Sunbeam Core-Contact Freezer CPU Cooler Review
The last time I reviewed a CPU cooler, I was amazed at the ZEROtherm ZEN FZ120. It was the best cooler I tested on the Q6600 and it offered excellent performance, really easy installation and it wasn’t noisy. Today we look at the new breed of CPU cooler design in the Sunbeam Core-Contact Freezer and see if it can trump the Core-Contact Freezer.
Today marks our first look at this type of heatpipe design. The Sunbeam Core-Contact Freezer at first glance looks conventional and it is to an extent but the one key difference is the base. Most if not all heatpipe heatsinks have the heatpipe sandwiched in copper or aluminum which makes contact with the processor. This one is different. The heatpipe is directly exposed to the processor and this idea by Sunbeam hopes to bring efficiency to another level and we’ll see if it works because it does in theory seem like a much more efficient design because the heatpipe is being utilized to its fullest making direct contact with the CPU. Read on to see if this indeed makes a difference.
We are happy to provide you an in-depth look at what you can expect having tested this heatsink in our new workbench consisting of the Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 spitting out easily 100W of juice. We’ll see if this heatsink can cool down or crashes and burns. Oh yeah, overclocked results @ 3.0GHz are included (spitting out well over 100 watts of heat) so read on to see how the Sunbeam Core-Contact Freezer performs.
"Sunbeam Company, a true art innovator in the field of PC modification and accessories at all aspect, targets on providing the top quality and state of art computer products to high tech PC users. We dedicate outstanding high quality control as our number one priority and deliver the products with the highest level of excellent Performance, as well as the coolest Innovation and an Appearance that draws your attention.
Launched as a promising new company in the field in 2000, Sunbeam Company specialized in developing cold cathode fluorescent lamps (CCFL), and furthermore extended to manufacture various modding equipments. Throughout the years, we now expand our product coverage to provide pioneering and fancy computer application at all aspects, while focusing on, but not limiting to, cooling systems and computer cases. Our mission is to satisfy PC players all over the world who are tired of boring traditional computer impressions and longing for experiencing the excitements of revolutionary hardware designs.
Sunbeam Company has manufacturing factories located in Dongguan City, China. In order to provide exceptional product quality combined with superior customer support, we keep updating and advancing ourselves to meet the diverse changes and increasing market demands. We strive to continue designing and developing ground-breaking, exciting, and appealing products as well as being the one stop resource and solution for all computer enthusiasts seeking to turn their ingenious visions into the coolest and fanciest reality. "
The Sunbeam Core-Contact Freezer comes packaged in a compact corrugated box. The box design is very simple showing a picture of the Core-Contact Freezer, its specifications and its features. I think they need to spice up their packaging since it is a little bland. ZEROtherm got them beat on this front.
Opening the box reveals that you’ll receive the Sunbeam Core-Contact Freezer heatsink, 120mm fan, instructions, fan clips, Tuniq TX-2 thermal grease which is pretty good, pre-installed mounting clip for the AMD and Intel CPUs, bracket for Intel motherboard installation, fan controller and some screws. What I love about this is the pre-installed mounting clip. Some coolers will provide you two separate mounting clips, this cooler uses one for both applications.
Looking at the heatsink, it reminds me of the ZEROtherm. They both look the same but in the end the Sunbeam Core-Contact Freezer is a beautiful design and is top notch in its construction. This heatsink has four heatpipes that dissipates heat through the direct contact heatpipe base. The four total heatpipes are made into eight effective heatpipes by bending the four heatpipes to create a U-shape. The hot air rises and is blown away by the 120mm fan cooling through the left side of the case where your rear exhaust fan lies.
The dimensions for the Sunbeam Core-Contact Freezer is 125(L) × 104(W) × 155(H). As with the ZEROtherm, this Core-Contact Freezer gave me no problems during installation on my motherboard, however if you have one of those tall northbridge heatsinks, you might run into problems.
The construction of this heatsink is top notch, nowhere were their visible flaws of any kind.
The 120mm fan included with the FZ120 cooler is a simple, boring, black, non-LED unit and is attached to the cooler by the use of two clips. In the event of fan failure, you’ll find it very easy to replace as 120mm about the norm now. In the world of clear cases and ones with windows, you have to wonder why Sunbeam of all manufactures decided to go with a black fan with no LED’s.
If you read the specifications, you’ll see that this one is far faster than what was on the ZEROtherm ZEN FZ120. The fan on the Core-Contact Freezer can reach up to 90CFM while the ZEROtherm only did 60CFM. Please note that you can control the fan speed to your liking with the fan controller that is included.
In any case between low to medium speeds, the fan is quiet but when reaching the high setting, it begins to get louder than anything in my PC case. Since I’m a bit older, my ears can no longer tolerate loud fans. I probably would not run this fan at high speeds, unless I’m going for a big overclock, and as you’ll see later on, doesn’t make much difference.
Installation with the Core-Contact Freezer is simple and all that was required of me was to install the black retention bracket on top of my motherboard, not the underside. I would rate the installation just a tad lower than the ZEROtherm since I feel better screwing things down than forcing down a clip. But all in all, a really simple installation nonetheless.
I will be testing this heatsink on the 2008 ModSynergy PC Build. Consisting of the Intel Quad Core Q6600 spitting out easily 100W of heat, you’re right to guess that this CPU will test and tax how good a particular heatsink is, especially if it’s overclocked to 3GHz. I’m not sure how many watts this CPU spits out at 3GHz, but I’m going to make a wild unscientific guess and say more than 125watts. Motherboard is the Asus P5K-E/Wi-Fi AP Edition.
Thermal compound used in this review was actually the TX-2 which is included. Surprisingly this is one good thermal paste. The heatsink was broken in close to 250 hours so that the thermal compound was operating under optimal condition. Ambient temperature of when readings were recorded was around 22 degrees Celsius.
I ran OCCT 2.0.0a to load the CPU for 10 minutes and recorded the CPU core values under load seen in SpeedFan 4.3.3. I noticed SpeedFan reads the CPU temperature incorrectly than in the BIOS, it reads 4 degrees less than what the temperature in the BIOS reads. When adding 4 degrees to my results, it goes hand in hand of what OCCT reports.
Idle temperatures were completed by letting the system do nothing for a 10 minute span.
The Sunbeam Core-Contact Freezer is “the” cooler to beat if you want lowest temperatures.
However, the numbers are slightly better than the ZEROtherm ZEN FZ120 in my tests. I like this cooler but there’s something that just made me like the ZEROtherm more. I think one of the things I appreciated is a quiet fan with the ZEROtherm. I didn’t have to bother with a fan controller. Another thing was the look of the cooler. The Sunbeam comes with a boring black fan whereas the ZEROtherm came with a nice clear one.
Although this “is” the CPU cooler to beat thus far based on performance, I’m going to say it’s a tie between this and the ZEROtherm. For some reason, I had a better overall experience with the ZEROtherm.
However the Sunbeam Core-Contact Freezer still gets an Editor’s Choice Award for its performance.
Pros and Cons