Chaintech VNF4 Zenith
A64 3800+ X2 Manchester
Overclocked @ 2700 Mhz (270x10)
1080 HTT (270x4)
Rather than using the included thermal paste I opted to use Artic Silver Ceramique on both coolers. Load conditions were simulated using two instances of Folding@Home to generate 100% CPU utilization on each core. Chipset temperatures were taken from MBM5 average readings using the onboard sensor. This motherboard has been noted to register significantly lower CPU temps using the onboard sensor than core temp readings taken from the die itself, therefore the chipset sensor may not reflect actual die temp, however it should be useful for comparing temperature differences. I verified the temp readings with nTune Monitor and also checked how warm the heatsink felt just using my hand.
In all cases there was no discernible temperature difference between the stock cooler and the Blue Ice Pro. Both coolers got equally hot to the touch when the system was on, and I did remove the Blue Ice Pro to verify it was making even contact with the chip and then reseated it, and again got the same results.
Every once in awhile I get to review a product that looks good on paper, but fails to live up to its promise. Such is the case with the Blue Ice Pro. Cooler Master has been around for more than 10 years, developing cooling products for the enthusiast market, and many of their designs are very good. Although there appear to be some slight deficiencies in their quality control (re. the apparent missing fin and bent fan bracket) the Blue Ice Pro otherwise performs well, albeit not well enough to outperform a stock cooler. In my experience with using copper as a heatsink material rather than aluminum, the best performance benefit can be fully realized when coupled with a high volume of airflow. And in the case of a chipset cooler, the average 40mm fan only puts out about 5cfm.
The matter of the metal mounting loops for use on AMD motherboards I found the most disturbing. I can't imagine that the Chaintech model used for this review would be the only Socket939 motherboard out there with resistors and other components clustered around the northbridge cooler mounting holes, and yet Cooler Master included no warning or provisions for protecting these components from possible short or damage from their clip design. Although I had a fix for the problem on hand, and Cooler Master could easily address this issue on future product, this cooler has been out on the market for several months, and the lack of included washers or other protection for metal on component contact is in my opinion, unacceptable.
The Blue Ice Pro is at least an attractive northbridge cooler, complete with LED fan for those with side window cases. And the low profile design undoubtedly assures greater compatibility with various motherboards. The price of the Blue Ice Pro is perhaps its strongest selling point, I picked it up on sale at SVC.com for a measly $15. But then when you consider the fact that for $15 I didn't get any better performance, it doesn't seem like such a bargain after all. Perhaps if a more powerful fan was used, the performance potential of this unit could be realized.
Compatible with AMD and Intel
No insulation for clips provided
No performance benefit
Questionable quality control
OCIA.net can not recommend the Cooler Master Blue Ice Pro at this time.