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Since its inception in 2007, "Heatpipe Direct Touch" (HDT) technology has become almost an expectation for air-based heatsinks. Previously, dissipative heatpipes were merely welded to the top of the mounting surface, serving only to help remove excess heat in the most extreme circumstances. HDT has allowed huge gains in cooling performance, by directly placing the heatpipes in contact with a processor's integrated heat spreader (IHS). Unfortunately, HDT carries a major performance inhibiting flaw. Because of how each round heatpipe makes contact with the surface of the IHS, microscopic areas of the processor are not completely reached by the mounting surface; this results in a small, but measurable loss in cooling ability. Coolink's exclusive Gapless Direct Touch (GDT) technology has set out to fix that issue. With the copper fitted, gapless base and Noctua's famous SecuFirm2 mounting system, the Corator DS should have both impressive heat transfer capabilities and a user-friendly installation.
• Size: 155x140x121 mm
• Fan: SWiF2 120P
• Weight: 1040 g
• Socket compatibility: Intel LGA1366, LGA1156, LGA 1155, LGA775 & AMD AM2, AM2+, AM3 (backplate required)
• Warranty: 5 years
• Four 8mm heatpipes
• Asymmetrical dual fin stacks
• Gapless Direct Touch technology
• SWiF2120P high performance 120mm fan
• PWM fan speed control
• SecuFirm™2 multi-socket mounting system
• Chillaramic thermal compound
Coolink's Product Page
Price: $47.95 @ Quiet PC USA
If you've ever seen a Noctua product, you'll be instantly familiar with the Corator DS packaging. The retail packaging is a full color, cardboard box. It features all of the necessary specifications necessary. I’m also glad to see that they included the dimensions of the cooler; I often see this information overlooked by both manufacturers and consumers, which can be very problematic. All of the product photography is well done and Coolink managed to include a small image of every important facet of the heatsink. It may have also been helpful to include an additional picture showing the heatsink mounted on a motherboard, with memory installed – this might give interested consumers more information about how much clearance space the Corator DS offers.
While some may certainly view it as overkill, Coolink's maxed out packaging does an incredible job of protecting and organizing both the accessories and the heatsink itself. After opening the top flap of the cardboard box, you'll first find a small cardboard container that holds all of the accessories. Next, you'll have a large, white cardboard piece that covers the top of an inner box. Once that has been removed, the heatsink's actual box is exposed; it is secured into a bottom cardboard piece and the top piece that was just removed. The heatsink's box can easily be disassembled and reassembled by removing the cardboard tabs; then, without any silly plastic packaging or annoying bags, the actual heatsink can be quickly and painlessly accessed. Thankfully, not only is everything secure, but each of the cardboard enclosures have smooth finger gripping holes that allow for quick removal of the pieces without any scratches. It’s really great to see a manufacturer that has put so much time and effort into the packaging.
Inside the Packaging:
Coolink includes an impressive suite of accessories. The aforementioned first box contains a set of SecuFirm2 mounting kits (one for AMD and another for Intel) that work with every modern heatsink mounting system. You must note, however, that the AMD kit requires you to use your OEM AMD backplate; it may have been helpful for Coolink to include this for users who have lost theirs. You also receive a set of installation manuals; if you would like to see the manuals, I have scanned the front Intel, back Intel and front AMD, back AMD manual pages. Coolink also includes a half-sized container of their well received Chillaramic “thermal interface material” (TIM) that should last for ten or so applications. And, for anyone interested, it is beat out by Noctua’s NT-H1, but performs better than most of the other TIM pastes on the market.
The only issue I have with Coolink’s accessory bundle is the lack of secondary fan mounting hardware. Most users like to run their heatsink towers in a push-pull fan configuration. And, considering this unit uses Coolink’s readily purchasable 120P fan (you can visit my review of the 120P here), it seems like a relatively logical inclusion. With that small addition the Corator DS could offer even greater performance to a more interested user base.
The Corator DS Itself:
Coolink’s Corator DS is a large dual tower heatsink reminiscent of a more compact version of Noctua’s enormous NH-D14. The unit feels incredibly weighty and is clearly designed for high-heat applications. Each of the dual towers has a unique fin design. The side in which cool air is pulled through has more space between each fin, whereas the opposite side, that hot air is pushed through, has denser fin spacing. This allows for a higher volume of air to pass through the fins and heatpipes, while simultaneously having a larger surface area for heat dissipation. To further increase airflow and reduce static pressure, the inside of the fan housing (the middle of the heatsink) contains vertical notches through each of the fin arrays.
Also unique is Coolink’s heatpipe implementation. Each of the fin stacks contains its own series of four, incredibly thick, heatpipes that are gaplessly connected to the mounting surface. The independent heatpipes, in conjunction with the asymmetrical fin layout, means that the working thermal fluid in the heatpipes on the hot exhaust tower will be able to, through capillary action, quickly transfer heat to the cool intake tower; this will help equalize temperatures between the hot and cool sides of the heatsink.
One of the most important features to be evaluated is the performance of Coolink’s innovative GDT mounting surface and heatpipe implementation. Each heatpipe is covered in a thin layer of copper. Then, instead of using an aluminum plate to bridge the heatpipes together, the heatpipe base seems to have been submerged into liquid copper and cooled to form a single, contiguous mounting surface – free of any unnecessary gaps or filler material. The base itself is incredibly thick and solid; adding to what could potentially be one of the best heatsink manufacturing methods around.
Unfortunately, Coolink’s implementation appears to fall just short of living up to the maximum potential of GDT. After creating the uniform copper base, Coolink neglected to polish and smooth the resulting surface. The surface, while not absolutely horrible, does have plenty of rough ridges and lacks the quality I was expecting to see. I hope that in the future Coolink definitely improves on the finish of the Corator DS base. It will certainly affect performance, but I am hopeful that the unit will still perform well.
As I do not currently have an AMD system in my possession, I'll only be able to mention a few bits of information about installing on an Intel platform. If you've never heard of Noctua's SecuFirm2 installation platform, you'll be happy to know that it is incredibly easy to install on any of the popular processor sockets. The included backing plate is made out of sturdy metal and includes a pressure-relieving plastic sheet. The backing plate also includes different screw pass-through notches for each of the three LGA platforms. If you're comfortable with removing your motherboard, the SecuFirm easily mounts onto your socket. You literally just line up the bracket on the back of your motherboard, put the spacers in, and then use the handy thumb screws to contain the retainer to the back plate. The design will clear all of a motherboard's components without any difficulty. One of the most irritating portions of installation a large tower heatsink is affixing the tower to the mounting gear. Thanks to the quickly removable center fan, there is plenty of room to fit a screw driver to secure down the two mounting points. I'm definitely glad to see Coolink use the SecuFirm2 for the Corator DS. I will mention, though, that you definitely want to be cautious if you’re on a tight motherboard. You might not be able to install a stick in the closest slot, as you will only have ~40 mm of clearance space.
As usual, I tested the Coolink Corator DS heatsink using OOCT's standard processor settings, for ten minutes, with my i7-920 D0 set to the stock frequency (2.66 GHz) and voltage (to make user comparisons relatively simple). Unlike with the previous few reviews, I was able to run the tests at a relatively stable ambient temperature of 25 degrees Celsius. As such, I will not be reporting delta temperature values; all numbers were rounded to the ones place for fairness. The test system in question is running 12 Gigabytes of DDR3; so, considering the onboard memory controller is slightly taxed, temperatures may be higher than usual.
For testing, I chose the stock heatsink, the higher-end Corsair H50, and the ultra high-end Noctua NH-D14. For a product with a substantially lower retail price than the Corsair H50, the Coolink certainly holds its own during the OCCT run; it performed just two degrees warmer during load. And, as expected, the Coolink certainly decimated the stock cooling unit. Yet, while it didn't perform as well as the beastly Noctua unit, one has to remember that the Noctua cooler is not only larger, but has substantially more heatpipes, and, out of the box, comes with two ultra-powerful fans. One of them, which I previously reviewed, has the same capabilities as a 140 mm fan. Keeping this in mind, it is obvious that Coolink's gapless technology has a lot to offer.
The pure and simple truth is that Coolink's GDT technology is the future of tower coolers. That isn't to say, however, that their first prototype is the end all, be all. The base quality is rough, there are no options for secondary fan mounting, and RAM clearance may be an issue for some. The price is incredibly reasonable and the product offers awesome features like Noctua's SecuFirm mounting system and a central fan hub. With a few quick fixes that could be easily done in a revised version, Coolink could have the absolute best tower coolink unit around for your dollar.
Affordable price point
SecuFirm mounting system included
Could be perfect with a few improvements
RAM clearance is an issue
Low retail availability
Thanks go to Coolink for the opportunity to take a look at the Corator DS!