Cooler Master EclipseDec 4th, 2006 | By Archive
Cooler Master Eclipse
: 12/4/06 – 04:07:01 AM
Page 1 : Index
Cooler Master Co., Ltd.
$44.99 USD (Newegg.com) / $60.93 CND (NCIX.com)
One of the largest and crowded sectors in the computer hardware world is the cooling market, in particular the CPU cooler segment. One company that has been fighting its way through the crowds for years and helped build the aftermarket cooling industry into the competitive scene that it is today is Cooler Master. Aftermarket processor coolers are where most companies start out and more than ten years ago, that is where Cooler Master began.
Obviously since then, Cooler Master has emerged as one of the leaders in this sector and has expanded aftermarket cooling into far more than just CPU coolers. The pages of Cooler Master.com are filled with everything from cases to water-cooling configurations, power supplies to external storage enclosures and everything in-between. Today we will be going back to the roots though and taking a look at the recently released CM Eclipse.
The Eclipse is a unique design that breaks the mold of the traditional CPU cooler in the fact that it actually houses the fan almost internally as opposed to just having a fan sitting on top of a bunch of fins. Four large heat-pipes are also integrated into the design to provide exceptional heat dissipation while adding an artistic elegance to the appearance. The Eclipse is fully featured offering two selectable fan speeds as well as the option for PWM control so you can control just how loud or quiet you need your system to be. I will be testing the flexibility of the Eclipse today on both an Intel and AMD systems but first, we start with a look at the package.
Page 2 : Package
The package for Cooler Master products is usually pretty similar in color scheme and design amongst their products. Cooler Master has been in this game for a long time and they like to keep a cohesive feel to their products so people know they are all coming from the same place.
The typical Purple and white color palette is used that we saw recently in the Aquagate Viva package and the fonts and graphics used will be familiar to those who have seen Cooler Masters packages before. The cooler is housed in a plastic shell which is then contained within a pretty substantial cardboard box.
The base on the front face of the package contains all the vitals that one would want to see in a store front display including compatibility with both the newest AM2 socket from AMD and C2D from Intel.
The sides of the package contain a very extensive list of compatible processors. Each side housing the list of either AMD or Intel and the list is quite substantial and appears to be correct on both fronts. Many consumers are not aware of what socket their processor is but do know their CPU so these lists will be very helpful for these users in determining if the Eclipse is a potential cooler for them.
The rear of the package gets into some of the features the CM Eclipse offers as well as the specifications table with all the basics covered including fan RPM, fan life, type, as well as the dimensions of the cooler.
Once we get inside the package we can see that the molded plastic shell that the Eclipse rests in is safely tucked away into the package.
Not only does the plastic house and protect the cooler but also contains the mounting hardware in the base.
Page 3 : Specifications
The Cooler Master Eclipse does not look like any other CPU cooler you have seen before, trust me on this. Here is what Cooler Master states about the Eclipse, particularly the design:
The fan speed is rated for operation between 900RPM and 3300RPM. 3300RPM seems quite fast based on the dimensions of the fan but since it is not a typical case fan, it is hard to judge the noise based on specifications. We will have to wait for testing to determine if 3300RPM sounds like a tornado or not. The noise that Cooler Master says the fan makes does not crack 24dBA but I take noise ratings with a grain of salt as those numbers always seem subjective. The weight is 23.6oz equals almost 670g which isn't too bad when compared to some of the almost 1KG monsters on store shelves today but it is still quite a bit heavier than the stock heatsink.
After all this talk of the Eclipse's unique design, let's now take a close look at it.
Page 4 : Package Contents
Once inside the CM Eclipse package we will take a look at what comes with the cooler first.
This little baggie of hardware includes all the mounting pieces required for the LGA 775 socket as well as the AMD sockets. We also receive a small tube of Cooler Master thermal paste and the instruction booklet which covers the installation and operation in a number of languages. No real surprises here so let's move on to the Eclipse itself.
The Eclipse is no ordinary cooler, as I have mentioned a few times already, but now you can see for yourself. The four copper heatpipes come out from the base and enter the cooling fins in various locations.
The gaps in the heatpipes are nice and big and should allow the aluminum fins to do their job of cooling the heatpipes nicely. The fan is located in the center and pushes air out through the fins. This is where the plastic piece on top comes into play.
Some of the air will reflect off of the plastic piece molded to the top and head down towards the motherboard. These two "hoods" are located at each side of the Eclipse and if they do their job, they will hopefully get a fair bit of air blowing over the motherboard at both ends.
The aluminum fins are spaced well and are precision cut. With a design this intricate I was expecting to see some flaws and some pieces that might not be exactly where they should but the CM Eclipse is an amazing piece of hardware. All the fins are near perfect and the overall feel of the Eclipse is very solid. CM build quality is always good and the Eclipse is no exception.
We can see the four heatpipes go through the copper base at the bottom and simply pinch off. At the top, the heatpipes go all the way through the aluminum fins as well and the entire surface of each heatpipe is in contact with the cooling fins for what should be a very good transfer of the heat to the large aluminum fins.
The plastic "hood" on the top of the Eclipse is a solid one piece molded plastic that clips to the aluminum fins in a couple spots and also reaches around and connects to the inner piece that houses the fan. This piece is very secure and like the rest of the Eclipse, very well made.
Here is a good photo of the "backside" of the Eclipse which lets us see the fan label. I tried looking up the part number on the fan but naturally couldn't find anything. It is not a typical fan that is used as a case fan so details of the fan are going to be limited to what Cooler Master outlined in the specifications section. Looking at the fan though we can see it has some fairly large fan blades and is located dead center in the cooler.
The fan is powered by a 4-pin connector but will work with just a 3-pin fan header as well. The jumper wired into the middle of the wire is the speed selector. By moving the jumper we can choose between high speed and low speed and if I pull the jumper completely, the fan can be controlled by your motherboard through software.
The last photo we will see before moving onto the Installation section is of the copper base. I have used a naked AMD Opteron I had sitting around to show that the base is somewhat reflective but quite coarse. I am the first to let everyone know that a smooth base isn't the most important but a flat base is. Unfortunately, I think the Eclipse base could use a little lapping to help it out. The grooves you can see here are not that deep and the base isn't as bad as it looks but it certainly isn't a polished base by any means.
Page 5 : Installation
The installation section is huge and I apologize but I thought it would be worth while for some people if I covered installations on as many motherboards as I could so here we go.
The AMD installation is very simple and quite similar to a stock heatsink and fan mounting. The long piece to the right is what goes through the slits in the base of the cooling fins. The latch then attaches to the long piece and secures the Eclipse to the stock retaining bracket on any AMD motherboard from Socket 754 and newer.
The size of the Eclipse means that it will have to be flexible when mounting otherwise there would be many motherboards that it wouldn't fit. I have slid the long mounting piece through the Eclipse lengthwise but you can also see another set of slits in-between the heatpipes at the top of this image where that piece can go through which gives us the ability to mount the cooler in any of four directions.
To finish up installation we just have to slide the latch piece over the tongs and secure it to the retention bracket on the motherboard.
Here is the assembly going the opposite direction through the Eclipse. I will be mounting the Eclipse in a number of directions throughout this section so we will see it mounted both ways plenty of times.
The first motherboard out of its box is the DFI Ultra-D which is a socket 939 motherboard. It isn't exactly difficult to figure out how the clip works but it did take me a couple minutes to figure it out. Once I had, it was smooth sailing from there on out.
Here I am showing an example of how the Eclipse won't work because it clearly is hanging over the top PCI-E X16 slot and that just won't cut it.
I then turned the cooler 45 degrees and this is looking more like a feasible way to mount the Eclipse on this motherboard. It also appears that this would be a very beneficial mounting position because it will be directing some air down onto the PWM area of the motherboard and any Ultra-D owner knows this area can get warm without active cooling.
I was concerned that the width of the unit might interfere with the memory slots but that definitely isn't an issue here. I was easily able to install and remove this module with the Eclipse mounted.
The next motherboard I test-mounted on is another DFI motherboard, the Infinity NF4 Ultra. Again, the best mounting position had the lower portion of the plastic mould directing air over the PWM area of the motherboard. The ability to mount the Eclipse in four directions really gives it a universal application and so far, both motherboards fit the large Eclipse quite nicely.
The last of the AMD motherboards I will be mounting the Eclipse on is yet another DFI motherboard, the NF590 SLI-M2R/G. Like the Ultra-D, mounted in this position causes a problem with the top PCI-E X16 slot.
I then turned the Eclipse 90 degrees and it would work but when mounted in a case there will likely be a clearance issue with the power supply. Many motherboards will limit the mounting position to have the plastic hood facing either the rear or the front of the case because of the location of the CPU socket on motherboards.
With the Eclipse mounted towards the rear of the motherboard and what would be the front of the case, it fits nicely over the PWM area of the motherboard but this setup might be tight with optical drives when mounted in a case.
Surprisingly the last position possible also works with this motherboard as you can see here. The memory had to be installed prior to the Eclipse but there is just enough room under there for a module.
The hardware used for socket LGA775 installation requires these two little pieces of hardware. I have already prepared the two brackets by securing the four screws and rubber grommets. They are now ready for installation on the bottom of the Eclipse.
Four small screws secure the brackets to each side of the base and within a couple of seconds the Eclipse has now been converted to a socket LGA775 cooler, ready for mount.
The four screws simply mount through the holes on the motherboard and a washer and nut are used to tighten the cooler down. Cooler Master includes a screw driver driven socket, seen on the bottom right nut, to secure the nuts to the motherboard.
I start my Intel installation photos with the Foxconn 975X7AB-8EKRS2H. This mounting orientation may work with some but in a case the plastic hood might interfere with the rear panel.
A simple 180 degree turn and the Eclipse in this position should work for everyone with this motherboard. This is the ideal position on most motherboards with similar layouts to the Foxconn 975X7AB.
I did notice that the Eclipse did hang slightly over the top of the motherboard but that shouldn't be a problem in all but the tightest of cases where the PSU sits right on top of the motherboard but still something to watch out for.
The other Intel motherboard I have that I will be installing on is the Asus P5B-Dlx and as you can see, I came up with a nifty little method for installing the CM Eclipse, hassle free. When trying to mount the Eclipse with thermal paste as part of the equation, it was a bit tricky so I setup a mini-shelf with a pair of motherboard boxes and that made installation as simple as it gets. By raising the motherboard off the desk I was able to set the Eclipse directly onto the CPU and secure the nuts underneath without trouble.
With the cooler installed I then started checking for the best orientation for testing. I feel this setup would be beneficial because the PWM area would get a healthy dose of active air off the hood but again, I don't think this would work when mounted in a case.
So I twisted the Eclipse, re-mounted and found this orientation again to be perfect. There will be active air over the memory modules and the Eclipse fits perfectly like this.
There isn't even any overhang at the top of the motherboard so this configuration would fit in pretty much any enclosure.
The one thing I did notice is that with the lack of a backplate, the motherboard is free to bend as it pleases. Having the motherboard mounted in a case will flatten it out but during installation, that isn't possible. This obviously isn't an issue but I thought it worth mentioning.
Page 6 : Performance
If you guessed that because I did installation photos on both Intel and AMD motherboards that I would also be testing on Intel and AMD systems then you guessed right. I have a pair of highly overclockable processors for both Intel and AMD and thought it would be fun to see how the CM Eclipse performed on both, so let's get to it. I will start with the AMD setup and then we will look at the Intel configuration.
AMD Control Setup:
MB: DFI LanParty NF590 SLI-M2R/G
RAM: OCZ DDR2 PC2 7200 Platinum XTC EPP
GPU: PowerColor X1650PRO 256MB
PSU: OCZ GameXStream 700W
HD: WD SATAII 250GB 16MB Cache
OS: Windows XP SP2 (with all updates)
Ambient Temperature: 22C~23C
Stock AMD retail box cooler
Cooler Master Eclipse
To put load on the CPU I will run Orthos Beta (Prime95 based) which stresses both cores at the same time and generates pretty much the most heat a processor will see. Orthos will be run for a total of 3 hours and I will take 3 readings throughout that time. Those temperatures will be averaged out for the results graph. I will not only be taking CPU readings but also PWM readings as that will give us an indication of how much air is hitting the motherboard and cooling the components around the CPU socket. A combination of SmartGuardian and CoreTemp will be used for recording the temperatures. Be warned, the CPU readings are off as this board reads high. Don't concentrate on the number but more how the CPU temp relates amongst the coolers. The Core reading will be taken from the hotter of the two cores throughout testing.
Stock @ 2000MHz (1.375v)
At the stock speeds of my Opteron 146, the Eclipse easily outperforms the stock AMD cooler by a decent margin, even on the low fan setting. With the fan setting on low, the Eclipse cannot be heard over top of the GPU fan or chipset fan so it is noticeably quieter than the stock AMD cooler by quite a bit. The one hiccup in the road was the PWM area on the low fan setting. It was actually a good bit warmer than the AMD cooler.
OC'ed @ 2700MHz (1.450v)
Once the voltage was increased and the CPU frequency cranked up, the Eclipse continued to shine and really showed that it was significantly better than the stock AMD cooler. Like I mentioned, don't look at the actual temperature of the CPU reading as it reads pretty high, the Core reading is much more accurate but in both cases, the Eclipse on high really spanked the stock AMD cooler. The fan noise was a bit louder than the stock AMD fan at the high setting but not a ridicules amount. Absolutely noticeable though and worth noting.
We have seen what the CM Eclipse did on a highly overclocked AM2 rig so now lets see how it handles a great clocking Core 2 Duo E6300.
Intel Control Setup:
MB: Asus P5B-Dlx Wifi
RAM: OCZ DDR2 PC2 7200 Platinum XTC EPP
GPU: PowerColor X1650PRO 256MB
PSU: Silverstone Zeus 560W
HD: Seagate SATAII 80GB 8MB NCQ
OS: Windows XP SP2 (with all updates)
Ambient Temperature: 22C~23C
Stock Intel retail box cooler
Cooler Master Eclipse
Naturally, I will be using the same testing method as I did with the AMD setup but the monitoring programs will be slightly different. CoreTemp will again be used because it is the best program for reading the CPU temperature from both AMD and Intel CPUs. Unfortunately the P5B-Dlx doesn't have a sensor for the PWM and the MB sensor is not a direct indicator of the chipset temperature but I will still record the CPU and the MB readings in the graph below.
Stock @ 1860MHz (1.310v)
The E6300 seemed to be a bit more of a challenge for the Eclipse and although it did beat the stock Intel cooler even on the low fan setting, it wasn't by as wide a margin as we just saw with the AMD setup. Again, the fan noise on the low setting was noticeably quieter than the stock Intel fan but the high setting was a good bit louder. The fan noise on high is all air noise with no funny rattles or anything like that, more like a turbine pushing a lot of air in a small space.
OC'ed @ 3150MHz (1.360v)
Once I overclocked the E6300, the Eclipse really started to show it was the better cooler. On the low fan setting, the Eclipse kept the hot little E6300 much cooler than the stock Intel heatsink and fan and the motherboard sensor was reading lower temperatures as well. Even on the low fan setting the MB wasn't reading as high. This is a good indication that the Eclipse really does move some air down towards the motherboard and when the fan is on high, this effect is increased.
Page 7 : Conclusion
The Cooler Master Eclipse isn't just a futuristic off the wall design, the ability to cool a pretty intense processor is most definitely there as well. I was able to overclock both the Intel and AMD dual-core processors quite a bit while still maintaining more than acceptable temperatures with the Eclipse, even on the low fan setting.
On the low fan setting, the Eclipse is near silent. A bit of wind noise can be heard if you position yourself close to the unit with your ear directed right at it but it is most definitely a lot quieter than the stock Intel and AMD fans. The high fan speed is a different story but at the same time, isn't that bad at all. The performance increase when the fan was on high is significant and almost justifies the additional noise.
Overall I was quite pleased with the CM Eclipse right from installation to performance. The installation on an AMD system is not a lot more difficult than the stock cooling unit and the install on an Intel system is quite easy once you figure out a way that works for you. The Eclipse is most certainly capable of cooling overclocked systems or keeping a stock system much quieter over the stock cooling solutions offered by AMD and Intel.
Excellent performance at both fan speeds
Selectable fan speed is nicely implemented
Air directed towards motherboard helps on some setups
High fan speed is loud, but acceptable
Size will play a role in mounting orientation
Overclockers Online would like to thank Cooler Master for the review sample.