Choosing a CPU cooler might not seem like an arduous task but actually can be surprisingly difficult, depending on what you’re looking for. If you've bought a retail CPU it would have come with a cooler recommended by the manufacturer and this should work without issue within the specified temperature range of the processor it was supplied with. The problem with most of these coolers is that they tend to produce quite a lot of noise and even though they do the job, they’re rarely all that good.
Of course, for those that want to overclock their processor, a stock cooler won’t be much use. On the other hand there’s also a lot of people who are more interested in something that operates quietly and the SilverStone NT01 is targeted at this audience. The NT01 is only available for Socket-478 processors, but SilverStone told me that it is working on new models for other CPU sockets.
Out of the box, the NT01 looks nothing like your traditional cooler. It has a copper plate that fits inside the cradle on a Socket-478 board to which three copper heatpipes are attached. The other end of the heatpipes are covered by a large copper heatsink that dissipates the heat from the heatpipes into the air. Due to the construction of the cooler, it won’t work as efficiently with some motherboard and case combinations as others and SilverStone has a list of suitable motherboard on its web site.
Let’s take a closer look at the NT01 first as it has a few more unique selling points. Normally heatpipes on CPU coolers are filled with a liquid of some sort, but SilverStone is using sintered powder heatpipes, something I have not seen before. The heatpipes are also much thicker than normal, which should provide for better thermal conductivity. The heatsink at the top end of the cooler is made up of very thin vertical copper fins, which should draw the hot air away from the heatpipes in an effective manner, especially as all of the fins are soldered on to the heapipes for improved contact between the two.
The copper fins are covered by an aluminium shroud that can accommodate two 60mm or one 70mm fan for additional cooling. It all looks very stylish and if you want a CPU cooler that looks good, this might just be what you’ve been looking for.
Assuming your motherboard is supported, there are three different ways of mounting the NT01. Again SilverStone has a very good representation of this on its web site, but to put it in a simple way, if the mounting cradle for your CPU cooler enables you to face the heatsink of the NT01 towards the rear fan(s) of your case, this is the ideal solution as this means that you shouldn’t have to use any extra fans.
On the other hand, if the cooler cradle forces you to face the heatsink upwards and you have a PSU with a bottom mounted fan, this should also enable you to run the NT01 fanless. The third and final way to mount it would be facing inwards over the motherboard, but SilverStone doesn’t recommend this unless you fit additional cooling to the NT01.