Alpenfohn Panorama £21
3rd Feb 2011 | 12:52
Home Theatre cooling on the cheap
Alpenfohn Panorama: Overview
An efficient cooler in a HTPC (home theatre PC) is vital, the Alphenfohn Panorama is just that type.
It takes the classic low-profile design that can still fit into a slimline PC case and yet provide efficient high-performance cooling without excessive noise levels.
Its main problem is that it has some fine competition.
The classic Zalman Super Flower Cooler is still one of the best on the market or the more recent Scythe Shuriken with its full 120mm fan is another.
With a 100mm square fan and standing 66mm high the Alphenfohn Panorama ticks the boxes for good design though.
As usual it offers a modular mounting kit and back-brackets to enable it to fit to most processor sockets. The fan is just 15mm high and comes with a standard 4-pin power connector.
Speeds go from 800 up to 2000 rpm with noise levels going from 14 up to 22dB and the rated airflow is 38m3/h.
Alpenfohn Panorama: Benchmarks
To give the cooler a run for its money we fully installed it on to a rather warm, overclocked Intel Core 2 E6700 processor.
We took an ambient air temperature reading, an unloaded temperature reading and another when the CPU had been running with a full load for a number of minutes.
Idle cooling performance
Loaded cooling performance
Alpenfohn Panorama: Verdict
It's a continual problem with low-profile coolers, and the Alphenfohn Panorama is no different, fitting them can be a pain.
Thankfully it does its best by providing wide-headed fixing screws that are easy to grasp while half-breaking your wrists fiddling around under the main cooler.
The rest of the socket-mounting kit, as is often the case, screws on to the side of the main cooling block. The fan comes pre-attached via vibration dampening rubber mounts.
Sadly though only a paltry single sachet of thermal paste is supplied rather than a more generous tube.
Once powered up the Alphenfohn Panorama doesn't disappoint in the noise department, with a managed fan and a more power-friendly processor it's going to operate relatively quietly.
Personally we've encountered lower-noise units before, the low-profile 100mm square, 15mm high fan has its limitations but it's certainly at the quieter end of the spectrum and would be acceptable for a HTPC and more than acceptable in a standard PC.
When it came to performance testing though the Alphenfohn Panorama did little to impress us, even considering its HTPC design we were expecting more from it than out test stock cooler.
Without any CPU load it did manage to maintain a three to four centigrade advantage, but underload this disappeared and taking into account the 1c ambient difference it was no better than our standard cooler.
Arguably though it doesn't have to be, all it needs to be is quiet and at that job it performs well enough.
The Alphenfohn Panorama is a well designed, well engineered, easy to fit, low-profile cooler. It runs quietly enough will provide better or at least as-good-as cooling than a stock copper-core cooler but do so more quietly.
The cooling results were certainly not impressive, you wouldn't be buying this as a performance cooler but doing a no better job than a low-price stock cooler isn't what we'd expect either.
A quiet, well-built HTPC cooler that doesn't impress with its cooling but does impress with its low-noise.