If you’re in the market for a solid sub $50 cpu cooler that is visually appealing but not over the top Spire has a great offering. Spire is a well known brand within computer building and overclocking communities, although they’re not quite as big a name as some of the other companies. Their Gemini CPU cooler is coming in at a very competitive market of low-priced CPU coolers. Taking a look at the box you can tell this is going to be a huge CPU cooler: they even decided it was necessary to add a reinforced carry handle to the box. The dimensions stand at a imposing 131mmx71mmx153mm or ~5.1in x 2.8in x 6in and weighs in at 1.9 lbs. The concept is quite simple get heat away from the CPU with multiple heat pipes and have a lot of metal fins to keep the pipes cool and everything has a black nickel coating to prevent oxidation and it looks very sharp. The pipes are in a V configuration which in helps with airflow and to add even further it had dimpled fins to add surface area. The design has some flex to it, but still it’s very stiff and sturdy for thin fins supported by copper heat pipes. I personally like the passive heat sink they add at the base, which is a nice little addition even if it just a minor effect on temps. The base is completely flat and even, but it does have some machining marks and is not mirrored polished, not a huge deal but we are talking about a $40+ dollar cooler. The fans are ball bearing style and are 4 pin with foam dampers, they are rated at a max 25 dBA @ a max 1700 rpm, and for those lacking two 4 pins I’d connect it to a 3 pin anyway because . It is definitely a nice piece of machining and is a form following function and style, which I’m all for.
The kit comes with everything you need to mount it up, a bracket for pretty much any relevant cpu socket (even for those of us that still have socket 939s hanging around) which is nice to have if you ever wanted to use it on an older CPU build. The setup is very simple, mount bracket and screws then fasten with thumb spring screws. The fans mount up with a simple springy wire and have their own foam dampeners, which are simpler, faster, and quieter than a screw based design. The spring thumb locking mechanism and the mounting bracket easily to install by hand, and seem to be quite robust, and it needs to be. I will say that it will be very hard to get an even mounting each time because there is no set point to tighten to due to the thumb screw design. I decided to give it my best shot and try to do a full turn at a time on opposing corners until I felt it was satisfactory. Once that is done you’ll have a little difficulty to install a motherboard’s top two screws as the fan’s make a very narrow passage to fit a screw driver in, but it’s not something that requires surgeon dexterity. If you ask me it is big enough to get the job done, but not so big as to impose on everything you need to access. The cooler fits with just under an inch of clearance to the side of my full tower case.
Initially, I wondered if the Gemini could run passively and tested it out at stock core i7 975 speeds. They seemed fine for surfing the internet and watching movies at 40*C-55*C, however stress testing with Prime 95 and Intel burn test 2.6 showed temps climbing at 78*C+ after a few min so I decided to scrap that idea. Next I reinstalled with fans and began to overclock. A quick and dirty overclock of 4GHz @ 1.35V yielded core temperatures stable temps ranging from 72*C-75*C max at full load after several hours, which may seem high, but the fans are very quiet and cannot be heard over the sound of my PSU and GPU fan and are within acceptable 975 temps. Furthermore, I did not turn on the Xcilo’s fans as opposed to turning on my cases fans to see what the cooler can do by itself My primary gripe with most air cooling is noise, but this performed satisfactory to my liking and cooled well with in the 975’s safe temps in near silence. Overall, I feel that its performance is satisfactory for a $40 cooler and I feel temperatures could be better if the base was polished up and if I could figure out a way to get exact even pressure on the 4 corner mounting system. If there is going to be a REV 3 then I would think this could be a very amazing cooler. Until then this cooler is on happily on my Core i7 950 rig @ 4GHz to replace the lack luster Intel cooler while I hook my watercooler block back up to my main rig. For the record, if I did not have a watercooling setup though this would be my go to CPU cooler.
Case: Xcilo Windtunnel (fans off)
Motherboard: Gigabyte G1 Sniper x58
CPU: Core i7 975
GPU: Galaxy GTX480
Memory:2x 4GB Gskill Ripjaws @ 1666 MHz
OS Hard Drive: OCZ Vertex2