CPU cooling has become a dominant sector of computer components recently as the need for a cooler that not only performs well but also has low noise levels has become a fundamental rule of most higher-end computer systems. With many putting their processors under a lot of strain through overclocking and gaming, central processing units tend to heat up rapidly; in response to this Nexus have crafted the HOC-9000 – a supposedly ‘real-silent’ CPU cooler.
Nexus Technology BV was established in 2000 by a group of experts on heat conductivity and noise reduction in the computer industry. The founders have built up an in depth knowledge and experience on heat conductivity issues and thermal characteristics by working closely with many of the larger PC manufacturers for several years.
- Dimensions: 149.3x151x123mm / 5.88×5.95×4.85inch
- Fins: Surface 2.0 Aluminium Alloy with v-shape
- Heat Pipe: 4 copper, nickel plated, heat pipes of 8mm
- Base Material: HOC technology (HEATPIPE-ON-CPU)
- Weight: 737 g
- Application: All Intel® Socket 775 CPU Core™ 2 Extreme / Quad / Duo
Pentium™ Extreme Edition D Celeron® D All AMD Socket AM2 / 754 / 939 / 940 CPU Athlon™ 64 / FX /X2/ Opteron™ / Sempron™
- Fan size: 120x120x25mm
- Speed: PWM controlled, 800~1500 RPM
- Noise level: 17 dB(A) ~ 21.6 dB(A)
- Bearing: Hypro bearing
- Rated voltage: 12V
- Rated current: 0.13A
- Power consumption: 1.56W
- Warranty: 3 years
- Connector: 4-pin
- HOC Technology
- Surface 2.0
- Airflow focus
- Rubber fixing
- Design tuning
The Nexus HOC-9000 arrived in a somewhat flimsy cardboard box with a small plastic window on the front allowing you catch a glimpse of the cooler. The front of the box simply states some product features, and has Nexus’ “whispering woman” in the bottom left hand corner.
The rear of the packaging has the Nexus’ specifications and the fan’s specifications, by looking at the general specs I can see that HOC stands for Heatpipe-On-CPU, this is a rather new technology but has been seen in other coolers such as the Xigmatek HDT-S1283 with great affect – where it’s referred to as direct heat-pipe technology.
The sides of the packaging also have product features but they also have some cartoonist pictures of the HOC, these look slightly odd, some good quality photographs would have been much better.
Inside the box the CPU cooler appears to be well protected but upon removing the Nexus from the polystyrene I discovered that the fins were bent, this shows they are very flimsy and thin.
Along with the heat-sink and fan bundle you also get quite a few extras which are always nice to see, the package also includes:
- 3 different sticker sets for the sides of the cooler
- Installation manual
- Brackets for Intel or AMD processors
- Thermal paste
The sticker designs are all quite striking but I am not sure as to whether they would blend well in most cases. The designs are: Nexus Orange, Nexus company lay-out with race-car striping; Red design, Red striping inspired by sailboat racing; Camouflage, Desert camouflage layout. A bit odd, I know.
Nexus also say that it is possible to create your own stickers to style the HOC-9000. However, I can’t really see anyone spending hours customizing a sticker to suit the cooler. Sorry Nexus.
As usual a plastic sticker protects the contact of the cooler.
The first thing I noticed about the Nexus is just how flimsy the fins are on it, they arrived bent and bend very easily. I actually managed to cut myself whilst installing this one.
The fins themselves are aluminium and have a special dimpled surface, “surface 2.0”. This is designed to maximise surface area and to allow for greater dissipation of heat.
The fins also have a slight V shape to them that is also designed for airflow enhancement.
On the sides of the fins there are 2 large airflow focusers. These are designed with airflow in mind, first directing the air at the entire span of the fins and then onto the top of the contact. This means there is air blowing directly onto the main CPU die, which should also help to cool the CPU very effectively.
The base of the CPU contact is neither flat nor particularly shiny. This is not good, as normally, the flatter the heat-sink’s base, the better the thermal dissipation.
The fan attached to the HOC-9000 is one of Nexus’ world-renowned PWM controlled silent fans. These fans are incredibly quiet and boast good airflow. In the centre of the fan there is a spiral design of black and white, within this is the manufacturers name “Nexus”. This makes the fan and the heat-sink look pretty stylish when the fan is spinning and when at idle.
The heatpipes have a kind of rough finish to them, which is smooth but looks a bit messy.
To install the HOC-9000, I simply cleaned the thermal paste from the CPU and applied the supplied thermal paste.
As always, at Tech-Reviews we like to be able to install our CPU coolers quickly and easily. That said, I should highlight that I was incapable of doing this for several reasons: the HOC-9000 is very wide due to the airflow focusers protruding from the sides of the cooler, the mounting clip isn’t very pliable and doesn’t bend as I would like – so I had to use brute force to get it into place, the Nexus has many mounting angles but for it to be used in any of them the mounting clip has to be positioned perfectly between the space that is created by the heat pipes.
That said; I did eventually manage to mount it.
|Processor||Athlon 64×2 4200+|
|Memory||OCZ Spec OPS 2gb (2×1gb)|
|Hard Disk Drive||80gb Hitachi SATA|
|Graphics Card||ATI HD 2400pro OC|
To test CPU Coolers we simply boot the PC up into Windows Vista and measure temperatures under idle and load states. The temperature is recorded from the CPU’s own diode using SpeedFan.
For idle testing, we leave the PC doing nothing for half an hour, take 3 temperature readings and then use the average score from these as the result. When testing at load temperatures, we use a similar method but load both cores of the CPU right to 100%.
All of the testing was carried out with the side panels on and with one top and one rear 120mm fan attached. Ambient temperatures were at 19 degrees Celsius. The processor was loaded using ‘CPU Burn-In’.
Results were taken while the CPU was at stock clocks. When at stock, the CPU was at 2.2GHz with a Vcore of 1.3v. SpeedFan was used to take all temperatures.
The Nexus HOC-9000 was compared to the stock AMD cooler and the Zerotherm Nirvana.
|Zerotherm Nirvana NV120||31||38|
|Stock AMD Cooler||39||52|
From these results we can see that the so-called silent CPU cooler offers pretty impressive performance keeping up with the performance Nirvana NV120 at idle states. However when at load states, the Nexus doesn’t perform as well but still gives a pretty good temperature compared to the stock cooler.
Despite the HOC-9000 being marketed as a “silent” cooler I would not rate it as such. I would however give it a rating of very quiet as the fan can still only just be heard.
A quick Google product search reveals that very few retailers are offering the HOC-9000 but of the few, the average price seems to be £35. I think this is a pretty fair price for a cooler with a very quiet fan, design tuning and which offers good performance.
Throughout the review, the Nexus HOC-9000 has been a solid performer and has operated very quietly. Therefore, I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a quieter cooler which also gives good performance.
Aside from the goodness, the installation and misunderstanding by Nexus marketing the cooler as silent has unfortunately dropped the score of the Nexus.
To conclude based on this conclusion, I’m going to award the Nexus HOC-900 4/5 as my thoughts are that the rock solid performance and noise level of the cooler outweighs the bad points that this cooler has.
- Very quiet
- Reasonable price
- Great Performance
- Infuriating installation
- Not “silent”