NZXT HAVIK 140 Review

By: Devin Chollak
September 2, 2011

"Creativity comes from looking for the unexpected and stepping outside your own experience." - Masaru Ibuka. This quote defines an effective business practice that has made many companies explode with growth. The NXZT HAVIK 140 is an example of a company stepping outside of its normal products range, and to produce something they have not produced before. Apple, for instance, probably would not have be where it is today if the iPod was never developed. Another example, if Ford had not used assembly line techniques for mass production, and provided inexpensive goods with high wages, the company wouldn't have been any better off than the other automotive manufacturers of its time. It isn't hard to see that doing something different or entering a new area can certainly provide benefits to both the company and the consumers. The question is, will the HAVIK 140 provide the same kind of benefits? Well, it wouldn't be fair to spoil that answer; you will just have to read on to find out. Now, before we move on, I keep asking myself what HAVIK means. Well, HAVIK is a homophone of the word 'havoc', so I guess you could say the NZXT HAVIK 140 will pillage the heat coming from your processor. However, havik is also Dutch for hawk, and I can't help but wonder if it will soar above the competition? Let's see about that!

The hawk flew all the way to our Calgary office from California, as with most of our review samples here at APH Networks. I have a feeling it made a bad decision, as California has significantly better weather than us. Taking the journey up north with UPS Standard, it took a few hits during the trip, and arrived without any feathers. Good thing, because I am probably allergic to them anyways. The NXZT HAVIK 140 shipping box took a good hit in transit on the right side, as you can see in the above image. Fortunately, the shipping box did its job, and prevented the retail box from sustaining any damage.

NZXT took on a simple look for the HAVIK 140's retail box. It is essentially black and white with a dash of blue for accentuating the design, but the presentation is very clean and crisp. On the front side, you see an image of the heatsink assembled with fans, along with a vertical array of icons displaying the features of the product. I will admit the icons are a bit lackluster when it comes to the choice of color, but they present the information in an organized and concise manner, making it difficult to argue with the styling choice. The NZXT HAVIK 140's retail box has more detailed product information and specifications on other sides as well. Interestingly, NZXT kept the amount of information down to only the necessary details. Personally, that is probably one of the best design choices, as this keeps things simple and easy to understand for the consumer. Considering the cooler itself is black and white anyway, I definitely agree with the color choice, as it enhances the product's image. Simply put, NZXT did an excellent job with the retail box, and was really thinking about the best way to present the product to customers. All of the information presented on the box is also displayed on the manufacturer's website, as of follows:

- Six 6mm heat pipes with standard dual 140mm fans for the most efficient conductivity
- Unique fan blades provide quiet 25 dBA operation and highly effective airflow of 90.3 CFM
- Newly patented fins exceptionally slice passing air for increased ventilation and reduced noise
- 100% soldered copper base and aluminum fins with nickel plating to ensure resilience against deterioration, quality, and long life.
- Includes sturdy Intel/AMD mounting kits to accommodate a variety of motherboards and secure the heatsink during transportation.
- Universally compatible to Intel socket 1366, 1155, 1156, 775 and AMD socket AM3, AM2+, AM2.

MATERIALS: Aluminum / Copper Nickel-Plated
DIMENSIONS: 140(W) x 166(H) x 120(D) mm; 135(W) x 160(H) x 60(D) mm (heatsink)
WEIGHT: 1035g (including dual 140mm fans); 760g (heatsink)
FAN SIZE: Dual 140(W) x 140(H) x 25(D) mm
FAN BEARING: Long Life (Oil-Leaking Prevention) + Shaft with copper sleeve
FAN SPEED: 1200 +/- 10% RPM
LIFE: 30,000 Hours
COMPATIBILITY: Intel Socket:1366, 1155, 1156, 775 CPUs
AMD Socket: AM3, AM2+, AM2 CPUs

Upon cracking open the box of chaos, I discovered that it was actually very well organized. In fact, each part was given its own Styrofoam padding, and all the miscellaneous parts needed for installation were provided in a white cardboard box. Inside the cardboard box, the parts were organized into plastic bags to ensure nothing could slip out of the packaging. Each of the 140mm fans came in their own Styrofoam padding as aforementioned; a move I felt wasn't necessary, as they could have used a single piece and inserted the fans onto either side of it. This would have easily cut down on the material required, and provided identical level of padding and protection from damage in my opinion. The heatsink was plastic wrapped inside of its Styrofoam padding as well; this is very typical of most aftermarket CPU coolers, and ensures the heatsink is in top quality when the consumer removes it from the packaging.

The installation manual is certainly a major highlight of the NZXT HAVIK 140. It has been a very long time since I've seen a well designed installation manual. If you have ever played with LEGO or K'NEX, you will feel right at home. It not only visually shows all the pieces needed for both Intel and AMD installation, but also presents it in a very clear and concise manner. Using effective sketches for each stage of the installation, as well as a large diagram showing how all the pieces fit together, it creates a very straightforward installation process. Of course, there is also a small amount of text to accompany the installation steps for those who prefer text over visuals. NZXT also split the installation very clearly between Intel and AMD sockets, giving each processor type a large section of its own. I strongly believe that other manufacturers should adapt this type of installation manual, as very few comes close to this quality. Well enough about this installation manual, let's take a closer look at the heatsink itself.

When you take a look at the NZXT HAVIK 140, it doesn't look overly large. However, once you attach both of the 140mm fans to the heatsink, you will probably retract that statement. Weighing in at 1035g with both fans, it isn't your lightest contender. I have seen heavier; but again, this is on the upper end. This is about where I would expect this size of fan to weigh in. However, if you don't require the extra cooling provided by two fans, you can easily remove one of them, and cut the weight down by almost 140g. I'm a fan for removable fans, as it allows you to decide what is best for your setup. The options are having a push fan, pull fan, or dual fans. I like the fact the fans are large enough, so the entire heatsink will have air flow through it.

The HAVIK 140 heatsink consists of 46 aluminum fins, which, according to my calculations, provides a total surface area of approximately 0.75 square meters. That is comparable to the Thermaltake Frio OCK I have reviewed last week, which has almost the same total surface area. The NZXT HAVIK 140 certainly has the potential to compete with many CPU coolers around the same price range. The curvature on the fins is quite reasonable, but certainly has room to be improved for better aerodynamics. Considering the spacing between the fins, I expect low resistance for airflow, which is good for both cooling performance and keeping the noise down. As we all know, keeping the noise down is good for both practical reasons, as well as making sure everyone in the house can sleep without a lawnmower noise in the background.

Both included fans are 140mm in diameter, and provides airflow of up to 90.3 CFM while operating at 25 dBA. This is actually quite impressive, considering the fans rotate at 1200 rpm. Unfortunately, neither of the fans provides a mechanism to throttle their speed, just like how Toyota doesn't provide a mechanism to stop their cars. This leaves it up to the consumer to either provide their own throttling mechanism (Such as your motherboard), or leave it running at full speed. I will be leaving the fans running at stock speeds, which happen to run nice and quiet by my standards. In fact, with both fans running it was almost the same level of noise as the fans I have on my NZXT Source 210 Elite chassis. One handy little feature I enjoyed with the NZXT HAVIK 140 is that the fans come with a Y-cable adapter for the fan power cables. Each power cable on the fans is long enough to be plugged in separately, but the Y-cable allows you to plug in both fans into the same header on your motherboard. An additional advantage provided by the Y-cable is that it extends the length of the power cables, but this isn't really the main advantage, as most cables plug in adjacent to the CPU anyway.

Just like the Thermaltake Frio OCK, the NZXT HAVIK 140 comes with six 6mm diameter heat pipes. The difference between the two of them is how the HAVIK 140 distributes the heat pipes evenly throughout the aluminum fins. This optimizes heat dissipation to the aluminum fins to maximize the cooling capabilities of the heatsink. Each heatpipe travels up both sides for an effectively twelve heat pipes on the CPU cooler. NZXT took an interesting approach to how the heat pipes are implemented. Some of the heatpipes curve more towards the center; while others bend towards the outside of the fins. This makes for a very strange look, but the reason for this is so that all the heat coming from the CPU isn't being dissipated to a single spot on the fins. At first glance, you would think an engineer decided to go crazy with bending pipes, but rest be assured this is done for performance reasons, and not just for an interesting appearance. The look just happens to be an additional bonus of the design.

The CPU contact and heatpipes are made out of copper with nickel plating. Nickel is meant to provide resistance against copper corrosion, with a slight compromise in thermal conductivity. Copper is designed for achieving the best thermal conductivity possible to transfer heat away from the CPU. The copper base and aluminum fins are soldered together to ensure a long lasting quality that will not decrease in performance over time. Finally, the aluminum fins are for dissipation of the heat, while keeping the HAVIK 140 at a reasonable weight. All of these aspects together create a very effective cooling solution. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that NZXT did their homework, and came up with an excellent design for this heatsink. However, the question remaining in my mind is if this cooler is able to generate enough airflow to (Wait for another Devin signature line... - Editor) blow off a girl's skirt...


Utilizing the LEGO-like installation manual, I was able to quickly and easily install the NZXT HAVIK 140 onto my motherboard. They even labeled the backplate, so you would know which side to use for Intel or AMD. The only catch here is you have to put the face that says Intel against motherboard for Intel processors. This means when you look at the backplate where it says "THE SIDE FOR AMD", and this is slightly misleading. However, this really just ends up being the argument over whether the glass is either half empty or half full. Being an engineer, I have to say the glass is really just twice the size that it needs to be. The backplate was easy to place, and the screws slide right in with ease. Putting in the spacing pillars on the front side was very convenient, and provided no obstacles. When I was installing the Intel brackets, I noticed the screw holes were a fairly loose fit. This wasn't a very comforting thought, as I would have expected a secure fit to ensure proper spacing of the brackets. Once I had tightened the nuts, it held securely in place, but I felt that simply hand tightening the nuts simply wasn't acceptable. This is where another issue arose -- the nuts don't provide a way to tighten with a screwdriver. This makes it difficult to ensure a solid fitting. I had to compensate and use a pair of pliers to further tighten them, which, to my surprise, was an additional three full rotations before I felt any resistance.

Once I had felt that the brackets were secure enough, I was surprised to find the way the heatsink is supposed to be mounted. Typically, CPU coolers have the mounting screws attached to the heatsink to ensure proper spacing. This isn't the case with the NZXT HAVIK 140. Instead, you apply thermal paste to the CPU and rest the heatsink on top. Then you take the crossbar with screws, put it though the underside of the heatsink, and clamp it down. This made it a bit challenging to ensure proper alignment. The crossbar does have notches to assist with lining it up against the heatsink, but it doesn't feel like the best installation approach. On top of that, I found that the screws on the crossbar were difficult to align while ensuring that the heatsink was actually centered on the processor. Once I had fully tightened the heatsink, I discovered that I was still able to nudge the heatsink around slightly. I ended up tightening both the screws and the nuts a little bit more, but realistically, it is nothing to worry about.

The end result was the heatsink offered a reasonable amount of resistance to prevent a twisting motion, but it did not completely eliminate it. I questioned how effective the heatsink contact was going to be; however, to my surprise it seemed to do the job fairly well -- so it is really nothing to worry about, as aforementioned. Once the heatsink was secured into place, the last piece of the puzzle was to attach the two 140mm fans. Each fan had two rubber fasteners instead of traditional metal wire clips. As much as I like new innovations, I have to disagree with this decision. Rubber has the unfortunate property of becoming hard with age as the plasticizer leaches out over time. This means after a while, it will become brittle and snap, which will lead to you no longer being able to easily attach fans to the heatsink. However, this could take a few years, and more likely than not, you will probably replace the heatsink or the fans anyway. One aspect I disliked about the fans was the size of them prevented my G.SKILL Ripjaws-X from fitting underneath. I simply had to remove the RAM from the first two slots to ensure a proper fitting of the massive 140mm fan. Fortunately, once I had removed the heatspreaders from the RAM, I was able to fit them in without any issues.

The Tests

Our test setup as follows:

CPU: Intel Core i7-2600K (Stock settings; Hyper Threading enabled)
Motherboard: ASUS P8Z68-V
Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 3000
Memory: G.Skill F3-12800CL9-4GBXL 16GB (4x4GB) @ 802MHz (11-11-11-28)
Chassis: NZXT Source 210 Elite
Power: Antec High Current Gamer 400W
Sound: Integrated
Optical Drive: SONY DVD RW DRU-880S
Hard Drive: Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 320GB
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Professional SP1 x64

Compared Hardware:
- Thermaltake Frio OCK
- Intel Stock
- Noctua NH-D14

To ensure a controlled environment, the test machine was kept in the same location at a constant room temperature of approximately 20c. Each test was given sufficient time to allow for the thermal interface material to set properly. The NZXT HAVIK 140 was compared to the Intel stock heatsink, Thermaltake Frio OCK, and Noctua NH-D14. The HAVIK 140 was tested with a dual fan configuration, as well as a single fan pushing the air through the heatsink. The fan speed for the HAVIK 140 was left running at stock settings throughout the tests, as the fans do not provide a way to adjust their RPM.

For the idle tests, the system was turned on and idling for at least 30 minutes. For the load tests, Prime95's in-place large FFTs test with eight work threads was run for 30 minutes. The results of the tests were taken from Core Temp using data provided by the CPU's thermal sensor. The load test was run for a minimum of 30 minutes, and once the highest core temperature had been sustained for more than five minutes, it was recorded. The highest temperature among the cores was recorded, and the results were cross-checked with Real Temp for verification of the readings for all results.

Looking at the above graph, you can clearly see that the NZXT HAVIK 140 performed identically with a single fan compared to the dual fan setup when idle, with both temperatures recorded as 27c. This is expected, as the Intel Core i7-2600K does not generate a significant amount of heat when it is idling. The Thermaltake Frio OCK at full fan speed and the Noctua NH-D14 was only a mere degree cooler than the HAVIK 140 at 26c. It should be noted that the CPU with NZXT's cooler was running cooler than the Intel stock, and equal to the Frio OCK on its lowest fan speed. I am thoroughly impressed with the noise level, as it is slightly quieter than the Noctua NH-D14 when running two fans, and even quieter with just a single fan. My chassis fans were able to drown out the sound of the CPU cooler, which was rather surprising, considering the CPU fans were 20mm larger.

The load tests provided an interesting set of data. The HAVIK 140 performed comparable to that of the Noctua NH-D14, but with surprisingly less noise. Both the Noctua NH-D14 and the HAVIK 140 were able to run at a cool 46c. The Thermaltake Frio OCK at full fan speed did run the coolest at 45c, but at that fan speed, I might as well have put a hairdryer on high beside my ear. The NZXT HAVIK 140 also presented surprising results with a single fan. I was expecting good cooling performance, but not to the level that the single fan was capable of providing. With only a delta of 3 degrees between the dual and the single fan setup, I was very tempted to have only one fan, and keep the heatspreaders on my RAM. The HAVIK 140 was able to sustain a temperature of 49c under load with a single fan, and did this at a relatively low noise level. This is certainly a very respectable level of performance, and almost a bit surprising.

Ranking the NZXT HAVIK 140 on the standardized APH noise perception scale, with 0.0 being silent and 10.0 being the loudest, the dual fan setup is rated at 3.5 out of 10. However, with only a single fan setup, the CPU cooler is rated at 2.5 out of 10 in my personal opinion. Of course, loudness is subjective to the observer, and varies with each individual, but it is hard to argue with a CPU cooler that makes less noise that the cooling fans on the chassis. Although it would have been nice to be able to adjust the fan speed, I feel that is almost unnecessary, since the fans provide excellent cooling with minimal noise regardless.


Weighing in everything, I have to say the NZXT HAVIK 140 does a great job at being a CPU cooler. Considering this is the first CPU cooler from NZXT, it goes to show that there is certainly huge potential for the company. If minor improvements were made to the installation process, as well as replacing the rubber fasteners with metal clips, this product would be a top contender at its price range. Retailing for $70 USD at press time, I'm fairly impressed at the cooling performance, but even more impressed at how quiet the HAVIK 140 operates. The cooler offers equivalent cooling performance against slightly more expensive products, and get this -- with less noise. One of the down sides to this cooler is the inability to have the closest RAM slots have heatspreaders. However, if you are willing to remove the heatspreaders, the RAM will fit in without any troubles. Using rubber fasteners is an innovative design, but the drawbacks cannot be ignored. Rubber has the unfortunate tendency to go brittle over time, and will make it difficult to replace the fasteners. The installation was cumbersome, because of the number of components that were required, and the fact it was more difficult than necessary to align the mounting clips and crossbar. NZXT did a brilliant job with the installation manual, and I could not have asked for a better visual approach to the installation. The NZXT HAVIK 140 is certainly worth the price tag, and I cannot wait to see what NZXT does for their next CPU cooler. The HAVIK 140 really is a hawk that will swiftly and silently hunt the heat generated by your processor.

NZXT provided this product to APH Networks for the purpose of evaluation.

APH Review Focus Summary:
8/10 means Definitely a very good product with drawbacks that aren't likely going to matter to the end user.
7/10 means Great product with many advantages and certain insignificant drawbacks; but should be considered before purchasing.
-- Final APH Numeric Rating is 7.4/10
Please note that the APH Numeric Rating system is based off our proprietary guidelines in the Review Focus, and should not be compared to other sites.

If you demand performance cooling to help you wreak havoc in games, the NZXT HAVIK 140 provides top of the line cooling with minimal noise.

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