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After reviewing couple of high end tower CPU coolers, today let us follow up with an entry CPU cooler which is able to outperform standard stock cooler without spending much. Spire DualStar SP680S1 is one of the latest Spire CPU coolers; a small cooler with 100mm UV reactive cooling fan, aluminum fins, copper base & heat pipes and so on.
Spire-Powered by Innovation: Founded in 1991, Spire is a leading premier brand for computer thermal solutions, power supplies and enclosures. In order to meet the requirements and demands of the global market, we have established our production facilities and corporate office in ShenZhen, China.
At Spire we continually strive for success and quality products. To improve and develop a wide range of computer products, we have invested heavily in our quality manufacturing process and Research & Development. Our objective is to provide top quality products for national distributors as well as for ODM and OEM clients.
- Large Copper Base heat-sink
- Dual (2) 8mm Heat-Pipes
- 50 Aluminum Stacked Fins
- UV-reactant 105x25mm silent fan design
- Four anti-vibe rubber fan mounts
- Secure and Safe Screw retention
Package & Contents
Spire DualStar SP680S1 is packed with a standard small cardboard box to keep the product cost as low as possible. Our sample's cardboard box was a bit dented due to courier service but luckily the cooler inside is still safe. Anyway we do hope Spire will use a better right-fit foam to protect DualStar SP680S1 although it is just an entry product.
Spire DualStar SP680S1 doesn't come with plenty of luxurious accessories except a multi-language user's manual, universal mounting clips for 775/1156 & AMD and a small tube of S-420 thermal compound. The user's manual is a bit complicated with plenty of words; prefer a more simple manual with some diagrams which is ideal for computer newbie.
Based on the specifications of Spire DualStar SP680S1, it is able to support Intel LGA775, LGA1156 and AMD AM2/AM3. However no additional bracket is bundled for LGA1156 but sharing with LGA775. This is not so appropriate as there is some minor differences between these two sockets in term of dimension; LGA775 (72x72 mm) and LGA1156 (75x75mm). We are still lacking off a LGA1156 system in our lab so we can't verify whether this LGA775 bracket can be shared with LGA1156 but let us keep you posted once we have the answer for you.
A Closer Look - Spire DualStar
Spire DualStar SP680S1 was launched together with some other Spire coolers lately (under same series); TherMAX II, BlueStar 2000, VertiCool II Pro where DualStar SP680S1 is the most economic cooler for budget constraint users. The overall dimension of Spire DualStar SP680S1 is around 115 x 108 x 67 mm (l x w x h) and weight around 350grams which are pretty similar with the stock cooler.
The cooling fan of Spire DualStar SP680S1 can be dismounted from the heatsink by removing four screws. After the fan is removed, it is clearly showed that Spire DualStar SP680S1 is equipped with massive of aluminum fins (50 stacked fins) for such small cooler and these aluminum fins are having uneven surface at the edges for maximizing the heat dissipation area.
Something interesting regarding Spire DualStar SP680S1 than the stock cooler is this copper heat pipes where two 8mm diameter heat pipes are integrated within Spire DualStar SP680S1 but it is not chromed so corrosion may happens if the environment is too humid. The bottom portion of Spire DualStar SP680S1's aluminum fins are much smaller which is designed to cool down some motherboard component nearby such as MOSFET.
The base of Spire DualStar SP680S1 is constructed by copper material which is great heat conductivity but the finishing isn't that fine as the surface is quite rough; some light manual lapping should able to eliminate this issue completely. Here is the closer look on how these copper heat pipes are integrated and connected with the copper base.
At default two LGA775 mounting bars are preinstalled on the Spire DualStar SP680S1 and these mounting bars have to be changed to AMD mounting bars for AMD setup which are bundled together. Anyway the mounting bars of Spire DualStar SP680S1 come with two spring loaded screws for each mounting bar so that users can simplify the installation process.
For the cooling fan, Spire DualStar SP680S1 comes with a 105x25mm silent fan with 200RPM fan speed, 26 dBA and 56.12 CFM air flow. Based on the specification, this 105mm cooling fan is a pretty strong fan and the fan blades are UV reactive which should able to draw some attention for UV freaks. Besides that this fan is mounted on an anti vibration rubber fan mount for reducing the fan vibrating noise.
Installation, Testing & Performance
Now let us continue with the installation of Spire DualStar SP680S1. Basically the whole installation process for Spire DualStar SP680S1 is quite simple and similar with the other stock coolers but additional backplate is required for this cooler. If the user's chassis doesn't come with pre-cut mounting hole for backplate installation then the motherboard has to be removed out in order to install this cooler; pretty troublesome and we hate to do so in old days where we didn't have such pre-cut mounting hole of our old chassis.
The backplate of Spire DualStar SP680S1 doesn't come with any doubled tape so it is advisable to hold the backplate while fastening the Spire DualStar SP680S1 on it. Overall we didn't encounter any major problem but there are two spring loaded screws on specific side are harder to be fastened due to its design as it get half-blocked by the aluminum fins; additional care is needed during installation.
Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo E8300 @ 2.83GHz
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-EP45-DS3 (Gigabyte G31M-ES2L)
Heatsink: Spire DualStar SP680S1
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
Here are the cooling performance results of Spire DualStar SP680S1 when compares with other CPU coolers (most of them are high end & expensive coolers). The results above obviously showed that Spire DualStar SP680S1 is not able to beat most of its competitors and in fact they are from different categories so it is understandable. Anyway Spire DualStar SP680S1 is still able to outperform other same range of CPU coolers. In term of noise, Spire DualStar SP680S1 is a bit noisy than other coolers due to its high RPM speed fan with generating 26dBA but the noise is still acceptable unless your system is totally fan-less else it is barely able to notice it.
Overall we are satisfied with the performance of Spire DualStar SP680S1 for an entry CPU cooler compares with the stock cooler and other similar range of CPU coolers. MSRP for Spire DualStar SP680S1 is around 26USD which is neither expensive nor cheap but we would like to say that such price for an entry cooler is pretty competitive. Anyway if you are looking for a CPU cooler to replace the original stock cooler without spending much on it then Spire DualStar SP680S1 is not a bad choice with its multiple sockets supporting, dual copper heat pipe, simple installation method and the interesting UV reaction cooling fan.
+ Support LGA775/1156/AM2/AM3
+ Easy installation
+ Moderate price & performance
+ Comes with copper base & heat pipes
- 2 specific spring loaded screws are half-blocked
- Rare to look for 100mm fan for replacement
Thanks to Spire for providing this sample for us to review.
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