Zaward Vapor 120 Review 3

Zaward Vapor 120 Review



We would like to thank Zaward for supplying the review sample.

Features: (as listed by the manufacturer)
  • Patented heatsink with breathing effect design for most energy saving and low noise level.
  • Patented backplate mounting kit applicable for LGA1156, LGA1366, LGA775, AM3, AM2, AM2+ and K8.
  • Patented copper heat pipe direct touch (H.D.T.) with CPU to absorb the heat efficiently.
  • Patented Golf Fan with PWM function for speed adjustment.
  • Dual fan installation option.
  • Assembly easy and user-friendly.
  • Dual direction installation option for AMD sockets.
  • Intel LGA1366, LGA1156, LGA1155, LGA775
  • AMD AM3, AM2+, AM2, s939, s754
Dimensions:120 (W) x 50 (D) x 160 (H) mm
Heatsink Material:Aluminium Alloy Fins and Copper Heat pipes
Heatpipe:3x 8 mm, Copper with no plating
Fan Dimension:120 x 120 x 25 mm
Fan Speed:300±200 RPM ~ 2000±10%
Maximum Air Flow:93.96 CFM
Connector:4-pin, supports PWM
Fan controller:Motherboard PWM based
Weight:684 g

Package and Contents

Zaward Vapor comes in a well-designed hard paperboard box. The front-face, apart from the usual company and model logos, features a large window that lets you see the "Golf fan" with its dimpled blades. The front also lets you know upfront about the CPU socket types supported. There is another trapezoid window on the top, which lets you see the aluminum fin surface which again is dimpled, but with pores to produce the "breathing effect" that Zaward is talking about. The back of the box tables out technical specifications in adequate detail.

The right side of the box shows you all the important features with pictures and diagrams. It also lets you see right away what the fan illumination is going to look like. On the left side, are diagrams that explain the "breathing effect" of the heatsink. There are also temperature and noise level graphs of the Vapor 120 compared to an Intel stock heatsink, based on Zaward's internal tests.

Upon opening the box, there are two trays locked into each other, one holding the heatsink, the other holding the fan. In the trays' cavities, the instruction manual and an accessories packet can be found.

The accessories packet contains:
  • Sachets containing all the screws, nuts and bolts you’ll need
  • Retention plates for Intel and AMD sockets
  • Metal clips to latch the fan onto the heatsink
  • A syringe containing thermal paste

A closer look

Zaward Vapor 120 sports a unique design methodology. Its designs sought to minimize the metal content in the heatsink by simply optimizing the way each aluminum fin is designed. The aluminum fins have numerous tiny dimples which are punched. This increases surface area and turbulence, while keeping the heatsink compact. Width and height-wise, Vapor 120 is a typical-looking tower-type heatsink. It's only with a depth of just 50 mm, the Vapor 120 is a slim heatsink. The fin array is symmetrical, with provision to attach fans on either sides.

The 120 mm fan packed with the Vapor 120 is a medium~high speed blue-illuminated fan, rated to move up to 93.96 CFM of air. Despite spinning at speeds of up to 2000 RPM (±10%), which should have a ballpark rated air-flow in the 80's CFM the fan is able to push that much of air, because it is said to have adopted a more efficient impeller blade design. The golf-ball dimples on the surface of the blades increase turbulence, in turn stepping up air-flow per RPM.

The frame and impeller are made of tough ABS plastic. The cable is sleeved, a very nice touch. The fan uses a standard 4-pin connector, which can connect to almost all current motherboards' CPU fan headers. It supports pulse-width modulation (PWM) method of fan-speed control, voltage-based method is naturally supported, in case you decide to plug the fan into a standard 3-pin fan header on the motherboard, instead. An increasing number of motherboards these days are letting you select between the two kinds of speed control in the BIOS setup, with the fan plugged in to the CPU fan header.

Despite having an opaque frame and impeller, the fan features a mild illumination. On each of the four corners of the frame, a blue LED is fixed with a small hole to project light on to the impeller. This gives the fan a milder illumination than in fans that use transparent or translucent parts.

The Vapor 120 uses three 8 mm thick copper heat pipes that are bent in a U-shape, passing through the CPU base. The pipes pass through the aluminum fins in a uniform file and not scattered. While this might help aesthetics, it isn't a great boost for heat-dissipation. Perhaps the central pipe could have been made to pass through the central portion of the aluminum fins, allowing a more uniform dissipation, and also stepping up air-turbulence.

There's also a close-up of the fin surface showing the punched dimples. Besides stepping up surface area of the fins and adding to the turbulence, the punched holes, according to Zaward, also produces what it calls the "heatsink breathing effect". Simply put, the holes allow for some transfer of air between the fin planes, some of which could be convectional. Since fins towards the top are slightly cooler than fins closer to the base, I would imagine some sort of a convectional current to move towards lower parts of the fin array.

The Vapor 120 uses a heat pipe direct-touch CPU base, a design in which the heat pipes that transport heat to the aluminum fin array, make direct contact with the CPU IHS, eliminating the need for a base-plate that could add some thermal-resistance. The flip-side of this approach is that the gaps between the pipes and the base serve as crevices, where thermal-compound can seep in. Thicker portions of thermal compound can then actually increase thermal resistance. Zaward milled the Vapor 120's base very well, the smaller the number of heatpipes, the lesser are the crevices.
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Jul 3rd, 2022 17:09 EDT change timezone

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