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Alpha is probably one of the oldest heat sink manufacturers that I can remember. I believe that they date back to the Windows 3.1 era or the late 1980's, for the people that are old enough to remember those days. Essentially, Alpha is still making the same types of products which they made back then. From the moment I received the PAL8055, I knew it was an old school cooler. But, there's something special about it. You will see exactly what I mean later in this review. Let us see if this "old school" cooler can compete with the new, flashy coolers.
Illustration taken from Alpha's website. URL http://www.alphanovatech.com/c_s-pal8045e.html
Newegg price $31.49 No Fan Purchase Link
Newegg price $41.49 With Fan Purchase Link
Alpha has created an entirely different installation kit then what I have ever seen on a K7 chipset. As you can see in the illustrations below, there is a mount you must first screw together. Make sure you do not tighten the screws until the mount is in place. This system alleviates any risk of damage to the board that might occur with using the pressure bar type of installs. This installation is not the easiest, but Alpha does a great job of explaining everything. To be honest, this is one of the most safe of installations I have ever done.
The mounting screws use a spring to reduce the chance of over applying pressure and damaging the CPU. On the left you can see the longer screws used in Fan installation.
The pictures below displays the copper base with the holes for mount installation. This sink is a very well designed sink from mount to cooling effectiveness.
Here you can see the fan mount. This mount allows for an 80mm fan. Using the screws in the pictures above, just place the fan on top and fasten it down.
Now for the install on the motherboard itself. The mount above snaps in nicely. As I mentioned previously, it goes in easier if you don't tighten the corner screws all the way until the mount is in place.
The illustrations below show how easy it is to mount the sink. Just line up the holes, drop the screws in and tighten them. I recommend that you use the "spare tire" mentality. Work in opposite corners and move your way around tightening a bit at a time, until it seems snug. Make sure not to over tighten though, no need to kill the CPU.
The fan from Alpha is a brushless fan. It is very heavy. I am figuring that the RPM's are within the 4k range. The fan harness on the right slides on easily but before you do that, the fan must be attached.
Here you can see two of the 4 fan screws. They must be attached from the bottom. This is due to the extra lip on the side to show the direction that the fan slides onto the heat sink.
When placing the fan and harness on the heat sink, remember to line up the two longer screws that attach to the PAL8055 sink itself. After placing the last pressure spring in place, you are finished. Not too bad, just takes a bit more effort but it is very safe. No risks of screwdrivers slipping to scratch your motherboard.
This sink is very clean. It consists of painted aluminum with a black fan, so if you are not into the lights and glitter, it looks good. The PAL8005 has the look of quality, very standard and very clean. Not much else can be said about this product. Alpha does not pretend to be a modders sink, but they do have quite a bit of experience making sinks and coolers, so maybe there is something to be said about the "old school" style.
As you can see from the illustrations above and below, this sink is a solid black, aluminum product with small pillars to spread the heat evenly.
The illustrations below shows the copper base integrated to the aluminum spread. This is created to maximize the amount of the heat spread. We will see if this is enough to spread the heat and create a overall, solid cooler.
The packaging is simple and clean as well. Alpha uses a sturdy white box with very small logos. They appear to concentrate more on making a box to fit the CPU then show off the product itself. In a nutshell, the appearance isn't a show stopper, but it is not meant to be one either.
We are going to test the performance of the Alpha's S-PAL8055 K7 Cooler the same way we test all of the others. Using a 2500+ AMD CPU and our test machine, we will run a series of load and idle tests with fan control settings. If you want more details concerning exact procedures, feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org . We are more then happy to answer any questions. Please note all tests are static. The load situation is done identical from cooler to cooler to accurately collect data on multiple hardware pieces.
Here are a few screen shots of the SOYO probe used to collect the data. I know they are a bit difficult to read, but the resolution is pretty high so you can view them well if you print this at home, or: just right click - go to properties - copy the URL and paste it in a Explorer address window.
Illustration 1.1 AC cooler with 100% CPU load 32(d) Celsius
Illustration 1.2 AC cooler with 0% CPU Load 31(d) Celsius
I have tested a number of coolers and have run similar tests on all of them, and I am absolutely honest when I say this sink disperses heat like nothing I have ever seen! As the illustrations show above, the temp difference between the Load test and the Idle test is a meager 1 degree Celsius. What is even more amazing, is when I noticed the temp difference was so minute between the Idle and Load. I decided to let the load run an additional 5 minutes. Even after the extra time, the temp didn't change a bit. Also notice the starting temperature was 31 Celsius which is very good. I think if I make an over clocker in the near future, I will most likely use this cooler. So my hypothesis earlier about the dense materials was correct. Alpha, you made one nice cooler.
As I mentioned earlier, Alpha is a very experienced company when it comes to making heat sinks. They have been doing this almost as long as the PC has been Windows based. With this said, their quality is by far one of the best. This can be seen when looking at the integration of the copper to the base. The seam between the aluminum is almost perfect. When you pick up this product, you will realize the material used is of a quality grade. It is short and dense. The sink itself weighs more then most others on the market. This can work two different ways. If the sink is too "top heavy," you can put uneven stress on the CPU itself. Alpha compensates for any weight issues by making a superior mount to hold the sink in place, plus the sink is not very tall, so the angle has less push. (Note this is only an issue with vertical cases, horizontal desktops won't have a problem) The weight can also be a positive. Using a more dense sink allows for more heat spread. This sink might actually not even need a fan, it is quite solid. I must give Alpha a big plus when looking at the construction and design of this product. Nice job guys!!
The Price is right for a cooler that performs at this caliper.
Performance is more than I could have ever expected.
Craftsmanship in design and machining is second to none.
Installation is very different. Better then your standard pressure bar and extremely safe for your motherboard.
We generally highlight the flashy modder coolers, but Alpha makes an old school quality sink. The performance is awesome. If you are looking for a serious over clocking CPU cooler and not worried about having the extra glitter, but would rather prefer pure performance, this is the cooler for you. I have nothing negative to say about this sink. I am honored to give Alpha a perfect score and the coveted Marns CDA Editors Choice Trophy of Excellence. Awesome job Alpha!
Rating: 6 out of 6 Stars
Review Date: 12/11/04
Reviewer: pr101j (Paul)
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