EKL Alpenföhn Heidi: VGA cooler reviewed
The Alpenföhn Heidi is EKL's first VGA cooler. PC Games Hardware tests the newcomer's cooling performance and noise level.
Within a short time EKL, a producer of cooling solutions from Germany, was able to build up a good reputation with the Alpenföhn series: Gletscherspalte, Ram(m)bock or Schneekanone aren't just funny names, but the products behind them convince with good or very good performance. PC Games Hardware tests if this also applies to the new EKL Alpenföhn Heidi. Currently the Alpenföhn series is on sale in Europe only, but EKL is already planning distribution in North America.
EKL Alpenföhn Heidi: Scope of delivery and features
The Heidi is delivered in a simple carton on which EKL has listed all important specifications. Besides the Heidi the box also contains a transparent 120 millimeter fan with blue LEDs and PWM controller as well as 16 heatsinks for the VRAM or voltage converters. A small tube of thermal compound, a NVIO2 cooler a special PWM adaptation, the fitting accessories and a case badge are included, too.
With its Top down design the Heidi bears resemblance to Thermalright's XP CPU coolers and this effect is emphasized by the high quality of machining and the almost complete nickel coating of the corpus. Four 6 millimeter heatpipes have direct contact with the graphics chip (Heatpipe Direct Touch) and transfer the heat from the base to 55 fine adjusted aluminum fins that indicate good results in silent operation.
The HDT (Heatpipe Direct Touch) technology is supposed to increase the transfer speed of the heat and has successfully been used for CPU coolers already. In order to get all heatpipes into direct contact even with small GPUs EKL had positioned them as close together as possible - successfully: The RV770 of our Radeon HD 4850 touches the outer two heatpipes by about a quarter of the surface and thus is able to emit heat to them.
Even without a fan Heidi reaches rather extensive dimensions of 134 x 127 x 47 millimeters, but combined with a 120 mm fan it blocks three (!) slots neighboring the graphics card and weights 428 grams. According to our tests the cooler is compatible to the following graphics cards (default layout):
• Radeon HD 4800 (except X2)
• Radeon HD 3800 (except X2)
• Radeon X1900/X1800
• Geforce GTX 200 (except GTX 295)
• Geforce 9800/9600
• Geforce 8800 (G92)/GTS 250
• Geforce 79x0 (except GX2)
• Geforce 7800 (except GS for AGP)
• Geforce 6800
EKL Alpenföhn Heidi: Installation
After removing the original cooling solution (Attention: Warranty Void!) and cleaning the relevant components (GPU, RAM and voltage converters) you have to apply a thin coat of thermal compound to the GPU and attach the VRAM/voltage converter heatsinks to their appropriate location as it is shown in the installation instructions.
In our gallery you can find pictures of the individual steps of installation. The instructions only contain one error: The mounting holes for the HD 4800 and HD 3800 are marked incorrectly, but EKL is already informed and will correct this as soon as possible.
On the next page you can find our benchmark results and our conclusion.