OCZ Gladiator Max CPU Cooler for S1366

Overall Score

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In ancient Roman traditions a gladiator was a professional combatant who entertained the public by engaging in mortal combat.  Since that time, gladiator has stood for many different things, but the underlying principal always leads back to the true meaning of the word.  Today modern gladiators can be found on the battlefield defending their countries or in movies named as such.  The gladiator that Xtreme CPU is covering today comes in the form of a CPU heatsink and fan from OCZ.

The Gladiator Max comes to us courtesy of OCZ, who deals primarily in enthusiast memory modules.  OCZ was founded in 2000 by enthusiasts, for enthusiasts, or so their website says.  Their goal is to provide the consumer with enthusiast-oriented products and 110% customer satisfaction.  Obviously their product line has grown way beyond memory to include CPU water blocks, air coolers, power supplies and, just recently announced, cases.  You can check out OCZ’s full product line and discover more about the company here.

In our review today, Xtreme CPU throws the Gladiator Max into our very own Colosseum where it will do battle with Cooler Master’s V8 and V10 CPU coolers as well as the long-standing enthusiast favorite ThermalRight Ultra Extreme 120 (aka TRUE 120).  Read on and brace yourself for CPU aircooler mortal combat!

The OCZ Gladiator Max comes ready to mount on S775 motherboards as well as support for AM2 sockets.  We are testing the Gladiator on an X58 motherboard so OCZ sent us the S1366 mounting kit that you would need to purchase separately. 

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The Gladiator Max comes in a pleasant blue box adorned with your typical heatsink specifications.

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The Force II mounting accessory kit is also similarly packaged.

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[timg]1366 mounting kit_side2.JPG[/timg] [timg]1366 mounting kit_ out of box.JPG[/timg]

Out of the box, the Gladiator bears resemblence to many other highend CPU aircoolers on the market today.  The fins are made of an aluminum alloy surrounding pure copper heatpipes to allow for the best possible heat transfer.

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The base plate of the Gladiator Max uses what OCZ calls their HDT, or Heat-pipe Direct Touch, technology.  HDT’s goal is to provide direct contact with the CPU in order to transfer as much heat as possible, as quickly as possible, away from the processor.  Our testing will put OCZ’s HDT approach to the test and see if it actually benefits the Gladiator Max.

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Here’s a closer look at the base plate and the engineering behind the HDT system.

[timg]mounting plate_1.JPG[/timg] [timg]mounting plate_2.JPG[/timg]

Mounting the fan on the heatsink is straightforward.  OCZ includes four antivibration rubber connectors to help reduce noise and vibration.  The 120mm fan that is included with the Gladiator Max has a range of 800-1500RPM with a corresponding noise level of 19.6-26.4dBA.

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Mounting the Force II bracket is simple.  You simply screw it on to the bottom of the heatsink and attach to the motherboard via the backplate.

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We had requests to list a price range of the products we review in each of our reviews/articles.  Below you will find a short summary of the prices and weights of each cooler being used in the review today.

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*please note that the weight for the OCZ Gladiator includes the fan whereas the TRUE does not.  The price for the Gladiator Max does not include the Force II adapter for S1366.  That adds an additional $11 to the price.

As you can see from the list, the OCZ Gladiator is the cheapest and lightest cooler of the bunch.  Before we find out how well it fares compared to the competition, let’s look at the test setup we are using on the next page.

 

 

 

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To test the OCZ Gladiator Max we housed it in a Cooler Master ATCS 840 case equipped with the following:

  • Gigabyte EX58-Extreme Motherboard
  • PC Power and Cooling 1kW Power Supply
  • EVGA GTX 280 GPU
  • 6GB OCZ DDR3 1600 RAM with 7-7-7-21 timings
  • Intel Core i7 Extreme 965
  • G.Skill Titan 128GB SSD
  • Ceramique thermal interface material (TIM) was used for each test run, in lieu of TIM provided by the manufacturer
  • Windows Vista Ultimate x64 SP1

Ambient room temperature was maintained at 20C throughout all tests and we used 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.

Each heatsink used in this review was setup directly out of the box.  In other words, no modifications were done to the coolers such as adding stronger fans or lapping the base.  The only item not used directly out of the box is the TIM used for our testing.  For consistency we chose to use a high quality 3rd party TIM (Arctic Silver Ceramique) to eliminate any advantages or disadvantages offered by the TIM provided by each heatsink manufacturer.

Previously, the TRUE-120 has come without a fan.  This decision by ThermalRight was intentional, as it allowed the user to select a fan best suited to their needs (high flow, low noise, etc.).  Recently, however, ThermalRight has started to offer a complete TRUE 120 kit that includes a fan.  For this review, we purchased the TRUE-120 with a fan (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 minimal assembly.  Our hardcore enthusiasts will not be left out, however, because we are working on an ultimate performance review of today’s best coolers utilizing more labor-intensive measures designed to squeeze the last degree of performance out of these heatsinks.

With the test setup and our testing method out of the way, let’s move on to the results!

Before we get into the test results we would like to reiterate our testing method.  Each air cooler in this review was used as is from the manufacturer with the exception of the thermal interface material.  Results from our testing are obtained from a controlled environment and may vary from those of individual users performing customizations to their heatsinks such as lapping and adding higher air-flow fans.

In our first comparison we evaluated how the Gladiator Max compares to the competition at 3.2GHz and 4.0GHz with the CPU at idle.

[img]3.2GHz Idle.jpg[/img] [img]4.0GHz Idle.jpg[/img]

At idle at 3.2GHz we can see that the OCZ Gladiator Max falls considerably behind the pack in performance.  This result is not surpising, actually, when one considers that the Gladiator Max was only running at a fan speed of 800RPM.  Once we cranked the speed of our Core i7 up to 4.0GHz (idle), we see that the Gladiator Max performs inline with the other coolers.

[img]3.2GHz Load.jpg[/img] [img]4.0GHz Load.jpg[/img]

A full load, the results for the OCZ Gladiator mirrored what we saw at idle.  The Gladiator Max seems to favor higher CPU clocks as it is able to keep up with the other coolers in this review when tested at 4.0GHz.  The CM V8, V10 and the TRUE 120 beat out the Gladiator in each instance.  What the Gladiator Max has over the competition is performance/g/$.  The Gladiator falls in at 780g with a fan and is still able to hold its own against much heavier and more expensive air coolers.  It is also a great budget air cooler with a price range of $39.99-48.99.  Keep in mind that if you are buying this heatsink for a S1366 setup you will need to factor in about $11 extra for the additional mounting kit, the Force II for S1366.

The Xtreme CPU Colosseum has seen a great battle today.  Four air cooling warriors were pitted against each other in a brutal head to head fight to the death!  Well, not really to death, but you get the picture.  What we, as spectators, learned today is that OCZ has a great heatsink in the Gladiator Max.  Is it deserving of the title of Gladiator?  Maybe or maybe not because when you think of Gladiator you picture a warrior, a champion.  The Gladiator Max certainly proves its worth as the lightest and most affordable air cooler that stands strong against the heavyweights in the field, but there are areas where it can improve that would make it more a champion.  The best way to improve overall performance from the Gladiator Max would be to include a higher CFM fan with the heatsink.

We highly recommend the Gladiator Max to individuals looking for solid-performing air cooling at great price.  Beginning overclockers will find that the Gladiator Max is an adequate cooler for overclocking, but those individuals really looking to push their CPU to the limits will want to look higher up on the air cooling food chain, or perhaps even to water cooling.  It’s lightweight design and quiet fan would make the Gladiator Max a great fit for an HTPC build.

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