65 degrees Celsius at 4.0 Ghz, which is actually quite good, considering the heat output of the Haswell family. It seems that T40 has the performance level to enable medium overclocking with room to spare.
Noise level – Actually, at first the BIOS setting for CPU fan was set to Silent (later changed to Standard) and the fan was rotating at around 800 RPM – dead silent, indeed. When I changed to Standard profile it was spinning at 1500 RPM even at idle, which is not loud by any means, but a bit too much for my everyday usage of the PC. At 1800 RPM it seems to produce some serious noise, amplified by all the holes and bumps in the fin stack of the heatsink. My recommendation is to keep the fan at levels from 1000-1200 RPM if you are a noise freak, like myself.
2. Enermax T40 – Black Twister appearance: Beautiful! Stunning LED effect, lighting the whole case inside. I am absolutely loving the glow of the T.B.Apollish fan and the way it looks inside my case – really love it. Excellent! I don’t know if I like the coating on the heatsink more – it gives such a premium look and feel. Overall I have two words to say about the appearance – absolutely amazing!
Official price of Enermax T40 – Black Twister (MSRP): $49.99
Warranty: 12 months
I think that Enermax T40 deserves the following reward:
My special thanks to Enermax for providing us with a test sample.