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Havik 140: NZXT’s First CPU Heatsink

The Havik 140 is a single tower cooler with a Prolimatech/Noctua style mounting system and a pair of interesting 14 cm fans attached using rubber isolators. NZXT’s first heatsink has all the ingredients for success.

June 3, 2011 by Lawrence Lee

Product
NZXT Havik 140
CPU Cooler
Manufacturer
NZXT
MSRP
US$75

NZXT is best known for their plethora of well-designed ATX/EATX towers cases, but they also carry cooling accessories including fan controllers or fans. Today marks an expansion of this lineup with the release of their first CPU cooler, the Havik 140. It’s a rather tough market to break into given the level of competition involved, but if NZXT attacks it with the same tenacity they did with PC cases, we would be hesitant to bet against them.


The box.

The Havik 140 is a single tower cooler, nickel-plated from head to toe, much like Thermalright’s Ultra/Venomous series and countless other established CPU heatsinks. What is unusual is that it ships with dual 14 cm fans. Traditionally coolers of its size would be equipped with 12 cm models so this might be overkill. The only other heatsinks we’ve encountered that include a pair of 14 cm fans are the dual tower Prolimatech Genesis and Thermalright Silver Arrow, and the down-blowing Noctua NH-C14, all three of which are larger and heavier. Furthermore, both the Silver Arrow and NH-C14 can be purchased for close to the Havik 140’s MSRP of US$75.


Package contents.

The Havik 140 ships in a neatly arranged package with cushioned layers of styrofoam protecting the heatsink and stock fans. A simple white box holds the accessories which includes all the necessary mounting hardware, a tube of thermal compound, a 3-pin Y fan cable, and an instruction sheet in various languages. The fans are rather interesting as they have unusual frames and twisted fan blades.

NZXT Havik 140: Key Features
(from the box)
Feature & Brief
Our Comment
Specifically designed rubber fasteners to reduce vibration and secure fans to heatsink. Vibration typically isn’t much of an issue on modern CPU coolers, but dampening the fans couldn’t hurt.
Unique fan blades provide quiet 27.8 dB operation and highly effective airflow of 90.3 CFM. Manufacturers love throwing out difficult to confirm numbers.
Six 6mm heat pipes with standard dual 140 mm fans for the most efficient conductivity. Okay.
Includes sturdy Intel/AMD mounting kits to accommodate a variety of motherboards and secure the heatsink during transportation. Should be very secure as it is similar to systems used by Noctua and Prolimatech.
Newly patented fins exceptionally slice passing air for increased ventilation and reduced noise. Sounds physically impossible.
100% soldered copper base and aluminum fins with nickel plating to ensure resilience against deterioration, quality, and long life. Standard operating procedure for high-end heatsinks these days.

 

NZXT Havik 140: Specifications
(from the box)
Materials Aluminum / Copper nickel-plated
Dimensions 135(W) x 160(H) x 60(D) mm
Weight 760 g (excluding fans and mounting kit)
1035 g (with dual 140mm fans)
Mounting Pressure 55-60 lbs
Fan Size 140(W) x 140(H) x 25(D) mm x 2pcs
Fan Bearing Long Life (Oil-leaking Prevention) + Shaft with Copper sleeve
Fan Speed 1200 ± 10% R.P.M.
Noise Level 25.2 dB
Air Flow 90.3 CFM
Connector 3-pin
Input Power 3.6 W
Life 30000 Hours

PHYSICAL DETAILS

The NZXT Havik 140 is composed of a copper base soldered to 6 x 6 mm thick copper heatpipes and 46 aluminum fins, and the entire body is nickel-plated. By our measurements, the heatsink weighs approximately 730 grams (1040 grams with the stock fans installed) and stands 160 mm tall (166 mm with a fan installed).


The Havik 140 has a clean simple nickel-plated design with fins measuring on average, 0.41 mm thick (it’s thinner at the center and thicker on the edges) and spaced 1.91 mm apart. It resembles the shiny silver towers produced by Thermalright and Prolimatech.


The overall build and shape of the heatpipes looks very much like the Prolimatech Armageddon. However, the Armageddon has a thinner but wider body and an extra two sets of heatpipes.


The heatsink is wider than most single fan models to take advantage of the 14 cm fans, but being only 60 mm thick it is still petite compared to the larger dual fan coolers.


The heatpipes are swirled near the base in order to spread them out evenly throughout the fin stack. They are soldered to a copper base which is slightly convex at the center.


The base surface has a rough looking finish but is smooth to the touch.


The stock fans have a nontraditional housing with mounting holes on opposite sides that do not line up with one another. They are mounted with very long rubber isolators.

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 mounting hardware includes a multi-socket back plate and a dual head 3-pin fan adapter.


The mounting system is similar to those employed by Noctua and Prolimatech. A metal plate is placed at the back, long screws are pushed through the appropriate holes and secured to a pair of mounting clips with nuts and plastic spacers on the other side. A metal bar with spring-loaded bolts goes across the base of the heatsink and screws into the clips.


On AMD boards, four-way mounting is accomplished by combining the AMD and Intel clips with small screws.


The ends of the fan isolators have to be stretched and rotated to fit between fins on the heatsink. We were concerned that the sharp metal edges would eventually cut into them but after several fan swaps, they were no worse for wear. Note: it is much easier to attach them to the fan first.


The isolators have to be pulled toward the center of the heatsink as well because the stock fans lack 140 mm mounting holes.


Installed on our Asus P6X58D Premium motherboard. The intake fan hung partially over the first DIMM slot; there was enough clearance underneath for a bare stick of memory with only 1~2 mm to spare.

TESTING

Before thermal testing, we took some basic physical measurements.

Approximate Physical Measurements
Weight
730 g
1040 g with stock fans and isolators
Height 160 mm
166 mm with fan(s)
Fin count 46
Fin thickness
0.41 mm
Fin spacing
1.91 mm
Vertical Clearance*
48 mm
34 mm with fan(s)
Horizontal Overhang**
-15 mm
* measured from the motherboard PCB to
the bottom fin of the heatsink.
** measured from the far edge of the heatsink to the top edge of the motherboard
PCB.

 

Comparison: Approx. Average Fin Thickness & Spacing
Heatsink
Fin Thickness
Fin Spacing
Thermalright HR-01 Plus
0.45 mm
3.15 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
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
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
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
i7-1366 heatsink testing platform
, while smaller coolers tackle our AM3 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)

Key Components in AM3 Heatsink Test Platform:

  • AMD Athlon II X4 630 AM3,
    2.8GHz, 45nm, 95W TDP.
  • Asus M4A785TD-V EVO ATX motherboard.
    785G chipset.
  • Kingston
    SSDNow V
    30GB 2.5″ solid-state drive. Chosen for silence.
  • 2GB
    Corsair Dominator
    DDR3 memory. 2 x 1GB DDR3-1800 in dual channel.
  • FSP Zen 300W
    ATX power supply. Fanless.
  • 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 Burn,
    used to stress the AM3 CPU heavily, generating more heat than most real applications.
    4 instances are used to ensure that all 4 cores 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 or CPUBurn 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

The fans included with the Havik 140 are sleeve bearing models with nine thin, twisted blades, and a short 15 cm 3-pin cable. A 15 cm Y cable is included to plug both fans into the same header, though we would probably recommend against powering it via a motherboard header if its 3.6W power rating is accurate. The struts holding the motor in place are curved but in a manner that makes them almost parallel with the trailing edges of the fan blades. To lessen the probability of turbulence and tonality, they should be curved in the opposite direction.

Specifications: NZXT Havik 140 Stock Fan
Manufacturer
Power Rating
3.6 W
Model Number
?
Airflow Rating
90.3 CFM
Bearing Type
Sleeve
Speed Rating
1200 RPM ± 10%
Corners
Open
Noise Rating
25.2 dBA
Frame Size
140 x 140 x 26 mm
Header Type
3-pin
Fan Blade Diameter
129 mm
Starting Voltage
3.3 V
Hub Size
40 mm
Weight
150 g
Data in green cells provided by the manufacturer
or observed; data in the blue cells were measured.

 

Stock Fan Measurements
Voltage
Avg. Speed
SPL@1m
One Fan
Two Fans
12V
1270 RPM
27~28 dBA
31 dBA
9V
1030 RPM
20~21 dBA
25 dBA
8V
940 RPM
18 dBA
22~23 dBA
7V
850 RPM
15 dBA
20 dBA
6V
750 RPM
13 dBA
16~17 dBA
5V
630 RPM
12 dBA
14 dBA
Measuring mic positioned 1m at diagonal angle from
the center of the heatsink.
Ambient noise level: 10~11 dBA.

The acoustics of the stock fan are excellent, similar to our reference Noctua NF-P14 fan. It is whiny at 12V and turbulent at 9V~10V but both these effects lessen as the fan speed is decreased. More importantly, it is smooth throughout most of its range, and becomes quiet at a relatively high level, 8V / 940 RPM.

The stock fans don’t sound nearly as good in tandem however. When both are placed on the Havik 140, the noise signature acquires an odd pulsing type sound audible at 7V and above. This may be caused by intermodulation which is odd because the speeds of the two fan samples were very close, within 30~40 RPM of one another. The odd shape of the fins could also play a part in this.


With both stock fans installed and running at 7V, the Havik 140 measures 16~17 dBA@1m.

Cooling Results

Fan Voltage
One Fan
Two Fans
SPL@1m
Thermal Rise
Thermal Rise
SPL@1m
Stock 140mm Fan
12V
27~28 dBA
38°C
36°C
31 dBA
9V
20~21 dBA
41°C
38°C
25 dBA
8V
18 dBA
42°C
39°C
22~23 dBA
7V
15 dBA
42°C
39°C
20 dBA
6V
13 dBA
44°C
41°C
16~17 dBA
Reference 140mm Fan: Noctua NF-P14
12V
27 dBA
38°C
36°C
31 dBA
9V
19~20 dBA
40°C
38°C
23~24 dBA
8V
17 dBA
41°C
39°C
19~20 dBA
7V
14~15 dBA
43°C
40°C
16~17 dBA
6V
13 dBA
47°C
43°C
13~14 dBA

The Havik 140 was an excellent performer, maintaining a thermal rise above ambient of 36°C at 12V and suffering only a 5°C degradation at 5V. Its cooling ability was about 3°C worse using just a one fan. In a single fan configuration, our reference Noctua fan was slightly better at 8V~9V, but at the 6V/13 dBA level, the stock fan proved superior by 3°C. It’s also notable that at 7V~12V, the measured noise level with one reference fan was 1~2 dB lower than normal, so the rubber isolators appear to work as advertised.

It seems that the odd acoustic effect we encountered when pairing up the stock fans resulted in higher measurable noise as well. Our reference fan produced noise levels very close to that of the stock fan, but when paired up, the SPL increase in the 7V~12V range was 2~4 dB compared to 4~5 dB for the stock fans. As a result two Noctuas were quieter at the same voltage levels, while generating similar temperatures.

Heatsink Comparison Table

Dual Fan CPU Coolers (ref. 140mm fans): CPU °C Rise Comparison
Heatsink
Fan Voltage / SPL*
8V
7V
6V
18~20 dBA
15~17 dBA
12~14 dBA
Prolimatech Genesis
36
37
39
Noctua NH-C14
37
39
41
Thermalright Silver Arrow
37
39
41
Noctua NH-D14
38
40
42
Thermalright Venomous X
39
41
42
NZXT Havik 140
39
40
43
*Note: there are minor differences in measured SPL due to the variety of fan orientations and mounting methods offered by the compared coolers.

In a reference fan showdown with the top-end dual fan heatsinks, the Havik 140 unfortunately falls just a little short. Given its smaller size, it just doesn’t have enough surface area to contend with the more monstrously sized coolers from Prolimatech, Noctua and Thermalright. It does however tie with the venerable Thermalright Venomous X, quite an accomplishment for NZXT’s first heatsink.

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

NZXT’s first foray into the CPU cooling market is a success as the Havik 140 fell just short the elite status awarded to much larger coolers like the Noctua NH-D14/NH-C14, Thermalright Silver Arrow, and Prolimatech Genesis. It performs as well as the Thermalright Venomous X which is no small accomplishment. It isn’t anything revolutionary though, quite the opposite in fact as its overall design draws on elements found in the current crop of high-end heatsinks. The heatsink body and secure mounting system are very similar to what Prolimatech and Thermalright have been doing the last couple of years.

The stock fans sound excellent, acoustically equivalent to our reference Noctua NF-P14’s, but only individually. When used as a pair they sound worse and measure higher than the Noctuas, an unfortunate side-effect of either intermodulation and/or the twisted shape of the fan blades. As a result, they can’t deliver thermal performance similar to that of the P14’s without emitting higher noise levels. The odd rubber fan mounts created a small acoustic improvement (only measurable when using a single fan). We were concerned they wouldn’t stand up with prolonged use, but after multiple fan changes, there wasn’t a scratch on them. The only downside we can see is the degree of finesse required squeeze them between the fins if the motherboard is already mounted in the case. In close quarters with limited visibility, metal clips are easier to deal with.

The NZXT Havik 140 has a MSRP of US$75, which is a little high considering more capable coolers like the Thermalright Silver Arrow and Noctua NH-C14 can be found online for a similar amount. If you’re uncomfortable with having such beastly coolers in your system, the Havik 140 is definitely worth consideration though. For the noise conscious, the interaction between the two stock fans is undesirable, but as they sound excellent on their own it might be worthwhile to reuse the second fan in your case if it supports 14 cm models.

Our thanks to NZXT for the Havik 140 heatsink sample.

* * *

Articles of Related Interest

Thermalright Venomous X Silent Edition CPU Cooler
Prolimatech Genesis CPU Heatsink: Retaking the Crown
Swiftech Polaris 120 CPU Heatsink
Zalman CNPS9900 MAX & CNPS5X CPU Coolers
Thermalright Silver Arrow Dual 14cm Fan Cooler
Noctua NH-C14 Dual Fan Top-down CPU Cooler

* * *

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