A Quiet Transformer
In today's competitive market for third-party CPU thermal solutions, versatility is worth the price. With two major CPU chipmakers, each having its own platform that's incompatible with the other, it's imperative that vendors straddle the divide with CPU coolers that support multiple sockets, slots and whatever newfangled connectors that chipmakers will come up with.
It's no surprise then that thermal company Evercool has a series of CPU coolers known as Transformer. As its name suggests, these coolers support both AMD and Intel platforms, 'transforming' to fit the socket as required. Today, we check out the cooling prowess of the Transformer 4.
Four is for Heatpipes
The Transformer 4 has a typical CPU cooler design, consisting of a heatsink and fan combination. Evercool has included two 120mm fans, leaving it up to the user whether to install one or two fans.
Four heatpipes (the reason for its name) are present on the Transformer 4. These heatpipes pass through an array of thin aluminum fins, which act as the cooler's radiator. Heat from the processor is transported to these fins where they are subsequently dissipated by the fans mounted on the heatsink. Rated at around 1000RPM each, these fans were very quiet, even when we installed both during our testing. The heatsink was moderately tall and should fit into most mid-to-large tower chassis without any issues.
The Price of Versatility
For our test, we decided to go with an Intel Core i7 system that uses the LGA1366 socket. The Transformer 4 supports all of AMD's recent sockets (754/939/940/AM2) and Intel's LGA775 and 1366. Newer Intel Lynnfield processors using LGA1156 socket however are not compatible.
The price of having socket compatibility however is that a backplate fitted at the bottom of the motherboard is practically a must. This can be troublesome for users since they must remove their motherboards during the installation or removal of the CPU cooler.
Besides this, installing the Transformer 4 was straightforward, with four thumb screws provided such that there's no need for a screwdriver. The placement of the thumb screws at the four corners also means that you can only attach the fans after securing the heatsink. Thankfully, these steps are illustrated in color in the user guide provided.
The most important test of any CPU cooler is how it helps to lower the processor's temperature. As part of our stress test, we looped our system in SPECviewperf 10, which ran with four threads to reproduce a real scenario where the processor is fully loaded. We also tried using the more intensive Prime95 to overload the processor beyond the usual applications.
With the Transformer 4, our Core i7 processor had a maximum temperature of 58 degrees Celsius in SPECviewperf 10 and 78 degrees in Prime95. This was an improvement of six degrees Celsius over the Intel reference cooler, which was recorded at 64 and 84 degrees in SPECviewperf 10 and Prime95 respectively.
Despite having two 120mm fans, the Transformer 4 only managed a slight six degrees improvement in temperatures. This was rather disappointing as we were hoping for a more dramatic showing. As it is now, we doubt that having the Transformer 4 installed would make a significant difference if overclocking is your goal.
At least, the Transformer 4 is quieter than the reference cooler, making it suitable for those looking for a quiet PC and it should perform more than adequately if you're running your processor at stock speeds. At around US$43, it's decently priced, though we'll give it a pass ourselves.