[nextpage title=”Introduction”]

This time we reviewed Thermaltake ISGC-200 CPU cooler, which uses the same fan of ISGC-100 but has a completely different design, with heatsinks making "sandwiching" the fan. Will its performance be better than its "little brother"?

ISGC-200 box is visually similar to ISGC-100‘s, but a little bit bigger. It also brings the picture of a virtual redhead (that looks very much like the ATI poster girl) holding a huge sword similar to Final Fantasy. Thermaltake says that this girl’s name is Zoe, "goddess of victory", and she is a computer programmer who lives in a Peruvian amazon village and has as mission to use her powers to protect a magic stone. No, we didn’t understand what this story has to do with CPU coolers. Actually, the ancient Greek goddess of victory was named Nike (yes, the sportswear brand took her name). Hardware Secrets is also culture.

Thermaltake ISGC-200Figure 1: Box.

Inside the box, there is the cooler itself, installation hardware, a little white thermal compound bag, user manuals and a case sticker.

Thermaltake ISGC-200Figure 2: Box contents.

ISGC-200 is a tower-design CPU cooler, with three U-shaped heatpipes connecting the cooler base to two aluminum heatsinks. The fan stays between these heatsinks, attached to one of them with two metal clips.

Thermaltake ISGC-200Figure 3: ISGC-200.
The heatpipes ends are protected by plastic caps. These heatpipes are well spaced on the heatsink for better heat distribution.

Thermaltake ISGC-200Figure 4: Front view.

[nextpage title=”Introduction (Cont’d)”]

In Figure 5, you can see where the fan stays inside the cooler. Since it is a 92 mm model the cooler could be lower than models using 120 mm fans. The fan touches only one of the heatsinks. On top of the cooler base there are also some fins to help dissipating heat.

Thermaltake ISGC-200Figure 5: Side view.

In Figure 6, you can see how ISGC-200 looks from the top.

Thermaltake ISGC-200Figure 6: Top view.

The base is made of pure copper with a mirror finish, as you can check in Figure 7.
Thermaltake ISGC-200Figure 7: Base.

In Figure 8, you can see how the heatsink looks like without the fan.

Thermaltake ISGC-200Figure 8: Heatsink without the fan.

The fan is identical to the one used on ISGC-100, with cuttings on the tips of the blades intended to reduce noise level. It uses a four-pin miniature connector, therefore with PWM control, i.e., the motherboard controls the fan speed automatically according to the CPU load level and temperature.

Thermaltake ISGC-200Figure 9: Fan.

[nextpage title=”Installation”]

In order to install ISGC-200 on socket AM3, AM2+, AM2, 939 or 754 CPUs from AMD just put the cooler on the processor and attach the clip shown in Figure 10.

Thermaltake ISGC-200Figure 10: AMD clip.

For installation on socket LGA775 Intel processors, you must first screw the two clips shown in Figure 11 to the base of the cooler.

Thermaltake ISGC-200Figure 11: Socket LGA775 clips.

Then the cooler retention mechanism looks exactly like the system used by Intel stock cooler. So you just need to press the four pegs to secure it in place. This system is far more practical than the ones that use backplates, but it is criticized because it can bend and force the motherboard. As ISGC-200 is not a heavy cooler, there is no problem in this case.

Thermaltake ISGC-200Figure 12: Ready to install.

In Figure 13 you can se how it looks installed in our case.

Thermaltake ISGC-200Figure 13: Installed.

[nextpage title=”How We Tested”]

We are adopting the following metodology on 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: as we want to measure how efficient is 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 at the same time Prime95 in "In-place Large FFTs" option and three instances of StressCPU program.

We also compared the reviewed cooler to 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 SpeedFan program. For this measurement we used 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 done inside an acoustically insulated room with no other noise sources, what we do not have.

Hardware Configuration

Software Configuration

  • Windows XP Professional installed on FAT32 partition
  • Service Pack 3
  • Intel Inf driver version: 8.3.1.1009
  • NVIDIA video driver version: 182.08

Software Used

Error Margin

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 Intel stock cooler, Thermaltake BigTyp 14Pro, Akasa Nero, Cooler Master V10, Thermaltake TMG IA1, Zalman CNPS10X Extreme, Thermaltake ISGC-100, Noctua NH-U12P Noctua NH-C12P and Thermaltake ISGC-200. Each test ran with the CPU idle and the with the CPU fully loaded. On BigTyp 14Pro and TMG IA1 the tests were done with the fan at full speed and at minimum speed. On Noctua NH-U12P we tested using the fan speed reducing device (U.L.N.A.) and then tested again with the fan connected directly to the motherboard (full speed). Noctua NH-C12P was tested connected directly to the motherboard. With the other coolers, the motherboard controls the fan speed based on CPU load level and temperature.

CPU Idle

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. speed) 17 °C 47 dBA 880 rpm 29 °C 36 °C
BigTyp 14Pro (max. speed) 17 °C 59 dBA 1500 rpm 26 °C 34 °C
Akasa Nero 18 °C 41 dBA 500 rpm 26 °C 35 oC
Cooler Master V10 14 °C 44 dBA 1200 rpm 21 °C 26 °C
TMG IA1 (max. speed) 16 °C 47 dBA 1500 rpm 22 °C 30 °C
TMG IA1 (min. speed) 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 speed) 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

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. speed) 17 °C 47 dBA 880 rpm 43 °C 77 °C
BigTyp 14Pro (max. speed) 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. speed) 16 °C 47 dBA 1500 rpm 27 °C 63 °C
TMG IA1 (min. speed) 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 speed) 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

On the graph below you can see the temperature difference between the cooler base and the room temperature with the CPU idle and fully loaded. Values shown are in Celsius degrees. Remember that the lower the number the better is cooling performance.

Thermaltake ISGC-200

On the next graph you can have an idea on how many Celsius degrees was CPU core hotter than room temperature during the tests.

 Thermaltake ISGC-200

[nextpage title=”Main Specifications”]

Thermaltake ISGC-200 main features are:

  • Application: Socket LGA775, AM3, AM2+, AM2, 939 and 754 processors.
  • Fins: Aluminum.
  • Base: Copper.
  • Heat-pipes: Three U-shape copper heat-pipes.
  • Fan: 92 mm.
  • Nominal fan speed: 600 to 1,600 rpm.
  • Fan air flow: 37 cfm.
  • Maximum power consumption: 0.96 W.
  • Nominal noise level: 17 dBA.
  • Weight: 1.05 lbs (475 g).
  • More information: https://www.thermaltakeusa.com
  • Average price in the US*: USD 42.00

* Researched at Newegg.com on the day we published this review.

[nextpage title=”Conclusions”]

We were very wary before testing Thermaltake ISGC-200, because of the low performance achieved by the smaller cooler from this series, ISGC-100. Our results, however, show that ISGC-200 is far better than its "little brother" on cooling performance. Besides that, it is quieter, even though they use the same fan, probably because of the sandwich design.

Its cooling performance is good, but not as good as the best coolers we tested so far. Even so it won’tt burn your CPU, even when it is overclocked.

Visually ISGC-200 does not attracts the sight; it can be cool in temperature but not in the looks. The installation system is very practical.

In summary, ISGC-200 is a good cooler, silentful, efficient and having a fair price tag. It may not be the best cooler available, but its buyers will surely not regret the purchase.