Today's Hard|Forum Post
Today's Hard|Forum Post

The All Copper Hedgehog HSF

I know what some of you are thinking. We are NOT cutting into Billy Wilson's pr0n collection. The Hedgehog is a copper heatsink unit that we JUST got hold of yesterday. We have seen some of the other all-copper Heatsink & Fan units out there, but this one MIGHT be different. Being that this comes on the heels of our Socketed HSF Roundup, we still happened to have the exact same setup still assembled. So we get to compare it to all those others on even ground.

I know you guys are dying to see it, so here it is in all it's glory, the Hedgehog.

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This is not some type of super-top-secret alloy or anything. Seems to be pretty much an industrial grade copper. The one thing that has kept all-copper heatsinks from selling well in the retail OC market is price. This time it seems as if these might be sold on the level of a newer Alpha Cooler with a good quality fan.

AZZO is the retailer that supplied us with this Hedgehog. He has some of these on order now and is expecting to be selling them soon. So before you freak. These are NOT for sale yet (at AZZO anyway) but will be soon. We will post an update as soon as you can purchase one.

As for the dimensions and the general look of the cooler, it is damn near a dead wringer for the Alpha. Paint the fins black and you would be hard-pressed to tell the difference at a distance. So as far as size issues go, I do NOT see a problem with mounting this on most any Socket A or Socket 370 board.

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The clipping mechanism is sadly almost identical to the Alpha's also. There is no doubt in my mind that they could find a more user friendly clip. All in all, a small flathead will allow you to guide the latch properly with a bit of patience.

The fan that the unit came with did NOT seem to have the needed CFM to get the desired results we wanted, so we outfitted it with one of the YS fans off an Alpha unit here. AZZO is aware of the fan issue and did commit to supply nice fan units with the Hedgehog. I was trying to talk him into using that super loud 7000RPM fan but it looks as if it does not give you an advantage (see below).

Let's look at how the thing is built. Interesting how they went about it to keep some of their costs down.

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It is a little hard to tell in the first pic, but you can see that the fins are NOT part of the copper base. Towards the right bottom edge you can see the seam where the fin assembly juts out of the base. The second pic shows you the level of machining and polishing on the bottom of the heatplate. It is not as pretty as the Alpha but seemed to work fine for what we were doing with it. The third picture shows you the little frames that were used on the tops of the fins in order to help secure the fan and shroud.

Interesting thing about the instructions, they did cover the direction of air travel through the heatsink. Alpha specifies also which way the air moves. The Hedgehog did not mind which way you decided the fan to blow, but to simply remove the shroud if you were going to have the fan blowing into the HSF. We did flip the fans over without pulling the shroud off and found the temperature would be as much as 8 degrees hotter with the fan blowing into the heatsink with the shroud on.

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Here is how we tested:

We used (of course) a 1GHz TBird Socket A CPU, Asus A7V mainboard, Voodoo5 5500 AGP, 128 megs of Infineon SDRam (thanks AZZO), 20Gig ATA-100 HD (thanks AZZO), and a DLink 10/100 NIC (thanks AZZO).

The Asus mainboard comes with an included thermister device on a nice long wire as well as a very nifty monitoring proggy. Here is a pic of the thermister mounted on the CPU itself.

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The edge of the thermister was cut away so the tip of the thermister was exposed from underneath the plastic. We placed the end of the probe so it was touching the CPU and taped it down. The probe stayed taped down to the same place for the duration of the testing and was not ever moved. When we burned up the first TBird we were testing the HSFs. We did chunk all that data and start over so everything with the exception of room temp is a constant.

We used the same HSF thermal compound/paste for all the tests, so there should NOT be a difference in temps because of a change in compound.

The room temp was kept as constant as possible and will be noted with the results.

After the HSF to be tested was installed, we made sure we had a good mate between the two surfaces and then started our Asus monitoring proggy. We then removed the power to the fan unit on the HSF. Then, we would crank up the Prime95 Torture Test to put the CPU under a 100% load (or very close to it). We would let the CPU temperature get up to over 150آ؛F. At that point we would plug the fan back in and let it start to do it's cooling job.

We took screen shots from the Asus proggy that will look like this.

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The CPU temp is monitored every 5 seconds and recorded. The RED hump you see is where the fan was cut off to get the HSF hot. The BLUE line represents the 150آ؛F mark. We then let the HSF run and the proggy take the readings so you see two things. The YELLOW line shows you: 1. How fast the HSF got the temperature down and; 2. Where it will keep the CPU temperature while under a load. The temp in the box is the current temp when we took the screen shot.

These readings were taken in an open air environment, so you can expect your readings to be higher inside a case. How much higher will depend on the ventilation of the case. I KNOW some of your cases will stay at room temp...like mine. :)

PERFORMANCE:

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I am guilty of copying and pasting the above specs bit we did deviate from the plan. We had been only bringing the CPU temp up to 150F then engaging the fan. This time we took the temp up to 256F just for kicks. You can see where the temp finally came back onto the scale. We tested the Hedgehog earlier in the afternoon and were very impressed with the performance. The ambient temp in the room we tested in was 74آ؛F. So if you compare this result with our Socketed HSF Roundup, you will find that this cooler certainly did the best. It beat out the close competition by only a degree, but did not have the very loud 7000RPM fan on it either.

I figured that the 7000 RPM fan would easily bring down the temp a little more so we gave it a try. We were not able to get a lower temperature, but the curve with which the heat was moved off the heatsink certainly was steeper. The 7000K / Hedgehog combo cooled faster, but NOT to a cooler temperature.

Conclusions & Delusions:

From what we have seen here today, the Hedgehog will be THE heatsink to have with a low-noise 4500 or 5000 RPM fan that is moving at least 28CFM. While the price is not going to be as low as the budget or midlevel coolers, I think many of you guys will be interested in one. It is just badass having a solid copper heatsink anyway.

Now let's hope that AZZO does get them in soon, and yes I will be giving you a heads up on that.