The Benefits of Top-Down Heatsink Coolers
In the previous section I explained how horizontal heat-pipes help the internal coolant to overcome gravity, and prevent pooling at one end of the heat-pipe rod. In this section I illustrate the benefits of a top-down heatsink cooler, and how it could improve not only your CPU overclock – but the stability of the entire system.
Take, for example, the Cooler Master GeminII S524 Ver 2 heatsink, shown above. This cooler features a design with a large open area below the heatsink to accommodate tall memory modules. Although lower-profile memory will enable this heatsink to be turned in all directions, the most ideal configuration is to orientate this cooler (and others like it) so that the heat-pipe rods span front-to-back (shown below) as opposed to top-to-bottom.
The entire CPU cooler is designed to reuse the fan’s downward airflow to cool surrounding hardware components, which is very beneficial for both high overclocks and overall system stability. Most systems have other heatsinks surrounding the CPU cooler, but nothing to move air onto and past those areas. The same is true for system memory, which often features RAM modules with heatspreaders, and no active cooling to help remove the heat.
By using a top-down cooler such as the Cooler Master GeminII S524, you not only gain the benefit of utilizing a “C” design for the heat-pipes, but the 120mm cooling fan forces air down onto the CPU and past other nearby components.
When the motherboard is secured upright (vertical) into a computer case, the cooler’s heat-pipes will run front-to-back (horizontal) and very little effort is needed for internal fluid to overcome gravity and flow back to the base. Some experimentation may be necessary to determine if better performance is available by orienting the heatsink so that the bent and exposed heat-pipes rods are positioned towards the bottom of the motherboard. If the surrounding components allow for this orientation, the fluid will be pushed towards the CPU base by gravity.
In the next section, we look at additional heatsink considerations for optimized cooling performance.