AMD's new “Wraith” CPU cooler makes a few engineering changes: Overall surface area of the aluminum heatsink has increased 24%, the fan has been heavily modified from the previous stock cooler (which should be named the “banshee,” given its shrill output), and it's got an LED. We first got eyes-on with the Wraith at CES 2016, but have returned today with in-house validation of CPU cooler performance.

Today marks the list date of AMD's new Wraith CPU cooler, which will accompany “specially marked” processors for no added cost, we're told. The Wraith replaces AMD's old stock cooler, pictured in this article, though both products will remain shipping. The FX-8370 units with the old cooler will sell for a new, dropped price. MSRP stands at $200 for the FX-8370 Wraith Edition, as we're calling it, bumping the non-Wraith FX-8370 down to $190. That's a $10 difference for the denser cooler with LED back-light – now just to determine whether the $10 is worthwhile.

This review benchmarks AMD's Wraith CPU cooler vs. the original stock AMD CPU cooler, then throws-in an aftermarket air cooler for comparison. We modulate fan RPMs between the two AMD coolers to get a feel for overall efficiency and noise-thermal trade-offs.

SilverStone’s CES 2016 product arrangement illustrated the company’s preference shown toward function. The company’s cases largely consisted of improvements upon existing designs – like the SFF Raven series – with one new mid-tower landing at the ~$60 price-point.

The SilverStone RL-05-B is progressing through final prototyping stages and will enter market availability shortly. SilverStone’s annual cooler showcase had thinner pickings than usually, but still had a set of four CPU coolers that we briefly discussed on camera.

It's been a number of years since we posted an in-depth look at CPU coolers. Our 2012 CPU Cooler Anatomy post explained the basics of air cooler design, highlighting the use of capillary action within copper heatpipes to conduct heat from a copper coldplate. Liquid coolers function more similarly to a car's radiator system and yield significantly more efficient thermal performance, but also call some common practices into question – like the efficacy of copper versus aluminum.

The basics indicate that copper does, by any and all scientific measure, thoroughly trounce aluminum when it comes to thermal dissipation potential: Copper cools at about 400 Watts per meter Kelvin at 25C (401W/mK) and aluminum is around half that, sitting at 205W/mK at 25C. That's nearly a 2x difference; for perspective, most stock thermal compound is in the 4-5.6W/mK range, with air (no thermal compound) at ~0.024W/mK.

This Computex, Be Quiet doesn’t appear to be jumping into any new markets, but rather improving their current case, fan, cooler, and power supply product lines.

Be Quiet!’s name is a bit interesting: An English name was chosen by a German company, and said name is in fact an exclamatory command to stop making any noise. The imaginative part of me likes to believe that Be Quiet! simply yells at coolers instead of performing R&D; regardless of how Be Quiet! develops coolers, they have a growing range of options at different performances, sizes, and prices. Most recently, Be Quiet! announced their newest CPU cooler -- the Shadow Rock LP.

German case, cooler, & PSU manufacturer "Be Quiet!" made an appearance at CES this week, where they spotlighted two new air coolers and the Silent Base 800 enclosure we previously wrote about.

Be Quiet! expanded its cooler line with the Dark Rock TF -- a black monolith with two top-down fans -- and the Shadow Rock LP. The Dark Rock TF (TF initializes "Top Flow" air direction, or top-down) is the larger, more powerful cooler rated for 220W TDP. It sports six nickel-plated copper pipes with a two-tiered aluminum fin design. The CPU block is not direct contact, but does appear solid and well-machined with its smooth coldplate.

Today, be quiet!, Germany’s top PSU manufacturer, announced that they are entering the lower-end CPU cooler market with their new Pure Rock cooler. This compact CPU cooler (only 155x121x87.5 mm) uses 4x6mm copper heatpipes to join the cold plate to the cooling fins and 120mm Pure Wings 2 fan. According to their internal testing, this fan, using 9 high-air flow blades (for low noise), only generates 26.8 decibels even under its full 1500 RPM load.


The advent of a new technology does not necessitate the invalidation of long-standing solutions. Just look at tape drives: Enterprise, archival, and government organizations still use a storage technology established in the 50s. Granted, governments are not necessarily the paramount of competent technological deployment. This sentiment of archaic persistence remains true in the world of cooling, too; CPU air cooling has reigned supreme as the most cost-effective consumer dissipation solution, and even with CLCs dominating the market, air still has its place.


We've often remarked that high-end air coolers will beat-out low-end liquid coolers any day -- the Corsair H60 comes to mind -- and this is a chance to put the concept to the test.

In this review of Be Quiet!'s Dark Rock Pro 3, we benchmark the performance of the hardware world's most monolithic CPU cooler.

AMD has been teasing a new FX processor with a bundled liquid cooler, instilling hope that AMD would be releasing an updated -- or even completely new -- FX-series enthusiast CPU. To the disappointment of the enthusiast community, myself included, the release was just an FX-9590 with a bundled Asetek AIO CLC.


Normally we wait until a product has been benchmarked to talk about it on camera, but we're presently waiting on a driver update for both the ZBOX and NZXT's new CLCs. While we wait for the CAM software update to properly accommodate the X41 & X61 CLCs, let's get a quick hands-on with the new coolers.


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