There are certainly some challenges when it comes to designing a small form factor PC and using full size components. Sure one could use an ITX sized components but that tends to sacrifice performance. Once the case, motherboard and CPU are figured out then it is time to figure out how to cool it, specifically the CPU. Most boxed processors come with a heat sink and fan combo. Typically they are designed for at least a mini tower case that has some airflow and cooling results using a stock HSF can be, well disappointing to say the least especially if over clocking is involved, or a portable gaming rig is being built. In most cases a stock HSF just will not cut it and other options must be looked to.
SilverStone has come up with a product to help with this dilemma. The NT06-PRO. The NT06-PRO is a redesigned cooler based off the popular NT06-E. The NT06-PRO has six 6mm heat pipes filled with nitrogen to help maximize cooling efficiency and heat dissipation. Standing only 82mm tall with a compact 120mm PWM fan can the NT06-PRO meet the challenge? Read on to find out.
About the Product
The following information was provided by the SilverStone web site and used for general specifications.
Superior silence and performance
Six soldered heat-pipes, copper base and aluminum fins ensuring the best thermal conducting efficiency
Improved air pressure design and fan mounting system
Includes compact 120mm PWM fan for excellent cooling and low noise
Intel Socket LGA775/1155/1156/1366/2011 and AMD Socket AM2/AM3/FM1/FM2 compatible
Fanless :65W 1 x 12020mm Fan:95W 1 x 12025mm Fan:130W 12020 + 12025 mm Fan:150W
700g (with fan)
Voltage Rating (V)
Start Voltage (V)
Air Flow (CFM)
1000~2200RPM with PWM
Life Expectance (hrs)
140mm (W) x 82mm (H) x 139mm (D)
Now that we got basic information out of the way, let’s take a closer look at the SilverStone NT06-P low profile CPU Cooler.
The NT06-PRO comes shipped in a plain looking box. No fancy designs here. Just some basic information that included features and specifications. The packaging of the NT06-P is compact and should keep the cooler from damage during shipping. The cooler is sandwiched between two pieced of Styrofoam and protected from dust and scratches by being wrapped in a plastic bag. The content of the box includes the CPU cooler, compact PWM fan, AMD/Intel back plate, installation brackets, thermal paste, fan mount brackets, and the instruction manual. The kit includes everything needed to get the NT06-PRO installed.
The NT06-P stands only 82mm tall(with the fan mounted to the lower portion of the heat sink) and is 140mm wide and 139mm deep. The heat pipes are 6mm in diameter and there are six of them total. The heat pipes are soldiered to the fins to ensure maximum heat dissipation. The heat pipes are filled with nitrogen again to aid in heat transfer. Heat pipe CPU coolers are the most common type of coolers used today. They work on the principal of vapor phase change or evaporation/condensation. The liquid at the base of the CPU cooler is heated until boiling, this causes the liquid to evaporate into a vapor and travel toward the fins of the cooler and carrying the heat with it. Once the vapor reaches the fins, the vapor is cooled below it's condensation point and transfers the heat to the fins of the cooler. The condensed fluid travels back towards the base of the cooler to start the cycle over once more.
Cooler Base Texture
The base of the cooler is I'd say is the most crucial part of the CPU cooler. This part is where one part of the phase change takes place and is where the heat is pulled away from the CPU. If the base is not flat, then when the cooler is mounted to the CPU air will be trapped between the base. Air acts as am insulator meaning that not all of the heat would be transferred to the cooler base and would remain at the CPU. The base of the NT06-PRO is not a mirror finish and there are machining marks on the base. The depth of the machining marks is shallow and the thermal paste should fill the gaps nicely. The last test on the base is for flatness. The graph paper reflection shows no distortion in the lines. If there was any deviation in the flatness of the base the reflected lines would not be straight or would have some distortion in the reflection.
AMD Retention removed
We will be using an AMD processor to test the cooler with so I will cover the installation of the AMD kit. The 1st step for installing the NT06-PRO is to remove the stock back plate that comes on the motherboard.
Back plate Prepped
Back plate Installed
The next step for installation is to prepare the back plate for the AMD installation. On the back plate there are plastic stand offs that need to be removed. Make sure to use the side marked for AMD installation. The letters go towards the motherboard. These are used for the Intel installation. Once these are removed, use the clear plastic insulators over the four corners of the back plate. This prevents the back plate from shorting out the contacts on the back side of the motherboard. In the kit there is also a square plastic spacer. Install the spacer in the center hole, it should just click right in. Finally place the back plate on the backside of the motherboard and press the bolts through the holes. The bolts are keyed so that they will only seat flush when positioned correctly. Once they are through the motherboard use the black plastic retainers to hold the bolts in place. The retainers slide on the shaft of the bolts and seat against the motherboard.
Retention plate installation
The next part of the assembly is to assemble the CPU cooler retention plate. The plate comes in four pieces and is held together with six small screws. Align the holes of the the retention plate with the bolts installed in the previous step and secure them with the provided thumb screws. I used a criss-cross pattern when tightening these down so that I didn't place any unnecessary stress on the motherboard, although I am not sure that's needed. Tighten the thumbscrews down until the retention plate is secured against the black plastic spacers.
Put a dab of thermal paste in the center of the CPU. Typically I use just a little larger that a pea sized dab on the CPU. Set the cooler on top of the CPU. The retention plate has multiple mounting options. With this motherboard I was able to orientate the CPU cooler so that it does not interfere with the memory slots. Next is to install the cross bar on the top of the CPU base and tighten the screws. Tighten down one side a little bit then move to the next. Continue this until the screws are tight. This will help make sure that there is even tension on both sides of the cooler ensuring even contact with the heat spreader of the CPU. The final step is to install the fan. just take one of the fan brackets and insert the ends into the mounting holes of the fan. Place the clip of the fan bracket over the edge of the CPU cooler, then do the same with the other side. The fan bracket should clip into the cooler. Connect the fan the the four pin header on the motherboard and it's all set. I have enough room in this case to mount the fan on top of the CPU cooler. With the test case that I used, I didn't have that luxury and the fan was mounted below the fins and if you have the room, a second fan can be mounted to the cooler for even more cooling performance and SilverStone includes a second fan mounting bracket for that purpose.
Installation pictures were taken with the Gigabyte F2A85X-UP4 motherboard for clarity purposes.
GIGABYTE F2A85XM-D3H AMD A85X FM2 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
AMD A10-5800K APU @ 3.80 GHz w/AMD Radeon HD 7660D
Kingston HyperX T1 Black Series 12GB (3 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800)
Kingston HyperX 3K SSD 120 GB 120GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
Antec Fusion Remote HTPC Enclosure
Antec 500w Fusion Power Supply
As you can see there is a definite advantage of the aftermarket CPU Cooler. The SilverStone NT06-PRO blows away the stock HSF by almost 20°C. To test the cooler I used the System stability test from the AIDA64 monitoring application. I used the Gigabyte Easy Tune 6 and AIDA64 to monitor temperatures. The room was kept to 21°C and each test was ran 3 times and averaged. The system was booted and sat for 15 minutes to allow the temperatures to stabilize. Fan speeds at operating temperature were 2170 for the NT06 and 3500 for the stock HSF. Sitting across the room from the case the fan shouldn't be too noticeable.
The NT06-PRO is a suitable low profile cooler designed to fit in tight places and it does the job well. The kit comes with all the parts needed to get the cpu cooler installed and cooling the cpu with in a matter of minutes. The installation wasn't overly complicated, but it does take some time. When working in tight places one can expect to have some obstacles in the way. The instruction manual was easy to follow and explained everything in detail, either through instructions or by pictures, the didn't leave much room for guessing. The NT06-PRO is an impressive cooler and I don't have any worries about the CPU in my HTPC overheating. The fit and finish of the CPU cooler was remarkable. The caps on the end of the heat pipes were all capped giving a nice even look to the cooler. The pipes are soldiered to the base as well as the fins thus allowing the maximum amount of heat transfer.
Some pros we found: 82MM tall with fan installed. Complete install kit. Compact 120MM fan.
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