DeepCool AK620 Digital Review (Page 2 of 4)

Page 2 - Physical Look - Hardware; Installation

Our DeepCool AK620 Digital is quite familiar, as it keeps the same heatsink design as the original DeepCool AK620. As such, we have a dual-tower design. However, as this is the Digital edition, we have a large flat panel that covers the top of the fin stack. This panel makes the whole AK620 Digital look even cleaner than what we have seen in the past, as it is just a flat and glossy panel with no other accents when unplugged. There are no logos visible from this angle, although this changes once the panel is powered, as you will see later on. Both stacks of fins are black in color, rather than the silver aluminum we saw on the vanilla AK620. This is because the AK620 Digital uses their Zero Dark version of the cooler under the digital screen. This is similar to Noctua's effect with an all-black finish. The fans are black as well with a blocky frame to maintain this angular design and prevent some airflow from leaking out of the sides.

With the digital panel and two fans removed, you can see the dual-stack tower design on the DeepCool AK620 Digital. It has a similar height profile to other 120mm based coolers, which should make it compatible with most mid-tower ATX cases. The fins are hidden here, but there is an interesting design on the front with a grid-like cut-out to make for a neat look. There are a total of 49 fins on each stack with four cut down fins at the bottom to ensure better RAM clearance. The spacing between each fin is approximately 2.0mm, and they are all pretty evenly spaced between each other. From my calculations, the total surface area of the dual stack cooling fins is approximately 0.92m², which is pretty good, but also not too surprising considering this is made up of two stacks. At a total mass of 1233g with both fans and the digital panel attached and 788g for the heatsink alone, the DeepCool AK620 Digital has quite a bit of heft to it. For some perspective, a typical AMD Wraith Prism stock cooler weighs 582g. On an aside, I am not sure where DeepCool got their net weight of 1486g in the specifications from, as I measured each of the aforementioned components to get their masses.

As for its dimensions, the DeepCool AK620 Digital is typical with a height of around 162mm, width of 129mm, and depth of 138mm with the two fans attached. This is 2mm higher than the original AK620, due in part to the thicker top panel. You still will probably not run into any issues with installing this cooler in most mid-tower ATX cases. The DeepCool AK620 Digital is symmetrical in design. With its fans attached, it hovers over two of the closest memory slots. There is enough clearance underneath with approximately 4.2cm of space between the bottom of the base and the bottom of the hovering fan in its default position. You can readjust the fan to increase the clearance, but this will also increase the overall height of the cooler, so keep this in mind. Even so, I think these are all perfectly acceptable clearances for a dual tower designed cooler.

From the base where the metal makes contact with the processor, six continuous U-shaped heatpipes lead away from the CPU contact and split into the two stacks of fins. This effectively makes twelve heatpipes in total. The 6mm diameter heatpipes are supposed to efficiently lead the heat away from its source due to the low heat of vaporization, or phase change energy, of alcohol. The heatpipes are aligned in a manner to spread out the heat in the array of radiating fins. The 0.92m² of surface area, combined with the two 120mm DeepCool fans, should be able to deliver very good heat dissipation performance, but we will see if this statement is true on the next page.

The two fans mounted on each fin stack of the DeepCool AK620 Digital is mounted with metal wires that clip to the side of the stacks. This means you can swap out these fans, if you so desire, for any other 25mm thick 120mm model. These clips work really well since they ensure the fan stays attached while also allowing flexibility in mounting height, if this is necessary. You will need to remove these fans during installation, but we will explore this later on. The clips are also black in color to blend with the rest of the AK620 Digital's appearance.

As for the fans in question, we have two 120mm DeepCool FK120 fans. Internally, we have fluid dynamic bearings for a longer lifespan and generally quiet operation. These 120mm fans have a specified rotational speed of 500 to 1850 RPM, maximum airflow rating 68.99 CFM, and maximum air pressure of 2.19 mm H2O. The rated fan noise is around 28 dbA. These rated numbers are pretty typical for a radiator or heatsink mounted fan, as these sorts of fans require a sufficient amount of static pressure and airflow to get air through the fins. The rated lifespan of these fans is around 50,000 hours, which translates into around 5.7 years if operated 24/7. Otherwise, the fans are all black and have a very blocky frame design to match with the squared off look of the AK620 Digital. The corners have rubber padding to reduce vibrations between the fan and the heatsink it is mounted to. Interestingly, DeepCool has updated the labels from the last time I saw these fans with just its logo in the center of the impeller.

The one difference for the DeepCool AK620 Digital is the inclusion of this electronic readout LCD panel. Underneath this glossy panel is a printed circuit board with three seven-segment displays to show information. Two LED strips also exist on the top and bottom of this panel to give off a nice addressable RGB illumination. Behind this panel is also a DeepCool logo that illuminates when the unit is powered. The panel holds to the heatsink with four magnets. The magnets are quite strong, and the panel will not come off unless you purposely pull it off. Otherwise, the panel communicates with your system via two headers. A USB 2.0 header is used for monitoring system status, while the LED light strips is powered and controlled with a standard addressable RGB header. While I am glad DeepCool has implemented standard headers for both, this adds to the two fan cables coming off the complete AK620 Digital. However, as we do not have a standardized way to combine all of these items together, I do prefer separate headers over a proprietary solution.

In order to get system information, you can download DeepCool's Digital utility. This is the same software for all of DeepCool's Digital products and is available on the company's website. It will download as a 78.5MB compressed ZIP file. Once installed and launched, this appears as a system icon in your taskbar with no user interface. Instead, right clicking the icon provides several menu options. For the AK620 Digital, we can display either the processor's temperature, its load percentage, or cycle between the two. The temperature can show as degrees Celsius or Fahrenheit. This is a bit limited in its use, as it could have reported other system statuses, but it is also reasonable that a CPU cooler would only report on CPU-related info.

The photo above shows the bottom of the DeepCool AK620 Digital and how the heatpipes lead out of the base and into the fin array. The base is very flat, which should translate into the entire base pressing evenly on top of the processor. A quick inspection also reveals there are no abnormalities here with no milling marks seen. This whole heatsink is composed of different materials. The base and heatpipes are composed of copper with nickel plating on the outside. Copper is used because it has one of the best heat transfer abilities with a thermal conductivity of 401W/mK. Meanwhile, the fins are made up of aluminum as it is quite a bit lighter in comparison to copper. This reduction in weight will reduce stress on the motherboard, although aluminum has a lower conductivity of 237W/mK, which is not as optimal for heat transfer, but the trade-off is understandable.

In terms of appearance, the copper base is concealed with an electroplated nickel. While nickel has a notably lower conductivity of 90.9W/mK, this layer is very thin and should not adversely affect the performance to a significant degree. Instead, nickel and nickel-base alloys are used here because of their properties in withstanding corrosive environments and high temperatures, which is especially beneficial for a heat dissipation device. The reason why nickel has these properties is because of its ductility and toughness all the way up to the melting point of 1455c, measured at non-standard pressure. Nickel's face-centered cube crystal structure is highly resistant to corrosion, so corroded material will not build up on the surface in the long run. As a result, the DeepCool AK620 Digital will be less prone to losing its cooling performance over time as juxtaposed to a corroded copper surface.

At the base, all of the joints are soldered to the base, but the fins are pressed to the heatpipes. Pressed fins are pretty typical, but this may lead to degradation over time as contact between metals decreases due to thermal expansion and contraption. It also means the fins can slightly slide about easier. Even so, everything is well put together on the DeepCool AK620 Digital with a solid choice of materials around the heatsink and fins.

Installation of the DeepCool AK620 Digital is straightforward and imitates other competition's system in how it works. While this might be seen as copying, it is one of the most seamless mounting experiences, which is great for the end user. With Intel systems, you will need the included metal backplate. This comes with bolts for installation of the entire unit, and it can be moved around depending on the socket you are using. For AMD systems, you can use the integrated backplate that comes with your motherboard. Screw in the four bolts to secure the backplate.

Once the backplate is mounted, you can use two mounting bars to attach on the CPU side. DeepCool again has separate bars for AMD and Intel motherboards, so be sure to use the correct ones. From here, you can tighten the thumb bolts on the bars before you mount the larger heatsink. I would also advise squeezing out some thermal paste on your CPU. DeepCool has provided sufficient amount of paste for multiple installations.

Afterwards, with the fans removed from the fin stack, you can place the whole AK620 on top and screw the unit onto the mounting bars. You will probably need an L-shaped screwdriver that is long enough to reach. Be sure to tighten these screws in an alternating fashion to evenly attach the heatsink to the metal bars. Next, you can install the FK120 fan in between the two towers with the wire clips. Afterwards, install the top digital panel, as you need to route the cable into the grooves on the front stack of heatsink fins. Finally, mount the last fan at the front. As I have pointed out before, the front fan hovers over my RAM, but it does not interfere as my memory kit is very low profile.

Page Index
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. Physical Look - Hardware; Installation
3. Test Results
4. Conclusion