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[nextpage title=”Introduction”]

We have reviewed three Thermaltake’s ISGC series coolers, ISGC-100, ISGC-200 and ISGC-300, with results varying from one to the other. Lets see how the fourth cooler, ISGC-400, will perform?

ISGC-400’s box has the same graphic design of this series other coolers’, but it is smaller than ISGC-300’s.

ISGC-400Figure 1: Box.

Inside the box we found the heatsink, fan (not installed), user manual, installation hardware and a small tube of gray thermal compound.

ISGC-400Figure 2: Box contents.

In Figure 3 you can have a general view of ISGC-400 heatsink. It is a horizontal cooler with six copper heatpipes, with a design that resembles the Noctua NH-C12P and SilverStone NT06-E. Let’s see it in detail on the next few pages.

ISGC-400Figure 3: ISGC-400 heatsink.

[nextpage title=”Thermaltake ISGC-400″]

ISGC-400’s design uses a horizontal heatsink with aluminum fins, connected to the base by six copper heatpipes. Over the base there is also an auxiliary heatsink that helps cooling. This system has an advantage do to the fact that it helps cool the components near the CPU, but the disadvantage is the hot air is not directed to the outside of the case, as on the tower coolers.

ISGC-400Figure 4: Side view.

In a front view we notice the plastic heatsink caps on the heatpipes tips, also present on other models of this series.
ISGC-400Figure 5: Front view. 
In Figure 6 we have a rear view of ISGC-400, where it is clear the disposition of the six heatpipes.

 

ISGC-400Figure 6: Rear view.
In Figure 7 we have a top view of the cooler. Note that the heatpipes are closer to each other on the outer side of the heatsink, because it is the area that receives more airflow from the fan. There is no heatpipe in the center, simply because this area gets less airflow.

 

ISGC-400Figure 7: Top view.

[nextpage title=”Thermaltake ISGC-400 (cont’d)”]

The 120 mm fan that comes with ISGC-400 comes uninstalled and it is the same model used on ISGC-300. It is attached to the heatsink by two metal wire clips, with no anti-vibration device.

ISGC-400Figure 8: Fan.

As in other models of this series, the fan has small "teeth" on the blades tips, in order to reduce the fan noise. This fan has no automatic fan control (PWM), but it has a small potentiometer that allows you to manually set the fan rotation speed.
ISGC-400Figure 9: Fan detail.

The cooler base is made of mirrored copper.

ISGC-400Figure 10: Base.

[nextpage title=”Installation”]

In Figure 11, you can see the clips and the backplate used to install the cooler on AMD socket AM3, AM2+ and AM2 processors.

ISGC-400Figure 11: AMD CPUs clips.

In Figure 12 we can see the installing clips used on Intel sockets 133 and 775 CPUs. In this case there is no backplate, but you still need to remove the motherboard from the case (unless it gives access to the solder side of the motherboard) to install the nuts that hold the cooler on place. It is not a good solution, because it is not simple nor protects the motheboard from bending.

ISGC-400Figure 12: Intel CPUs clips.

In Figure 13, you can see the ISGC-400 base with the socket LGA775 clips installed.

ISGC-400Figure 13: With socket LGA775 clips.
In Figure 14 we can see the cooler installed on the motherboard and the fan in place.
ISGC-400Figure 14: Installed on the motherboard.

ISGC-400 is not as tall as 120mm fan tower coolers, and so it can be installed into slim cases, i.e., m
id tower cases with reduced width, because it is no taller than standard height expansion boards.

ISGC-400Figure 15: Installed into the case.

[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. 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.

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 the 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, Thermaltake ISGC-200, Scythe Kabuto, Arctic Cooling Alpine 11 Pro, Thermaltake ISGC-300, SilverStone NT06-E, Zalman CNPS9700 NT,  Scythe Mugen-2 and Thermaltake ISGC-400. 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 was tested at minimum speed on idle test and at maximum speed on full load test.

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) 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 °
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

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 1
1 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

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.  The values shown are in degrees Celsius. Remember that the lower the number the better the cooling performance.

ISGC-400

The next graph will give you an idea on how many degrees Celsius the CPU core was hotter than room temperature during the tests.

ISGC-400

[nextpage title=”Main Specifications”]

Thermaltake ISGC-400 main features are:

  • Application: Socket LGA1366, 775, AM3, AM2+ and AM2 processors.
  • Fins: Aluminum.
  • Base: Copper.
  • Heat-pipes: Six copper heat-pipes.
  • Fan: 120 mm.
  • Nominal fan speed: 800 to 1,300 rpm.
  • Fan air flow: 58.3 cfm.
  • Maximum power consumption: 3.96 W.
  • Nominal noise level: 16 dBA.
  • Weight: 1.54 lbs (697 g).
  • More information: https://www.thermaltakeusa.com
  • Average price in the US*: USD 52.00

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

[nextpage title=”Conclusions”]

The ISGC-400, as well as other coolers with a similar design, did not perform well on our tests. In the ISGC series, it was better just than ISGC-100, but it was worst than ISGC-200 and far worst than ISGC-300, the best of them.

Its noise level was not bad, but it was also not one of the quieter we tested. Talking about price, it is an expensive cooler for the performance it offers.

Its only advantage is the fact it is shorter than the taller tower coolers, and so can be a reasonable option for someone with a slim case and is looking for a cooler better and quieter than the stock one, with no budget restrictions.

But if this is not your case, forget about ISGC-400, there are better and cheaper coolers on market.