ASUS may be one of the biggest component manufacturers around but it has yet to stamp its mark for cooling products. Many smaller firms specializing in cooling solutions have had great success but ASUS looks to continue rewriting its own uninspired history with yet another ambitious cooler, but there is actually something more to it than meets the eye. Does this towering ASUS Silent Square cooler have the street cred to attract the hardcore enthusiasts and the veteran overclockers?
We have seen some mighty frightening heatsinks in our time and ASUS' new Silent Square is right up there in the chart of outrageously humongous design. Standing upright, the block towers 14cm from the base, which means you must double check that your casing has sufficient clearance to accommodate the behemoth. Surprisingly, the ASUS cooler actually weighs less than it looks. 656 grams is not exactly insubstantial – although it did look quite dangerously unbalanced when mounted.
As with all air-cooled design, the ASUS cooler has a stack of radiating fins that are made out of lightweight aluminum fins to dissipate heat. Heat is sent to the fins to be radiated off via five copper heat pipes and these are connected to a polished copper base that is to be seated atop a processor.
Any self-respecting enthusiast-oriented cooler these days have got to pack LED lights. Judging by the proliferation of LEDs, it's almost as if enthusiasts are automatically attracted to flashy objects like a moth to a flame. The ASUS Silent Square gets full marks for sticking with blue LEDs, which is the hottest color for such products right now. You'll find a blue LED tucked concealed cleverly within the giant tower of aluminum fins.
This fan requires a 4-pin power connector, with the extra pin used for pulse width modulation (PWM) control, which basically means that the fan motor speed is variable depending on the temperature within the chassis. In other words, it's a smart fan.
A stated fan speed of around 1,800RPM and an operational volume that stands at a whisper-quiet 18db should provide enough clues as to how quiet the Silent Square really is. Yet, despite its low revolution, ASUS reckons its quiet cooler is capable of cooling power-hungry CPUs that guzzle up to 160W.
Finally, there is an airflow direction shield within the tower that forces the moving air generated by the fan such that it should pass by the onboard voltage regulating modules. It will no doubt have some beneficial effect on the surrounding motherboard components - though resultant effect may end up quite negligible depending on the layout of your motherboard.
The intense competition between the Intel and AMD has led to some hardcore enthusiasts changing their systems altogether with every new major development. This will almost always necessitate a change in processor, motherboard and hence the CPU cooler too. That's where third party coolers like the ASUS Silent Square, with their universal retention brackets, are advantageous to consumers.
The only downside to such a design is that you have to remove the motherboard from your casing to install the backplate of the bracket. Since a new platform means a new motherboard anyway, this should not affect users unduly, unless of course you happen to enjoy changing coolers more often than you change hairstyles. As of now, the ASUS Silent Square works on all major platforms, including the recently launched Intel Core 2 Duo processors.
If looks can kill, the massive frame of the ASUS Silent Square that contains an array of aluminum fins anchored by a solid copper base and heat pipes certainly screams unabashedly its credentials as a powerful cooler. The low fan speed makes it worthy of its 'Silent' name while its versatility in system installation should find it broad acceptance among all current platforms. Available at an estimated retail price of US$44 (S$69), the ASUS Silent Square doesn't come cheap so only serious enthusiasts need apply.