Thermaltake has an extensive line of coolers for P4, K7 and K8 processors. This time around they sent over one of the Combo Cool DIY series, the Pipe101. Right away I noticed that this is one serious piece of copper. With 4 heat pipes, a huge amount of very thin copper plates and a serious looking aluminum shroud wrapped over the entire thing, this has got to be the best looking sink on the planet. Looks aside, can this beauty cool a processor? That’s what we are going to find out.
The Pipe101 is packaged in a clear plastic bubble package that is plenty easy to get into. In the pictures below you can see the Pipe101 still packed up. A small list of features on the front, and a group of specifications across the back, tell the details.
• Pure copper with heatpipe
• High-density thin fins
• Universal 3 in 1 solution
• Can support 80mm and 90mm fans
• Compatibility - Intel P4 478 up to 3.6Ghz, AMD Athlon 64 /Athlon 64 FX, AMD Athlon XP up to 3400+
• Dimensions - 67x68.5x47mm (67 fins)
• Material - Copper
• Heatpipe - Copper tube (6mm)
• Weight - 500g
The next set of pictures show the Pipe101 in all its glory right out of the box. Included with the heatsink are all the accessories you would need to install over your favorite P4, K7 or even a K8/Athlon 64. Thermaltake includes with the brackets, a 2 gram syringe of white thermal compound (their model number A2014), a set of screws (and a spare) to attach a fan, and even a couple of spare tiny screws for attaching the aluminum cover. Right off the bat you will notice the distinct lack of a fan. The Pipe101 does not include a fan. Most of the real good sinks of this nature also do not include a fan, so this is not out of the ordinary.
Lets peel back the skin and see what’s underneath. The Pipe101 has 67 tightly packed fins soldered to a copper base. Winding their way through this maze is four 6mm heatpipes. Heatpipes transfer heat from one place to another by evaporation and condensation. There is a small amount of a vaporizable liquid inside the pipe. In the lower part of the pipe the liquid absorbs heat from the processor and turns to a vapor. The vapor travels around the bend of the pipe and takes the heat with it. When it gets to the top part, it cools and condenses back into a liquid and travels back down to the lower part of the pipe to absorb more heat. That’s as rocket-science as this article will get, I promise! You can see in the picture of the backside, the crimped and soldered ends of the heatpipes.
Now its time to get ready for mounting. I am going to install the Pipe101 onto a recent addition of mine, a 35 watt AMD Mobile XP 2400+ chip. This will require the installation of the K7 socket, mounting bracket. After undoing the 4 small screws and pulling the aluminum cover off, insert the correct bracket for your processor type and put the cover back on. Couldn’t be easier. However, there is a particular direction for installing the brackets. Thermaltake has included a nice, shiny, colored instruction sheet; make sure you take a look at it, direction does matter. Since we are ready to install the Pipe101, lets take a look at the bottom. As you can see, the finish leaves much to be desired. It may be flat, but the machine marks are quite deep. This heatsink could really use a good lap job. I still don’t understand why most heatsink manufacturers don’t stick a nice mirror finish on the bottom of their sinks, especially in this kind of high-end cooler.
Let’s get this thing installed and fire up the machine. I removed the Thermalright SLK 947U that is my norm and all of the associated through board hardware used in its mounting. One difference I noticed right away, the SLK947U and the Pipe101 send the fins in different directions. With the SLK 947 the capacitors have to get gently bent out of the way. The Pipe101 does not have the clearance issues. It’s not quite as large as the SLK 947, but does weigh nearly the same.
Now lets talk about fan choices. The Pipe101 does not come with an included fan, I decided to test it with a run of the mill 80mm fan, and my beast, one of the loudest, nastiest fans on the market, the 92mm x 38mm Vantec Tornado. The Thermaltake Pipe101 is designed for either 80mm or 92mm fans and includes screws to attach the fans to the aluminum cover. The 80mm installed without issue. However, due to the Tornado being 38mm instead of the normal 25mm thick, the screws were not long enough. I could have placed the screws only through the lower lip of the fan, but they would have protruded out the bottom way too far. I decided to go find some 3mm screws at the local hardware store; this was not an easy task here in the states. I ended up with socket head cap screws. Fine with me, I have metric Allen wrenches. Check the pics below for some close-ups of installed fans.
First, the generic 80mm fan using the included 3mm screws…
…and then the Tornado using the hardware store 3mm socket head cap screws.
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