Date: January 25th, 2010
Article by: Joe Anderson (Hardware Reviewer)
Edited By: Nathan Glentworth (Owner / Head Editor)
Product was submitted by: Xigmatek
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PRODUCT PICTORIAL AND WALKTHROUGH
A lot of nice, widely spaced fins would indicate good cooling performance with quiet, low RPM, low-pressure fans. Notice that the fins are folded along the center of each edge to direct the airflow through the cooler.
Three 8mm copper heatpipes carry the heat generated at the CPU to the fins to be dissipated by the cooling fan. Deep, V-shaped cutouts in the fins, along with the folded sides help keep the air moving through the cooler for better heat dissapation. Xigmatek includes one fan with the Balder, but they also include mounts for another, should the user wish to go with a push-pull fan arrangement. Also, the narrower cross section of the Balder should make installation much easier as the fins won't overhang the fastening hardware.
The real improvement that we see on the Balder is at the base, where all the heat transfer happens. Xigmatek, pioneers in heatpipe direct touch design, have now gone the extra step by giving the base a highly polished finish, which many enthusiasts claim will increase heat transfer and cooling performance. We'll find out during testing, but this is the best finish I've seen on a cooler like this, and the full nickel plating doesn't hurt either.
Notice also that there is very little space between the heatpipes and their respective channels in the base. Many coolers we've tested in the past have had noticeably larger gaps in this area, requiring a lot of thermal paste and decreasing the useable surface area for the cooler to do its job. As you can see in the above photo, Xigmatek has managed to fill the vast majority of the available surface with heatpipe material while keeping the base surface dead flat and highly polished. I'm very encouraged by this and am looking forward to testing this cooler.