Cooler Master was kind enough to send us the brand new Vortex Plus CPU cooler. It has a low profile design with 4 heat pipes in direct contact with the base. This is a nice touch to help dissipate heat as quickly as possible. With the low profile design, the Vortex needs every advantage it can get to make up for it’s lack of mass and surface area. We will put it to the test and see how well it performs. Will it be able to tackle the Intel i7 monster or will the i7 be too much for the low profile Vortex Plus to handle?
As you may notice from the pictures, the four heat pipe design was created with a direct contact base to help dissipate heat as effectively as possible. With the low profile design, the Vortex needs to take advantage of everything possible to help keep temperatures under control.
We also noticed that the base is not exactly parallel to the ground. With the picture above (left) you can see the slight bend in the base upward to the top of the cooling fins. In this picture, you can also see where the retention clip will go across when we install the Vortex Plus.
The picture on the left shows off the gap in the fins which will come in very handy while installing the retention bracket. This was a great idea, because without it, we would have bent/broken plenty of fins during the installation process. In the other picture, you can take a look at the 92mm Blade Master PWM fan that accompanies the Vortex Plus.
Installing the Vortex Plus was actually very easy. A lot of the coolers in today’s market make you install their own back plate with a bunch of screws. The Vortex is streamlined to make installation a breeze. The pictures above help show it off and you can see one of the two retention plates which you install with black push pins. You can also see ’775,’ ’1156′ and ’1366′ etched into it. All you need to do is line up the correct socket type for your motherboard, then screw it in.
Now you can see why the ingenious idea of leaving those fins off came in handy as the retention clip needs to be screwed into the retention plate. It is a very simple process, and takes no time at all to get it screwed in.
The fan sits nicely atop of the Vortex awaiting the wire clips to hold it in place.
The pictures above show how the wire clips are attached and hold down the fan. The wire clips fit snugly once they are installed. This is good because you can move the case around and not have to worry about the fan coming off of your CPU cooler.
You can see just how low profile the Vortex Plus really is from this picture. It is almost the same height as our Thermalright HR-05/ IFX north bridge cooler! You will also notice both of the wire clips attached firmly on both sides. This cooler is made to fit in tight spaces, and as you can see, it will do just that!
From the tests, you can quickly tell that the Vortex Plus has problems with the I7. The idle temperature for the stock CPU speed is acceptable, but once it gets under load, things start to get very hot. Now if you were never planning on running your i7 at prolonged 100% load, then you could work with this cooler. Gaming may be possible for you, but long sessions may be too much for this cooler to handle. Also, you may have noticed the same thing we did, and that is that overclocking with this cooler is out of the question. The idle temperatures are not terrible, but at 100% load, it hit 90c and we shut down the test for the sake of our CPU.
The overall look to the Vortex Plus is very pleasant! The four heat pipe design with direct contact to the base is an outstanding addition for cooling efficiency. The wire clips that are used to hold the 92mm fan in place were very capable of doing the job. We have used fan clips in the past that were not able to keep fans in place if you moved the case around. Installation is quite simplistic to say the least and anyone could do this and it would only take a few minutes, which is a great feature. However, once we moved to the temperature testing, we were not impressed with the cooling capacity of the Vortex Plus. If you are looking to overclock, this cooler will not make anybody’s recommended list. It just simply cannot handle the heat the i7 puts out when overclocked, and therefore could possibly cause damage to your CPU if left to run for extended periods of time. From what we have seen with this cooler, it is designed to be used with a CPU running at stock speeds and voltages, assuming you are using an i7. We would guess that a dual core would suit this CPU cooler just fine however. Again, this is clearly not geared to the overclocker, but for the user who wants a slight upgrade in cooling capacity over the Intel stock cooler and has tight space constraints. Overall, the Vortex Plus has a great design and does have a purpose in today’s market, just not in the high-end market.
We give the Cooler Master Vortex Plus the TechREACTION.net Bronze Silicon Award!