Introduction and Packaging
Alpenföhn are a very well established name in the CPU cooling business, created in 2008, by EKL AG , they have been able to establish themselves in a very tough and competitive market. Alpenföhn concentrate solely on cooling, whether it its VGA, CPU or case cooling they have got you covered. They also have a small line of accessories such as fan controllers and thermal paste. With products such as the very successful K2- Mount Doom, the Brocken and Brocken 2 on their list you should always be expecting a good product.
Today we are going to be looking at the Alpenföhn Brocken ECO, basically a slimmed-down, cheaper version of the Brocken series. With a price difference of around £13 lets see if it doesn’t lose performance with the price loss.
The Brocken Eco comes with the Alpenföhn RockMount system which assures mounting options on Socket 2011, 1366, 115x, AM3(+), AM3, AM2(+), AM2 as well as FM1. platforms The rest of the Specifications can be found below.
The front of the box features an image of the cooler on some rather nice stressed wooden planks, its quite a contrast of two different materials and I like the effect.
The sides of the box boast about the fan that is included, a WingBoost 2. It explains why this fan is so good and what Wingboost technology is. On the opposite side, it has the dimensions for the heatsink without the fan attached.
Inside the box you will find the heatsink, the fan and a bunch of other bits, such as brackets for both AMD and Intel mounting, a universal backplate and all of the screws and bits you will need.
A Closer Look
Taking a closer look at the cooler, you can see the ridges and grooves on the heatsink, this gives more surface area for the fan to work with, it also ensures a better airflow through the fins. you can also see some of the 4 copper heat pipes.
The top of the cooler unusually doesn’t have any branding what so ever, in fact, the whole of the unit relies on the fan for branding. You can see the tops of the 4 heat pipes that have been bent around into a U shape.
And here is the contact plate, its been made by sanding down the heat pipes into a flat surface so that the pipes have maximum contact with the CPU. This will increase the effectiveness as the pipes will be able to dissipate the heat easier through the pipes.
Now the fan, its good to see that even though this is an “eco” version of the Brocken, you still get a premium fan. This 120mm fan has a nice simple black on black colour scheme so it will look great in most systems, it also has a braided cable which is always nice to see, its always a shame when companies don’t spend the few pence covering the standard cables.
The fan fits on the cooler well, and the clips are easy to use.
Installation is relatively easy, there wasn’t ever a time that I struggled although there were one or two things I wasn’t too keen on.
First, take your backplate and add the clips, this is the main thing i didn’t like, the 4 clips for the corners are not particularly strong, having said this, they do their job correctly and once the backplate is installed there were no problems.
Next, put this backplate onto the back of the motherboard and put the 4 long screws through.
Now, flip the board over and put on the 4 black plastic sleeves.
Once you have done this, add the bracket and use the thumb nuts to hold it in place.
Finally, put the cooler on and use the holding bracket to hold it in place. I’m a big fan of these types of brackets and they hold the cooler well and also hold the screws, so you don’t have to worry about trying to get the screws into place whilst holding the screwdriver and the cooler.
As you can see from this picture, once installed you have around 10mm between the fan and the RAM, this means that you can use ram with larger heatsinks if you wish to.
Test System and Methodology
We always use the same test system and tests with CPU coolers that we compare against each other. The full specifications of our test system are as follows:
- ASUS P8Z77-V, LGA 1155 socket, Z77 chipset
- Intel Core i5 3570K with Gelid GC Extreme under the IHS
- 16gb HyperX Genesis 1600mhz ram
- Antec High Current Gamer 620W
- Cooler Master Test Bench v1.0
- We always use Gelid GC Extreme thermal paste to make sure testing reveals the efficiency of the tested coolers not the efficiency of the bundled thermal paste.
- Prime 95 is run for 10 minutes and then the average maximum temperatures as recorded by CPUID HWMonitor are noted
- The average temperature across the four cores is taken on our quad-core processor
- Fans are mostly left to operate at default PWM profile speeds and with maximum fan speed for reference.If PWM functions are not supported then fixed fan speeds are used and sometimes a low noise adapter if appropriate/provided. If fixed fan speeds or low noise adapters are used it will be clearly pointed out either on the graphs or in the write-up.
- All default result entries on graphs are for PWM performance unless otherwise specified. A variety of fan speed results are done for a particular product review and then removed from the graphs in future reviews of other products to avoid clutter. If you would like to see more fan speed results for a particular product please check its individual review.
- For water cooling tests all pumps have been operated at 12 volts directly from the power supply
- Delta temperatures are always used (Observed temperature minus ambient temperature) and we keep the ambient at 22 (+/- 1) degrees for all testing. Delta temperatures should correct for any marginal ambient differences between 21-23 degrees.
- Acoustic measurements are taken 10cm horizontally away from the CPU cooler with the VGA fan disabled, hard drive in idle and power supply isolated. These are taken at desktop idle and Prime95 load.
- The cooling performance tests are run at stock 3.4GHz (with Intel Turbo up to 3.8GHz) and overclocked 4.5GHz (1.35v) settings. Voltages are fixed to prevent inaccuracy between comparisons.
- All other coolers in the graphs have been tested under identical settings so are fully comparable.
- Each test is repeated 3 times with 3 remounts for consistency of results
- There is approximately a 1 degree celsius margin of error in our temperature recording software CPUID HW Monitor
- There is approximately a 1.5dBA margin of error with our Benetech GM1351 decibel meter
The brocken ECO comes from a series of coolers that have always done well, this one is no different, it doesn’t do as well as some of the larger, more expensive coolers, but it certainly holds its own for a budget cooler. At stock, the temps are slightly lower down the table than what we would like to see, but it still does beat some of the more expensive coolers.
When overclocked, the cooler still does perform quite well, again it is in the lower half of the table, but still it does far better than I would expect.
This is where the Brocken Eco exceeds. At stock, the fan is almost silent, with a noise level at just 39db, in a case this would probably be even lower.
When overclocked, the fan does have to work a little harder with noise levels going to 43db, still, it sits firmly in the middle of our table and is perfectly acceptable.
The Alpenföhn Brocken ECO Cooler can be found at Overclockers.co.uk offering it for £24.95 + shipping here in the UK. This is an outstanding price for what you’r getting. I was very surprised when I saw this figure as it is over £10 off the standard brocken series. It does lose some performance but for less than £25 you certainly can’t grumble.
Its not often that you can put a sub £25 cooler up against the big boys and be able to compete. Ok, this isn’t going to beat the likes of AIOs or larger heatsinks, but Alpenföhn have the K2 mount doom to do that for them. This is meant to be a cheap and cheerful product that does a decent job. It does just that. If you are a gamer on a budget or you want to replace a stock cooler for cheap, this would do the job perfectly. If you are into your extreme overclocking, perhaps look to spend a little more money and go for something different.
The only real thing I didn’t like about this cooler were the 4 little clips that you have to attach to the universal backplate, I understand why they are there and I know they are needed, but it would have been nice to have a different way of attaching them, the clips had very thin barbs and I’m sure if you were in a rush to attach them you might snap them.
- Virtually silent performance
- Good build quality
- Simple, nice looking aesthetics
- Not very strong clip for the backplate
- struggles a little with heavy loads when the CPU is overclocked
“Alpenföhn are a leading name in the cooling business but some of their flagship coolers are slightly out of the price range of people with a budget. With the Alpenföhn Brocken ECO, they have managed to create a good, cheap product which will suit a large audience. “
Thank you Alpenföhn for providing us with this sample.