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

Enermax ETS-N30 Budget CPU Air Cooler Review

We tend to focus on "high end" CPU cooling when we do reviews, but today we have something a bit different. Enermax, known world wide for its overall excellent power supplies, steps foot in the CPU cooling ring with a contender that is very easy on your wallet, weighing in at less than $25. We still have high expectations though!

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Conclusion

As far as performance goes, the Enermax ETS-N30 isn’t going to knock your socks off but then again you shouldn’t expect it to. Where it excels is in smaller systems that can’t house a large 140mm cooler. For users who want to overclock their CPU and the stock cooler won’t cut it the Enermax ETS-N30 is a truly great fit. Also, since we are on the topic of working with smaller systems it makes sense to discuss how easy it is to install. The last thing you want to deal with when you are already working with a cramped system is an overly-complicated mounting system. The ETS-N30 installs easily and none of the pieces are free to move about. This means you’ll spend less time fiddling about inside your case.

So we have a cooler that performs well for its size and is easy to install. Let’s look if the price tag matches the size of the cooler.

Price/Performance

The charts below show the cost you will pay for each degree in temperature reduction the heat sink gives you over the stock cooler. The two areas that influence this chart are cost of the heat sink and its performance. An expensive cooler that gives you superior performance will be rated as average here since its cost hurts its rating. Inversely, a poor performing heat sink that costs next to nothing will be rated as average since its performance will hurt its ratings. We ideally look for low cost and high performance. All prices were gathered by doing a very quick search of the web for each cooler and listing it here sans S/H and tax (these can vary widely from region to region).

As an example, if a cooler outperforms the stock cooler by 10C and costs USD $5.00 it would be listed in our chart as $.50. You would pay fifty cents for each degree of better performance over the box cooler.

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To arrive at a single number difference, we took the value of all four cores from our overclocked tests, averaged these and then compared for analysis.

The Bottom Line

The cost of the Enermax ETS-N30 is absolutely amazing when you look at it in terms of degrees cooling per dollar (DC/$). It has both the lowest absolute cost and lowest relative to performance cost.

The Enermax ETS-N30 won’t win any performance competitions but it was not designed and priced to do so either. If you are dealing with a microATX or Mini-ITX system then the ETS-N30 can easily replace the stock cooler and give your CPU some breathing room. After seeing its performance I was initially disappointed with the ETS-N30 but after some time with it I came to realize its strengths lie in less obvious places. Places like its low price and ease of installation for smaller systems. Having dealt with our fair share of purpose built HTPCs and smaller desktop systems, we can easily recommend the ETS-N30 for users of Micro ATX and smaller systems. Another segment that the Enermax ETS-N30 can very much shine is budget system build for friends or family that do not need edge-of-the-envelope overclocking prowess in the system. Certainly the ETS-N30 delivers much better cooling than the stock solutions which will ease your mind, and shelter you from those late night "tech calls" and in-home visits. We will likely be storing one of two of these on the shelf at our test bench for those "when you need one" situations that pop up when you are the IT professional in the family.

You can purchase both versions of the ETS-N30 from Amazon, both with Prime Shipping. The ETS-N30-HE sans a lighted fan, but with a tiny bit more air movement is $24.99. If you are wanting to dress things up a bit, it will cost you about $5 more. The ETS-N30-TAA sells for $29.99.

Thanks to the Enermax ETS-N30 air cooler's straight forward mounting kit, cooling ability, and diminutive price we are pleased to award the it the [H] Editor's Choice Silver Award.

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Enermax ETS-N30 CPU Air Cooler / Heatsink

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