Sunbeamtech Core Contact

CPU Coolers, Reviews

Sunbeamtech Core-Contact Freezer

Introduction

Last week we had a look at Xigmatek’s Red Scorpion CPU cooler, the first direct heat pipe cooler that we’ve reviewed. Luckily enough it shocked us all with pretty good temperatures. Fortunately today we have another cooler of this type for review, the Sunbeamtech Core-Contact Freezer. This cooler doesn’t just pack performance though; it’s also incredibly innovative…

About Sunbeamtech

“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.”

Features

  • Core-Contact Technology
  • TX-2 Thermal Grease Included
  • Four High Performance 8mm U-shaped Heat pipes
  • Light Weight (590g without the Fan)
  • Fan Controller Included
  • Easy Installation
  • Bent Fins Design Helps to Cool the Components on the Motherboard
  • Universal Clip Design

Specifications

Part number: CR-CCTF
Dimensions(mm): 125(L) × 104(W) × 155(H)
Weight: 590g
Bearing Type: MFDB
Rated Voltage: 12V DC
Rated Current: 0.16A
Air Flow: 90.65 CFM (Max)
Noise: 16~20 +/- 10%
Speed: 1,000~2,000 RPM+/- 10%
Life: 50,000 hours
Thermal Resistance 0.092 (℃ / W)

Packaging

The Sunbeamtech arrives in a thick cardboard box with close-up shots of the various features of the cooler on the front and a diagram showing the technology used on the ‘Ultra-Silent MFDB (magnetic fluid dynamic bearing) fan’ which is included.

Sunbeamtech Core-Contact Freezer
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On the back the various features are listed in bullet point format carrying on a similar style to the front. This is very informative and provides the buyer with plenty of information before making a decision whether to buy or not to buy.

Sunbeamtech Core-Contact Freezer
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The sides of the box pack specifications in table and more photos of the product. This packaging isn’t particularly well-styled unlike the Xigmatek Red Scorpion and doesn’t look too impressive, but has lots of information which – some would say – is always preferable to the buyer.

Opening the box up reveals a bunch of accessories located in a rectangular cardboard box. The accessories included are as follows:

  • Two fan springs for attaching the fan to the Core-Contact Freezer
  • Retention bracket for Intel LGA775
  • Four ‘buckles’ for Intel’s pin mechanism
  • PCI fan controller
  • Syringe of Tuniq TX-2 thermal paste
  • Leaflet style ‘manual’ written in English with many easy-to-follow diagrams
  • Two metals bars for attaching the fan

This is quite a generous bunch of accessories. Its abnormal finding a full syringe of quality thermal paste with a CPU cooler, lets see how it compares up to the good old Arctic Silver 5.

I was a bit surprised to find no pin attachments for the Core-Contact Freezer, but fear not, because Sunbeamtech have reinvented the classic pin method with a new innovative fitting which we’ll take a look at later in more detail.

The Sunbeamtech Core-Contact Freezer

The Sunbeamtech Fan

Included with the Core-Contact is a black 120mm fan. It looks pretty standard, but features magnetic fluid bearings for much quieter usage. In fact, it’s rated at 16dBA which is pretty much silent if the claims by sunbeamtech are correct.

Sunbeamtech Core-Contact Freezer
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Helping to dampen vibrations between the heat-sink and fan are four pieces of felt at each corner. This is a simple idea and works similarly to anti-vibration pegs. We’ll see in the testing phase if it’s as effective though.

Sunbeamtech Core-Contact Freezer
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The fan is powered by the classic 3-pin connector; this will be fine for most users. However those willing to make use of PWM technology (controlling fan speed via bios settings), will not be able to due to a 4-pin connector not being used.

The Core-Contact Freezer

The heat-sink is quite bulky – a little larger that the Xigmatek Red Scorpion which we reviewed. However, it’s actually fairly light-weight as its construction is mainly made up of just thin layers of aluminium fins. As well as keeping the weight low, these aluminium fins help greatly to dissipate heat.

The Core-contact freezer uses the tried and tested tower design of heat-sink with fins which are cut in a fairly unique shape. This does look quite impressive and also provides the fan with two flat edges in which it can rest on. The idea behind this unique shape is that it eliminates the ‘dead area’ made by the hub of the fan. Whether or not this shape works, we’ll have to see…

Sunbeamtech Core-Contact Freezer
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Altogether there are four heat-pipes. As this is a HDT cooler, likewise the Xigmatek, its heat-pipes come in direct contact with the CPU IHS (Integrated Heat Spreader), this helps to dissipate heat quickly up to the many fins which the freezer entails. At the top of the heat sink, the ends of the copper heat pipes are shown. Some of them look to be poorly finished. This won’t affect performance though and is more of just a quality aspect, but it would’ve been nice to see the heat-pipes finished to a higher standard.

Sunbeamtech Core-Contact Freezer
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The base of the cooler is a 10mm block of aluminium. The copper heat-pipes sit in grooves in this aluminium block creating a very flat surface. All the bits of copper which come in contact with the CPU IHS are polished but still remain very flat. This should be very effective in dissipating heat.

Sunbeamtech Core-Contact Freezer
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Sunbeamtech Core-Contact Freezer
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Like most CPU Coolers, the Core-Contact Freezer also has a self adhesive piece of plastic protecting the base from debris and greasy finger prints so that it performs as it should with no thermal interference.

Sunbeamtech Core-Contact Freezer
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Oddly, there is an AMD mounting mechanism screwed to the block of the CPU cooler. Even after removing the screws which attach it to the aluminium block, it cannot be removed. So how do I mount this CPU cooler with an Intel CPU? More on this later in the review…

Installation

The Sunbeamtech Core-Contact Freezer sports a very unique installation procedure for socket 775 systems. The first step is to install the retention bracket. Unlike most retention brackets, you don’t need to remove the motherboard. The retention brackets’ pins secure straight into the default socket 775 pin slots. To then make sure the pins are really secure, four buckles go through the brackets’ holes. Once the pins are in, the bracket is secure. No wobble at all.

Sunbeamtech Core-Contact Freezer
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Sunbeamtech Core-Contact Freezer
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Sunbeamtech Core-Contact Freezer
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Then it’s just a case of applying your favourite thermal paste, mounting the cooler and installing the fan. If you’re a newbie to the AMD mounting system – which this cooler uses on Intel too – all you have to do is slot the clips on the retention plate into the square-shape holes on the latch. The cooler is then very secure.

Sunbeamtech Core-Contact Freezer
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Sunbeamtech Core-Contact Freezer
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The CPU cooler was no problem to fit, although I did notice that it was very close to touching the top of my North Bridge Heatsink.

Sunbeamtech Core-Contact Freezer
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Methodology

Test Setup

Case Antec Twelve Hundred
Processor Intel C2D E8400
Memory 4GB Crucial Ballistix Tracer
Motherboard Asus P5K Premium
Graphics Card Vivikoo 9600GT
Power Supply Kingwin Mach 1
Hard Drive SATA Western Digital SE16 500GB
Optical Drive SATA Samsung DVD-RW

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 and take 3 temperature readings at 10 second intervals after 30mins. We 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 our CPU right to 100% by loading two processes of ‘CPU Burn-In’.

Ambient (testing environment) temperature was 21 degrees Celsius.

We’ll be comparing the Sunbeamtech Core-Contact Freezer with Xigmatek’s Red Scorpion, the stock Intel cooler and an Asus Triton 79 Amazing Cooler. The Intel cooler, Sunbeamtech Core-Contact and Red Scorpion will be tested with two pastes: the paste which came with the cooler and Arctic Silver 5. Unfortunately we can only test the Asus Triton 79 Amazing with AS5 since we don’t have its stock paste available.

The Stock speed of the E8400 is 3GHz with a 333FSB. The overclocked speed we’ll also be testing the coolers with is at 3.6GHz – 400FSB.

Results

Sunbeamtech Core-Contact Freezer
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The results with the coolers’ stock paste being used are pretty clear; the Sunbeamtech is definitely the winner. But it does have a slight advantage over the other CPU coolers as it comes with high quality Tuniq TX-2 thermal paste and not some cheap nasty alternative which the other coolers include. So really, it’s not much of a surprise.

Sunbeamtech Core-Contact Freezer

With Arctic Silver 5 being used as the paste for all the coolers, the results are very different. The Core-Contact Freezer seems to be winning on the stock (idle) temperatures, but once the heat from the CPU is cranked up, the Freezer doesn’t dissipate the heat as quickly as the Xigmatek and sometimes the Asus. However, the temperatures are extremely close and still something Sunbeamtech should be very proud of.

Sunbeamtech Core-Contact Freezer

Noise Levels

I definitely wouldn’t say the Sunbeamtech was Silent as the box suggests but it was much quieter than the stock Intel cooler and nearly as quite as the Xigmatek. The increase in noise seems to be due to the fan, as I couldn’t hear any turbulence, at all. So whack a Noiseblocker fan or other silent alternative on and it’s like a whisper.

Cost

Unfortunately I couldn’t find any UK retailers selling the Core-Contact Freezer. When I hear a price from Sunbeamtech I’ll post it online.

Conclusion

Sunbeamtech have definitely proved themselves as an innovative company in this review. By my books, the installation system that they have used is truly unique and definitely much easier than the fiddly old push pin mechanism.

However, the installation isn’t the only good thing about this cooler which is a positive. More importantly, it produces cracking temperatures with the TX-2 thermal paste. We’ve never actually used this paste before so it’s been a great eye-opener for the next thermal paste review we conduct.

The only downsides to the Sunbeamtech were the noise levels, which can easily be improved upon and the higher temperatures when the CPU is under more stress. However, the latter isn’t very conclusive as the Freezer weirdly produced outstanding temperatures when using its stock paste.

All in all, the Core-Contact Freezer is a very good cooler from a very innovative company.

Pros

  • Innovative easy installation
  • Good Performance
  • Looks good
  • Polished Copper Base
  • Support for Intel and AMD
  • Direct Heat-Pipe

Cons

  • Not Silent
  • Needs an LED Fan
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