Reeven E12 RGB RC-1208RGB Review (Page 2 of 4)

Page 2 - Physical Look - Hardware; Installation

The Reeven E12 RGB RC-1208RGB follows a similar design to what we have seen quite recently in the Noctua NH-U12A, though there are obvious aesthetic differences too. The main similarity we see is the use of a single large stack of fins and several heatpipes going through it rather than a double stack of fins we have seen in other Reeven coolers like the Okeanos RC-1402. For aesthetics, Reeven has kept it generally simple with a black and gray fan attached to a silver stack. Some copper color also comes through on the heatpipes. It is interesting to see exposed copper on Reeven heatsinks, especially since past units often utilize a silver nickel plating. We will discuss the benefits and drawbacks for this later on in the physical inspection. Otherwise, a slim Reeven logo can be found in between the tips of the heatpipes.

From the top, Reeven has used a hybrid approach in the leading edges of the heatsink fans. There is a slight V-shaped slope towards the middle on both sides. There are also a few protruding edges on both sides of the metal fin edges. Both of these optimize the ability to permit airflow in between the fins while reducing the resistance and noise, all while only negligibly decreasing the heatsink surface area. There is a total of forty six fins on the radiator. The spacing in between each fin is approximately 2.5mm. From my calculation, the total surface area of the cooling fins combined is close to 0.59 square meters, which is lower than the Noctua NH-U12A.

At a total mass of 550g with a fan installed, the Reeven E12 RGB RC-1208RGB is actually a bit light for its size. For some perspective, the NH-U12A weighs in at 760g with no fans installed, while the Intel stock cooler is a lightweight at 330g. Meanwhile, the Reeven Justice RC-1204 is 930g with a fan installed. Most of the weight can be attributed to the material choices of the heatsink itself, as you will also find out later.

The single fan on the Reeven E12 RGB RC-1208RGB is held on with two wire clips that are easily removable. In fact, you might say these clips are too easy to remove. They sit on the outside of the fan and goes around the sides of the heatsink fins. Raised edges on each side of the fins secure the clips. However, the wire clip retention length is a bit too much, such that the fan does not sit firmly on the heatsink. It slides about and becomes difficult to get the wires to stay on the fan and the heatsink. This results in a much more difficult installation process. Wire clips are often advantageous to plastic tabs, as they allow for a bit more flexibility in terms of the fan-heatsink location. Just to note, the fan will need to be removed before installation as it hovers over one of the mounting screws. If you want, Reeven provides an extra set of clips for an additional fan to be mounted on the back side.

As for the fan in question, a single RGB fan marked "RS1225H15FW-C12P" is provided. The 120mm fan has a Reeven specified rotational speed range of 500 to 1500 RPM, airflow rating of 16 to 51 CFM or 27 to 87 cubic meters/hour, and static pressure of 1.2 to 3.88 mmH2O. Reeven does not specify a rated mean time before failure. Of course, due to the nature of the fan mounting, you can easily swap this fan out. Just keep in mind this is the only RGB element of this cooler, so this may or may not be a desirable decision, depending on your preference. Otherwise, this is a 4-pin PWM fan with an additional cable for the 12V 4-pin RGB header. It has both male and female ends to let you daisy chain this fan with other RGB components. Since the E12 RGB does not come with any lighting controller, be sure your motherboard has a standard 4-pin RGB header.

When we speak of dimensions, the Reeven E12 RGB RC-1208RGB measures 152mm in height, 123mm in width, and 80mm in depth with the fan installed. At a height of 152mm, this is probably safe to use in most mid-tower ATX cases. The stack of fins are symmetrical, as it evenly sits on top of the processor. However, due to its shallower fins, the heatsink does not overhang into the memory area. From the base where the metal makes contact with the processor, four continuous U-shaped heatpipes lead away from the CPU contact, splitting into two sides of the same radiator to dissipate heat. This effectively makes eight heatpipes in total. The 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 an alternating manner to spread out the heat in the single array of radiating fins. The 0.59 square meters of surface area, combined with attached RS1225H15FW-C12P fan should be able to deliver good heat dissipation performance, but we will see if this statement is true on the next page.

This CPU cooler is aligned, so when the single fan is attached in its default position, there is no part hanging over into other areas on the motherboard like the memory slots or the PCI Express slots around the processor. With a clearance of approximately 4.1cm from the bottom of the base to the lowest fin, Reeven mentions this cooler should fit on most modern Intel and AMD sockets. As Reeven also allows users to configure the cooler in different orientations, you also have the option to turn the cooler around for better fitting.

The photo above shows a shot of the bottom of the Reeven E12 RGB RC-1208RGB CPU heatsink and the configuration of the heatpipes more clearly in relation to the base leading into the fin array. You can see the base is flat, which means practically the entire base should rest evenly on top of the processor. A quick inspection also reveals there are no abnormalities here, however, it is not the most even base either. Reeven advertises this base as their HDCS, or Heatpipe Direct Contact Solution, as the copper heatpipes make direct contact with the rest of the processor it is cooling. Unfortunately, the pipes do not lay completely flush with the rest of the base. When you run your fingers over the base, you can feel the slight imperfections that could negatively affect cooling performance.

Materials used on the Reeven E12 RGB RC-1208RGB heatsink utilize both copper and aluminum. The heatpipes are built using copper for best heat transfer ability with a thermal conductivity of 401W/mK. The rest of the base and the heatsink fins utilize aluminum as it is much lighter in comparison to copper. This reduces the weight of the E12 RGB and thus reduces the stress on the motherboard. Unfortunately, aluminum also has a thermal conductivity of 237 W/mK, which is not as optimal for heat transfer. While the tradeoff is understandable for the fins, I think the entire base should be made up of copper for better thermal conductivity. Some other heatsinks utilize a nickel plating to conceal the copper. Nickel is used because of its higher resistance to corrosion, but the copper on the E12 RGB is exposed.

Additionally, all the joints are cleanly attached at the base. However, the fins are pressed to the heatpipes. Pressed fins are typical for most heatsinks, but this can lead to degradation over time as contact between metals decreases due to thermal expansion and contraption. Otherwise, build quality is decent, and any issues are covered by Reeven's two year warranty.

Installation of the Reeven E12 RGB RC-1208RGB is a relatively straightforward process, though there were some hiccups along the way. First of all, you can get the plastic backplate and place the necessary screws in the right spots for your socket. This backplate is used with both AMD and Intel sockets. You can fasten the bolts to the backplate with some more plastic holders and fit them through the motherboard back. I do not always like the one size fits all solution with the backplate, but Reeven made this quite straightforward to use. From here, you can flip the motherboard around and work on the other side.

On the other side, two mounting bars are included to attach the heatsink to the motherboard. Once the backplate is pushed through, place the plastic washers on each bolt. The two mounting bars can be placed in a horizontal or vertical configuration, depending on what the user chooses for their installation orientation. Two sets of bars are included, depending if you are mounting the Reeven E12 RGB RC-1208RGB on an Intel or AMD socket. From the photo above, I have placed the bars in order to get a horizontal orientation, as you will see soon enough. Once you tighten the thumb bolts on the bars with a screw driver, you can install the heatsink.

Before doing so, be sure to place a bit of thermal paste between the processor and the heatsink. I placed a small dot measuring in 4 to 5mm in diameter. Next, place the heatsink over the two protruding screws on the mounting bars. At this point, I would recommend you to use a longer screwdriver, as the room to access the screw is a bit tight. With your chosen screwdriver, tighten the screws, alternating between each screw to evenly attach the heatsink to the motherboard. Finally, reattach the included Reeven fan to the heatsink. As we mentioned previously, attaching the fan to the heatsink was probably the most difficult part of using the E12 RGB. I felt like I needed one more hand to keep the wire attached to the fan, while my other two hands to put the fan in place and attach it. I think Reeven should make these wire clips more firmly attach to the fan so that connecting to the rest of the heatsink is easy.

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