The Gelid Silent Spirit was tested first with the CPU in a stock configuration and the smart fan control set to "Quiet" operation. In this configuration it was able to keep the 9850 Phenom at a cool 35° C at idle with a load threshold of 54° C at 100% utilization on all four cores. With the processor overclocked 500Mhz and voltage increased by a tenth of a volt the idle temperature was affected very little, suffering an increase of only 3° C. At load however the processor became unstable at any temperature over 50° C so the Spirit was unsuccessful at maintaining the system once CPU cycles were put to use.
The Gelid Silent Spirit definitely lives up to its name, with a claimed fan noise range of only 10-25 dB it could best be described as merely "audible" even at full speed. The rubber fan mounts do a decent job of quelling vibration generated by the spinning blades however there is still a small amount that makes its way through the heatsink, although it does not appear to affect the noise output much. There is no high-pitched whine of motor noise nor vibration-induced rattle or hum. The fluid dynamic bearing and frameless mount likely have something to do with that. The main sound that comes from the Spirit is primarily just the whoosh of air as it flows past the blades and down through the fins, and this only perceptible with the case open and the fan spinning at full speed.
Performance of the Spirit is as can be expected from a silent type cooler, basically a little better than stock but offering a major reduction in noise. Of course, you can always swap out the 92mm fan with another, should you want better performance, but that kinda defeats the whole purpose. The quality of this heatsink is very good, with the copper heatpipes soldered solidly to the base and fins, and the clip mounting mechanism is very simple and extremely easy to use, utilizing the stock socket retention bracket unlike many other aftermarket coolers. There is a small amount of up and down movement possible from the clips that hold the fan bracket to the sides of the fins, however this doesn't appear to cause any ill effects. The angle of the heatsink may also offer additional cooling benefit to other components immediately surrounding the CPU socket as Gelid claims, however with the relatively low amount of airflow making its way through the fins I would not count on any significant amount of reduction.
At the time of publication, Gelid products are only available from one North American supplier, NCIX. And this retailer does not appear to have the Silent Spirit in stock. However they do list the price of the cooler at $30.99 which is not a bad price at all compared to other heatsinks in this class. If Gelid is able to widen its reseller base this would offer buyers more competitive pricing, and we could see a cooler down in the mid-$20 range. Practically dirt cheap for a well-made and quiet operating CPU cooler.
For those consumers seeking a CPU cooler with build quality and quiet operation foremost in mind, OCIA.net gives the Gelid Silent Spirit our Seal of Approval.