Processor coolers are all the range, ever since the invention of the Personal Computer, with increments between heatsink models being small at best. As a result we are coming towards the end of the ‘S-Curve’ with reference to this product and the only difference now is fan blade design and price point. The real trick is to provide a reasonable product at a low price as to entice those ever-increasing performance hungry enthusiasts. The latter would mostly likely adopt a liquid solution, in order to satisfy their requirements, however this comes at a much higher cost.
There are many solutions that are provided by Noctua, Silverstone and Deepcool, however as previously explained these are targeted at the higher echelon of consumers whom are placed somewhere between the lower end air cooling and the start of a liquid cooling option. The price point we are speaking of is around £25.00 GBP and at this price getting the performance versus cost equation correct is indeed a difficult one. One such company whom has an opinion on this is Alpenfohn.
Alpenföhn® – On the top of cooling performance
Since 2008 Alpenföhn® consistently inspires gamers and enthusiasts with their unique cooling solutions. With numerous top-ratings on review pages and positive feedbacks from customers the Alpenföhn® branded models are one of the most demanded coolers on the market.
Our partnerships to China and Taiwan exist for more than 10 years. This fact proves that highest standards can be achieved even at reasonable costs. R&D and Design made in Germany vs. production in Asia is combined with the most unique product names throughout the IT industry
(http://www.alpenfoehn.de/index.php/en/about-alpenfoehn last accessed on 05/06/2014)
With the Brocken ECO we proudly present the compact version of our bestseller Brocken 2.By reducing the overall dimensions to 126x88x150mm the latest member of the Brocken series is extremely compact.
Promising compatibility with all Intel Cpu’s from 775 onwards plus AM2/AM3 and FM1 sockets then as a budget model it should do well.
Massive 160W TDP
Asymmetrical dual radiator design
120mm Wing Boost2 PWM fan
RockMount mounting system
Thanks to the gapless H.D.C –technology the five high performance heatpipes have direct contact to the CPU.
Upon examining the specifications and in order to cut through the marketing spiel, we are a little worried over the 160 TDP as even the aging Core I7 920 at 4.5 gig Overclock will consume around 300watts. However at that amount then water cooling is obviously the best solution if one wished for that kind of performance. The listing of 160 watts will be able to cool a myriad of differing processors, albeit with only a small ‘overclock’ in with the margin.
Packaging and First Looks.
At first glance (and to much amusement) the Alpenfohn ECO looks like it has the words broken stencilled upon the outer box like a line of white fire, however upon closer inspection it is actually spelled, as ‘Brocken’ which is the highest peak of the ‘Harz’ mountain range and also the highest mountain of Northern Germany. Well it is with hopes that this product can live up to the dizzying heights of its namesake, however we digress. The packaging is minimalist in nature and so is the general design.
Promising a budget price range of around £24.00 ( available at Overclockers Uk AT £24.95)
However the packaging does describe what the product is and its features, however there is nothing flash about it. However who cares right? It is the product that counts and a fancy design on the carton just adds to the cost, so without further ado, let us open this baby up.
Opening the flaps and lid reveals that the Brocken ECO has the usual monochrome printed instructions
Unlike previous Alpenfohn coolers the Brocken ECO lacks any form of branding or etching on the top and on the side sports a rather interesting three-finned design.
There is a thin slice of foam in the middle of the heatsink itself, so let us investigate further, in order to see what we can find.
The tower is split into parts by utilising a two spire system, which reveals some startling ideas that Alpenfohn have brought to the industry. This gap does indeed make sense as there is a dead spot, of which there lacks a movement of (motor area) air. Having fins in this area would make little sense, especially when Bohr’s law of heat transfer (Two hot bodies close together will exchange heat from one body to another) is taken into account, as still or trapped air is a great insulator of heat.
By employing the above idea then the towers can in theory work independently of each other.
The alpenfohn Brocken ECO uses a system, in which the heat pipes are in direct contact with the processor integrated heatsink spreader and thus maximise heat transfer from the CPU to the tower system.
Alpenfohn have decided not to coat the four 8mm heatpipes with nickel, in order to cut down costs, of which is not an issue at all, as coating the aforementioned pipes is just aesthetics and not for any practical application.
The Brocken ECO utilises the Wingboost 2 fan of which is mounted onto the heatsink itself by two spring clips.
Whilst the fan blade design offers groves to maximise airflow, there is nothing unusual about it. The specifications of the fan are listed below:
Installation of the Alpenfohn Brocken is a breeze, even a PC World employee could quite happily assemble the product.
We start off by picking up the back plate of which one side has the label Intel and on the reverse AMD. Simply chose the side, that will face the system board and insert the small black plastic spacer into the middle hole of the backing plate. Please note that the previously mentioned spacer is only employed if one is using a AM2 or socket 775 solution.
Next we install the mounting screws through the backing plate (with the inner being 775 and outer 1366) and twist into position. Then slide the backing plate into position to that the posts go through the holes. The next section is slide the four black mounting pillars onto the posts and secure tightly. Please note that the motherboard was previously used for sub zero (hence the remains of blue putty eraser) overclocking.
We place the two plates marked ‘Intel’ upon the pillars and retain these in position with the four chrome mounting nuts. Once this has been accomplished we carefully remove the last application of Thermal paste by using a few drops of Isopropyl alcohol onto the processor and allow the liquid to soak in. After this has been accomplished then all that is needed is a cotton bud to wipe off the (DO NOT scrub ) old thermal paste. Next we apply Innovation Cooling’s (we use this as standard as it is one of the best on the market) IC Diamond (available at Overclockers UK for around £6.98) as we never employ the bundled paste as usually it is an inferior solution.
Lastly we position the heatsink tower upon the central processing unit-erstwhile making sure that the clear film has been taken off the base section, with the position of the former is dependent on where the retaining plates have been placed. The final part is to place the cross-piece with rests on the retaining plates and the tower section and it is a simple matter of screwing the clip down.
The final part is mounting the 140mm Wing Boost fan onto the heatsink by the use of the supplied clips, of which is the standard. However Alpenfohn have had the foresight to include two extra clips to allow for a push-pull configuration.
The supplied fan power cable comes complete a pass-through section which allows the consumer to daisy-chain another so as to save precious fan connectors on the motherboard.
Well that is is for the installation phase of this article, so without further aplomb let us look at the testing section.
We tested the performance of the Alpenfohn Brocken ECO by comparing it to another air cooling product; namely the old OCZ Vendetta Two. We used this product as the testing system employed is a socket 775 motherboard.
Temperature measurements were taken at idle and at full load.
Idle temperatures were taken after 1 hour of prime 95 then allowed to cool down naturally for half an hour.
Realtemp 3.0 was used and only maximum readings where taken.
We also did some minor overclocking in order to further stress the system.
All ambient air temperatures were at 23.5 degrees
- Core 2 duo 6300 CPU
- DFI LANPARTY P45 UT T3RS motherboard
- 2x GEIL DDR2 800 ram; Two gigabyte in total
- OCZ Vendetta TWO for comparison purposes.
Stock speeds 1.8 GHZ
At this speed, there is very little difference between the Alpenfohn Brocken and the OCZ Vendetta II even on full load the difference is only around one degree.
3 GHZ Overclock
Here we start to see around a one degree differential on idle to that of two to three degrees on full load, weather this is due to the fan differential 92mm on Vendetta and 140mm on the Brocken Eco or even the heatsink design itself we are yet to find out.
3.2 GHZ Overlcock
Once again we experience the same differential of around two degrees so this makes us think that perhaps we now have an indicator of the overall performance level of this product over the OCZ Vendetta II
Unless we add a second fan on to the Alpenfohn product, then quite possibly there will be the same two degree performance difference if we overclocked them higher. We did not expect miracles with the Alpenfohn product for the reasons we stated at the beginning of this review.
All in all the Alpenfohn Brocken ECO does exactly what it says on the tin, but with a little more to boot, however we would have preferred to see a fan blade design that is truly different. Whilst the aforementioned design is not a unique product, it does perform well given its low price range of around £24.98 and that does put some icing onto the cake.
We would have liked to see a different design than simple wire clips to mount the fan onto the heatsink, but the price point that this is aimed for will not allow for this. We would have also preferred an option of push/pull configuration at a slightly higher price but sadly this is not available. Also at this moment in time we are unsure weather the performance difference between the OCZ Vendetta two and the Alpenfohn Brocken ECO is due to the heatsink design or fan size or even a combination of both. However we have to admit what we are essentially doing is nit-picking on a product that is great for the price point.
The question is, would we recommend this product for the consumer in a tight budget? then in a heartbeat the answer would be a resounding yes and perhaps to the readers of this article this answer will help them in their purchase.
Overclockers Tech would like to award this product a 9 out of 10 and therefore a gold award.
This product can be purchased from OVERCLOCKERS UK for around £24.98
- Heatsink Design
- Ability to daisy chain fans
- Did we say price? Well we thought we would say it again….. price!
- Performance is fine for the price point
- Uninspired fan mounting method.