Today we are going to analyze VCT-9000 CPU cooler from Nexus, which has a very unique design, with a tower heatsink with an inclined fan. But will this design result in a good performance? Check it out!
The box is very fancy, with a window that allow you to see the cooler and its inclined fan.
Inside the box we found the cooler with the fan installed, manual, installation hardware and a vacuum-sealed tube of thermal compound.
In the next pages we will analyze this cooler in detail.
[nextpage title=”Nexus VCT-9000″]
In Figure 3 you have a front view of the cooler. Note the heatpipes tips on the base. The 120 mm fan is made of dark transparent plastic.
In Figure 4 we see clearly how different is VCT-9000 design. Note that the heatsink is not touching the base, but drifted from it.
On the rear side of the cooler you can check the positon of the heatpipes and the presence of a small auxiliary heatsink on the base.
[nextpage title=”Nexus VCT-9000 (Cont’d)”]
In Figure 6, you can see VCT-900 from above.
In Figure 7 you see the base of the cooler. The heatpipes touch directly the CPU. Note that the middle heatpipe is thicker than the others, with 8 mm in diameter, while the others have 6 mm. The base is not very smooth, looking like it was finished with a coarse sandpaper. There are gaps between the heatpipes, which means you must use a good quantity of thermal compound in order to fill them.
In Figure 8, you can see the syringe of thermal gray compound that comes with the cooler. This compound is not easy to apply because it is too hard. The plastic spatula that comes with the cooler can’t even spread it. The quantity of this thermal compound is also too little to give a good contact between the base of the cooler and the CPU. We had to use another thermal compound in order to assure a good thermal contact.
In Figure 9, you can see the base of the cooler with the holding clips for Intel CPUs in place. These clips are similar to the ones used on the Intel stock cooler, but it fits sockets 775, 1156 and 1366.
In Figure 10, you can see the cooler installed on our motherboard. It was a very hard installation, because access to the clips is too narrow for the fingers. Even with no backplate, it is virtually impossible to install this cooler if you don’t remove the motherboard from the case.
In Figure 11, you can see the cooler installed in our case.
On other reviews we go straight to the test methodology and results after this page, but with this cooler we had an unpleasant surprise, which we explain in the next page.
[nextpage title=”Installation Issues”]
We turned on our system in order to perform the tests (in Figure 12 you can see the fan turned on) but our computer turned off by itself after a few seconds. We discovered through the motherboard setup that our CPU was reaching 110 °C, and we were not running any programs! So we removed the motherboard from the case for an analysis of the cooler assembly.
We found that in the position we installed the cooler (which is the position recommended in the manual), the heatpipes were touching the capacitors of the motherboard voltage regulator circuit, avoiding the base of the cooler of touching the whole CPU. We tried other positions, but the only one we could install the cooler was the one shown in Figure 13. This was the position we ran our tests.
Unfortunately, in adition to almost burn our processor on the first installation, the heatpipes also smashed the capacitors from the voltage regulator circuit, as you can see in Figure 14. Luckly our motherboard survived (at least by now).
[nextpage title=”How We Tested”]
We are adopting the following methodology for our CPU cooler reviews.
First, we chose the CPU with the highest TDP (Thermal Design Power) we had available, a Core 2 Extreme QX6850, which has a 130 W TDP. The choice for a CPU with a high TDP is obvious. To measure the efficiency of the tested cooler, we need a processor that gets very hot. This CPU works by default at 3.0 GHz, but we overclocked it to 3.33 GHz, in order to heat it as much as possible.
We took noise and temperature measurements with the CPU idle and under full load. In order to achieve 100% CPU load on the four processing cores we ran Prime95 with the "In-place Large FFTs" option, and three instances of the StressCPU program, all at the same time.
We also compared the reviewed cooler to the Intel stock cooler (with copper base), which comes with the processor we used, and also with some other coolers we have tested using the same methodology.
Temperature measurements were taken with a digital thermometer, with the sensor touching the base of the cooler, and also with the core temperature reading (given by the CPU thermal sensor) from the from the SpeedFan program, using an arithmetic average of the four core temperature readings.
The sound pressure level (SPL) was measured with a digital noise meter, with its sensor placed 4" (10 cm) from the fan. We turned off the video board cooler so it wouldn’t interfere with the results, but this measurement is only for comparative purposes, because a precise SPL measurement needs to be made inside an acoustically insulated room with no other noise sources, which is not the case here.
- Processor: Core 2 Extreme QX6850
- Motherboard: Gigabyte EP45-UD3L
- Memory: 4 GB G.Skill F2-6400CL5S-2GBNY (DDR2-800/PC2-6400 with 5-5-5-15 timings), configured at 800 MHz
- Hard drive: 1 TB Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 (ST31000528AS, SATA-300, 7200 rpm, 32 MB buffer)
- Video card: PNY Verto Geforce 9600 GT
- Video resolution: 1680×1050
- Video monitor: Samsung Syncmaster 2232BW Plus
- Power supply required: Seventeam ST-550P-AM
- Case: 3RSystem K100
- Windows XP Professional SP3
We adopted a 2 °C error margin, i.e., temperature differences below 2 °C are considered irrelevant.
[nextpage title=”Our Tests”]
On the tables below you can see our results. We ran the same tests with the coolers shown on below tables. Each test ran with the CPU idle and the with the CPU fully loaded. On BigTyp 14Pro, TMG IA1, NH-U12P and ISGC-300 the tests were done with the fan at full speed and at minimum speed. The other coolers were connected directly to the motherboard and it controls the fan speed based on CPU load level and temperature on PWM models. ISGC-400, iCEAGE Prima Boss, Megahalems Rev. B, Thermaltake SpinQ VT, Zalman CNPS10X Flex, Tuniq Tower 120 Extreme and Tuniq Propeller 120 were tested at minimum speed on idle test and at maximum speed on full load test.
|Cooler||Room Temp.||Noise||Fan Speed||Base Temp.||Core Temp.|
|Intel stock||14 °C||44 dBA||1000 rpm||31 °C||42 °C|
|BigTyp 14Pro (min)||17 °C||47 dBA||880 rpm||29 °C||36 °C|
|BigTyp 14Pro (max)||17 °C||59 dBA||1500 rpm||26 °C||34 °C|
|Akasa Nero||18 °C||41 dBA||500 rpm||26 °C||35 °C|
|Cooler Master V10||14 °C||44 dBA||1200 rpm||21 °C||26 °C|
|TMG IA1 (max)||16 °C||47 dBA||1500 rpm||22 °C||30 °C|
|TMG IA1 (min)||16 °C||57 dBA||2250 rpm||21 °C||30 °C|
|Zalman CNPS10X Extreme||16 °C||44 dBA||1200 rpm||21 °C||29 °C|
|Thermaltake ISGC-100||18 °C||44 dBA||1450 rpm||35 °C||49 °C|
|Noctua NH-U12P (low)||15 °C||42 dBA||1000 rpm||20 °C||30 °C|
|Noctua NH-U12P||15 °C||46 dBA||1400 rpm||20 °C||28 °C|
|Noctua NH-C12P||17 °C||46 dBA||1400 rpm||23 °C||28 °C|
|Thermaltake ISGC-200||21 °C||43 dBA||1100 rpm||31 °C||35 °C|
|Schythe Kabuto||22 °C||42 dBA||800 rpm||29 °C||34 °C|
|Arctic Cooling Alpine 11 Pro||20 °C||43 dBA||1500 rpm||32 °C||39 °C|
|ISGC-300 (min)||18 °C||42 dBA||800 rpm||26 °C||30 °C|
|ISGC-300 (max)||18 °C||46 dBA||1400 rpm||24 °C||26 °C|
|SilverStone NT06-E||21 °C||66 dBA||2600 rpm||30 °C||41 °C|
|Zalman CNPS9700 NT||22 °C||48 dBA||1700 rpm||28 °C||35 °C|
|Scythe Mugen-2||17 °C||41 dBA||700 rpm||25 °C||30 °C|
|ISGC-400 (min)||17 °C||44 dBA||850 rpm||24 °C||30 °C|
|Cooler Master Vortex 752||20 °C||48 dBA||1700 rpm||32 °C||44 °C|
|iCEAGE Prima Boss (min)||22 °C||42 dBA||1000 rpm||29 °C||36 °C|
|Evercool Buffalo||17 °C||51 dBA||1850 rpm||22 °C||29 °C|
|Scythe Big Shuriken||20 °C||42 dBA||900 rpm||31 °C||39 °C|
|Cooler Master Hyper TX3||21 °C||44 dBA||1700 rpm||30 °C||39 °C|
|Titan Skalli||20 °C||43 dBA||1200 rpm||27 °C||34 °C|
|Prolimatech Megahalems Rev. B||21 °C||40 dBA||800 rpm||28 °C||32 °C|
|Zalman CNPS9900 NT||23 °C||45 dBA||900 rpm||30 °C||34 °C|
|Cooler Master Hyper N620||21 °C||44 dBA||1200 rpm||28 °C||34 °C|
|Nexus LOW-7000 R2||23 °C||46 dBA||1400 rpm||33 °C||42 °C|
|Evercool HPK-10025EA||20 °C||54 dBA||1900 rpm||27 °C||34 °C|
|Evercool HPH-9525EA||23 °C||50 dBA||1900 rpm||38 °C||49 °C|
|iCEAGE Prima Boss II||23 °C||42 dBA||1000 rpm||29 °C||35 °C|
|Thermaltake SpinQ VT||24 °C||45 dBA||950 rpm||32 °C||39 °C|
|Titan Fenrir||21 °C||42 dBA||950 rpm||29 °C||35 °C|
|Zalman CNPS 10 Flex||23 °C||40 dBA||800 rpm||32 °C||39 °C|
|Tuniq Tower 120 Extreme||24 °C||43 dBA||1100 rpm||30 °C||37 °C|
|Gelid Tranquillo||22 °C||850 rpm||29 °C||36 °C|
|Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus||20 °C||45 dBA||1200 rpm||27 °C||35 °C|
|Spire TherMax Eclipse||20 °C||58 dBA||2300 rpm||25 °C||34 °C|
|Tuniq Propeller 120||20 °C||43 dBA||1050 rpm||24 °C||33 °C|
|Nexus VCT-9000||20 °C||44 dBA||600 rpm||28 °C||37 °C|
CPU Fully Loaded
|Cooler||Room Temp.||Noise||Fan Speed||Base Temp.||Core Temp.|
|Intel stock||14 °C||48 dBA||1740 rpm||42 °C||100 °C|
|BigTyp 14Pro (min)||17 °C||47 dBA||880 rpm||43 °C||77 °C|
|BigTyp 14Pro (max)||17 °C||59 dBA||1500 rpm||35 °C||70 °C|
|Akasa Nero||18 °C||48 dBA||1500 rpm||34 °C||68 °C|
|Cooler Master V10||14 °C||54 dBA||1900 rpm||24 °C||52 °C|
|TMG IA1 (max)||16 °C||47 dBA||1500 rpm||27 °C||63 °C|
|TMG IA1 (min)||16 °C||57 dBA||2250 rpm||25 °C||60 °C|
|Zalman CNPS10X Extreme||16 °C||51 dBA||1900 rpm||24 °C||50 °C|
|Thermaltake ISG-100||18 °C||50 dBA||1800 rpm||58 °C||93 °C|
|Noctua NH-U12P (low)||15 °C||42 dBA||1000 rpm||28 °C||59 °C|
|Noctua NH-U12P||15 °C||46 dBA||1400 rpm||25 °C||54 °C|
|Noctua NH-C12P||17 °C||46 dBA||1400 rpm||37 °C||76 °C|
|Thermaltake ISGC-200||21 °C||48 dBA||1900 rpm||42 °C||68 °C|
|Scythe Kabuto||22 °C||47 dBA||1200 rpm||38 °C||63 °C|
|Arctic Cooling Alpine 11 Pro||20 °C||51 dBA||2300 rpm||49 °C||85 °C|
|ISGC-300 (min)||18 °C||42 dBA||800 rpm||36 °C||64 °C|
|ISGC-300 (max)||18 °C||46 dBA||1400 rpm||31 °C||56 °C|
|SilverStone NT06-E||21 °C||66 dBA||2600 rpm||39 °C||96 °C|
|Zalman CNPS9700 NT||22 °C||56 dBA||2600 rpm||34 °C||63 °C|
|Scythe Mugen-2||17 °C||46 dBA||1300 rpm||28 °C||54 °C|
|ISGC-400 (max)||17 °C||47 dBA||1400 rpm||36 °C||69 °C|
er Master Vortex 752
|20 °C||55 dBA||2300 rpm||48 °C||92 °C|
|iCEAGE Prima Boss (max)||22 °C||53 dBA||2000 rpm||35 °C||59 °C|
|Evercool Buffalo||17 °C||51 dBA||1850 rpm||32 °C||67 °C|
|Scythe Big Shuriken||20 °C||50 dBA||1500 rpm||51 °C||85 °C|
|Cooler Master Hyper TX3||21 °C||53 dBA||2700 rpm||39 °C||66 °C|
|Titan Skalli||20 °C||47 dBA||1550 rpm||37 °C||69 °C|
|Prolimatech Megahalems Rev. B||21 °C||61 dBA||2600 rpm||30 °C||51 °C|
|Zalman CNPS9900 NT||23 °C||56 dBA||2000 rpm||34 °C||54 °C|
|Cooler Master Hyper N620||21 °C||50 dBA||1650 rpm||32 °C||56 °C|
|Nexus LOW-7000 R2||23 °C||53 dBA||1900 rpm||45 °C||74 °C|
|Evercool HPK-10025EA||20 °C||54 dBA||1900 rpm||39 °C||69 °C|
|Evercool HPH-9525EA||23 °C||50 dBA||1900 rpm||58 °C||100 °C|
|iCEAGE Prima Boss II||23 °C||56 dBA||2100 rpm||32 °C||56 °C|
|Thermaltake SpinQ VT||24 °C||52 dBA||1500 rpm||40 °C||68 °C|
|Titan Fenrir||21 °C||50 dBA||1600 rpm||33 °C||58 °C|
|Zalman CNPS 10 Flex||23 °C||61 dBA||2600 rpm||33 °C||59 °C|
|Tuniq Tower 120 Extreme||24 °C||56 dBA||1900 rpm||35 °C||60 °C|
|Gelid Tranquillo||22 °C||46 dBA||1450 rpm||31 °C||60 °C|
|Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus||20 °C||52 dBA||1900 rpm||32 °C||64 °C|
|Spire TherMax Eclipse||20 °C||58 dBA||2300 rpm||29 °C||73 °C|
|Tuniq Propeller 120||20 °C||55 dBA||1900 rpm||36 °C||68 °C|
|Nexus VCT-9000||20 °C||50 dBA||850 rpm||43 °C||88 °C|
The next graph shows how many degrees Celsius the CPU core was hotter than room temperature during our idle tests.
The next graph gives you an idea on how many degrees Celsius the CPU core was hotter than room temperature during our full load tests.
[nextpage title=”Main Specifications”]
Nexus VCT-9000 main features are:
- Application: Socket LGA775, 1156, 1366, AM3, AM2+ and AM2 processors.
- Fins: Aluminum.
- Base: Aluminum, with heatpipes in direct contact with the CPU.
- Heat-pipes: Five copper heat-pipes.
- Fans: 120 mm.
- Nominal fan speed: 1,600 rpm.
- Fan air flow: Not informed.
- Maximum power consumption: Not informed.
- Nominal noise level: 22 dBA.
- Weight: 1.46 lbs (635 g).
- More information: https:
- Average price in the US*: USD 70.00.
* Researched at Newegg.com on the day we published this review.
What can we say about a cooler that is expensive, has a poor cooling performance and can even damage your motherboard?
The only strong point on Nexus VCT-9000 is its looks, unique and nice. Actually, we could also say it has a very quiet fan, even at full speed. But there’s no advantage on a pretty and quiet cooler if it does not fulfill its primary function: to cool down the CPU.
Besides that, its holding system needs to be completely redesigned by the manufacturer. The heatpipes that come out of the base should turn upwards near the base, which is not the case. So, they touch (and force) the motherboard capacitors and, in our case, avoided a good contact between the base of the cooler and the CPU, and even smashed those capacitors. We were lucky of not losing our motherboard.
So, we have just one thing to say about Nexus VCT-9000 CPU cooler: avoid it.