Today we are going to look at one of Arctic's low profile CPU coolers … the Alpine 64 Plus, which is designed to be used exclusively with AMD processors. This makes it ideal for use in small form factor systems or HTPCs. We imagine many users will purchase this cooler to use in combination with one of AMDs Vision A8 APUs in a media system where acoustics and performance are both important considerations.
Arctic produce a wide range of cooling products for various different applications. In the past we have been quite impressed by their CPU coolers which offer great performance at an affordable price. These allow users to achieve a significant overclock on their system without great expense.
- Max cooling capacity: 100 Watts
- Heatsink material: Aluminium
- Fan: 92 mm, 600 – 2000 RPM (PWM Controlled)
- Bearing: Fluid Dynamic Bearing
- Noise Level: 0.4 Sone
- Current / Voltage (per fan): 0.22 A / 12 V
- Power Consumption: 2.64 Watts
- Dimensions: 115 x 98 x 70 mm (LxWxH)
- Weight: 430 g
- Warranty: 6 Years
The Alpine 64 Plus is supplied in a compact cardboard box which reflects the small size of the unit. The front of the box displays a large image of the cooler alongside details of the basic features and compatibility.
Turning the box around reveals a much more detailed list of features and specifications of the cooler.
Inside the box, the only item we find aside the cooler itself is a brief installation guide.
The heatsink itself is machined from a single block of aluminium and features 33 fins in total. These all protrude directly from a thick block of aluminium at the base. There is no copper to speak of which is an indicator of the budget nature of this cooler. Arctic Cooling pre-apply the MX-4 thermal compound to the CPU block which should speed up the installation process.
We also find that the fan is supplied pre-attached to the cooler and doesn't have to be removed during the installation process. Thanks to the top-flow design of the cooler, it doesn't stand very tall. This means it's ideal for use in cases where clearance is restricted.
The fan itself is a 92mm Arctic Cooling model which is mounted in a custom housing. This acts as the mounting mechanism as the housing fits around the heatsink and clips into place. The fan is PWM controlled and spins at a maximum of 2000 RPM.
Installing the Alpine 64 Plus couldn't be much simpler. As it's only designed to be used with AMD based systems, you don't need to fumble around removing Intel brackets like you do with many coolers.
Firstly, we are instructed to loosen the screws on each side of the cooler which releases the retention clips on either side.
Subsequently the cooler can be clipped into position on the motherboard and secured down by doing up the two screws.
We decided to use a powerful FX-8120 based system to test the cooler so we could really push it to its limits. We tested the system at stock settings and when overclocked to 3.6 GHz.
- Processor: AMD FX-8120
- Motherboard: ASRock Fatal1ty 990FX Professional
- Memory: 8 GB Kingston HyperX Genesis 1600 MHz
- Thermal Paste: Arctic Cooling MX-4
- Graphics Card: AMD Radeon HD 6950
- Graphics Card (noise tests): HIS Radeon HD 5550 Silence
For our temperature tests we set both fans to maximum and loaded the system for 15 minutes using Prime 95. We then restarted the system and left it idling at the desktop for 15 minutes before recording temperatures. Room temperature was maintained at 18 degrees Celsius for the duration of the tests.
These temperatures are quite toasty but this isn't surprising as bulldozer chips are renowned for running hot, especially when overclocked. If you pair this cooler with one of AMD's APUs in a media system we expect that you could achieve a reasonable overclock.
To test the noise performance of the case we placed our digital dBA meter 1m from the front of the cooler and replaced the Radeon HD 6950 with a HD 5550 Silence.
Even with the fan running at full speed, the noise emitted by the cooler was below the 30 dBA minimum sensitivity of our noise level meter. This cooler is very quiet indeed and is barely noticeable at all. This makes it ideal for those building an HTPC.
Overall we are impressed with what the Arctic Cooling Alpine 64 Plus has to offer. We think it's especially well suited to those users who aren't very technically experienced as the installation process is very simple indeed.
Thermal performance reflects what we would expect from this cooler. It isn't anything particularly special but should handle a moderately overclocked APU without too much trouble. The acoustic performance is very good, though, making the Alpine 64 Plus well suited for building a quiet running home theater PC.
We weren't able to find the Alpine 64 Plus for sale from any of the major UK retailers yet. However it is advertised on the Arctic website for a price of around 10 euros which should translate into a retail cost around £10 when it becomes available in the UK.
At this price we think it's well worth considering for anyone looking for a decent upgrade from the stock AMD cooler supplied with retail CPUs.
- Low profile design.
- Quiet fan.
- Excellent value for money.
- Simple installation process.
- Only compatible with AMD systems.
- Thermal performance is average.
KitGuru says: A worthy upgrade from the reference AMD cooler which is ideal for HTPCs.