View Full Version : Review - Thermaltake Spin Q CPU Cooler

07-13-2009, 07:32 AM

I’m like most of us here in that I want the things I own (not just my computer) to be my own. Personalized. Unique. Mine. I know my style better than anyone and I know what I like. I try to keep my eye open for things that are different, in appearance, effect, method, or any combination thereof. As far as my system goes, I haven’t delved into the realm of water cooling yet (though I hope to soon), but I have tried a lot of air-cooling solutions for various things. CPU coolers (http://www.xoxide.com/cpucoolers.html) in particular seem to come in many shapes and sizes (though lately the common size has been BIG), many of which are nothing more than a gimmick to sell the product to the unwary.

While I was looking at CPU coolers recently I came across the Thermaltake Spin Q (http://www.xoxide.com/thermaltake-spinq-cpucooler-lga1366.html). This is one very odd-looking cooler, and aside from the blue LED (what IS it with the blue LED, anyway?) I love it. It’s got a unique appearance to say the least, and I had to put it to the test to see if it performed as well as it looks. I bought it from my favorite supplier, Xoxide (http://www.xoxide.com), and had it in just a couple of days as usual.

The box has been clearly designed for display, with a huge section of cardboard missing to display the actual cooler, rather than a picture:


Inside the cooler is cradled in a molded plastic shell that has in this case done a fine job of protecting its numerous fins.


Inside the box with the cooler are all the hardware pieces you will need to mount the Spin Q onto just about any CPU you may be using, as well as a small tube of Thermaltake’s thermal compound, plenty for several mountings of this cooler. The Spin Q officially supports Intel socket LGA1366 and LGA775 as well as AMD socket AM2+, AM2, 939 and 754.


Once we get the Spin Q on the bench we can get a good look at it and its various components.


There are two leads visible here, one is a standard 3-pin power connection (sorry, no PWM here), and the other is a manual fan speed control. Without any sort of automatic speed control this is a must.

The Spin Q is unlike most other coolers in that it uses a centrally-mounted “squirrel-cage” fan, inside the heat sink assembly. This fan draws air into the center of the cooler and expels it through its entire surface, maximizing contact with the cooling fins. To some this may be an issue, as it does not in any way direct the hot air it removes, but simply expels it equally around the entire cooler. This should be noted by those who have specific air flow needs for the rest of their case.


You can see here the fan mounts with three screws directly into the cooling fins. There are three equally-spaced additional holes so that the fan can be positioned however is best for cable routing in your setup. A nice touch and one that many with more crowded (or neat) cases will appreciate.

Take the fan out and the surface area of the cooling fins on the Spin Q becomes more evident;


The fan itself seems easy to work with once removed, for the inevitable cleaning.


The bottom of the Spin Q has two grooves cut into the top plate to accommodate the AM2 clip, and four countersunk screw holes for mounting the LGA pushpin brackets. The mating surface is one of the most highly-polished I’ve seen from the factory.



Mounting the Spin Q onto an AM2+ setup is simple, far more so than any other large cooler I’ve tried, as the round shape allows access to the retention clip. Not a single component had to be removed from my system to install it. I’ve not tried mounting it with the Intel push-pin setup, but I have read a few reviews that said it was difficult to reach the pins to install. You decide.


And here is the obligatory picture with the <sigh> blue LED:


Okay, so the Spin Q looks better than most coolers with blue lights, I’ll admit. (And no, cable management is not my strong suit.)

On to the testing. The test system specs:

AMD Phenom II 940 3.0 at stock speed
Asus M4A79 Deluxe mainboard
2 x 2GB G-Skill DDR2 1066 ram
Sapphire HD 4870 512MB video card
Acer 22” LCD

For the test I’ll be comparing the Spin Q to what has become my default air-cooler, the Tuniq T-120. I love the T-120 for several reasons, and find it a good baseline to test against. To test them I let the system idle for 30 minutes to stabilize temps then ran OCCT 2.0.1 for 30 minutes. Since I long ago replaced the variable-speed fan that came with the T-120 with a Thermaltake Silent Cat, I only tested it once, but performed two tests on the Spin Q, one with the fan at its lowest setting and another with it on the highest. Since the results for each of the four cores on the CPU were nearly identical, only the graph for the first core is represented. All three tests utilize the Thermaltake thermal compound that came with the Spin Q.

The Tuniq T-120:


The Tuniq T-120 kept the temps below 56 degrees during the entire test. Not bad considering the hardware we’re working with.

The Thermaltake Spin Q with its fan on the lowest setting:


Not nearly as good as the T-120, topping out at 61 degrees.

And the Spin Q with the fan on its highest setting:


A little better, with temps topping out around 59.5, but still not as effective as the Tuniq cooler.

Bottom line, the Thermaltake Spin Q is a good cooler. It is nearly as effective as my current favorite, and it is actually quite a bit quieter, even with the fan at its highest setting. While there is only a minor increase in noise level between lowest and highest fan setting on the Spin Q, a performance increase of less than 2 degrees isn’t worth it to me. I’ll leave it on its lowest setting, and now I know that it can handle anything I’m liable to throw at it during normal use. (I should note that after the testing was complete I realized that by turning the cooler around so that the intake was toward the rear of my case and turning that exhaust fan around to intake, it would draw cool outside air directly into the cooler and would likely provide better performance.)

If you’re looking for something different, something that will make people look twice, especially if your system already has lots of shiny things and blue lights, this is definitely a cooler you will want to consider. It’s effective, quiet, and definitely eye-catching. Since the case I have now doesn’t have a window, and I won’t have to look at that annoying blue LED, I’ll be leaving it on my system for the noise reduction.

The Thermaltake Spin Q Can be had currently at Xoxide for $61.99, and at several other online retailers for prices ranging from $59.99 to just over $70.





Verdict: 4.5 out of 5


07-13-2009, 07:50 PM
That sucker just looks awesome. Doesn't match the theme of my current case but definitely one to keep in mind for future projects. Great review!

07-13-2009, 10:30 PM
That thing looks like it would shred your hand to pieces if you touched it. AWESOME.

That's an interesting idea about turning it around and having it intake from the chassis exhaust. Have you had the opportunity to see if that made a noticeable difference or not? You might be on to something here! Its always been my personal opinion that its not about the best airflow throughout the case as much as it is about the intake. That just makes more sense to me, to bombard the case with outside air instead of stream lining it.

Anyways, nice review! Its a pretty cool looking cooler at the very least, but it seems to do a decent job at cooling too.

07-13-2009, 10:41 PM
I haven't had the chance to try it yet, and wasn't planning to when I wrote that but my curiosity is not going to let me not try it. I'll post the results when I do. :)

07-13-2009, 11:54 PM
Ok, I got the cooler and the fan turned around, ran the exact same test and it hit the 70-degree limit less than halfway through???? :think:

I am completely stumped here, Ive got a very good fan blowing air straight from outside into the center of the cooler, and the temps are WAY higher?

Anyone have any ideas why this would be?

07-14-2009, 12:17 AM
Thats quite a bit of difference for just switching the placement around. You would think it would be cooler, if only slightly so. Did you reapply the thermal paste correctly? Is it backed up against a wall or anything?

Maybe there is a reason why its supposed to be directed out the back? lol

07-14-2009, 12:22 AM
I applied the paste just like the first time. It IS backed up against the back of my desk (it has a hutch with a solid back). I'll try setting it out in the open somewhere and running both tests again. This has me confused. You're probably right, though, either an air flow or short-cycling problem. Give me a few days and I'll know.

07-14-2009, 09:32 AM
nice review!

07-16-2009, 08:06 AM
It's not orientation specific is it? I know with some cpu coolers it HAS to be on there a certain way.

07-16-2009, 06:15 PM
It's an either/or setup, as pictured or 180 degrees around. Since it draws into the center it shouldn't matter as long as it's got unobstructed flow.

07-26-2009, 07:30 PM
If you changed one of your main exhaust fans into an intake, you need to change an intake to an exhaust. I'm guessing you have a build up of hot air inside the case without an adequate route to get that hot air out of the case.

There's my 2 cents.

Nice review btw. :)