Cooler Master V10

Overall Score

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Cooler Master is dedicated to providing the industries best thermal solutions with a total commitment to quality.  Having our first glance at the V10 back in January at CES, we can say that they carry on that tradition with this newest CPU cooler.

The V10 is massive and almost intimidating to hold.  Not only does it cover the CPU Socket, but part of it extends over the memory slots, too.  Our first question at seeing this was if the extended part interfered with tall memory sticks.  Cooler Master assured us that they have tested it with many different memory configurations and that it will accommodate all memory except those that are super high like OCZ’s Reapers or Patriot’s Viper Series.

The V10 has a tough act to follow in its smaller sibling, the V8.  The supercharged V10 combines a CPU cooler with a hybrid TEC design delivering up to 200+ watts of cooling power.  With todays top of the line Intel Core i7 processors, you’re going to need as much cooling as possible.  We think that the V10 will be able to outshine the V8 and even the legendary TRUE 120, but before we get into the performance of this beast, let’s take a look at the product itself.

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The packaging for the Cooler Master V10 is very attractive.  A sleek black box with all the specifications and pertinent information houses the massive cooler inside.

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The V10 comes ready to support Core i7 Socket 1366 motherboards, but it also supports all other Intel CPUs using s775 and AMD processors such as the famous Athlon and infamous Phenom CPUs.  It comes in at a hefty 1200g, or 2.65lbs, and 236.5×129.6×161.3mm in dimension.

Inside the box we find the V10 nestled nice and snug in styrofoam.

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Out of the box you can see how huge this cooler is.  The CPU sits under the left side of the V10 in the picture below and on the right is where the rest of the cooler extends over the DIMM slots.  The extended section of the V10 offers additional cooling for your DRAM as well as aiding in the cooling of the CPU heat pipes.  The V10 has 10 heat pipes(6 for main body; 4 for TEC) that aim to maximize heat transfer.  A unique triple heat sink design is used with the V10 for superior cooling performance.  The TEC remains inactive until the CPU reaches extreme temperatures.  We found this to be a great energy saving solution. 

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Here’s an upclose look at the part of the V10 that extends over the memory slots.  You can see the 120mm fan inside.  The fans are rated at 17dB-A at 800RPM with speeds as high as 2400RPM.  The factory fan is capable of moving 90CFM at its highest speed.  This part of the V10 is what helps cool a portion of the heat pipes that run from the CPU.  The main part of the V10 is what is used to cool the relatively small TEC that sits off center of the CPU as well as the rest of the CPU heat pipes. 

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You get a better look at where Cooler Master placed the TEC in this picture. The TEC used in the V10 runs at a maximum of ~70w.  You might think it relatively small for a TEC, but since it does not have to cool the CPU directly, it works out to be a perfect match.

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The TEC was found to operate more efficiently when it was moved from direct contact with the CPU.  If it were situated directly above the CPU, you would end up with a heat sandwhich where the amount of actual heat being removed from the CPU is negated due to the way the TEC is designed.  Since one side of the TEC needs to be hot in order to cool the other side, you end up with two opposite sides of heat with no where to move it because the TEC ends up requiring more heat removal than the cpu.  In addition to the more efficient and effective cooling of the TEC, you eliminate any condensation that would build up around the socket with a TEC mounted directly on the CPU.

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The mounting plate that sits on top of the CPU is very smooth and well polished.  The base plate is made of copper.  You can see the work that goes into making it as smooth as possible in this shot that shows a reflection off of a monitor.

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Also located at the base of the cooler is the power connector for the TEC.  A four pin molex connector provides the TEC with the power it needs.

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 Now that we know how the V10 is packaged and what it looks like, let’s move on to the test set up.

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To test the Cooler Master V10 we housed it in a Cooler Master ATCS case which was equipped with the following setup:

  • Gigabyte EX58-Extreme Motherboard
  • PC Power and Cooling 1kw Power Supply
  • EVGA 9800GX2 GPU
  • 6GB OCZ DDR3 1600 RAM with 7-7-7-21 timings
  • Intel Core i7 Extreme 965
  • G.Skill Titan 128GB SSD
  • Ceramique TIM was used for each test run, in accordance with manufacturers recommendation. 

The ambient room temperature was kept at 20C throughout all tests.  We used Windows Vista Ultimate x64 as the OS and Prime95 to stress the CPU.  Prime95 was run for 30 minutes at each setting to properly heat the CPU and obtain a maximum load temp.  Idle temps were taken with the system sitting idle for at least 15 minutes.  Temperatures were measured using Real Temp v2.70.

A fight is not really a fight if there is only one competitor.  For this review we’ve thrown a couple heavyweights in the ring with the V10.  Offering up some stiff competition are the tried and true(pun intended) TRUE 120 and Cooler Master’s own V8.  Each cooler was used in the exact same setup listed above.  The TRUE was used out of box with the factory fan it came with in a pull only setup.  The V8 was also used out of the box.

The TRUE most commonly comes with no fan, but we opted for an out of the box review of each cooler.  Thermalright does offer a complete TRUE 120 kit.  Our particular unit can be found here for $74.95.  The factory fan that comes with the TRUE 120 is rated at 63.7CFM @ 1600RPM and 28dBA.  Our reasoning behind the out of the box review is simple.  Most consumers looking to purchase a CPU cooler want a solution that is easy to use and "ready to run" out of the box with little to no assembly.  Our hardcore enthusiasts will not be left out, however, because we are working on an ultimate performance review of today’s best coolers.

With the test setup and our testing method out of the way, we finish up with the results and conclusion.

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With over 200w of cooling power we expect some amazing results.  Let’s just say that we were not disappointed.  To start we’ll look at the results of this unit while the CPU is idle at 3.2GHz and 4GHz respectively.

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At idle we can see that all three coolers being used in this test are about equal. 

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When we overclock the CPU to 4GHz, we start to see where the V10 really shines.  At this point, the TEC is not being used.  We can also see the V8 outperform the TRUE at 4GHz idle.

Moving on to load temps, the Cooler Master V10 really flexes its muscles.  We see a difference of almost 10C at 3.2GHz!  That is an amazing difference for an air cooler.

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Average temps were sitting at 44C but we must note that temps did spike up to 48C during the 3.2GHz load testing.  The V10 comes out on top, but the V8 actual edges out the TRUE once again.

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At 4GHz load we see the gap close a bit more than at 3.2GHz, but it is without a doubt that the V10 is the superior cooler. One more time we must note that although the average temps during the 4GHz load testing were ~68C, they did spike to 74C on occasion but quickly came back down to ~68C.  We suspect that the TEC might temporarily shut off and then kick back on causing the fluctuation in temps.

Following a recurring theme, the V10 is champ, but the V8 proves that it might indeed be legendary when compared to the TRUE.  At 4GHz load we see the V8 edging out the TRUE with a ~2C difference.  That’s not much, but it is an improvement nonetheless.

Before we offer our final thoughts on the V10, we feel it is important to see how well it cools the i7 Extreme 965 without the aid of the TEC.  TEC’s are not fail proof, so if you have your system overclocked and the TEC quits working, what happens?  How well does the V10 stack up to the V8 and TRUE as a pure air cooler?  All of these questions and many more will be answered in an upcoming "extreme" review of a handful of different CPU coolers.

It is clear from our testing that the V10 lives up to the legendary status of the V8 from Cooler Master.  Not only does it live up to the hype, but it crushes the competition.  The V10 cools well enough to give the best water cooled setups a run for their money.  You can have the V10 for $139.99 from Newegg and for much cheaper if you look around. If you were thinking of using a water cooled setup for your new Core i7 CPU, you would need to spend at least double the cost of the V10 in order to get better performance.  The V10, while a bit pricey, is a perfect replacement for your existing air cooler and much cheaper and safer than a water cooling solution.

It is because of the excellent performance and beautiful craftmanship of the Cooler Master V10 that Xtreme CPU gives it a Gold Award!  Thanks goes to Cooler Master for providing us with the V10.

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