Thermaltake UX200 SE Review (Page 2 of 4)

Page 2 - Physical Look - Hardware; Installation

The overall design of the Thermaltake UX200 SE falls into the conventional category. You will not find any radical design choices on the product. The shape of the fins is roughly rectangular, which makes the heatsink practically a prism. To secure the fan to the heatsink, the fins are carefully designed for the two wire clips. As you can see from the picture, a little notch on one side of the fins' corner is designed to hook the fan installation clip, while the other side of the corner is shaped to hold the fan in position. As long as the fan is in the right position, the fins ensure the fan is secured. After the fan is installed, a gap can be noticed between the fan’s air outlet side and the heatsink. The leading edges of the fin are generally pretty straight on the Thermaltake UX200 SE. If you observe it carefully, you will notice the left and right edges of the fin come in slightly inward at the middle section. The practical reasons behind this edge design have to do with aerodynamics.

All fins, except for the ones on the bottom, are the same on the Thermaltake UX200 SE. Those bottom ones are notched to fit the heatsink mounting clip. The fin at the top is the same as all the other ones in terms of thickness, which is not as good. It is often easy to bend the top fin during installation or when you are doing work to your PC and you are not careful. The Thermaltake logo is engraved in the middle of the top fin and the heatsink is painted matte black. The matte black finish makes the RGB LED effects on the fan looking better than a silver finish, because it can serve as a dark background to really emphasize the RGB LED effects. Personally, I think it would be better to even use flat black on the ends of the heatpipes to make it completely stealth looking. There are four continuous heatpipes on the Thermaltake UX200 SE, and you can see all eight heads are coming out of the top fin.

When it comes to measurements, the Thermaltake UX200 SE is 81mm in width, 156.2mm in height, and 122mm in depth including the fan. It is not a big CPU cooler, and it definitely looks pretty slim. From the above picture, you can tell how big or small the heatsink is compared to a standard 120mm fan. Due to the relatively smaller size, the Thermaltake UX200 SE does not feel heavy at all, which is expected. I think lightweightness is a welcomed feature for a CPU cooler, since it will cause less stress on the motherboard. However, the only concern about the small size is the reduced surface area of the fins, as it has a negative effect on cooling performance. For an air cooler, the tradeoff between size and cooling performance must always be considered. We will have to see how the cooler's size affects heat dissipation on the next page.

In the above photo, since the cooler is laid on the table instead of standing, the top fin is now on the left-hand side. The fins are made out of aluminum rather than copper. It is true the thermal conductivity of copper, which is 401W/mK, beats the thermal conductivity of aluminum, which is rated at 237W/mK. However, using copper for the whole heatsink may not be a good idea. This is because the density of copper is much higher than that of aluminum. Think about it -- for the same volume of metal, copper is more than three times as heavy as aluminum. If you make an all-copper heatsink using the same size and shape of the Thermaltake UX200 SE, the heat dissipating performance may be improved by less than 50%, while the weight is 300% more. It is simply not a good deal.

The material and surface area of a CPU cooler are not the only factors in determining cooling performance. The fan, which is responsible for speeding up the air ventilation, plays another key role. For the Thermaltake UX200 SE, the TT-1225 fan provides it with the necessary airflow. The fan has adjustable RPM through a pulse width modulation or PWM signal. The precise adjustable spinning speed of a PWM fan allows a lower noise level when the cooling duty is not heavy. On the other hand, PWM can also push the fan to a higher RPM whenever it is necessary. The maximum rated air flow of the TT-1225 is 62.72CFM, and the maximum air pressure is 1.47mmH2O. Note CFM stands for cubic feet per minute. Thanks to the high-volume airflow design of the fan blades, the air flow of this fan is actually pretty good. How about its real-life performance? Only testing can help us find out, which we will detail on the next page.

Regarding the noise level, thanks to the use of a hydraulic bearings, it is specified as 25dBA at the loudest, which I think is good. Regarding the RAM clearance, enough space is left thanks to the slim structure design. Generally speaking, for the Thermaltake UX200 SE, there is no need to worry about the clearance between the heatsink and components on the motherboard.

Let us move on to take a look at the base of the Thermaltake UX200 SE. Thermaltake made this base out of aluminum and copper. More specifically, all the heatpipes are made out of copper, and you can easily see the four direct contact heatpipes embedded in the aluminum base. The quality of the base is pretty good, but I think it would better to be electroplated with nickel to protect the copper part of the base from oxidation. The contacting surface feels smooth after the protection film is removed. With the help of the provided thermal paste, heat can be smoothly transferred from the CPU to the cooler. All four continuous heatpipes are firmly soldered to the base. Also, the fins, which are crucial components for dissipating heat, are firmly attached to the heatpipes. Therefore, the whole cooling system is sturdily built, and it allows the Thermaltake UX200 SE to cycle through the evaporation-condensing procedures for years to come.

There are two rows of heatpipes, slightly offset relative to one another, parallel with the fan mounting surface of the heatsink. The layout of the heatpipes of the Thermaltake UX200 SE allows the heat to be evenly distributed to the fins. From the above picture, you can see the fan is attached to the UX200 SE's fins by using wire clips. There are two hooks on the wire clip for the fan, and a tab in the middle of the wire clip for easy attachment to the main tower. This mechanism is simple, lightweight, works well, and has been popular with tower heatsink designs for a long time now.

Installation of the Thermaltake UX200 SE was pretty straightforward. Before I put everything in my computer, I took a while to read the installation manual. The mounting bracket can be easily installed using plastic retainers. Thanks to the retainer design, there is no need to use a backplate. On one hand, I think it is easy to install, but on the other hand, I am a little bit worried about removing the mounting bracket when you want to change to a different CPU cooler. I think a metal backplate and some screws is the better way to mount the mounting bracket than just using plastic retainers, as the retainers may be hard to pull out. According to my installation experience, all components fit precisely. Thanks to the slim structural design of the heatsink, none of my RAM was covered by any part of the Thermaltake UX200 SE. Even the fan did not cover anything. This feature allows me to upgrade or troubleshoot my memory without the hassle of removing the fan or heatsink.

Generally speaking, the Thermaltake UX200 SE is well-designed. The black painted heatsink and tool-free installation are two welcomed features of this product. Regarding the installation procedure, the Thermaltake UX200 SE delivered a positive tool-free installation experience, but I think it would better to use a metal backplate instead of a plastic retainer for easy removal as well. As for the actual cooling performance, let us turn to the next page and find out.

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