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Alpenfohn Black Ridge Owners - I need your help!

AlexTSG

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I'm planning a fairly extensive upgrade of an Alienware X51 R2 that I bought back in 2013. I'll create a post with all the details once I have them finalized (hopefully in the next few weeks).

One of the last things I'd like to change is the loud and fairly poor stock cooler. The height is a challenge, with the current heatsink and fan being only 42mm high, with a shroud fitted that adds an extra 20mm.

I thought I might be able to fit the Alpenfohn Black Ridge cooler with a 92mm Noctua fan, if I'm willing to remove the shroud. The RAM I'll be using is HyperX Fury DDR3, which scrapes in just under the 33mm limit.

I was wondering if anyone could let me know how far the heatsink protrudes from the mounting points in all directions.

Here's an image to show the limited space I have to work with.

Alienware X51 R2 CPU Cooler
 

AlexTSG

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Noctua NH-L9I (Intel S1150/1155/S1156)
I think this will definitely be enough

This was the first option that I looked at, but unfortunately, according to Noctua's website the cooling is not sufficient.

The way that Alienware has got around using a small stock heatsink is to use a very high RPM industrial fan (58CFM at 5000RPM) and a shroud on it, which makes it very loud under load. So it's difficult to replace with a quieter fan, unless the heatsink is much bigger, which is why I hope the Black Ridge will fit.
 
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AlexTSG

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Remove the heat distribution cover from the processor and change the thermal paste to liquid metal (win 20-30 degrees)

I already have a delidding kit and Thermal Grizzly Conductonaut, so that's part of the plan. I'm hoping the lower temp gets me to higher boost clocks more often and keeps the RPM of the fan down.

I've seen a few mods to improve the airflow, but given that I'd have to borrow a Dremel from the office, and I've never used one before, I can see myself massacring the case, so I'll probably try to avoid that.

I might give the CoolerMaster i70C a try if I can't find a better solution. Thanks for the suggestions!
 

Thehack

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I already have a delidding kit and Thermal Grizzly Conductonaut, so that's part of the plan. I'm hoping the lower temp gets me to higher boost clocks more often and keeps the RPM of the fan down.

I've seen a few mods to improve the airflow, but given that I'd have to borrow a Dremel from the office, and I've never used one before, I can see myself massacring the case, so I'll probably try to avoid that.

I might give the CoolerMaster i70C a try if I can't find a better solution. Thanks for the suggestions!

i70C looks pretty low quality, it's just an extruded aluminum cooler.

Anything with a fin-array and heatpipe will be much better than what you have. But it's hard to see how the airflow routed in that case. It seems as if there's no routing at all. At around 50 mm, something like the AXP-90, Cryorig C7 (stock fan sucks on this one), AR06 or AR11.

Based on eyeball method, the most effective way to increase performance would be to

1. Cutout a square almost the size of the shroud in the side panel. Add mesh cover under it.
2. Get rid of the shroud.
3. Replace the cooler with a Noctua NH-L12S, or a Big Shuriken 3. It looks like you have about a 65-70mm CPU cooler clearance without the shroud.

The Black Ridge performance is pretty good but it's really hard to see how it fits in anything. You need at least 120 mm clearance around the cooler (so 60 mm on either side, centered on the CPU), and 140 mm on the other side. They don't have a layout diagram that shows you where the CPU block is centered.
 
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AlexTSG

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But it's hard to see how the airflow routed in that case. It seems as if there's no routing at all.

The airflow is terrible. In terms of fans there's the high RPM CPU fan with the shroud, and a small 60mm fan at the front drawing in some air for the GPU. The top and bottom of the case have some venting, but there is none on the side panels at all.

Still, we love SFF PCs for the challenges, right?? ?

The Black Ridge performance is pretty good but it's really hard to see how it fits in anything. You need at least 120 mm clearance around the cooler (so 60 mm on either side, centered on the CPU), and 140 mm on the other side. They don't have a layout diagram that shows you where the CPU block is centered.

After spending some time yesterday looking at the diagrams I could find for the Black Ridge, and trying to figure out approximate dimensions from them, it looks like it's going to be too risky to purchase. The heatpipes are likely to be in contact with my riser, and the SATA connector for my optical drive will probably be in the way too. If there was ever a CPU cooler that needed an accurate diagram with measurements for all the dimensions, it's this one.

I did look at some of your other recommendations, and I think, based largely on availability (and a lack of options), I'm going to pick up the Cryorig C7 Cu, which I've found in stock at a local retailer. The loud fan seems to be it's main drawback, but I don't think it's going to be anywhere close to the 5000RPM jet engine fan I have right now.

If there was a little more height available the Big Shiriken 3 looks excellent, especially if you change out the fan to a 25mm Noctua. I may just get that for a future build.

I did find this interesting chart that applies to my current build. It's in a review for a Raijintek Pallas 120 cooler that I was looking at as the same retailer that has the Cryorig C7 has one of those too. It shows the temperature difference as the space available above the CPU fan is reduced (Distance to the wall in the chart). This is the problem I'm likely to run into with anything taller than the C7, and would also apply to those considering a tempered glass side panel with an air cooler such as this.

Temperature increases as clearance above the CPU fan is reduced.

Thanks for the reply. I'm hoping it's found me a winner for this challenge.
 

AlexTSG

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I've just ordered the Cryorig C7 Cu for around $60 with delivery. Under normal circumstances I'd have saved some money by going to collect it, but that's not an option at the moment, so I'm hoping it gets delivered by Wednesday.

The C7G was available too, but it really doesn't look like that graphene coating improves the cooling at all, so you're basically paying extra to have the black finish (which I like, but won't see in this case anyway). The Cu (copper) version does seem like it's worth the extra $12 that I paid over the regular aluminium C7. Most of the tests I saw had it running around 2-4 degrees cooler (under load) than the aluminium version when fitted to higher TDP processors, and given the lack of airflow in the Alienware X51 R2, I'll take every degree I can get!

All the negatives are related to the fan noise, especially when compared to Noctua's excellent fans. It looks like it's possible to do a fan swap on the Cryorig C7, but some sort of 3D printed adapter is needed. So, that's an option I may investigate later, if I'm unhappy with the noise levels.