Each new iteration of Intel Core processor raises the bar for mainstream desktop CPU performance. But while Ivy Bridge and Haswell have built on the excellent foundations laid by the Sandy Bridge microarchitecture, there hasn't been a great deal for overclockers to shout about.
Intel's Extreme Edition chips remain an expensive proposition for even the hardened enthusiasts, and for everyone else there are multiplier-unlocked K-series parts that seem to run hotter with each new generation. The silicon lottery is such that your own mileage may vary, but in our experience Sandy Bridge ran cooler than Ivy Bridge, and Haswell is the hottest of the lot.
The concentration of heat that results from a die shrink is one possible explanation for the increased temperature, while Intel's under-the-lid switch from fluxless solder to thermal paste is another credible theory. We suspect it's a bit of both, but whatever the reason, if you're going to be overclocking a third- or fourth-generation Intel Core processor, you should seriously consider an aftermarket cooler that's capable of transferring all that heat away from the chip.
We continue to see CPU cooling solutions of all shapes and sizes, and for those hoping to keep costs down, Enermax has put forth an eye-catching proposition in the form of the ETS-T40-W "White Cluster," priced at £40.
The Taiwanese manufacturer may be better known for its award-winning power supplies, but it's making strides in the CPU cooling arena and will launch a variety of air- and liquid-cooled solutions in the next few months. In the company's existing range, the ETS-T40-W is the most visually striking. Finished entirely in white, the cooler is a natural fit for arctic-themed builds and will match the increasing number of white components now on the market.
Enermax's packaging does a good job of protecting the hardware during transport, and the box provides all the info you could need - including a detailed specification, a breakdown of package contents and a list of key features.
As standard, the £40 package includes the heatsink tower, a 120mm Cluster Advance fan, a universal mounting bracket, fixings for all the latest Intel and AMD sockets (including LGA1150 Haswell), a small tube of Dow Corning TC-5121 thermal paste and a multi-language instruction manual. A pair of spare fan clips is also present, allowing for the use of a second fan in a push/pull configuration.
We'd like to have seen a larger syringe of thermal paste - what's provided is unlikely to last beyond a couple of reinstalls - but everything you'd expect to find is included in the box. More importantly, getting the cooler out in the open reveals a high level of build quality and a very attractive white coating.
Enermax has the ETS-T40 available in various flavours - there's a standard ETS-T40-TB and an all-black ETS-T40-BK "Black Twister" - but if you were worried about the quality of finish on the White Cluster, don't be. The coating is even throughout, and while some products end up looking cream, Enermax has achieved a nice bright white.