Monsoon II CPU Cooler Review

FrgMstr

Just Plain Mean
Staff member
Joined
May 18, 1997
Messages
49,856
Monsoon II CPU Cooler Review - The latest cooling product to make it’s way to the [H] labs is a hybrid heatpipe/TEC based CPU cooler. Can a TEC powered by the system PSU outperform watercooling as the manufacturer claims?

I think there is a small group of you guys out there that could really use something like this. For instance, if you fold for the [H]orde (the #1 Human Genome Folding team in the world), your CPU will be running at full load constantly and the Monsoon II’s fan will stay at a more constant speed. Although to be honest unless you suffer from techno-hydrophobia (fear of water in your computer) you can probably get the same temperatures with less noise and hassle for your money from one of the reliable water cooling kits available on the market. If you think the Monsoon II will fit your needs without adding water to your case, you can pick them up at Newegg for US$150.
 

legendz411

2[H]4U
Joined
Jul 3, 2006
Messages
3,538
So... To summarize, it is a Peltier cooled by a HS/Fan combo with heat-pipes. Yea?

I can't believe no-one thought of this sooner... It makes sense that if you keep the peltier from getting cold enough, you wouldn't have condensation issues.


Seems nifty.


EDIT:
Finished the review. Seems awesome. If you utilize 100% of your CPU, (read Folding [H]ard) then this would be an amazing cooler. The fan sounds would get annoying indeed if it was constantly ramping up and down though.

Shame there is no fan controller on it. Something as benign as that probably would have given this product and unnatural edge of everything else. Although, if thy include a fan controller, they would have to scale the peltier to the fan. Thus reducing your cooling abilities unless you want to run the fan 100%!
 

LoneWolf

2[H]4U
Joined
Jul 13, 2004
Messages
3,190
Blauman said:
Great idea, but for $150 bux I would start some kind of h2o setup.
Not everyone wants to deal with the possibility of coolant leakage, a burned out pump motor causing a system to overheat, or possibly having to tote a reservoir around with you (plenty of people do, after all, move their cases around some). This solution was designed for them, not for you.

Interesting review, guys. It doesn't look like the solution I'd use for my needs, but it it's a neat solution to the problem. Perhaps version 2.0 will fix the issues you commented on.
 

jackknife

Weaksauce
Joined
Oct 10, 2006
Messages
111
Ahem, this is not very innovative...
ever heard of the Titan Amanda? It´s been out for over a month, costs less, looks better (imho) and works great.

A few links:
http://www.kaltmacher.de/topic75360.html
http://www.overclockersonline.com/index.php?page=articles&num=521
(they say it should be out in October, but you´ve been able to buy it in Germany for some time now.)
http://www.thinkcomputers.org/index.!!!!!!!!reviews&id=487


One of these beasts even got practically "thrown away" at Reichelt, a german electronics boutique, in their shop for under 40Euros. You can generally get them for less than 100US$ here and they seem to be quite capable.
Otherwise... If I had all that electric power to burn in the first place, I might illuminate my room 24/7. Should come cheapter than running this beast all day :p

edit: AAAArgh, Arcy you beat me to it ^^
 

pigpen

2[H]4U
Joined
Aug 17, 2004
Messages
2,408
Blauman said:
Great idea, but for $150 bux I would start some kind of h2o setup.

yeah, then at least you would have the option of getting your vid card some high end cooling.
 
Joined
Apr 28, 2005
Messages
585
Looks to me that the titan amanda is the same cooler with two fans and the electronics on a pci card rather than the 5 1/4" bay. The price is better but it is going to have the exact same issues unless they changed the fan program.
 

jackknife

Weaksauce
Joined
Oct 10, 2006
Messages
111
The Amanda has fewer heat pipes and slightly different dimensions if I´m not mistaken
 
Joined
Apr 28, 2005
Messages
585
jackknife said:
The Amanda has fewer heat pipes and slightly different dimensions if I´m not mistaken
You are mistaken i am afraid. If you compare the two they are identical beyond the fans, color, and the control module.
 

jackknife

Weaksauce
Joined
Oct 10, 2006
Messages
111
you´re right, I only gave the monsoon a quick glance and didn´t resize the pictures - therefore I mistook the screws on top for additional heatpipes :D
Ok, so can anyone please explain to me then why the duller looking monsoon is the more expensive one of the two then?
btw, it looks silly when you support the cooler with wires so that it can´t fall of when you´re transporting your rig. (although this is, iirc, recommended in the manual) The last cooler I´ve seen that had to be attached to the case like this to prevent it from destroying the socket was the old dual orb (the copper-blue one) with 2 fans stacked ontop of each other, that one had a real tendency to ruin perfectly good socket A boards.
 

ShadowDragon

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jul 10, 2006
Messages
262
jackknife said:
Ok, so can anyone please explain to me then why the duller looking monsoon is the more expensive one of the two then?
LED fan (though only one) and the LCD readout I would imagine.
 

Bloodgod42

Gawd
Joined
Nov 20, 2005
Messages
592
I picked up a Titan Amanda a couple of weeks ago for $70(US) and it is great. I have no issues with fan noise fluxuating and even though the Amanda has (2) 92mm fans, they run slower (about1500rpm) and stay very quiet while keeping my AMD64 4000+ oc'ed to 2.8GHz w/ 1.5v at a nice 42c under load. ;)

You can read my worklog/review of the Amanda here:

http://www.hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1099746

If this cooler interests you, I would highly recommend you look into the Titan Amanda as well.
 

Zero82z

Fully [H]
Joined
Jan 20, 2004
Messages
27,897
The review is good, but the fact that the cooler's performance isn't compared against any watercooling or even high-end aircooling systems makes it essentially useless. No offense to you guys, but without any comparison against other high-performance coolers(and no, the stock heatpipe cooler is not a high-performance cooler), it's impossible to determine whether it would be a worthy purchase compared to the high-end Scythe and Thermalright heatsinks or some of the all-in-one watercooling kits like the Corsair Nautilus or Coolance EXOS2.
 
Joined
Apr 28, 2005
Messages
585
Zero82z said:
The review is good, but the fact that the cooler's performance isn't compared against any watercooling or even high-end aircooling systems makes it essentially useless. No offense to you guys, but without any comparison against other high-performance coolers(and no, the stock heatpipe cooler is not a high-performance cooler), it's impossible to determine whether it would be a worthy purchase compared to the high-end Scythe and Thermalright heatsinks or some of the all-in-one watercooling kits like the Corsair Nautilus or Coolance EXOS2.
You are more than welcome to compare the data from this review to the review of the Corsair Nautilus 500 we did a couple of weeks ago. The Nautilus is an external kit and the ambient temperatures/hardware have remained the same so the addition of the case should not affect your comparison.
 

Replicnt

n00b
Joined
Sep 16, 2005
Messages
22
Could you reverse the fan direction when the unit was reversed to allow the PCI-e slot to be used? That should allow hot air to be funneled toward the PSU.
 

Zero82z

Fully [H]
Joined
Jan 20, 2004
Messages
27,897
Ctrl_Alt_Delete said:
You are more than welcome to compare the data from this review to the review of the Corsair Nautilus 500 we did a couple of weeks ago. The Nautilus is an external kit and the ambient temperatures/hardware have remained the same so the addition of the case should not affect your comparison.
I was just using it as an example, my point is that without a decent variety of other coolers in the same bracket to compare under the same conditions, you can't really get anything out of the review. The actual review process was excellent, but it would be nice if [H] did a comparison of all the current top-tier heatsinks(Infinity, Ninja, SI-128, Ultra-120, Big Typhoon, Tuniq Tower, etc.), which could also be used in the future to compare other heatsinks against. That would allow readers to acurately judge a cooler's performance in relation to the other coolers that are on the market to determine which one is the best in terms of performance/price or even pure performance.

Basically, to demonstrate my point as an example, say I wanted to get a new heatsink and I was looking at the Scythe Infinity. Now, I take a look at the [H] homepage and I see a review for this new Monsoon cooler, and I want to see if it's better than the Infinity. I wouldn't be able to compare the two since in the review of the Monsoon, it wasn't tested against the Infinity or against a cooler with similar performance. Therefore, the review is useless to me since it doesn't help me make the decision to buy one cooler or the other. I would then have to hop onto Google and search for other reviews of the Monsoon where it is compared to the Infinity, and in the process I may stop looking at the [H] cooler reviews altogether since I may find another site that actually fits my needs(not that I actually would). Do you at least see what I'm getting at here?

Edit: Accidentally typed pictures instead of conditions... :confused:
 

Cinge

Limp Gawd
Joined
Oct 10, 2006
Messages
451
Could you not have had the fan on top and flipped it around so that it is sucking air up towards the PSU, instead of pushing it down towards the video card?

Edit: nm, went back and saw that someone else had asked same question. Posted it just after getting email verfying my account activation.
 

ShadowDragon

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jul 10, 2006
Messages
262
Replicnt said:
Could you reverse the fan direction when the unit was reversed to allow the PCI-e slot to be used? That should allow hot air to be funneled toward the PSU.
Remember how it's made, if you reverse the fan you'll be pulling the air off the warm pipes over the cool pipes instead of cooling the warm pipes with the cool pipes.
 

FrgMstr

Just Plain Mean
Staff member
Joined
May 18, 1997
Messages
49,856
Major_A said:
Don't forget your roots, OCP. Where is the overclocking section?

Don't forget the fact that the cooling type has very little to do with the extents that you can OC to with a specific processor. So why show you something that will in NO WAY represent your own experience. I am certainly that what we are showing you today would mirror your own experiences.
 

jimbobboy

n00b
Joined
Sep 23, 2006
Messages
4
I believe you should do the review over with the right board so it faces the right way, so we can see if it was the set up or the product that caused you to accept your results.
 

nooh

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jun 16, 2006
Messages
1,488
The mouting is always a downside of a HSF, the other I tried a zalman flower and I just didnt like the way you had to mount it. They try and put all the sockets in one box and this happens.

I mean they charge a arm and a leg for it so why cant they make it specially for a cetain socket and use the typical fittings shown by the standard agency ?
 

ALC-X

n00b
Joined
Mar 6, 2005
Messages
7
:confused: I rarely comment on anything here because usually someone else does, but in this case there were two 'concerns' I had with this article.

1. You say you're reviewing a high end heatsink yet you compare it against AMD's stock heatsink! And you say it's as expensive as Water yet you don't compare it to any water cooled systems. When this is brought to your attention your response is:

"You are more than welcome to compare the data from this review to the review of the Corsair Nautilus 500 we did a couple of weeks ago. The Nautilus is an external kit and the ambient temperatures/hardware have remained the same so the addition of the case should not affect your comparison."

2. Then someone asks about overclocking, since you're "Hard" and this is the "Enthusiast" section of articles, you would think that you'd take a known processor and overclock it against some of those other 'High-End or Water based' coolers so we can see the relative difference and expectation. But your response is....

"Don't forget the fact that the cooling type has very little to do with the extents that you can OC to with a specific processor. So why show you something that will in NO WAY represent your own experience. I am certainly that what we are showing you today would mirror your own experiences."

This is all poppy-cock (and I'm not British) do your jobs! If you're going to review and you still want to be considered "[H]ard" then do it right, the way we're used to get content from here.......

My $ 00000.02

ALC-X :(
 

fannypad

n00b
Joined
Feb 18, 2004
Messages
47
Justin_Diduch said:
You are more than welcome to compare the data from this review to the review of the Corsair Nautilus 500 we did a couple of weeks ago. The Nautilus is an external kit and the ambient temperatures/hardware have remained the same so the addition of the case should not affect your comparison.
How can open testbed results be compared to those inside a fully kitted out case? :rolleyes:

This is a terrible review. The only cooler that was compared was a stock AMD one... aside from watercooling, what about comparing other, cheaper, high-end air coolers? The numbers in the review are meaningless.

And why wasn't a motherboard used that would support the installation of the heatsink in the horizontal airflow configuration that it was designed for?

Aside from that, the temperature graph was plotted with 20 as the base value, not zero as it should be, giving a skewed visual perspective of the results.

All in all a poor show... maybe update the review when you've got some competing coolers to test against?

EDIT: Just read the above post and I agree wholeheartedly with it; this is supposed to be the "Enthusiast" section of a long running, well financed tech site, not some amateur startup run by a 15 year old. Do yourselves justice.
 

joemama

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Sep 13, 2000
Messages
9,576
Good, in-depth review...good to see [H] is getting back to it's roots! Having said that, I don't understand why many reviews including this one insist on only comparing head to head with a stock AMD/Intel cooler...especially for something like this or the Amanda. Anyone thinking of springing $150 for a radical air/tec cooler is probably already using H20 or high-end aircooling and never even unpacked the stock cooler. I guess it would be a huge pain in the ass and very time consuming to recreate the tests using a variety of top water/air coolers but I have seen some sites do this and it's very helpful in the decision making process.
 

Marthisdil

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jun 16, 2006
Messages
177
digitalfreak said:
Yeah, but who has a free PCI slot available anymore?
Most everybody? Onboard sound and networking are more than capable nowadays. Only addon cards most people use now are video....
 

Arcygenical

Fully [H]
Joined
Jun 10, 2005
Messages
25,056
I think Kyle means that the WAY in which your temperature gets to what it is has little impact, it's the actual temperature that matters... For example

Watercooling gets you to 40'c
The Monsoon gets you to 40c.

The monsoon isn't gonna affect your OC ability, as its the same temp, just a different way of GETTING to that temp.
 

Major_A

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jun 15, 2004
Messages
1,164
Marthisdil said:
Most everybody? Onboard sound and networking are more than capable nowadays. Only addon cards most people use now are video....
Wrong, I use a sound card and a PCI NIC card. The one that came with the board was a big piece of crap with no driver support (ala one driver).

If you guys want to venture down the cooling avenue you need to have a system setup to build a database around. That way once you review the new product you can just show how it relates to the ones already completed.
 

LoneWolf

2[H]4U
Joined
Jul 13, 2004
Messages
3,190
Major_A said:
Because it's fun to see what the cooling solution can do. The point of buying this hunk of copper and aluminum is to push your CPU past the stock speeds. I don't think many readers of Hard|OCP would see a review and think they can get the same results. I understand the site has evolved over the years but don't lose your identity in the process.
I think you're wrong, and that plenty of readers would think they can. Think of the stink that'd be generated if HardOCP happened to have a great CPU that overclocked magnificently, and you had a lemon that wouldn't respond no matter what you did. I could see the people shouting "I bought this cooler because your box had mad overclocks, but I didn't get them! This SUCKS!"

There's no way to ensure that the average user would get the same results, but I could see tons of people being upset when they didn't. Without being able to ensure consistent results for everyone, the data is worthless.

I think tests of a processor under load compared to stock cooling results will generally tell you the same thing anyway. If there's a significant temperature difference between stock cooler and aftermarket under heavy load, you can easily assume the same will be true when overclocking.
 

Major_A

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jun 15, 2004
Messages
1,164
LoneWolf said:
I think you're wrong, and that plenty of readers would think they can. Think of the stink that'd be generated if HardOCP happened to have a great CPU that overclocked magnificently, and you had a lemon that wouldn't respond no matter what you did. I could see the people shouting "I bought this cooler because your box had mad overclocks, but I didn't get them! This SUCKS!"

There's no way to ensure that the average user would get the same results, but I could see tons of people being upset when they didn't. Without being able to ensure consistent results for everyone, the data is worthless.

I think tests of a processor under load compared to stock cooling results will generally tell you the same thing anyway. If there's a significant temperature difference between stock cooler and aftermarket under heavy load, you can easily assume the same will be true when overclocking.
Hardware Overclockers Comparison Page

No overclock at all? Like I said I understand the need to evolve but don't abandon where you started. It seems lately the articles on [H]ard|OCP have been geared more to the general public. I don't have a problem with that but the whit and writing style I grew to like are becoming a thing of the past.
 

Zero82z

Fully [H]
Joined
Jan 20, 2004
Messages
27,897
Zero82z said:
I was just using it as an example, my point is that without a decent variety of other coolers in the same bracket to compare under the same conditions, you can't really get anything out of the review. The actual review process was excellent, but it would be nice if [H] did a comparison of all the current top-tier heatsinks(Infinity, Ninja, SI-128, Ultra-120, Big Typhoon, Tuniq Tower, etc.), which could also be used in the future to compare other heatsinks against. That would allow readers to acurately judge a cooler's performance in relation to the other coolers that are on the market to determine which one is the best in terms of performance/price or even pure performance.

Basically, to demonstrate my point as an example, say I wanted to get a new heatsink and I was looking at the Scythe Infinity. Now, I take a look at the [H] homepage and I see a review for this new Monsoon cooler, and I want to see if it's better than the Infinity. I wouldn't be able to compare the two since in the review of the Monsoon, it wasn't tested against the Infinity or against a cooler with similar performance. Therefore, the review is useless to me since it doesn't help me make the decision to buy one cooler or the other. I would then have to hop onto Google and search for other reviews of the Monsoon where it is compared to the Infinity, and in the process I may stop looking at the [H] cooler reviews altogether since I may find another site that actually fits my needs(not that I actually would). Do you at least see what I'm getting at here?

Edit: Accidentally typed pictures instead of conditions... :confused:
Quoting my post since I haven't recieved a response yet. I think I brought up a good point and I'd like an answer.

I also agree with the other posters in that many recent [H] articles, even in the Enthusiast section, have been geared more towards general consumers than the real enthusiasts. I mentioned this as well in the last cooling article which was a roundup of several AM2 coolers, where I pointed out that none of the really high-performance coolers on the market had been reviewed. [H] used to be the one site I could really trust to get an overclocker's perspective on products, but if you guys continue to write reviews like this I guess I'm going to have to start looking elsewhere for real evaluations. After all the thought you've put into reforming your hardware and consumer system review systems, if you only put that kind of depth into your cooling reviews it would make things much better.
 

2Fresh

2[H]4U
Joined
Aug 10, 2003
Messages
3,768
Zero82z said:
Quoting my post since I haven't recieved a response yet. I think I brought up a good point and I'd like an answer.

I also agree with the other posters in that many recent [H] articles, even in the Enthusiast section, have been geared more towards general consumers than the real enthusiasts. I mentioned this as well in the last cooling article which was a roundup of several AM2 coolers, where I pointed out that none of the really high-performance coolers on the market had been reviewed. [H] used to be the one site I could really trust to get an overclocker's perspective on products, but if you guys continue to write reviews like this I guess I'm going to have to start looking elsewhere for real evaluations. After all the thought you've put into reforming your hardware and consumer system review systems, if you only put that kind of depth into your cooling reviews it would make things much better.

Agree 100%. This place was started for the overclocker. I remember when it was very 1st started (Have been here since then, had to change names when the dumped happend a couple yrs ago)...it was all about overclocking. It is like it is selling out now...the adds, the reviews, etc. Still a great place, but I use to like it better back in the day.
 
Joined
Aug 4, 2006
Messages
5
Hey guys,

Check out the review on PCPerspective.com. They did review the Monsoon with those other coolers:

http://www.pcper.com/article.php?aid=273&type=expert&pid=8

Hope this helps.

By the way, the base bracket can be resituated and rotated to make sure the air flows thru the back of the case. With that setup, you wont have a problem with the VGA card and the result is much better. That is how I had mine.
 

ShadowDragon

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jul 10, 2006
Messages
262
The specs (which I don't see in the review) say it's a 50w Peltier. There's a link to a review of the Amanda version of this against some high-end air on the front page today.
 

shoes

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jan 8, 2005
Messages
405
I have 3 issues with this article.

Let me preface by saying that I run my own hardware review site and I have actually been using/reviewing the Monsoon II Cooler for about a month. Also, I have personally visited the Vigor Gaming office twice in the last month and have seen everything in action.

Issue #1: One of your major points in the article, though I am not sure if this contributed to your overall opinion of the cooler, is that the cooler could not be mounted correctly on the the Asus M2N32-SLI. First of all, the mounting method on the AMD version of the Monsoon II allows it to be mounted in any direction. The little screw in plates can easily be moved to whichever opposite sides of the bracket the user deems necessary for the best fit. Due to this fact alone there is no good reason you could not have correctly mounted the cooler. The one arguement you could possibly have against this point is that the odd-shaped heatsinks on that particular motherboard disallow the positioning of the cooler in front-to-back direction due to clearence issues. Normally I would have no way of telling if this was the case or not, but on a recent visit to the Vigor Gaming office, I saw the cooler mounted on THAT EXACT SAME MOTHERBOARD in the correct way with PLENTY of clearence.

Isuue #2: Your results themselves are undoubtedly skewed due to the aforementioned improper mounting orientation. Not only is the cooler drawing in somewhat warmer air from the powersupply area, it is shooting out some significantly warmer air towards your video card. In addition, the natural air flow in your case (front to back) is being impeded by the side walls of the cooler and not being used to cool the processor AT ALL. The reason the fan was cycling so much is that the TEC would switch on to cool off the processor and get the heatsink warm, which would then cause the fan speed to increase because the heatsink is not being cooled effectively by the air flow in your case. All of these increased temperatures are A) going to make the cooler seem less effective than it is and B) going to limit the performance increase of your system by making pretty much all of your components, besides the processor, hotter.

Issue #3: As others are saying, you did not test this cooler against any other notably good coolers. Comparing this system against something like a Zalman 9500 or Thermaltake Big Typhoon would paint a good picture of what this thing can do versus top-notch air cooling. I don't know how realistic the whole water cooling setup for $150 is, but using some sort of kit could have been an option as well. Stock cooling? I agree the stock cooler on those AM2's is pretty decent, but really now, did you not expect a negative community response from this decision?

I don't mean this as a personal attack towards the writer, editor, or anyone at HardOCP, I just think that this review was somwhat lacking and presented some false information in several areas.

Thank you for reading if you did.

-shoes
 

Bloodgod42

Gawd
Joined
Nov 20, 2005
Messages
592
shoes said:
I have 3 issues with this article.-shoes
Good point shoes. I have the Titan Amanda installed on my main rig and can attest that the orientation of that mounting would surely hinder performance of the Monsoon II, although I thought he had it mounted to vent into the power supply and out the back.

Just curious, but what temps are you getting with your Monsoon II?
 
Top