nt01-e

 The SilverStone NT01 Evolution CPU cooler is a unique creation that is great for use when striving for a silent PC. The heat pipe design allows builders to place the cooler where traditional ones will not fit, like in a HTPC case. The mounting bracket is designed to work on Intel Socket LGA775 and AMD Sockets 754/939/940/AM2/AM2+ and AM3. LGA1156/LGA1366 processors are supported with serial number AS09160001 and after.

The all copper construction increases cooling potential over stock processor fans while potentially running quieter as well. The fanless cooler can be used on processors that are 65W or less. By adding two 60mm fans, the NT01 can be used on 89W procs. The NT01 was tested in SilverStone’s GD04 HTPC case without the additional fans to see how it measured up to the stock cooler. Read on for more details.  For full specs, visit the product page at SilverStone’s website.


The NT01 looks and feels well constructed. The large surface area of the fins should be able to dissipate a lot of heat. At 470g, the cooler has decent weight without being too heavy for the motherboard.

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Accessories

The cooler comes with two backplates for use with both Intel and AMD processors. Two sets of mounting brackets are also included as well as four spring screws, all necessary mounting screws and some thermal compound. The NT01 includes mounting screws for two 60mm fans if needed.

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The cooler has a nice polished finish on the CPU contact area. SilverStone uses a sintered powder structure, which they say is the most expensive type of heat pipe. It certainly has a quality look and feel.

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Installation

The NT01-E will take a little while to install and the motherboard has to be removed from the case. Installation on an AMD board requires removing the stock CPU plastic mounting bracket. There are four screws that hold this in place.
 
The NT01 can be used with different socket types, so the proper hardware must first be installed. I installed the AMD mounting brackets (triad clips) that were included in the package. The protective film must be removed from the cooler before use.

 
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The AMD backplate is positioned and the four long screws are pushed in from the back. A rubber washer is placed over each screw to protect the board from damage. Next, the standoffs are mounted onto the long screws to stabilize the backplate. Hand tighten these standoffs being careful not to crack the board. Apply the thermal paste to the CPU, then lower the cooler in place. Use the four spring screws to hand tighten the cooler. The NT01 can be mounted in different orientations depending on your board and the case you are using. Try to mount it so that it receives the highest airflow through the copper fins.

 
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Here is the NT01-E mounted on an ASUS M2A-VM (socket AM2) motherboard facing towards the I/O ports. I had no clearance issues with the mounting hardware on this board.

 
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Testing

Tests were completed using an ASUS M2A-VM board and an AMD 3800+ Dual core 65W processor. Thermal tests were run using Speedfan 4.39. Two instances of Prime 95 were used to max out each CPU core for max load. Ambient room temperature is 80 Degrees Fahrenheit. The temps listed are taken after one hour under each condition.


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Conclusion

As you can see, the temps for the NT01 are well within acceptable levels for this processor. The difference of idle temps were very close. Load temps proved that the NT01 can still provide adequate cooling without any fans installed. The mounting method used is a mixed bag. Even though motherboard removal is pretty common for cooler installation, the use of standoffs and washers on the NT01 is a little bit of a hassle. I think a revised mounting bracket would raise the value tremendously.The other gripe is the thermal paste that is included. I applaud SilverStone for including the paste with the cooler, but the quality was horrible and ultimately had to be removed and replaced with some Arctic Silver 5. The HTPC that this was tested on will rarely see these heavy loads on the CPU, but if it does, it will be just fine using this cooler. The NT01 may not compare to a cooler that uses an active fan, but the level of silence achieved makes it all worth it. If a silent cooling solution is what you’re looking for, than this may be the cooler for you.