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The NT01 is supplied with two retention clips as well as a small syringe with thermal grease, although this is standard silicon grease rather than some fancy silver based solution. There's also a small installation pamphlet that shows you how to install the cooler.
So how well did it perform? Well, first of all I slapped it in to our standard test bed which has a 3.2GHz Socket-478 Prescott core Pentium 4 processor and an MSI 865 Neo2 motherboard. No extra cooler was fitted at the first attempt and the CPU reached 60 degrees Celsius at idle and hit over 90 degrees Celsius with CPU Burn running. This resulted in the system shutting down due to the high temperature. To be fair to SilverStone, the case our test bed is fitted in only has a single 80mm fan at the rear, which isn’t going to be good enough to run the NT01 passively cooled with this type of processor.
After this first attempt, I decided to fit a single slim line 70mm fan to the NT01. This turned out to be slightly misaligned as you have to fit it offset by using a screw hole from the second 60mm mount, which means that it doesn’t cool the whole heatsink. Fitting this did wonders for the CPU temperature, which never peaked over 50 degrees Celsius at idle - much more in line with what you would expect from a decent CPU cooler. It might not be as good as some high-end coolers, but it produces a lot less noise even with the fan attached. Running CPU Burn brought the temperature up to 60 degrees but it held steady there, which shows what a huge difference adding a fan to the NT01 makes.
SilverStone recommends the NT01 to be used with its own TJ06 case which features an air duct from the front of the case, over the CPU cooler and out at the rear of the case. As I have yet to test that case, I can’t say how well the NT01 will perform in this environment, but I would presume that SilverStone has matched the two to make the NT01 work as efficiently as possible. I will however use the NT01 when I test the TJ06 and add an update in that review.
Overall the NT01 is an interesting approach to CPU cooling, and although it is not the ideal solution for high-end CPUs it should be appealing as a low noise cooling solution for anyone using a low or midrange CPU in combination with a suitable case and motherboard. It’s always good to see a product that differentiates itself from what is already available and at £29 there are far more expensive low noise cooling solutions around.
The SilverStone NT01 is a novel approach to cooling noisy computers, but unless you have the correct hardware to go with it, it won’t work as well as intended. It is affordable however, and with an extra fan or two it should even work well in high-end PCs.
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