Before I start with the article itself I would like to say a few words about the company LEPA and their products. Lepa was founded in 2010 by a group of IT engineers that share the same passion – technological innovations. Their main goal is to provide products with high quality, reliability and performance, presented to users all across the world. Today I have my hands on a unit that is in their cooling portfolio of products and is actually their first CPU cooler released…I will present to you LV12 CPU tower cooler from LEPA.
Beginning with the box itself, this cooler arrived to me inside a small carton box, more on the light side in terms of weight and it seemed packed up with information all around. The sides of the box contained a huge amount of useful information regarding the cooler – one side had information about the product specifications, another side contained the special features and there was a side regarding the package contents, very handy indeed. In the top left hand corner sits the company logo in orange, along with the cat predator.
LV12’s carton box relies on a black/yellow color scheme to present the necessary information and I can say it does the job nicely. The top of the box contains a picture of both available versions of the cooler – white and black, placed on a black background with a slight reflection effect. Also the supported sockets are written on the top so that you know if this cooler supports your particular socket.
|Lepa LV12 front/right side||Lepa LV12 left side of box|
What I should say is that in my opinion the design pattern is fresh, contemporary and I like it. There is one more thing to do in order to continue with this article and that is to finally open the box and see what lies beneath this colored recycled carton packaging. And there is…more carton beneath, but its purpose is more on the marketing side – the whole cover is black with just a shadowy silhouette of the Lepa’s predator and another bigger company logo.
|Lepa LV12 CPU cooler Predator cover||Lepa LV12 packaged|
Lepatek really did a good job with the packaging as the cooler sat in a special bed, resting and waiting to be released. All around it is very well protected and there was no damage done to it whatsoever, so the packaging did the job perfectly well. Now, let me proceed with the actual contents and see what comes included from the factory with this “predator” of a cooler.
LEPA LV12 ADDITIONAL ACCESSORIES
As weird as it may look, here at DVTests we don’t usually check the product itself first, but rather the included goodies in the packaging contents, also known as additional accessories whose main purpose is to ensure the proper and problem free installation of the unit. So, in order for me not to neglect them in any way let me arrange them for a photo and explain what comes as standard inside LV12’s package, apart from the cooler itself.
|Lepa LV12 CPU cooler||Included goodies|
The packaging has pretty much nothing unusual with it, all of the included parts were placed inside a large transparent nylon bag, which contained more nylon bags with different parts in them. As usual the LGA 2011 bolts come in a separate container, which is labeled.
- Backplate x 1
- Plastic washer x 4
- Screw pillar x 4
- Bracket mount for Intel x 2
- Bracket mount for AMD x 2
- Intel 2011 screw pillar x 4
- Nut for bracket mount x 4
- Pressure mounting plate x 1
- Nut for pressure mounting plate x 2
- Angled wrench x 1
- Fan bracket x 4
- Vibration-absorbing rubber x 8
- Thermal grease x 1
- Installation guide x 1
So, what I can say is that the included goodies are sufficient enough for the proper installation of the cooler and props to Lepa, as this is their first ever CPU cooler. They really put time and effort to provide the users with the necessary instruments to mount the cooler on different sockets.
Now that I am done explaining and viewing the additional parts, it is time for me to proceed with a closer look at the CPU cooler.
LEPA LV12 HEAT SINK STRUCTURE
Even though this is the first CPU cooler for the company, LV12 seems to be developed with many technologies and surely this was done with proper research. Since nowadays most of the CPU tower coolers feature three major components – heat sink, fan and mounting kit, I will start off with the heat sink and check out how it is made and what is the engineering behind it. LV12 is comprised of a single tower heat sink and there are two color versions available – white and black. I had my hands on the black version and the only actual difference between the black and white is the color scheme, otherwise the coolers are identical in terms of technologies used and size also – 138(L) × 60(W) × 160(H) mm. Weight is exactly 460 grams so no stress on the motherboard socket will be present even with fan mounted and slightly increasing the overall weight.
First thing that caught my attention was the light weight of the heatsink and of course the beautiful black matte finish that spreads through the entire heatsink. Lepa calls the paint S.N.T.C (Super Nano Thermal Conductive) coating – it protects heat sink from oxidation, keeps excellent heat transfer efficiency and extends the life expectancy of the cooler. LV12’s heat sink features an aluminium fin array with special design that is put into each fin separately. The fin design is called Louver fin and what it means is that every fin has small square openings in it, or to be exact – 12 square holes with directional purpose.
|Lepa LV12 heatsink side view||Lepa LV12 heatsink top view|
The main goal of each square hole is to direct the airflow in the desired direction giving it a U-shaped path, which results in a better performance over a smaller cooling surface area. Also it is rather sleek as visible on the last top fin. Combined with that there is a nice silver and shiny Lepa logo so when you mount the cooler it does bring some visual improvement inside the case.
The other U-shaped thing featured in this cooler are the heat pipes, which are four in total and each one is with Ø6 mm outer diameter. The heat pipes are made of copper and are wrapped up in the same thermal conductive coating as the fins. As the specifications state in Lepa’s website, thermal resistance is 0.095 °C/W. You can check out the fin density from the shot below and also admire the very sleek visuals that the cooler presents itself with. Not only that but by using only 4 heat pipes this cooler is very slim and is made to provide maximum compatibility with little to none RAM slot issues.
|Lepa LV12 fin array/density||Lepa LV12 – H.D.T. (Heatpipe Direct Touch)|
LV12’s heat pipes end with H.D.T technology as seen from the photo to ensure very good contact and direct heat transfer to the each heat pipe. This should all result in better performance and cooling capabilities.
|Lepa LV12 CPU – slim profile||Lepa LV12 – Direct touch|
Now that I have explained all the technologies involved in LV12’s heat sink development and engineering it is time for me to provide you with the also important specifications of the included fan. LV12 is cooled by one fan only with the option of mounting a second one in a push-pull configuration to improve the cooling potential.
LEPA LV12 COOLING FAN
Depending on the color version you purchase you will receive either a white or a black fan to match the finishing coating of the heat sink and in this case I have the black fan included. Let me describe its characteristics and provide you with a closer look.
|Lepa LV12 – cooling fan front||Lepa LV12 – cooling fan rear view|
In order for the cooler to perform its purpose it is cooled by one 120mm fan with plastic frame that is more or less rounded and has dimensions of 120 x 120 x 25 mm. On the sides of the frame there is the Lepa logo again and one of its goals is not only to provide better visual experience but also help with the incoming fresh air to the propeller. Another feature of the frame is that it can actually be disassembled, along with the propeller itself so that dust cleaning is made easy for the user. I actually managed to remove only half of the frame as the propeller didn’t want to go anywhere and there was a point where it bent so much that I did not want to do any damage to the rotor inside and gave up. The propeller features seven wide blades that are a bit transparent and do have a tendency of reflecting the light, so if you have some LED lights in your case, expect a nice visual experience.
Anyway, here are the photos of the disassembled frame and a closer look at the fan.
|Lepa LV12 – disassembled frame||Lepa LV12 – APS – Adjustable Peak Speed|
The fan comes with a nice black sleeved cable that matches the color scheme, always a good thing to see that manufacturers actually care about the smallest of details. Let’s talk a bit more about the technical part of the fan – it can operate in the 800~1500/1800/2200 RPM range, where 800 RPM is the minimum speed and 2200 are the maximum attainable revolutions per minute. Good thing is that it is actually PWM controlled and also a feature called APS is present on this 120mm fan. APS stands for Adjustable Peak Speed and what it does is to help you manually control the maximum speed of the fan propeller.
Three options are available to choose from with the help of the APS button on the back of the rotor.
- Silence: 800 – 1500 RPM
- Performance: 800 – 1800 RPM
- Overclocking: 800 – 2200 RPM
With these numbers for rotations per minute let me say about the generated airflow level, which is 69.2 m3/h at 800 RPM, 130.2 m3/h at 1500 RPM, 174.4 m3/h at 1800 RPM and at 2200 RPM the fan is able to produce 213.1 m3/h of airflow which is a rather outstanding result for a 120mm fan. Static pressure is between 0.83 ~ 1.8/2.43/3.64 mmH2O , depending on the fan RPM.
The fan uses a BOL bearing for longer life expectancy, thus its huge MTBF – over 160 000 hours. Last thing to mention, but not the last in importance is the noise generated, of course. Although the fan has a wide RPM range it doesn’t necessarily mean that is should be unreasonably loud and this fan is actually impressive in terms of noise produced. The numbers go from 8 dBA up to 17/20/23 dBA, again depending on the RPM of the propeller and I should say that sounds very good. I can’t wait to mount the cooler and test it for real.
And this is what the fan looks like when attached to the heat sink.
|Lepa LV12 CPU cooler||Lepa LV12 – fan brackets|
This is the time to say a couple of words about the actual fan installation and fan brackets, included in the package. To attach the fan you will need the supplied fan brackets, which are sadly not painted in the same black finish. Apart from that they are one of the easiest to operate with as the actual clipping into place process takes no additional force or excessive pushing and pulling – they are soft and malleable with big openings for your fingers. Very good job here from Lepa, indeed it is worth mentioning, because too often it is a pain to install fan brackets or break them with too much pushing or pulling.
Well, that pretty much wraps things up regarding the fan and its installation, now lets move forward to the cooler installation and the mounting kit. I will be reading the manual before proceeding with the installation and take all the necessary parts for the right socket. Actually this cooler can be mounted on many sockets, and they are:
- Intel® LGA 775/1155/1156/1366/2011/1150
After I picked the right parts for the right socket and went through the installation manual I can say that the manual is very informative and helpful as this mounting system is not the simplest out there and not the most symmetrical one also. Make sure you double check the bracket if it corresponds to the holes on the socket, I needed three attempts before I finally got it.
These are the parts that I will need for mounting the cooler to Intel 1150 socket.
And this is what the mounting bracket should look like when assembled.
There are many parts that go into the assembly process, although if many parts means that a proper, solid connection will be made with the CPU’s IHS I am into it, no doubt about that. And here is what the backplate looks like as seen from the back of the motherboard.
|Backplate installed||Pillar screws into place|
On the backplate there are holes for all the Intel sockets and in the manual there is a good explanation with pictures of where each screw should go in and you need to align the bracket on the back of the motherboard prior to installing the pillar screws as it will make your life easier.
|Intel brackets installed||Thermal grease applied|
Next thing to install are the brackets, Intel matching ones for this 1150 socket and screw them into place. Next was to apply the thermal compound and I didn’t use the Lepa supplied one, but I went for Noctua NT-H1 premium thermal compound. As you can notice from the photo I used a spatula to evenly spread the paste, although that way of applying may create small air bubbles under the paste material sometimes, so be careful. I used this method of applying, because when there is a HDT technology used in the contact plate of a cooler there are small gaps between the heat pipes and the contact block where thermal grease is gathered and if you put only a small pea sized ball of paste on the CPU it may not be evenly spread over the IHS.
|Using the wrench||Heat sink installed|
For easier installation I removed the RAM from the slots and used the wrench to tighten the heat sink into place. Do not overtighten the nuts as it may bend the brackets and cause damage to your socket.
Now let’s clip the fan into place, install the RAM and proceed with the universal tests.
|Fan installed||RAM clearance|
Even though the cooler is made to provide maximum compatibility with DRAM slots I was unable to install my RAM into the first DIMM slot as the heat spreaders are just too big and interfere with the fan. Anyway, the second and fourth slots did the job for me and everything is up and running. A little shorter RAM PCB’s would be no problem for this cooler to handle. As you can also see on the back of the LV12 there is room for another 120mm fan to be installed that will not be obstructed by the VRM heatsink.
LEPA LV12 TESTS
Now that the cooler is mounted on the motherboard, I believe it is time to install it back to the case and proceed with the testing methodology.
- CPU: Intel i5-4670K
- At standard frequency 3.4 MHz (Voltage set to Auto when not OC-ing)
- At low overclock frequency of 3.9 MHz (at 1.24V)
- At medium overclock frequency of 4.3 MHz (at 1.25V)
- Motherboard: AsRock Fatal1ty Killer Z87
- Video card: MSI AMD R9 280X GAMING 3G
- Memory: A-Data XPG 8 GB Dual channel, 1600 MHz
- Solid State Drive: Intel 530 Series, 120 GB
- Hard drive: Western Digital 640 GB Black Series
- Case: Antec Nineteen Hundred
- Power supply: Corsair RM750 W, Fully Modular
- Thermal paste: Noctua NT-H1
For the test I will be using the supplied 120mm fan and will test the cooler in Overclocking mode from the APS button.
The tests were conducted in a closed system with:
- Three Antec 120mm fans, installed as intake, rotating at ~1200 RPM
- Two Antec 120mm fans, installed on the HDD cage inside the case, rotating at ~1200 RPM
- One Antec 120mm fan, installed as exhaust at the rear of the case, rotating at ~1200 RPM
Room temperature of about 25 degrees.
And here I want to describe my testing method.
I will install Lepa LV12 and do stress tests using Prime95 AVX software with constant load on the cooler for 14:30 minutes with custom settings of minimum FFT size (in K of 128), max FFT size (in K of 128) and Run FFTs in place at standard frequency of 3.4 GHz (Voltage set to Auto when not OC-ing), at low overclock frequency of 3.9 GHz (at 1.24V) and at medium overclock frequency of 4.3 GHz (at 1.25V) using the supplied fans installed on the radiator.
And this is what the CPU cooler looks like when installed inside the case and ready for testing.
|LEPA LV12 installed||View through side panel window|
Now let’s check out the test results after the intensive stress testing.
First test was performed with the stock speed that the CPU is working at, then there are the results from the 3.9 and 4.3 GHz stress testing.
|Lepa LV12 @3.9 GHz, Full speed||Lepa LV12 @4.3 GHz, Full speed|
All of the results above have been summarized in the following charts:
And the fan speed during the tests:
I believe the time for conclusions has arrived.
LEPA LV12 CONCLUSIONS
1. Lepa LV12 performance:
After spending a couple of hours checking out the cooler itself and all the other parts that come with the package, I can say that LV12 is indeed a really good CPU cooler that requires attention from the users who want good performance and at the same time don’t want to spend too much on a heat sink unit. I am very impressed with the attention to detail that Lepa involved in the design and the technical know-how that is behind this LV12 cooler. Build quality is outstanding and since this is the first cooler of the company I was rather surprised when I got my hands on the cooler at first, it is really a piece of high quality materials and that always stands out in a product.
On the performance side I also have to say that I didn’t expect groundbreaking results, since there are only four heat pipes and my CPU is hot like hell, BUT the cooler did a really nice job overall. Even though at maximum RPM it is not the most silent cooler ever, but you will never experience 2200 RPM fan speed when doing normal stuff on the PC. I noticed that when at Idle the CPU went to 28 degrees Celsius and rarely jumped over 30 degrees, while watching a movie or just browsing the web. Most of the time I believe that the fan will stay silent and will keep things cool.
When overclocking there are things to be considered and the first is that only 4 heat pipes are not enough to cool this CPU in any way and that can be seen from the tests. With a slight overclock @3.9 GHz, LV12 manages to do its purpose very well indeed. When the OC-ing goes to higher frequencies this gets a bit on the hot side and I wouldn’t recommend it if you want to keep your CPU highly overclocked 24/7, after all this is not a huge CPU cooler intended for that last degree of difference for being the CPU cooler king.
I feel anxious about the other models which LEPA will (hopefully) release in the future as their first one is a clear success!
2. Lepa LV12 appearance:
Nothing to complain about here, the visual expression of the cooler and the whole assembly is outstanding and I cannot decide for myself which of the two color versions looks better. The coating really adds some nice finish to the heat sink and boosts the overall value of LV12. Even the fin stack arrangement looks quite beautiful in the case. It really is a very good looking CPU cooler that will fit almost every system’s color scheme.
According to my review, I think that Lepa LV12 deserves the following reward:
Official price (MSRP) for Lepa LV12: 45 USD
Official warranty: unknown
I thank LEPA for the test sample.
The cooler offers great visuals and very good cooling performance, backed up by low noise level. Even at maximum 2200 RPM LV12 seems reasonably quiet for everyday usage. I wouldn't recommend it however for extreme overclocking as there is limited cooling potential with only four copper heat pipes.