Thermaltake Engine 27 1U CPU Cooler
Mark discovers how processor fans can still be cool
It’s been a very long time since I’ve seen anything really new in CPU air coolers. These days they’re invariably an elaborate dust attracting metal structure through which fans blow air to extract the heat.
Thermaltakes’s Engine 27 might look exactly like that, initially, but closer examination reveals an innovative design that harks back to the work of researcher Jeff Koplow, at Sandia National Labs.
What Thermaltake has realised in cooperation with CoolChip Technologies is technically an ‘Air Bearing Heat Exchanger’, where the fan itself is part of the cooling mechanism and not just lightweight air propelling blades.
That makes Engine 27 the first of a new series of Engine X coolers that use ‘Kinetic Cooling’ designed by CoolChip Technologies to transfers heat across an air gap region into a rotating heat-sink impeller.
The theoretical advantages of doing this are numerous. Conventional designs create an insulation boundary layer of air around the cooling fins that’s difficult to disturb even with the strongest fans. With those parts moving, a centripetal force acts on that air layer, spinning it away and dragging in cooler air.
How this is implemented on the Engine 27 is for the central part of the cooler to rotate sucking air in a vortex action and then forcing it out sideways through a ring of static fins arranged in a ring around the edge.
The base creates a thermal bond between the CPU and the device, and heat can move through it to both the static and mobile parts of the device. The central spinning section sits in a series of concentric grooves that allow heat to migrate easily to it, and a bearing avoids metal surfaces coming into physical contact with each another.
Clever tech enables this to also be a remarkably small solution compared with many equivalent designs, its name being derived from being just 27mm high.
That makes it perfect for 1U rack mounted solutions or microITX systems where vertical space is often extremely limited.
At this time, Thermaltake has only made this available for LGA 115X platforms, and it comes with a rear mounting plate to attach to any system with the hole arrangement shared by LGA 1156, 1155, 1151 and 1150.
In terms of the cooling from a device that’s just 27mm high and weighs 310g, it’s surprisingly good, though successful is dependent on what spec of CPU is under it.
Thermaltake quotes that Engine 27 is designed to ship 70 watts of heat. That makes the fastest Skylake CPU you could use with it is the i5-6600 (not K variant), and for Haswell owners it would need to be a Lower Power or Ultra Low power type ending with a ‘T’ or ‘S’, and not a K or any model without a letter designation.
The fan assembly can rotate between 1500 and 2500rpm, and even at top speed it only generated 25dBA. At lower speeds it’s an almost silent 13dBA, and Thermaltake is quoting an operating life of 50,000 hours – that's 25 years of eight-hour working days.
The Engine 27 makes me curious if Thermaltake can make something a little bigger that could handle i7 class processors, while retaining many of the advantages of this one.
Perfect for 1U and small media systems