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Sapphire Vapor-X CPU Cooler Review

Sapphire has made a daring entry into the intensely-competitive CPU cooling market with the Vapor-X. The vapour chamber technology allows a good balance between cooling performance and low noise output to be achieved by the dual-fan, tower heatsink.

While the Sapphire Vapor-X CPU cooler isn’t the best performer on the market, it does show that vapour chamber technology has the potential to grow into a formidable competitor to the standard Heatpipe Direct Touch (H.D.T.) and solid-plate base designs.

Taming a hot 4.6GHz Ivy Bridge chip with a voltage of 1.300V running through it certainly shouldn’t be overlooked, though. Keeping the CPU well below 90°C shows that the Vapor-X cooler has the potential to compete with the higher thermal loads brought about by increased voltages and frequencies.

Noise output was a very pleasing result with the entire system, including the Vapor-X’s pair of 2200 RPM fans operating at full speed, only outputting 43.2 dbA of disturbance. Perhaps Sapphire has taken advantage of the vapour chamber’s heat transferral efficiency by putting an increased importance on low noise operation and taking the opportunity to reduce fan speeds.

A generally easy installation process, with the only slight hiccup coming from backplate installation, is another positive factor of the Sapphire Vapor-X CPU cooler. The mount was secure and surrounding component clearance was surprisingly accommodating.

An aesthetically pleasing design and gamer-orientated style ensure that the Sapphire Vapor-X CPU cooler won’t look out of place in a ‘showroom’ system. The blue LEDs located in the summit’s strips, Vapor-X imprint and fans’ frames help to enhance the cooler’s attractive appearance. Of course, if you aren’t one for a light show inside your PC, simply remove the LED power cable and enjoy the blue glow’s dismissal.

With an anticipated retail price of around £50 and currently available for £53.99 from Overclockers, the Vapor-X is rapidly approaching the realms of the market that is dominated by the dual-tower and All-in-One liquid cooling kings. If the price were to drop by around £5-10 to the £45 mark, it would face less formidable competition at a price point that consists mainly of single tower competitors.

Sapphire deserves praise for taking such a leap of courage by delving into a new market. The Vapor-X CPU cooler offers a very good balance between enthusiast-grade cooling performance and low levels of noise output. If Sapphire can make the Vapor-X CPU cooler available at retail for £45, it will make a worthy competitor against some of the big players in the industry.

Pros:

  • Good cooling performance.
  • Low noise output.
  • Attractive design and lighting.
  • Generally simple installation.
  • Considerate motherboard component clearance.
  • Widespread compatibility.

Cons:

  • Price needs to drop to the £45 mark, at least.
  • Ugly warning stickers on fan cables.
  • Backplate installation method is awkward.

KitGuru says: An admirable entry into the CPU cooler market. We can’t wait to see what Sapphire’s next CPU cooler will offer.

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Rating: 8.0.

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