Meet the Sapphire Vapor-X Universal CPU Cooler. Launched just a couple of weeks ago and now available at £50, this is Sapphire's first-ever CPU cooler and, as you might have guessed, it uses the company's Vapor-X technology to cool your choice of Intel or AMD CPU.
Sapphire's pricing puts the cooler up against a long line of established competitors, but on paper the Vapor-X has plenty of promise. The 135mm x 110.4mm x 163.5mm tower incorporates a vapour chamber that has direct contact with the CPU surface, four heatpipes (all of which are 7mm thick) and a reasonably-tall block of aluminium fins.
The cooler arrives well-packaged and we like the fact that you can see the product without having to open the box, and the utilitarian bundle has everything you need to mount the cooler on a modern Intel or AMD socket, including a detailed installation manual and a small tube of generic thermal paste.
The heatsink itself is an aluminium column of metal surrounded by a plastic shroud, but the end result is surprisingly attractive. The Vapor-X has a meaty look about it and it's certain to suit most high-end gaming PCs. The black, blue and silver colour scheme works well, and blue LEDs illuminate strips along the top of the cooler, as well as a backlit Vapor-X logo.
Sandwiching the plastic lid are a pair of 120mm fans that operate between 495RPM and 2,200RPM, creating up to 77CFM or airflow while keeping noise levels below a reported 40dB. Both fans feature blue LEDs and are PWM-controlled, and Sapphire includes a short splitter cable in the box so that both fans can be attached to a single motherboard header.
We like the concept of the design - the Vapor-X certainly looks like a high-performance product - but it does feel rough around the edges. We had a chance to look at a pre-production sample a couple of months ago and, surprisingly, the final retail model still lacks that extra bit of polish. The plastic clips holding the fans in place don't fill you with confidence, the workmanship on the aluminium fins isn't perfect, and the yellow warning tags on both fan cables are an unnecessary eyesore.