• Home
  • blog
  • Enermax ETS-T40: Direct-Touch Heatpipe Cooler

Enermax ETS-T40: Direct-Touch Heatpipe Cooler

The Enermax ETS-T40 tower CPU heatsink/fan is equipped with an impressive looking mounting system, a surprisingly smooth sounding fan, and an affordable price. Unfortunately the one thing missing is great performance.

July 23, 2012 by Lawrence Lee

Product
Enermax ETS-T40-TB
CPU Cooler
Manufacturer
Enermax
Street Price
US$35

Enermax is a veritable legend in the PC power supply market but like many other manufacturers, they’ve expanded their range to cases and cooling products. Diversification is the general strategy for survival in the face of changing tech market patterns. Our first Enermax CPU heatsink sample is yet another ubiquitous tower, a budget model equipped with direct-touch heatpipes and their distinct “Twister” 120 mm fan.


The ETS-T40 box and contents.

Unlike some companies, Enermax isn’t particularly fussy with their packaging. The ETS-T40 ships in a simple white box with blue accents, just large enough for the heatsink and accessories. The ETS-T40 is a simple four heatpipe 160 mm tall cooler in the same vein as the Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus, the current undisputed low-cost heatsink; it’s not a bad design to emulate. We’ve seen direct-touch heatpipe models come and go but most of them have been cursed with a poor mounting system resulting in less than adequate pressure between the base and CPU heatspreader.


Accessories.

One look at the ETS-T40’s mounting gear and we’re optimistic. A simple metal frame is assembled around the socket and a thick bar goes over the base exerting a downward force, a system similar to that employed by Noctua, Prolimatech, and Thermalright on their high performance coolers. A second set of fan clips is also included for those who prefer to utilize a dual fan configuration.

Enermax ETS-T40: Key Features
(from the product
web page
)
Feature & Brief
Our Comment
World leading thermal resistance performance of 0.09°C/W.

– Patented VGF (Vortex generator flow) technology to greatly increase air convection.
– Patented SEF (Stack Effect) design to enhance heat transfer.
– Unique air path creating high VEF (Vacuum Effect) to optimize the airflow.
– Patented HDT (Heat Pipe Direct Touch) Technology to ensure rapid thermal conduction and eliminate CPU hotspot.

Every manufacturer claims their design is optimized for maximum performance.
Side flow type with four Ø6mm high performance heat pipes. A standard design.
Unique T.B.Silence PWM fan to adjust the power efficiently and keep the silence. Unique yet alike to every other PWM fan.
Dual fan installed option and solid springs attached. Typically only useful on thick heatsinks but having the option is a bonus.
Anti-vibration rubbers prevent fan vibration and absorb noise. Dampens vibrations and also creates some separation between the heatsink and fan.
Universal bracket for Intel® 775/1155/1156/1366/2011 and AMD® AM2/AM2+/AM3/AM3+/FM1. Good.
High thermal conductivity grease to ensure the best thermal conduction between CPU and the heat sink. We’ll take their word for it.

 

Enermax ETS-T40: Specifications
(from the product
web page
)
Model ETS-T40-TB
Compatible Socket Intel® LGA 775/1155/1156/1366/2011, AMD® AM2/AM2+/AM3/AM3+/FM
Overall Dimension 139(L) x 93(W) x 160(H)mm
Heat Sink Dimension 139(L) x 70(W) x 160(H)mm
Weight 610g
Heat Pipe 4 x Ø6mm
Material Copper heat pipes, aluminum fins
Thermal Resistance 0.09°C/W
Thermal Grease Dow Corning® TC-5121
Fan Dimension 120 x 120 x 25 mm
Fan Speed 800 ~ 1800 RPM
Air Flow 37.57 ~ 86.70CFM
63.83 ~ 147.30m3/h
Static Pressure 0.72 ~ 2.41mmH2O
Rated Voltage 12V
Bearing Type Twister Bearing
MTBF 100,000 hours
Noise 10 ~ 21dBA
Connector 4 pin PWM connector

PHYSICAL DETAILS

The Enermax ETS-T40 is composed four 6 mm thick copper direct-touch heatpipes friction-fit to just 52 aluminum fins. The heatsink is 160 mm tall, a common height for tower coolers. According to our digital scale, it weighs approximately 620 grams bare and about 840 grams total with the fan secured.


The most interesting feature of the heatsink is the fan design of the included Twister fan, a 120 mm model with bat-like blades and holes cut into the sides spelling out the Enermax name. As the ETS-T40 has an inset to accommodate it, 140 mm fans are not compatible without modification.


The fan-side surface of the heatsink is also unusual, with four distinct ridges and a large trough in the middle. The separation at the center between the heatsink and fan is a full centimeter. Triangular columns have been cut from the fins similar to the Thermalright HR01/02 Macho with their “through holes” but they appear more decorative than functional in this case.


Right out of the box, one of the fin corners was bent. This tends to be a problem for unanodized/plated fins. The fins are also closed on the sides in the center which creates a possible a ventilation issue.


The fan has a black frame and grey/translucent blades, though our particular ETS-T40-TB variant lacks LED fans (look for the suffix –TA and –VD if you like lighting). Notice the rubber dampening pads adhered to the edges.


On average, the fins are 0.40 mm thick and spaced 1.79 mm apart. It’s a fairly tight grouping compared to most modern tower heatsinks. We don’t expect it to have great low airflow performance.,


The heatpipes are almost perfectly flat and the surface has a nice, shiny finish. Some light circular machine marks are visible.

INSTALLATION

The most critical aspect of installation is that the heatsink be securely
mounted. A firm mating results in good contact between the heatsink’s base and
the CPU heatspreader and more efficient heat conduction. Ideally it should
also be a simple procedure with the user having to handle as few pieces of
hardware as possible.


Installation begins by securing the backplate using double-sided screws. Note there are no nuts, the threads are directly on the backplate.


Raised mounting clips are assembled on the top side of the board.


Small nuts are used to batten down the clips, the heatsink is lowered onto the CPU, and a substantial metal bar is placed over the base. One large nut on each side keeps the heatsink in place. A small wrench is provided to ensure a tight fit.


Fully mounted on our LGA1366 testing platform.


Clearance beneath the heatsink is approximately 44 mm, though this shouldn’t be an issue. Most motherboard VRM heatsinks aren’t that tall and ETS-T40 is thin enough that the fan may not overhang any memory slots.

TESTING

Before thermal testing, we took some basic physical measurements.

Approximate Physical Measurements
Weight
620 g
840 g w/ fan and clips
Height 160 mm
Fin count 52
Fin thickness
0.40 mm
Fin spacing
1.79 mm
Vertical Clearance*
44 mm
* measured from the motherboard PCB to
the bottom fin of the heatsink

 

Large Heatsink Comparison:
Average Fin Thickness & Spacing
Heatsink
Fin Thickness
Fin Spacing
Thermalright HR-01 Plus
0.45 mm
3.15 mm
Thermalright HR-02 Macho
0.34 mm
3.12 mm
Scythe Ninja 3
0.39 mm
2.64 mm
Noctua NH-U12P
0.44 mm
2.63 mm
Noctua NH-C12P
0.47 mm
2.54 mm
Noctua NH-D14
0.43 mm
2.33 mm
Thermalright Archon SB-E
0.49 mm
2.33 mm
be quiet! Dark Rock 2
0.38 mm
2.22 mm
Prolimatech Armageddon
0.51 mm
2.08 mm
Prolimatech Megahalems
0.50 mm
2.00 mm
Zalman CNPS10X Quiet
0.40 mm
2.00 mm
Scythe Kabuto & Zipang 2
0.34 mm
1.94 mm
NZXT Havik 140
0.41 mm
1.91 mm
Scythe Mugen-2
0.31 mm
1.89 mm
Swiftech Polaris 120
0.43 mm
1.85 mm
Thermalright Venomous X
0.53 mm
1.84 mm
Noctua NH-C14
0.38 mm
1.79 mm
Enermax ETS-T40
0.40 mm
1.79 mm
Scythe Yasya
0.32 mm
1.78 mm
Cogage TRUE Spirit 1366
0.40 mm
1.70 mm
Arctic Cooling Freezer Xtreme Rev.2
0.30 mm
1.70 mm
Scythe Grand Kama Cross
0.38 mm
1.66 mm
Reeven Kelveros
0.47 mm
1.61 mm
Zalman CNPS9900 MAX
0.16 mm
1.59 mm
Thermalright Silver Arrow
0.32 mm
1.57 mm
Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus
0.43 mm
1.54 mm
Thermalright Ultra-120 eXtreme Rev.C
0.56 mm
1.52 mm
Zalman CNPS10X Extreme
0.42 mm
1.50 mm

Testing on larger heatsinks are done on our
LGA1366 heatsink testing platform
, while smaller coolers tackle our LGA1155 heatsink testing platform. A summary of the test system
and procedure follows.

Key Components in LGA1366 Heatsink Test Platform:

  • Intel Core i7-965 Extreme
    Nehalem core, LGA1366, 3.2GHz, 45nm, 130W TDP.
  • Asus
    P6X58D Premium
    ATX motherboard. X58 chipset.
  • Asus
    EAH3450 Silent
    graphics card.
  • Intel
    X25-M
    80GB 2.5″ solid-state drive. Chosen for silence.
  • 3GB QiMonda
    DDR3 memory. 3 x 1GB DDR3-1066 in triple channel.
  • Seasonic X-650 SS-650KM
    650W ATX power supply. This PSU is semi-passively cooled. At the power levels
    of our test platform, its fan does not spin.
  • Arctic Silver
    Lumière
    : Special fast-curing thermal interface material, designed
    specifically for test labs.
  • Noctua 140 mm fan (used when possible with heatsinks that fit 140x25mm
    fans)
  • Nexus 120 mm fan (used when possible with heatsinks that fit 120x25mm
    fans)
  • Nexus 92 mm fan (used when possible with heatsinks that fit 92x25mm
    fans)

The systems are silent under the test conditions, except for the CPU cooling
fan(s).

Normally, our reference fans are used whenever possible, the measured details
of which are shown below.

Reference Noctua 140mm fan
Anechoic chamber measurements
Voltage
SPL@1m
Speed
12V
28~29 dBA
1250 RPM
9V
21 dBA
990 RPM
7V
15~16 dBA
770 RPM
6V
13 dBA
660 RPM

 

Reference Nexus 120mm fan
Anechoic chamber measurements
Voltage
SPL@1m
Speed
12V
16 dBA
1100 RPM
9V
13 dBA
890 RPM
7V
12 dBA
720 RPM

 

Reference Nexus 92 mm fan
Anechoic chamber measurements
Voltage
SPL@1m
Speed
12V
16 dBA
1470 RPM
9V
12 dBA
1150 RPM

Measurement and Analysis Tools

  • Extech 380803 AC power analyzer / data logger for measuring AC system
    power.
  • Custom-built, four-channel variable DC power supply, used to regulate
    the fan speed during the test.
  • PC-based spectrum analyzer:
    SpectraPlus with ACO Pacific mic and M-Audio digital
    audio interfaces.
  • Anechoic chamber
    with ambient level of 11 dBA or lower
  • Various other tools for testing fans, as documented in our
    standard fan testing methodology
    .
  • SpeedFan,
    used to monitor the on-chip thermal sensors. The sensors are not calibrated,
    so results are not universally applicable. The hottest core reading is used.
  • Prime95,
    used to stress the LGA1366 CPU heavily, generating more heat than most real applications.
    8 instances are used to ensure that all 4 cores (with Hyper-threading) are
    stressed.
  • CPU-Z,used to monitor the CPU speed to determine when overheating occurs.
  • Thermometers to measure the air temperature around the test platform
    and near the intake of the heatsink fan.

Noise measurements are made with the fans powered from the lab’s variable DC
power supply while the rest of the system was off to ensure that system noise
did not skew the measurements.

Load testing was accomplished using Prime95 to stress the processor, and the
graph function in SpeedFan was used to ensure that the load temperature is stable
for at least ten minutes. The temperature recorded is the highest single core
reading. The stock fans were tested at various voltages to represent a good
cross-section of airflow and noise performance.

The ambient conditions during testing were 10~11 dBA and 21~23°C.

Stock Fan Measurements

Specifications: Enermax ETS-T40 Stock Fan
Manufacturer
Power Rating
5.4 W
Model Number
PD122512MP-N
Airflow Rating
37.57 ~ 86.70 CFM
Bearing Type
Twister (sleeve)
Speed Rating
800 ~ 1800 RPM
Corners
Open
Noise Rating
10 ~ 21dBA
Frame Size
120 x 120 x 25 mm
Header Type
4-pin
Fan Blade Diameter
110 mm
Starting Voltage
< 5.0 V
Hub Size
39 mm
Weight
120 g
Data in green cells provided by the manufacturer
or observed; data in the blue cells were measured.

 

Stock Fan Measurements
Voltage
Speed
SPL@1m
12V
1930 RPM
35~36 dBA
9V
1520 RPM
28 dBA
7V
1060 RPM
20 dBA
6V
820 RPM
14 dBA
5V
580 RPM
11~12 dBA
Measuring mic positioned 1m at diagonal angle from
the center of the heatsink.
Ambient noise level: 10~11 dBA.

The Twister fan’s acoustics are excellent through most of its range. At 9V and above, it is very loud and fairly buzzy, a typical characteristic of sleeve bearing models. At lower speeds, it has a very smooth, pleasant sound. It is a high speed model though (our sample was 130 RPM faster than its rated speed) so it is quite loud until about the 7V / 1060 RPM level. At 5V / 580 RPM it’s effectively inaudible.


At 7V, the stock fan emits a noise level of 20 dBA@1m.

The fan has no audible tonality, as indicated by the lack of peaks in our acoustic analysis. The noise generated is distributed fairly evenly frequency-wise, giving it a smooth broadband profile.

TEST RESULTS

Enermax ETS-T40
Fan Voltage
Fan Speed
SPL@1m
°C Rise
Stock Fan
12V
1930 RPM
35~36 dBA
42
9V
1520 RPM
28 dBA
43
7V
1060 RPM
20 dBA
49
6V
820 RPM
14 dBA
55
5V
580 RPM
11~12 dBA
64
Reference Nexus 120mm Fan
12V
1080 RPM
16~17 dBA
44
9V
880 RPM
13 dBA
46
7V
720 RPM
12 dBA
50
Reference Nexus 120mm Fan x 2
12V
1080 RPM
20 dBA
41
9V
880 RPM
15 dBA
43
7V
720 RPM
13 dBA
47
°C Rise: Temperature rise above ambient (20°C)
at load.

The ETS-T40 performed well only with its stock fan at very high speeds. A large drop in performance occurred when the fan voltage was lowered below 7V. There was a 6°C increase going from 7V to 6V, and it took an additional 9°C hit at 5V. The ETS-T40 has the dishonor of being one of only a handful of heatsinks that have generated a thermal rise above ambient greater than 60°C on our testing platform. With these results alone, one might conclude that it’s a terrible cooler — but that’s only half-true.

When the stock fan was swapped with our trusty reference Nexus 120 mm fan, its performance picked up considerably. At 12V it emitted 16~17 dBA@1m, subjectively little more than half the noise of the stock fan’s 20 dBA@1m at 7V, yet the Nexus produced a CPU temperature 5°C lower. At 9V, it was 1 dB quieter than the stock fan at 6V but the Nexus had a massive 9°C advantage. Adding a second Nexus fan improved performance by 3°C.



Thermal compound footprint: ETS-T40 above, Hyper 212 Plus below.

After testing, we examined the thermal compound footprint and discovered a telltale sign of poor contact between the base and CPU. The ETS-T40 had noticeable veins of TIM spread out fairly evenly on its heatpipes. Contrast this to the Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus (the best direct-touch heatpipe cooler we’ve ever tested), which had only trace amounts, and much of the important copper pipe sections were virtually clear. High mounting pressure pushes most of the excess compound to the sides leaving only a faint impression behind. (Editor’s Note: It’s also possible that the aluminum dividers between the flattened heatpipes in the Enermax heatsink protrude just a little too far so that pressure between the heatpipes and the CPU is limited.)

Heatsink Comparison Tables

CPU Coolers (ref. 120mm fan): °C Rise Comparison
Heatsink
Fan voltage / SPL @1m*
12V
9V
7V
15~16 dBA
12~13 dBA
11~12 dBA
Thermalright Ultra-120 eXtreme Rev.C
38
40
43
Thermalright Venomous X
38
41
43
Prolimatech Megahalems
38
41
44
Noctua NH-U12P
39
42
44
Scythe Mugen-2
39
42
45
Cogage TRUE Spirit 1366
40
42
45
Prolimatech Armageddon
40
42
46
Zalman CNPS10X Quiet
40
43
46
Noctua NH-C14
39
42
48
Scythe Yasya
41
43
47
Thermalright Ultra-120 eXtreme
40
43
48
Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus
41
44
48
Thermalright Archon SB-E
42
43
49
Thermalright Ultra-120
42
45
49
Titan Fenrir
43
46
50
Scythe Ninja 3
44
47
49
Enermax ETS-T40
44
46
50
Noctua NH-C12P
43
47
51
Zalman CNPS10X Extreme
43
47
53
Swiftech Polaris 120
46
49
54
Zalman CNPS10X Flex
45
50
54
be quiet! Dark Rock 2
48
50
52
Cooler Master V8
46
50
54
Reeven Kelveros
47
51
55
Scythe Grand Kama Cross
45
52
57
Antec Kühler H20 620
(pump at 7V, almost inaudible)
52
52
53
Arctic Cooling Freezer Xtreme Rev.2
49
52
58
Scythe Kabuto
51
53
60
*Note: there are minor differences in measured SPL due to the variety of fan orientations and mounting methods offered by the compared coolers.

The ETS-T40’s middling performance with our reference fan puts it in the company of such heatsinks like the Scythe Ninja 3 and the Titan Fenrir; the latter is another direct-touch heatpipe model with a flawed mounting system that could use increased pressure.

MP3 SOUND RECORDINGS

These recordings were made with a high
resolution, lab quality, digital recording system
inside SPCR’s
own 11 dBA ambient anechoic chamber
, then converted to LAME 128kbps
encoded MP3s. We’ve listened long and hard to ensure there is no audible degradation
from the original WAV files to these MP3s. They represent a quick snapshot of
what we heard during the review.

These recordings are intended to give you an idea of how the product sounds
in actual use — one meter is a reasonable typical distance between a computer
or computer component and your ear. The recording contains stretches of ambient
noise that you can use to judge the relative loudness of the subject. Be aware
that very quiet subjects may not be audible — if we couldn’t hear it from
one meter, chances are we couldn’t record it either!

The recording starts with 5~10 second segments of room ambiance, then the fan
at various levels. For the most realistic results, set the volume so that
the starting ambient level is just barely audible, then don’t change the volume
setting again.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Ouyr first glimpse of the Enermax ETS-T40’s solid mounting system made us think that this could be the direct-touch heatpipe cooler that finally takes down the venerable Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus, the king of budget heatsinks. But like the Reeven Kelveros, Swiftech Polaris 120, and Titan Fenrir before it, the ETS-T40’s mounting hardware doesn’t provide good enough contact between its base and the CPU. The end result is middling performance, and it’s only capable of that at high stock fan speed or more quietly when armed with a quality fan. The included Enermax Twister fan is a smooth sounding model that surprisingly delivers poor cooling proficiency at less than top speed with the ETS-T40. At comparable noise levels, our reference fan tromped it.

The ETS-T40 is yet another in a long line of flawed direct-touch heatpipe coolers with more bark than bite. High cost would make the ETS-T40 a complete blunder, but thankfully it has a very palatable street price of only US$35. But if you’re into quiet cooling, we don’t believe it’s worth even that much, not if one has to replace the fan to achieve acceptable cooling performance. It could work cool and quiet enough if your CPU runs cooler than our hot i7-1366. The aforementioned Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus can be found for a mere US$25 or less at some e-retailers, however, and unless this model has changed significantly from the sample we tested two years ago, it is tough to match.

Our thanks to Enermax for the ETS-T40 CPU cooler sample.

* * *

SPCR Articles of Related Interest:

be quiet! Dark Rock 2 Tower Heatsink
Thermalright HR-02 Macho Quiet/Fanless Cooler
Cooler Master GeminII M4 Low Profile Heatsink
Reeven Kelveros & Arcziel CPU Coolers
Thermalright Archon SB-E 15cm Fan CPU Cooler
Antec Kühler H20 620 & 920 CPU Water Cooling Units

* * *

Discuss
this article in the SPCR forums.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *