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Posted by Rob Jiang on Nov 28, 2011

Review – NZXT Havik 140 CPU Cooler

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Since our last review of the ThermalTake Frio, here at GamerFront we have been able to get our hands dirty with another CPU cooling machine – the NZXT Havik 140 Cooler. Continue reading down below to see how the NZXT Havik compares!

First Impressions

Right off the bat, the NZXT Cooler looks very impressive and sleek. Compared to the Thermaltake Frio, I personally enjoy the clean black and white themed Havik over the Frio. The Frio has the traditional Thermaltake red; however, altogether the cooler is just too busy for me. I can definitely say that I will enjoy looking at this cooler while it’s in my case.

Just as any other CPU cooler, the packaging comes with the cooler itself, two black and white 140mm fans, and also all of the necessary attachment devices. NZXT did not go above and beyond in any particular sense for the Havik, but that really is not an issue at all. A small amount of thermalpaste was provided, but I actually chose to use some Artic Silver instead. From the look of the paste, it looked sub-par and a bit thick for my liking.

In regards to size, the cooler uses 140mm fans, which is a bit awkward and unusual. The cooler is not necessarily larger than other coolers in the same range, but the cooler is definitely larger than a stock cooler – by a significant amount. Be sure to make sure that you have space in your case, as well as space to fit your memory. These are sometimes overlooked steps in the computer building process that could be very costly and time consuming to fix.

Installation

As with any cooler, installation takes some time. When comparing the install of the Havik Cooler on my machine to some of the past CPU coolers that my computer has experienced, the Havik was a bit easier to manage. Again, I have installed self-contained liquid coolers, liquid coolers, and many, many after market coolers. I’ve always expressed that the CPU cooler is more times than not the hardest piece to work with during the installation process.

The Havik has the ability to be adjusted for multiple different sockets. In my particular case, I am doing the install on an Intel Core i7 Socket 1156. When installing your own CPU, make sure to check the label to be completely sure that the cooler works for your socket type. In most cases, the CPU cooler will be universal and unless you have a really weird CPU socket or a really out-dated CPU, you should be completely fine in that regard.

Now to the meat and potatoes of the install.  The install went much smoother than some of the past installations. In comparison, it could just be my increased experience. I first made sure that everything was mounted properly. After some standard screwing, pin adjusting, and fastening, the Havik was slowly but surely mounted as my cooler. The instructions were very, very helpful. NZXT did a fairly good job on focusing on the readability of the instructions, which believe it or not is a big issue for some other companies.

I recommend that anyone installing this cooler should have someone else handy to help out with. Especially since I was installing this on a PC that had everything else still connected, you should really have just another set of hands to help you hold things in suspense or hold things in place. If you are building a PC from scratch and you are installing a cooler for the first time, then you should be fine; otherwise, you should strongly consider grabbing someone else.

As mentioned earlier, I used thermalpaste that did NOT come with the original packaging. The provided paste looked reasonable, but I chose to stick with the trusty Artic Silver on this one. Thermalpaste is one of those often overlooked components that could actually make a a pretty big difference down the road for not only performance but also for the longevity of your CPU. Baam. Havik installed.

CPU Temperatures

Running the tests, I was able to place the Havik relative to the Intel stock Cooler, the Corsair H70 liquid cooler (which is the cooler that I normally use), and the Thermaltake Frio (which was reviewed previously). The Havik posted results very close to the Frio in all categories.

Again, just to recap for idle temperatures and load temperatures respectively, the Frio achieved 26°C and 48°C. The Havik was very close at 27°C and 48°C for max load. The stock cooler from Intel is still way behind with temperatures of 41°C and 74°C during high loads. The H70 still reigns supreme with 22°C and 38°C.

The tested used a Core i7 2600K Sandy Bridge, GTX580 Graphics Card, 8GB of Corsair Dominator Memory, a Kingston 128 GB SSD, and all of these parts enclosed in an Antec Lanboy Air.

Conclusion

Though the Havik 140 is a great looking cooler, the cooler lacks a certain competitive advantage. Nothing really attracts me to look into the Havik as a feasible solution. Unfortunately, for a little bit more money I can get much better cooling. The ease of install and sleek design does not justify the $75 price tag, when some of the other coolers, which are cheaper, can cool just as effectively, if not more.  Overall though, the Havik is still a reasonable purchase. I would just personally wait until the price drops down a bit before strongly considering this as a top cooler choice.

The Good

  • Looks great
  • Easier to install than other CPU coolers
  • Unique fan design

The Bad

  • Provided thermal paste was not very good
  • Performance to cost ratio is subpar
  • Lacks differentiation

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