Slim Thermaltake Nic CPU cooler steers clear of DIMM slots

One of the biggest problems with using an aftermarket CPU cooler is finding one that won’t hang over your motherboard’s DIMM slots. Larger coolers can create clearance issues for memory with taller heat spreaders, and the issue has become more widespread as motherboards move DIMM slots closer to the CPU socket to improve signaling. Thermaltake has a new line of Nic coolers designs to combat the problem, and our intrepid Editor-in-Chief took a closer look while touring the firm’s CES showcase.

The Nic series uses thinner heatsinks and fans to ensure ample clearance for taller memory. There are four models in total, starting with the Nic F3. This base unit has three heat pipes, one 120-mm fan, and support for CPUs up to 160W. While the F3 should be sufficient for any stock-clocked CPU, overclockers might want to consider beefier versions. The F4 variant adds a fourth heatpipe and a second fan, allowing it to dissipiate up to 180W.

Both F-series coolers use PWM fans, but the fans in the Nic C-series have variable in-line resistors that enable manual speed control. The spinners are mounted to plastic brackets rather than anchored with metal clips, and dual fans come standard on both models. The C4 boasts four heatpipes and a 220W dissipation rating, while the C5 adds a heatpipe and another 10W of cooling capacity.

Each member of the Nic family comes with a universal mounting bracket that supports all the usual suspects in additon to LGA2011 and Haswell’s LGA1150 socket. We don’t have any information on pricing, but I’d expect the F-series units to be relatively inexpensive.

Comments closed
    • ronch
    • 7 years ago

    Taking off the HSF just to access those DIMMs can be a real pain, but more so those non-forward thinking case designs that don’t have access holes at the back of the motherboard. Some HSF designs require you to mount the HSF through the back of the motherboard, and doing so entails removing all your expansion cards, taking out the motherboard, installing the HSF, and putting everything back to where they belong. Just hope that new HSF isn’t DOA or you’re back to square one.

    • JosiahBradley
    • 7 years ago

    [I do not work for Scythe] Not to knock ThermalTake, but I always feel like Scythe’s heatsinks are underrepresented on many sites. The big names in cooling are always featured, because everyone knows the names, but you can get some epic value/performance ratios from Scythe coolers and they generally clear the DIMM slots and run silent.

    Now if those tiny heatsinks can really displace up to 230W of heat without sounding like a jet engine, then I might be impressed.

      • Washer
      • 7 years ago

      Obviously you don’t work for Scythe. If you did I’m sure you’d be aware they’ve vanished from the US market. Scythe USA is dead.

        • JosiahBradley
        • 7 years ago

        Everyone said that was a blow over and that the parent company would be doing business. But I can’t find a single cooler for sale in the USA now… Guess it’s time to import one from overseas. I have yet to find a cooler to match the performance of the infinity/mugen series. I guess my coolers are all now collectors items.

        • insulin_junkie72
        • 7 years ago

        Actually, if they’re to be believed, they’re just sleeping. They announced they’d be back after a company re-organization.

        Something to the effect that the company that handled the US office went under, so the mothership has to scramble to find a replacement or handle things themselves.

        • MadManOriginal
        • 7 years ago

        Obviously you didn’t pay attention to any of the followup to that news: [url<]http://www.xbitlabs.com/news/coolers/display/20121130072558_Scythe_Group_Denies_Plans_to_Shut_Down_Operations.html[/url<]

          • Washer
          • 7 years ago

          Scythe USA is still dead and the Scythe Group products have all but vanished from the US market. I fail to see where I claimed Scythe Group was closing. Hence my comment specifically talking about the US market. I’d welcome the news if Scythe Group opened their own branch in the US or contracted a new distributor. But neither are the case yet.

    • Majiir Paktu
    • 7 years ago

    Would TR do us a favor and only recommend memory without the tower-sized heat spreaders? As far as I can tell, low-profile versions are always available.

      • Firestarter
      • 7 years ago

      and so far I haven’t heard 1 good argument for heatspreaders on RAM modules

        • Chrispy_
        • 7 years ago

        There really isn’t one.

        If you select the “extreme” memory modules and overclock them in those various PSU calculators, they all say the same thing; a single high-performance module of DDR3 uses about 3 Watts. More standard modules of 1600MHz 1.5V DDR3 are likely to consume around 2 Watts each.

        If there’s any argument for heatsinks on RAM, it’s to dissipate heat that is transferred to the RAM modules from the CPU via the traces in the motherboard – in which case cooling the CPU is more important than hindering your CPU cooler with stupid RAMsinks.

    • just brew it!
    • 7 years ago

    Even if you don’t need the extra clearance for the DIMMs these coolers could make it easier to work inside the case (e.g. add/remove hard drives), depending on where your drive bays are at.

    My main concern is with the quality of the fans themselves. Nearly all of the Thermaltake HSFs I’ve owned have had fan bearing issues, sometimes after as little as just a few months. There’s really no excuse for that. Until I’m convinced that they’ve cleaned up their act on the fan bearings I’m steering clear.

      • not@home
      • 7 years ago

      I agree withe you on Thermaltake’s quality. I will never buy anything of theirs again.

        • just brew it!
        • 7 years ago

        I still have a couple of their thin-fin copper heatsinks in some older systems, but the original fans are long dead, replaced with Vantec Stealths. Vantec’s fans aren’t the quietest for the amount of air they move, but they seem to last practically forever. IIRC I’ve only had one Vantec Stealth that ever went bad on me; it had been in near-continuous use for 5+ years, and didn’t die outright, it just started to get a little noisy.

        I believe all of my Thermaltake TR2 PSUs eventually bit the dust as well.

        • TO11MTM
        • 7 years ago

        As someone who remembers the joys of putting a ThermalTake Product on a Socket A Board… I never personally had issues, although I wasn’t using them, I was putting them on for people who had crushed a core when they tried to do it. You had to have Magic Fingers to get those Orbs on, even the ones that were ‘revised’ for Socket A.

        I’m sad Alpha Novatech is essentially irrelevant in the modern US cooler market. The PEP66 was legendary in the Slotket days, and the PAL8045 was my Socket A Cooler of Choice. They still do Server-esque products (They have a Beautiful job that is designed for Ducted Airflow on Socket 1155, look up the L90C-64NT-1155 for an example of their craftsmanship.)

        All of that said, I usually go Cooler Master if I don’t use the Stock cooler… but I’ve always wanted to try a pretty Zalman!

      • moog
      • 7 years ago

      Noted. Thanks for the heads up.

      • designerfx
      • 7 years ago

      Who does make good HSF’s these days that aren’t in the ridiculous price range?

        • just brew it!
        • 7 years ago

        Cooler Master. Their heatpipe tower coolers provide excellent bang for the buck.

        The 92mm Hyper TX3 ($19.99 at the ‘egg) is a great budget cooler with adequate performance for stock clocked CPUs up to 125W. The TX3 is a nice upgrade for stock retail HSFs as it does not require a custom backing plate, so it can be swapped in without removing the motherboard from the case. In my experience, it is able to maintain reasonable core temperatures on a FX-8150 or FX-8320 with 100% load on all cores (Folding@home 8-way SMP), with the fan running at 2000-2200 RPM. It is reasonably quiet (though not silent) at those speeds, but starts to get a little loud as you approach the 2800 RPM maximum fan speed.

        If you’re planning to do some overclocking and/or want a larger fan to allow you to reduce the RPMs, go for the 120mm Hyper 212 ($29.99).

        Both take standard fans, so you can replace the fans that come with them if you wish, but so far I have seen no need to do so. (HSFs that use proprietary fans are one of my pet peeves…)

          • thecoldanddarkone
          • 7 years ago

          [url<]http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835103099[/url<] I use this. It's another really good but cheap fan/heatsink combo also made by coolermaster.

        • not@home
        • 7 years ago

        SPCR has great cooler reviews. Although they are more focused on silent computing, their reviews are still relevant. Their testing method tends to determine the efficiency of a cooler, which is helpful if you are going for overclocking too. I personally use a Xigmatek direct touch cooler. It was only $35 and I have had it for about 5 years now without any problems.

    • MadManOriginal
    • 7 years ago

    Solution: don’t buy memory with stupid useless bling tall heatspreaders.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 7 years ago

      All of my RAM is just plain old naked Kingston and Corsair. No reason to get RAM with spiky hairdos.

        • just brew it!
        • 7 years ago

        Yup… Kingston ValueRAM rules!

      • puppetworx
      • 7 years ago

      But without my go faster stripes how will people [i<]know[/i<] that I can go faster?

        • UberGerbil
        • 7 years ago

        That’s what the tiny Type-R stickers are for.

      • continuum
      • 7 years ago

      Indeed.

      /me hugs his Thermalright Archon SB-E

      • Majiir Paktu
      • 7 years ago

      But I need the fins to help cool my Sabertooth motherboard armor!

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This