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AMD's Wraith Cooler Is A Game Changer For Stock Cooling

Author: HP - Date: - Manufacture: AMD - Product Name: Wraith Cooler - Price: $179.99

Introduction

AMD Wraith Cooler

The Wraith Cooler is AMD's answer to offer improved stock cooling performance with its microprocessors. They announced the Wraith cooler at CES this year and were showing off the cooling and noise performance. According to AMD, the Wraith Cooler delivers 34 percent more airflow and 24% more surface area for heat dissipation than its predecessor. This will allow for quieter and more cooling performance out-of-the-box.

The Wraith first launched with AMD’s FX 8370 CPU but AMD is now expanding the list of processors that will come bundled with the Wraith cooler including the FX-8350 and FX-6350 CPUs. The Wraith Cooler has the same 125W cooling rating as its predecessor but it has more surface area and an improved fan that cools better while being much quieter. The FX-8350 and FX-6350 bundled with the Wraith cooler will retail for $180 and $130, respectively. In this review, we will pit the the Wraith against the Noctua NH-L12 and NH-L9a which are two great low-profile coolers.

Wraith Cooler Specs

The Wraith comes packaged in a very attractive premium box that utilizes the new black and orange color scheme. It is mostly black with the CPU model name and clock speed frequency highlighted with an orange section on the top and front of the box. The Wraith looks completely different than the previous AMD stock cooler and it has a nice premium feel to it.

The Wraith is much bigger than its predecessor, it's about twice the size. The heatsink is much larger, it's about 8cm tall, 18cm wide and 11cm deep. AMD ships the Wraith with pre-applied thermal paste so the installation is quick and easy.

wraith cooler

With all that being said, let's now compare the Wraith against the Noctua coolers and see what it offers, spec-wise.

Comparison

CPU Coolers Tested In This Review
Model:AMD Wraith CoolerNoctua NH-L12Noctua NH-L9a
Weight:455g680g465g
Dimensions:92 x 92 x 25 mm93 x 128 x 150 mm37 x 114 x 92 mm
Fan Airflow:60 CFM55 / 38 CFM34 CFM
Fan Speed:3200 RPM1500 / 1600 RPM2500 RPM
Fan Noise Level:37 dBA 22.4 / 17.6 dBA 23.6 dBA
Cooling Fans:1x 92mm1x 120mm & 1x92mm1x 92mm
Heatpipes:442
Input Power:3.84 W0.6 / 0.96 W2.52 W
Fin Count:506055
Fin Thickness:0.33mm0.5mm0.44

We are going to test AMD's Wraith cooler against the Noctua NH-L12 and NH-L9a. These are two low-profile coolers that retail for $60 and $45 and are excellent aftermarket coolers for stock cooling. The NH-L12 and NH-L9a have a top-down airflow design which is why I decided to use these coolers to compare against the Wraith cooler. A cooler that has a top-down airflow design means that it will cool the VRMs and the region around the CPU socket.

Now let's talk a little bit about the technical side of the Wraith Cooler and how it stacks up against the Noctua coolers. According to my measurements, the Wraith Cooler has 50 fins and each fin is about 0.33mm thick. It's got four 6mm heatpipes made out of copper. The NH-L12 also has four 6mm heatpipes while the NH-L9a has just two 6mm heatpipes.

wraith cooler

The Wraith is using the QFR0912H fan which is a Delta fan that consumes a maximum of 2.6W and can be replaced with an aftermarket fan if you decide to. The QFR0912H is a 92mm fan that's about 25mm thick, weighs 110g and runs at up to 3200 RPM.

Test Setup & Methodology

Test Setup
Processor:AMD FX-8350 Stock
Motherboard:ASUS Sabertooh 990FX
RAM:Kingston HyperX 8GB
Graphics Card:Sapphire R9 390X
Storage:Samsung 840 Pro 256GB
Power Supply:Antec HCP 850W
Case:Corsair 750D
OS:Windows 8.1 64Bit
Thermal Compound:Noctua NT-H1
Heatsinks:AMD Wraith Cooler
Noctua NH-L12
Noctua NH-L9a

All of the testing is done with an ambient temperature of ~19C. RealTemp will be used to monitor the temperature of the CPU and Prime95 (Large FFTs) will be used to deliver the full load to the CPU for 20 minutes. After each testing, we let the temperature inside the case to stabilize for 10 minutes to ensure that the temperature inside the case is back to normal.

Idle temperatures will be measured after leaving the computer idle for 20 minutes. CPU-Z will be used to verify the CPU speed and the voltage being used in Windows 8.1. Also, the coolers are tested with the default settings (Turbo, C1E etc) enabled in the BIOS.

We will measure the noise levels for both idle and load using a dBA meter and point it at the computer at a distance of ~50 CM. It's always difficult to measure noise levels because there are always noises in the background which can affect the results so it may not be 100% precise but it should give you a clear indication of the noise levels for the cooler.

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