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GELID GX-7 & Tranquillo Rev.2 CPU Coolers

The GX-7 and Tranquillo Rev.2 are GELID’s high-end and mid-range CPU coolers, respectively. The Tranquillo has a modest design and fan while the GX-7 is packed with heatpipes and sports a fancy high speed blue LED model.

GELID GX-7 & Tranquillo Rev.2

August 23, 2012 by Lawrence Lee

Product
GELID GX-7 Rev.2
CPU Cooler
GELID Tranquillo Rev.2
CPU Cooler
Manufacturer
GELID SolutionsGELID Solutions
Street Price
US$65US$40

GELID Solutions is an interesting PC accessory manufacturer dealing in fans, coolers, and cases. Started by former employees of Arctic Cooling, the Hong Kong based company has kept their product catalog surprisingly sparse since their inception in 2008. The positive implication is that prefer to refine their focus on a small set of well-designed merchandise rather than spamming the market with volume regardless of quality like some companies. Their most impressive offering thus far, in our opinion at least, is the Icy Vision a well-designed dual fan GPU cooler that delivers excellent performance at a low noise level. Today we look at a pair of their latest CPU coolers, the GX-7 Rev.2 and Tranquillo Rev.2.


The Tranquillo Rev.2 and GX-7 Rev.2 box.

It’s not clear exactly what the differences are between these Rev.2 models and their originals. There is no mention of the Rev.2 GX-7 on GELID’s website and the specifications of the original Tranquillo are the same as its successor. In any event, the Tranquillo Rev.2 represents GELID’s current mid-range heatsink offering while the GX-7 Rev.2 is their high-end flagship cooler, if you couldn’t tell by the far more decorative artwork on the GX-7 box . As the two packages are the same size one could infer that the heatsinks themselves have similar physical dimensions. The main differentiators seems to be the GX-7’s three extra heatpipes (7 vs. 4) and its branded Wing 12 PL fan.


Package contents.

The package contents of the two coolers are, as you probably guessed, identical. The heatsink and included 120 mm fan is secured in a thin plastic clamshell container with a small white accessory box (not pictured) holding the installation instructions and mounting hardware. The installation gear is exactly the same as well except the GX-7’s kit has an extra set of fan clips for dual fan operation.


Side by side, Tranquillo Rev.2 on the left, GX-7 Rev.2 on the right.

Similarities are also found in the build of the two heatsinks. They both have copper bases fused to tightly packed heatpipes with generous amounts of solder and friction-fit aluminum fins that are bent at the sides for stability and presumably to focus the airflow in the desired direction. The GX-7 is slightly larger with few extra fins and seven nickel-plated copper heatpipes to the Tranquillo’s bare set of four.

GELID GX-7 Rev.2 & Tranquillo Rev.2: Specifications
(from the product
web pages here and here)
ModelGX-7 Rev.2Tranquillo Rev.2
Air Flow (CFM)75.658
Bearing:Nanoflux BearingHydro Dynamic Bearing
Cable Length (mm):500500
Current (A):0.450.18
DC Voltage (V):1212
Fan Dimensions (mm):120 x 120 x 25 (L x W x H)120 x 120 x 25 (L x W x H)
Fan Speed (RPM):600 – 1800750 – 1500
Heatsink Dimensions (mm):130 x 65 x 159 (L x W x H)74 x 125 x 153 (L x W x H)
LED Color:BlueN/A
Number of LED:4N/A
Life time MTTF at 40C (h):100,00050,000
Noise Level (dBA):10 – 26.812 – 25.5
Static Pressure (mmAq):2.661.6
Warranty (years):35
Total Weight (g):720645

According to the spec sheet, the GX-7 Rev.2 is 6 mm taller and 75 grams heavier. Its fan also has a higher rotational speed and four bright blue LEDs.

PHYSICAL DETAILS

The GELID GX-7 Rev.2 and Tranquillo Rev.2 are good sized coolers by today’s standards weighing 720 grams and 630 grams respectively according to our digital scale. By our measurements, the GX-7 Rev.2 is 158 mm tall, a common height for tower heatsinks with 12 cm fans, while the Tranquillo Rev.2 is on the short side at 152 mm.


Like many CPU coolers, the GX-7’s fan doesn’t sit completely flush against the heatsink surface. The fins at the center are angled in such a way to create separation near the fan’s dead spot. There are also two long grooves cut out on the sides which don’t seem to serve any practical purpose. Small boomerang shapes have been cut into the center of the fins to increase ventilation but there’s a restrictive plastic cover on the top.


The other side of the GX-7 is completely different, sloped outward toward the center and tapering away at the sides. There are 45 fins in total with an average thickness of 0.31 mm with 2.25 mm of separation.


One notable feature of the GX-7 is its oddly designed fan. It has "winglets," rounded edges on the fan blades that are bent 90 degrees pointing toward the intake side.


The Tranquillo is also sloped toward the center but there’s a much deeper valley. The overall look is more simplistic and uniform.


A second fan option is not offered as the center of the other side juts out prominently. The Tranquillo’s 40 fins are 0.40 mm thick and spaced 2.30 mm apart on average.


The GX-7 features seven heatpipes but the base isn’t that large so only five of them make contact directly while the extra two are jammed in above. The Tranquillo on the otherhand has a tertiary heatsink sitting on top of its base.


The base surface of both coolers had a not quite mirror polish with fine, circular machine marks visible. We found that both of our samples had slightly concave bases.

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.


The installation hardware and procedure is identical for both coolers. Notice that the AMD mounting frame has holes on both sides so the heatsink can be rotated.


The first step is to attach a pair of mounting clips with tiny screws.


An insulated backplate is pressed against the back of the board and long bolts are threaded through the appropriate mounting holes (for Intel installations). They are held on by nuts on the other side.


A second set of spring-loaded bolts on the other side are mated to the first set, completing the install. Note how the mounting clips are separating slightly from the heatsink base — it’s a common problem that creates less than satisfactory pressure between the cooler and CPU.


The Tranquillo Rev.2 mounted on our test platform.


The GX-7 Rev.2 mounted on our test platform.

TESTING

Before thermal testing, we took some basic physical measurements.

Approximate Physical Measurements
ModelGELID GX-7 Rev.2GELID Tranquillo Rev.2
Weight
610 g
720 g with stock fan and clips
520 g
630 g with stock fan and clips
Height158 mm152 mm
Fin count4540
Fin thickness
0.31 mm0.40 mm
Fin spacing
2.25 mm2.30 mm
Vertical Clearance*
45 mm41 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
GELID Tranquillo Rev.2
0.40 mm
2.30 mm
GELID GX-7 Rev.2
0.31 mm
2.25 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.
  • HIS Radeon HD 5570 Silence 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)

Key Components in LGA1155 Heatsink Test Platform:

  • Intel Core i5-2400 Sandy Bridge core, LGA1155, 3.1 GHz, 45nm, 95W TDP, overclocked/volted to 3.6 GHz and 1.300V.
  • Intel DP67BG ATX motherboard.
    P67 chipset.
  • AMD Radeon HD 5450 graphics card.
  • Kingston
    SSDNow V
    30GB 2.5" solid-state drive. Chosen for silence.
  • OCZ Platinum Extreme Low Voltage DDR3 memory. 2 x 2 GB, DDR3-1333 in dual channel.
  • Seasonic X-400 SS-400FL
    400W ATX power supply. Passively cooled
  • 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
1250 RPM
28~29 dBA
9V
990 RPM
21 dBA
7V
770 RPM
15~16 dBA
6V
660 RPM
13 dBA
Reference Nexus 120mm fan
Anechoic chamber measurements
Voltage
SPL@1m
Speed
12V
1100 RPM
16 dBA
9V
890 RPM
13 dBA
7V
720 RPM
12 dBA
Reference Nexus 92 mm fan
Anechoic chamber measurements
Voltage
SPL@1m
Speed
12V
1470 RPM
16 dBA
9V
1150 RPM
12 dBA

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: GELID GX-7 Rev.2 Stock Fan
Manufacturer
Power Rating
5.4 W
Model Number
FN-FW12BPL-18
Airflow Rating
75.6 CFM
Bearing Type
Nanoflux Bearing
Speed Rating
600 ~ 1,800 RPM
Corners
Open
Noise Rating
10 ~ 26.8 dBA
Frame Size
120 x 120 x 25 mm
Header Type
4-pin
Fan Blade Diameter
110 mm
Starting Voltage
3.7 V
Hub Size
39 mm
Weight
110 g
Data in green cells provided by the manufacturer
or observed; data in the blue cells were measured.

The GX-7 Rev.2’s stock fan is a member of GELID’s Wing series, the Wing 12 PL, a 120 mm PWM model with blue LEDs residing at the end each curved strut. The fan looks a little naked as the combined diameter of the impeller and blades is about 4 mm less than typical 120 mm fans. The fan’s nine translucent blue blades are equipped with "winglets," tips on the end of each blade that stick out like a shark’s fin on the intake side. We’re not sure what purpose they serve especially as they’re located on the back side of the fan nor does GELID state specifically why they’re advantageous. The Wing series uses a "Nanoflux" bearing that features a magnetic design that allows the impeller to be easily detached for cleaning.


At 7V, the GX-7 Rev.2 stock fan emitted a noise level of 17 dBA@1m. The acoustic profile was fairly broadband.

Stock Fan Measurements
Voltage
Speed
SPL@1m
12V
1950 RPM
35~36 dBA
9V
1480 RPM
27 dBA
8V
1250 RPM
22 dBA
7V
1020 RPM
17 dBA
6V
780 RPM
13 dBA
5V
560 RPM
11 dBA
Measuring mic positioned 1m at diagonal angle from
the center of the heatsink.
Ambient noise level: 10~11 dBA.

As the fan has PWM capability and a low starting voltage, it can be run at inaudible levels (e.g. 5V, 560 RPM) or cranked up to a head-splitting 35~36 dBA@1m at full speed. The Wing 12 PL’s acoustics were consistently good throughout its wide range. Overall the sound it produced was quite smooth at one meter’s distance. Closer up, we could detect a low-pitched hum that became more prominent as the speed was lowered but masked inside a case, it shouldn’t be noticeable.

Specifications: GELID Tranquillo Rev.2 Stock Fan
Manufacturer
Power Rating
2.16 W
Model Number
FN-PX12-15?
Airflow Rating
58 CFM
Bearing Type
Hydro Dynamic Bearing
Speed Rating
750 ~ 1,500 RPM
Corners
Open
Noise Rating
12 ~ 25.5 dBA
Frame Size
120 x 120 x 25 mm
Header Type
4-pin
Fan Blade Diameter
114 mm
Starting Voltage
6.4 V
Hub Size
41 mm
Weight
110g
Data in green cells provided by the manufacturer
or observed; data in the blue cells were measured.

The Tranquillo Rev.2’s stock fan has a more conventional design with a large hub, seven fan blades, and straight struts. It’s a PWM 120 mm model with fluid bearings.


At 8V, the Tranquillo Rev.2 stock fan generates a noise level of 17 dBA@1m.

Stock Fan Measurements
Voltage
Speed
SPL@1m
12V
1390 RPM
25 dBA
9V
1100 RPM
19 dBA
8V
990 RPM
17 dBA
7V
830 RPM
14 dBA
6V
260 RPM
<11 dBA
Measuring mic positioned 1m at diagonal angle from
the center of the heatsink.
Ambient noise level: 10~11 dBA.

The Tranquillo’s fan has a lower rotational speed so at 12V it was substantially quieter than the Wing 12 PL, measuring only 25 dBA@1m. It had issues with voltage control, exhibiting a huge drop-off in speed when set under 7V. The acoustics were also very muddy, producing tonality at various frequencies throughout its range. To the human hear it sounded like two or three tones of varying pitch competing with one another. At close proximity it actually sounded better at higher speeds as the increased air turbulence helped drown it out.

TEST RESULTS

GELID GX-7 Rev.2
Fan Voltage
Fan Speed
SPL@1m
°C Rise
Stock Fan
12V
1950 RPM
35~36 dBA
44
9V
1480 RPM
27 dBA
45
8V
1250 RPM
22 dBA
49
7V
1020 RPM
17 dBA
51
6V
780 RPM
13 dBA
56
Reference Nexus 120mm Fan
12V
1100 RPM
17 dBA
47
9V
890 RPM
13 dBA
50
7V
720 RPM
11~12 dBA
52
°C Rise: Temperature rise above ambient (20°C)
at load.

The GELID GX-7 Rev.2 exhibited very disappointing performance. The average thermal rise above ambient was ~50°C, fairly poor for our test platform. Though the Wing 12 PL fan has a great sound, it doesn’t work that well with the heatsink, at least compared to our reference Nexus fan. At comparable noise levels the Nexus produced CPU temperatures about 5°C lower, a sizable improvement.


GX-7 Rev.2 thermal compound footprint.

As we previously noted, our GX-7 Rev.2 sample had a concave base. This was quite apparent when we inspected the thermal compound footprint left behind after installation. Thick veins of TIM remained at the center indicating tenuous contact in the middle where it’s essential to have good pressure.

GELID Tranquillo Rev.2
Fan Voltage
Fan Speed
SPL@1m
°C Rise
Stock Fan
12V
1390 RPM
25 dBA
46
9V
1100 RPM
19 dBA
48
8V
990 RPM
17 dBA
49
7V
830 RPM
14 dBA
50
Reference Nexus 120mm Fan
12V
1100 RPM
17 dBA
48
9V
890 RPM
13 dBA
50
7V
720 RPM
11~12 dBA
53
°C Rise: Temperature rise above ambient (20°C)
at load.

The Tranquillo Rev.2 produced slightly better results but when you look at the reference fan data, it’s clear that the Tranquillo isn’t a better heatsink. Its stock fan was simply more proficient than the GX-7’s, matching our reference Nexus fan at equivalent noise levels.


Tranquillo Rev.2 thermal compound footprint.

Though the overall results were similar, the footprint left behind on the Tranquillo was less substantial, suggesting a firmer mating. The rest of the heatsink being smaller may have offset some of the advantage the Tranquillo had in this regard.

Heatsink Comparison Tables

CPU Coolers (ref. 120mm fan): °C Rise Comparison
Heatsink
Fan voltage / SPL @1m*
12V
9V
7V
15~17 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
GELID GX-7 Rev.2
47
50
52
Zalman CNPS10X Flex
45
50
54
be quiet! Dark Rock 2
48
50
52
Cooler Master V8
46
50
54
GELID Tranquillo Rev.2
48
50
53
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 GX-7 Rev.2 and Tranquillo Rev.2 lands in the bottom half our performance chart with cooling proficiency close to that of the recently reviewed be quiet! Dark Rock 2, another disappointing heatsink with poor base/processor contact.

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

Of the two heatsinks we tested today, the GELID GX-7 Rev.2 is particularly disappointing due to its larger size and supposed flagship status. It really should’ve been at most, a five heatpipe cooler, as the extra two pipes don’t make direct contact with the copper base. Heatpipes without good thermal conduction are inefficient, taking up space that could probably be better utilized. The mounting system also doesn’t apply enough pressure and this issue was exacerbated by our sample’s concave base. The GX-7 Rev.2’s cooling proficiency takes another blow from its Wing 12 PL stock fan which has good acoustic qualities but subpar performance.

The GELID Tranquillo Rev.2 didn’t impress us either but being a smaller heatsink with a less ambitious design we weren’t expecting as much. It actually beat the GX-7 Rev.2 by a couple of degrees when both coolers were equipped with their respective stock fans. The Tranquillo’s fan is pretty much the complete opposite of the Wing 12 PL, sounding bad but performing very well. The two coolers share the same mounting kit but as our Tranquillo sample’s base was flatter, the resulting contact was a big improvement but it wasn’t enough to produce results competitive with most of the coolers we’ve tested in the past.

Considering the US$40 Tranquillo Rev.2 edged out the GX-7 Rev.2 performance-wise, it’s clear that the GX-7’s US$65 price-tag is completely unjustified. In a smaller field, the Tranquillo might be more competitive but in a market filled with products that offer both strong performance and value, it too is outclassed. With so many quality alternatives there isn’t much room for error and both heatsinks are flawed to varying degrees. We cannot know whether the non-flat bases are unique to our samples or typical of the line; naturally we can hope for the former, but this can only be verified by large sampling group reporting honestly in a public forum. It’s hard to see who would make the risky purchase, though.

Our thanks to GELID Solutions for the GX-7 Rev.2 & Tranquillo Rev.2 CPU cooler samples.

* * *

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
Scythe Big Shuriken 2 & Reeven Vanxie CPU Coolers

* * *

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