We’ve seen a lot of heatpipe contact coolers recently and they’ve all been quite good. One manufacturer that has been implementing the technology on many of its heat-sinks is Xigmatek and today I have another of one of their HDT series coolers for review. Read on to find out how it performs.
Xigmatek believes to be a much more “Essential” company. They know the importance of product essence, the excellent quality but also good performance, in-time service and better durance.
- H.D.T. (Heat-pipe direct touch) technology
- Anti-vibration rubber design
- 3x 8mm high performance U type heat-pipes
- Light weight
- High performance & easy installation
- 3 in 1 application: LGA775 push-pin / K8 & AM2 tool-less clip
The SD964 arrived in a small flimsy cardboard box with a plastic window in the middle. The box features an image of the HDT technology cooler base and some features on the front of the box and the table of specifications on the back.
Once out of the box it is possible to see that the cooler is packaged in Styrofoam, which doesn’t make mess like polystyrene and because of such, is a good choice for packaging.
It is possible to see that along with the heat-sink, the cooler is delivered with a 92mm fan, mounting kits, thermal grease and a molex to 3-pin adaptor.
Unfortunately the fan isn’t attached to the cooler when delivered so some minor installation is needed.
Unlike other Xigmatek coolers this one doesn’t seem to come with an airflow spoiler, I am unsure as to whether one was supposed to be supplied but if it was, it clearly never made it.
The Xigmatek HDT-SD964
Unlike most of the other tower style coolers in the Xigmatek family the SD964 has 4 heatpipes not the usual 3. The heatpipes have a pretty shiny surface but have a rough finish to them. They all run through the entire length of the cooling fins and protrude about ¾ of a cm from the top of the cooler. This cooler has 4 heatpipes as it is a lot smaller than many other coolers; so the need for faster dissipation of heat away from the CPU core is greater.
As we all know the CPU contact point must be able to transfer the heat away from the core quickly and efficiently. This is where the HDT technology comes in. The idea is that the heatpipes, which carry the heat away, should be in direct contact with the source of heat; this means that it will be able to begin transferring the heat away more quickly. The usual sticker protects the CPU contact on this cooler.
The contact itself isn’t exactly the shiniest ever nor is it the flattest as the bumps and ridges can actually be felt.
The cooling fins on this cooler are very thin and very flimsy. The bend easily and like the fins on the Nexus HOC-9000, tried to cut me. They are very tightly spaced which makes it harder for the airflow to run through them. On the fins on this cooler there are indentations on both sides meaning that there are 2 possible mounting arrangements for this cooler, or it could be used in a push- pull cooling setup as the extra rubber pegs are supplied.
On the base of the cooler – mounted between the heatpipes – is an aluminium base, this is for applying the various mounting kits to the cooler. It also helps keep the heatpipes spaced out and as flat as possible.
The fan supplied with the cooler is black with roughly finished blades. It has a rotational speed of 1200~2800 so there are plenty of scope for finding the best speed-performance to noise ratio.
Installation and Testing
The first step I took in the installation process was to attach the fan with the rubber anti-vibration pegs that were supplied with the cooler.
Once on the pegs, the fan was securely attached and I began the fiddly process of mounting the cooler on the CPU using the AMD clip.
Being an AMD fanboy I am going to install it into the usual AMD rig I use.
|Motherboard||MSI K9N6GM AM2|
|Processor||Athlon 64×2 4200+|
|RAM||OCZ Spec OPS 2GB (2x1GB)|
|Hard Drive||80gb Hitachi SATA & 40gb Samsung Spinpoint SATA|
|Graphics||ATI HD 2400PRO OC|
Once installed, the small size of the cooler reminded me of a chipset cooler I used to have which was about the same size.
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 that 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 24 degrees Celsius. (Jesus it was hot in there).
The SD964 will be compared to the Nexus HOC-9000 and the Xigmatek HDT-S1283.
As you can see at idle states the SD964 is off the pace by about 1 degree on its bigger brother and a further 4 off the pace of the other HDT cooler tested aswell.
For a cooler this small, those results aren’t that surprising as the 4 heatpipes do transfer heat well.
Rated by Xigmatek at between 22 and 34 decibels this cooler is pretty quiet but as I don’t have a db meter I can’t substantiate these claims so it’s going to be the usual test by ear again. I found the fan to be very audible when the cool ’n’ quiet function was enabled on my motherboard but when this was disabled the fan was less of a nuisance and when I used an undervoltaging cable the fan became silent.
The SD964 can be found for as little as £20 at online retailers and thankfully there are quite a few retailers offering this product.
The Xigmatek HDT-SD964 offers a great performance to size ratio and almost keeps pace with a couple other large coolers. The supplied fan is quiet but not silent; if a silent fan was supplied it would definitely boost this coolers rating.
- Small size
- Flimsy fins
- Not silent