Closer Look: V8 GTS
The V8 GTS follows in the steps of the original “engine” cooler, the first Cooler Master V8. To my knowledge, the original V8 was the first time a manufacturer drew a direct parallel between CPUs and car engines, which might be a surprisingly appropriate connection. More likely, that’s just my (distant) background as a diesel mechanic talking. Still, it isn’t too hard to think of a central processing unit as an “engine” of sorts although the PSU would arguably be a more accurate metaphor, with the driver being the CPU… Okay, let’s just forget about the technicalities here, and admit that enthusiasts of both hobbies are usually interested in one thing: performance. The V8, either as an engine or CPU cooler invokes thoughts of big performance – let’s see if the performance matches the marketing!
Opening the cube-shaped box, you’ll find the V8 GTS efficiently packaged and protected with foam. All of the “nuts and bolts” are contained in a small box. The V8 GTS includes back-plates for both Intel and AMD platforms, although you may be able to utilize the back-plate that comes with some AMD motherboards (and of course the built-in plate for Socket 2011/1366). The manual is adequate, but pretty standard. In the age of YouTube videos this probably isn’t an issue, as “how to install a CPU cooler” is one of those things that’s easier to watch than read.
All of the necessary brackets, nuts and bolts are included, along with a wrench (which I found mostly useless – it was too flimsy, hopefully you have your own!) and some of Cooler Master’s thermal interface material. If you’ve installed similar CPU coolers before, there isn’t anything surprising or tricky here. The manual does a decent job of explaining the installation, but the pictures could be a little bigger or clearer – again, that’s the case for most manuals for these coolers that I’ve dealt with. Simply pick what set of brackets you need (pictured in the upper left – AMD vertical, Intel, and AMD horizontal from left to right), and bolt them to the horizontal vapor chamber for installation.
I’m not sure if this view is considered the front or side, so I’ll just call it the “intake.” The unique design of the V8 GTS places radiators out in front and behind the 140mm fans, with another radiator sandwiched in between. Contrast that with the original V8’s single 120mm fan located in the center, and we can hopefully assume there’s some greater cooling capacity here. The 140mm fans are low enough to potentially provide some VRM/component cooling on the motherboard as well, which is something to consider.
The side profile shows the radiator and fan layout a little more clearly. There are eight heat-pipes, two for each of the outer heat-sinks and four for the interior heat-sink.
The pair of 140mm fans are bolted to the main plastic “frame” through plastic brackets. Simply remove two hex screws up top, and the entire assembly slides off. It seems to work well enough, but there aren’t any vibration dampening mechanisms. I worry about how the plastic will hold up through continuous installation and removal, since removing this assembly is essentially mandatory to install the cooler (if you want to keep your sanity, that is). The plastic used for the frame struck me as a little brittle – it isn’t confidence-inspiring. The fans seem to be of decent quality though, and are stated as using “POM” (Polyoxymethylene, a type of plastic) bearings. Polyoxymethylene is a composition known under some commercial names as “Delrin” and “Celcon.” If you’ve ever ridden a sport-bike with “frame sliders,” chances are they are made out of the same material. Any other application that requires high-stiffness, dimensional stability (won’t warp from any direction) and low-friction probably uses a similar material. The fact that they are 140mm diameter fans probably impacts the noise output more than the composition of the bearings, but there are other advantages to this material (it has some self-lubricating properties as well).
With the POM bearing 140mm fans removed, the layout of the heat-pipes becomes more clear. Splitting the heat-sink surface area into different sections like this is actually a decent idea; that way you can avoid “dead spots” and place some fins right in front of the initial intake fan. It helps with accessing the mounting screws as well, although in one orientation on my AM3+ platform (vertical) one of the screws was very difficult to tighten since you could only reach it from an angle with a screwdriver (one of the heat-pipes sat directly over the mounting screw) – yes, Cooler Master includes a wrench, but the VRM and south-bridge heat-sinks on my particular motherboard prevented any horizontal motion. The horizontal orientation made it easier to access the mounting screws, and I would assume the Intel bracket would be similar.
For completeness, here’s a view from the “intake” with the fans removed. This may help illustrate the path that each of the eight heat-pipes takes throughout the V8 GTS’s aluminum fins.