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Few months ago we have reviewed one of the newly launched Korean CPU heatsinks; Thermolab BARAM which has gained a lot of good reputations among the end users as well as reviewers. Today we will review another new cooler from Thermolab; BADA and hopefully it will follow its BARAM's footstep to prove again Thermolab is one of the leading cooling solution providers.
Thermolab is a Korea company that focus on cooling products such as Nano Silencer, Macro Silencer and their latest Baram which is a heat pipe cooler used for CPU, designed in an optimal aerothermodynamics structure.
Thermolab started their business in year 2003 with their registered patent of slim type heat exchanger and reciprocate pump. As the following years, Thermolab has developed and produced such great products such as high efficient louver fin heatpipe cooler, Nano Silencer, Micro Silencer, TL5-H thermal grease, UMPC thermal solution and etc.
Package & Content
Same with BARAM cooler, Thermolab BADA is packed with the similar cardboard box without any eye-catching or unnecessary wording/diagram; it seems like an OEM product rather than a retail product. Anyway if such packaging is able to reduce the product cost which will benefit the end users then everyone should be happy with it.
Thermolab BADA comes with plenty of mounting accessories besides thermal compound and user's manual are back plate, smart clips, rubber pad, insulation washers, hard nuts and fixing bolts. A large tube of thermal compound is included for Thermolab BADA which should be able to last around 30 applications with its ~ 5 to 10grams.
The back plate of Thermolab BADA is a universal back plate where it can support Intel Socket LGA1366, 775 as well as AMD AM2 and AM3. The smart clips are something interesting as different ways of setup methods will be used for different kinds of sockets. Some high quality rubber pad, insulation washers and additional spare bolt & nut are included as well; very caring consideration.
A Closer Look: Thermolab BADA
All the Thermolab coolers have their unique meaningful name like BARAM stand for "air flow" while BADA is stand for "the sea"; but we still have no idea why "the sea" has anything to do with a CPU cooler or maybe due to the wave shape of the aluminium fin. Previously Thermolab BARAM is merely a heatsink without any cooling fan but Thermolab BADA is a full set CPU cooler; heatsink + fan.
Thermolab BADA is a universal CPU cooler where it supports not only the common sockets like LGA775, AM2/AM2+/AM3 but also Intel latest socket; LGA 1366. The whole cooler of Thermolab BADA is around 600 grams which is still lighter than those giant tower CPU cooler and its overall dimension is around 95 x 115 x 135 mm where the total dissipation area is around 6700 cm2.
Thermolab BADA is an interesting cooler as it consists of two types of aluminum fins; rectangular fins for top & bottom while wave fins at the middle. The wave-shaped fins are very unique and we have never seen such fin for a CPU cooler before but we believe Thermolab R&D team had done some researchs where this wave-shaped fins will able to increase its cooling dissipation rate.
Same with other performance coolers, Thermolab BADA is also constructed with copper heat pipes. There are totally three U-shaped 6mm Ø copper heat pipes for Thermolab BADA in order to maximize its heat transfer rate as U-shaped heat pipe is much efficiency than C-shaped heat pipe. Unlike BARAM, all these heat pipes of Thermolab BADA are integrated within the base which is the latest method in CPU cooling sector in order to bring the cooling performance to next level.
Here is the base of Thermolab BADA where the mounting bracket is not integrated or preinstalled on the base so user needs to install the smart clips on the base with correct method as different ways of installation will support different sockets. This is really interesting but it is effective enough? Anyway we still prefer Thermolab to simplify the installation method by creating a much simplified mounting bracket.
Thermolab BADA doesn't come with any aluminum fan clips for mounting the fan on the heatsink but it comes with some rubber silencers which are pre-mounted on the heatsink for reducing the fan operation vibration noise. Those rubber silencers are quite similar with what we are seeing for those latest cooling fans where it is used to replace standard mounting screws.
Thermolab BARAM doesn't come with any cooling fan but this is not the same for BADA as a 92mm cooling fan is pre-mounted on the heatsink which is a 12V 0.41A DC fan. Thermolab BADA only support single 92mm fan but the fan can be replaced by any similar 92mm fan for either replacement or upgrading purpose if the performance is still lower than the expectation.
Installation, Testing & Performance
The installation method of Thermolab BADA is much complicated than those stock coolers in order to be a universal CPU cooler. Anyway here is the overall installation method for Intel LGA 775 socket; it may look complicated but in fact it is not that hard once you have fully understand the installation steps.
The back plate of Thermolab BADA is a universal back plate hence it comes with multiple of mounting holes to suit for different sockets. User's manual must be gone through and understand completely to ensure the installation is done correctly without wasting much time on it. First of all, four fixing bolts & installation washers and a rubber pad need to be fixed on the back plate.
If the mounting is done correctly then it should be able to be mounted on the motherboard. Next step will be installing the smart clips on the cooler and different styles of installation are used for different kinds of socket so please ensure the smart clips are installed correctly; fasten these smart clips on the cooler's base with four short fixing bolts.
After that Thermolab BADA needs to be fastened on the motherboard with the mounting back plate and hand nuts. Since the whole cooler of Thermolab BADA isn't that giant, we didn't encounter any major issue but we do appreciate Thermolab will replace this hand nut with an improved version nut where user can select either install them by hand or screwdriver as screwdriver installation is much suitable under some circumstance.
In term to find out the compatibility issue of Thermolab BADA, we have installed the whole cooler on our test bed with In Win Maelstrom. Although In Win Maelstrom comes with pre-cut mounting hole on the motherboard plate but we have to unfasten the motherboard in order to mount the back plate of Thermolab BADA on the motherboard. However this is something related with the case not the cooler and the only problem for Thermolab BADA is the hand nut where we have mentioned previously we prefer a hand + screwdriver nuts as some dead zones will require screwdriver installation; at the end we have to remove the motherboard from the case in order to fasten the Thermolab BADA.
Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo E8300 @ 2.83GHz
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-EP45-DS3 (Gigabyte G31M-ES2L)
Heatsink: Thermolab Bada
Memory: Kingston HyperX DDR2 8500
Hard Drive: 250GB 7200RPM 8MB Seagate
Graphic Card: Galaxy GeForce GTX260+
Casing: In Win Maelstrom
PSU: In Win Commander 750W
Router: TRENDnet TEW-639GR
Optical Drive: DVD RW
Monitor: Dell 22" Wide Screen LCD
Speaker: Edifier R501
Mouse: SteelSeries Ikari Laser
Mouse Pad: SteelSeries QcK+
HeadSet: SteelSeries 3H
Operating System: Microsoft XP Pro SP2/Vista Home Premium
Ambient Temperature: 27 Degree Celsius
We are impressed by the performance of Thermolab BADA because such small cooler is able to keep up and even beat some of those giant tower coolers; thanks to the unique wave-shaped fins and direct heat pipe touch of Thermolab BADA. However in order to keep the cooling performance of Thermolab BADA as good as others, noise can't be eliminated where the noise level of Thermolab BADA is a bit higher than other coolers due to its stronger fan speed but the noise level is still acceptable.
Once again Thermolab has just proven another great CPU cooler that they have launched. The performance of Thermolab BADA is not as good as BARAM but with its smaller size and cheap MSRP, we believe it has done what it supposes to perform; furthermore Thermolab BADA is able to outshine some of those bigger size CPU coolers. Besides that Thermolab BADA is a universal CPU cooler where it can support multiple sockets but its installation is not that simple compares with those stock or some high end tower coolers and we do hope Thermolab will improve it for next product respin or upcoming successor.
+ Decent cooling performance
+ Small size; less compatibility issue
+ Universal Cooler; support multiple sockets
+ Spare accessories; Nut, bolt
+ Using direct heat pipe touch
+ Replaceable cooling fan
- Hand nut is not that suitable
- Installation could be further simplified
23 Sept 2009: Updated by Thermolab where Intel LGA1156 socket will be supported by BADA cooler as well.
Thanks to Thermolab for providing this sample for us to review.
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