Introduction

AeroCool Advanced Technologies (AAT) was founded in 2001. Aerocool is known for their innovative designs like they were the first company to introduce the U-Shape heat pipe design for the CPU Coolers which now has almost become a norm in air cooling. Similarly, they were the first company to introduce the double-bay front panel controllers. Today, Aerocool is among the market leaders in the “Gaming Market”. Their product lines include Gaming Chassis, PC Cooling, Power Supply units, Gaming peripherals, gaming furniture, accessories to name a few. Aerocool is not a new name to me. I bought their DS series fans back in 2014 or so when I was doing my X99 build on Rampage V Extreme and these fans exceeded my expectation from them.

Aerocool has sent me Verkho series air cooler Verkho 5 Dark. As the name gives a clue about the color version, this cooler is available in two colors; one is the black and the other is the silver one which has been an industry trend. This is their premium air cooler in the category of air cooling yet it is more of a budget oriented solution. Clearly, Aerocool is trying to achieve a balance between the performance and value that your bucks could buy. This is a single tower design with fin stack has a black color coating on it. This not only adds more to the better aesthetics but according to Aerocool, it helps with the better thermal dissipation. A 120mm Blue LED fan is included in the pack to provide ample cooling on this cooler. We have copper made base plate making a direct contact with the CPU and 5 copper heat pipes which are also black coated. This cooler has compatibility with wide range of Intel and AMD sockets including Intel LGA20XX/115X and AMD AM4 and others but it does not support ThreadRipper.

  • Product:              Verkho 5 Dark
  • Manufacturer:      Aerocool
  • Category:            CPU Cooler
  • Price:                  $49.99 [At the time of the review]

Specifications

Packaging and Unboxing

The cooler is shipped in a standard cardboard box. The front side of the packing box has an Aerocool brand name and logo printed on the top right side. There is a diagram of the cooler on the left side. Verkho 5 Dark is printed on the bottom right side. Socket compatibility is printed at the bottom. Their old website is printed on the bottom left.

The right side of the box has specifications of the cooler printed in the tabular format. Verkho 5 Dark is printed on the top. Compliance with various regulations is printed at the bottom along with the EAN info label. The cooler is made in China.

The backside of the box has salient features of the cooler printed in 12 different languages in two columns.

The left side of the box has Verkho 5 Dark printed on the top followed by the socket compatibility information. There are three block diagrams of the cooler showing its dimensions.

The top side of the box where it is opened has Verkho 5 Dark PWM CPU Air Cooler is printed in the center followed by the socket compatibility information.

Accessories and Content

Aerocool has provided following accessories in the box:

  • 1x Heatsink
  • 1x Fan
  • 1x Intel LGA20XX Mounting bracket
  • 1x AMD/Intel Mounting bracket
  • 4x Intel LGA20XX Screws
  • 4x Plastic Push Pins
  • 4x Plastic Push Screws
  • 1x thermal compound
  • 1x User Manual

Closer Look

It is time to take a closer look at this cooler and see what is beneath the surface before moving on to the installation and testing sections. This cooler has a total 48 fins which are black coated which according to the Aerocool helps in better heat dissipation. The cooler has a dimension of 123x73x156.5mm. The weight of the cooler is not mentioned in the specifications and unfortunately, I don’t have a weighing machine to check it at the moment.

Looking at the top, we can see a set of 5 heat pipes is coming out of the top fin plate and terminating here. Each heat pipe is terminated in a pointy design on one end while it is rounded on the other end. Even the heat pipes are black coated. Surprisingly, there is no branding on the top which is giving the hint of cost-cutting, where possible to bring out the best possible value product. Only the testing will confirm how much of a value we are talking about. The dimension of a fin plate is 123x48mm where 123mm is the length of the plate and 48mm is the width of the fin plate. This overall dimension of the heatsink itself is 123x48x156.6mm which makes it a slim profile design to fit on any motherboard and chassis but keep in mind the 156.6mm height while buying the cooler and the chassis for compatibility.

The cooler has identical front and back side design on the heatsink. The coating is evenly applied to the heatsink and I did not observe any sign of dimming or missing out of the coating. Even a bit of scratching the surface did not result in wear and tear. The heatsink does not have a flat surface rather a wave format where each wave has a varying length which is increasing when going towards the middle from both sides. There is no fin joint assembly on the front or the back side of the heatsink. Another observation is the stepped design of the heatsink. The top 38 fin plates are in full length which is 123mm whereas the bottom 10 fin plates have a length of 89mm with a height of 26mm. I am not sure why they took this design. The only hint is the pre-mounted screws top on the base which runs in parallel to the bottom two fins. Maybe cutting out more fins on the bottom in a particular design might have increased production cost but I am not sure. Anyhow, we are not taking out significant surface area here to produce any glaring thermal results.

The top 38 fins have a total length of 88mm. The heat pipes are made of the copper material but in a black coating. The heat pipes are going through the heatsink in a design of two columns per side with three pipes in the first column and two in the second column. There is not much of a gap between both columns. This design while looks good, is not covering the entire heatsink surface effectively. The heat pipes are each of 6mm thick.

The left and right sides of the heatsink are identical. The outermost fin trails have jointed assembly on them. The middle portion has more depth to it which is understandable as it gives a way to access the pre-installed screws on the mounting assembly at the base. There are insets or cutouts in an angular manner on both sides which are used to catch the metallic fan clips. The dimension of the heatsink from this side only is 48x114mm.

Let’s take a look at the base of the cooler. There is a transparent sticker pasted on the base warning the user to peel it off before installation. The dimension of the base is 39x40mm. The base is made of the copper. This cooler is using the Continuous Direct Contact method. In this design, the heat pipes at the base make a direct contact with the heat source which in our case is CPU. The sides of the heat pipes making direct contact are not coated which makes sense and should have been like that. Why I said continuous? It is because there is a non-continuous direct contact method as well in which there is a gap between each heat pipe. Aerocool is referring it as HCTT (Heat Core Touch Technology). The mounting assembly is already on the cooler in the silver color. The two screws are not there to screw anything to the rest of the assembly hardware rather it is securing the mounting bars on to the rest of the frame. Unfortunately, one of the screw and its mounting came off when I unboxed the cooler. I am sure shipping could not have unscrewed the mounting bar! The frame is secured on the top of the base.

Aerocool has provided a 120mm fan with a blue LED on it. The dimension of the fan is 120x120x25mm. It comes pre-installed on the heatsink and can be taken off by removing the metal clips. The fan has 9 impellers which are transparent to better diffuse the lighting coming from the center of the fan. There are 4 Blue LEDs in the main hub. The diameter of the hub is 40mm which is understandable as it has to accommodate the LEDs in it. There is a black color sticker pasted on the hub with the Aerocool brand name and logo printed on it. Each impeller has three raised surfaces which help reduces the drag and better direct the airflow through the trailing edges.

This is a PWM fan as it has a 4-pin cable coming out of the fan’s hub. The cable is flat which is what I personally like. The length of the cable is approximately 277mm. This fan is rated at 5VDC as starting voltage and 12VDC as rated voltage. Its rated current draw is 0.37Amp with power consumption of 4.44W. The speed is rated at 800-2000 RPM. Our sample was doing 1885 RPM max. The air pressure rating is 0.78-1.24mmH₂O. The airflow is rated at 27.2-56.4 CFM. The noise level is rated at 15-27 dBA. The MTBF rating is 60000 hours. The fan is using the Hydraulic bearing.

Looking at the backside of the fan, there is no sticker of any sort on the hub rather a solid surface. This is my first time looking at such a design. There are 5 arms which are designed in a curved manner. One of the arms has more width to it so as to make way for the cable routing. Each of these arms has 4 triangular surfaces near the fan’s hub which seems to be complementing the raised surfaces on the trailing edges on the impellers.

Looking at the frame of the fan closely would reveal that it is translucent. When it is powered up, the overall lighting effect makes one heck of a dope view. There is no arrow indicator on any side to show the direction of the impeller movement and airflow. There are light blue color anti-vibration pads on the corners. There is a small hole on the main frame facing the fan mounting hole on each edge. If you are wondering why it is there, it is because the metal clips if mounted on the standard mounting holes on each corner would crack the rubber pads due to the stress coming from the metal clip when installed with the heatsink. Aerocool has come up with this design to overcome that issue. Use can still mount the clips to the standard mounting holes though. There is a distance of 110mm between any two mounting holes on this fan. There is approximately 99mm of a gap between the inner mounting holes.

Installation

We have tested the cooler on the X99 platform using the 2011-3 socket on the Asus ROG Rampage V Edition 10 motherboard. Here is the installation mechanism:

  • Place the Intel LGA2011 mounting bracket by aligning the mounting holes on the bracket with the pre-drilled holes around the CPU socket.
  • Keep in mind that there are tabs or catchers only on two sides of this bracket hence decide upon the orientation of the cooler before securing the bracket to the motherboard.
  • Use the Metal screws to secure the mounting bracket to the motherboard.
  • Peel the sticker off the base.
  • Apply the thermal paste on the CPU IHS
  • Place the cooler on the CPU by aligning the hooks on the screw sides of the cooler base with the catchers on the bracket and press both sides down till it the catchers hold the mounting assembly of the cooler.
  • Connect the fan’s power cable to the CPU fan header or any other PWM header of your choice.

This would complete the installation. In case you face difficulty in the installation of the cooler if the catchers are not able to hold the cooler then there is a way around. Don’t follow the above steps rather place the mounting bracket manually on the cooler by aligning the hooks of the cooler with the catchers on the mounting bracket. Once the bracket is secured with the cooler, place it on the motherboard by aligning the mounting holes on the mounting bracket with the pre-drilled holes near the CPU socket area and secure the cooler using the metal screws. Go diagonally for even pressure when installing.

Clearance and Compatibility

The height of this cooler is 156.5mm. Keep that in mind while selecting the PC Chassis. Given the 73mm of a total thickness of the cooler, it bears a slim profile design making it having a good clearance for RAM. Unfortunately, I ran into a problem when installing it on the Asus ROG Rampage V Edition motherboard as going vertical orientation (standard one) the cooler’s edge was touching the heatsink of the motherboard VRM/MOSFET making it impossible to install it in that manner, This is something I was not expecting and I have to experience any such air cooler on my test bench. Hence, I had to install it in the horizontal layout with a fan throwing the air towards the top of the motherboard. This left me no way to check for the actual clearance of this cooler for the DIMM slots and as expected this orientation was blocking the first slot on each bank of the quad-channel DIMM slots.

Testing Methodology

Following test bench was used for testing this cooler: –

  • Asus Rampage V Edition 10
  • Intel i7 6850k
  • Corsair Vengeance Red 4x8GB @ 2666MHz
  • Asus GeForce RTX 2080 O8G
  • Samsung 840 EVO 250GB SSD
  • Seagate Barracuda 2TB HDD
  • Corsair AX1200i
  • Primochill Praxis Wetbench

Following software were used for the testing and monitoring.

  • Asus Real Bench v 2.44
  • Real Temp GT v 3.70

The thermal paste being used on my test bench is the Noctua NT-H1 thermal paste. The use of a same thermal paste for all coolers will ensure the standardization and mitigate any performance benefit that may come using the supplied thermal paste. I have also tested the cooler with the stock paste that was supplied with the cooler. Delta temperatures are reported on the graphs. The cooler is tested on stock clocks i.e 3.6GHz using 1.136V manual VCore. The Asus RealBench 2.44 is used to stress test the cooler’s performance. Each run of the test was of 30 minutes followed by 15-30 minutes break to let the system cool down. The fan was set to run at their 100% RPM. CPU is overclocked to 4.3GHz with 1.350V manual Vcore. The max temps on each core are summed up and divided by the core count to give the average figure. Delta temps are calculated by subtracting the ambient temp from the max average temp.

Results

Let’s take a look at the graphs. On 3.6GHz clock using the stock thermal paste the cooler was doing 36.43° dropping the cooler down to the bottom. When the same cooler was tested using the Noctua NT-H1 there was a significant thermal improvement with cooler doing 29°C though at the bottom part of the graph.

With overclocked 6850k to 4.3GHz at 1.350V, the cooler again went to the bottom using the stock thermal paste as it was doing 55°C. With Noctua NT-H1, the cooler was doing 49°C. Again, we are seeing quite an improvement over a stock paste though still sitting at the bottom of the graph.

I could not measure the sound level of the unit as the summer season here is at peak and ceiling fan plus the noise coming out of the room would invalidate the actual sound level. Based on my experience with the fans and coolers testing so far, these fans are quite noisy at full speed and custom fan curve is in order.

Conclusion

The Aerocool Verkho 5 Dark is a budget CPU air cooler. It is a single tower design which has a slim profile as well. The dimension of the cooler is 123x73x156.5mm where 156.5mm is the height of the cooler. The cooler has 48 aluminum fin plates making up the heatsink which are coated in black color. The black color adds much more to the neutral outlook of the cooler and according to the Aerocool, it helps in better heat dissipation. The dimension of the heatsink only is 123x48x156.5mm.

This cooler has 5 copper heat pipes which are also coated in the black color. These are 6mm thick. The cooler is using what Aerocool is referring to as HCTT (Heat Core Touch Technology). This is actually Continuous Direct Contact method in which the heat pipes make a direct contact with the heat source which in our case is the CPU. This method helps in quicker heat dissipation than the mostly used indirect contact method where there is a base plate sitting between the heat pipes and the heat source. The base area measures 39x40mm and the heat pipes don’t have any coating at the base.

The mounting assembly is pre-installed on this cooler. Unfortunately, one of the hooks and its screw was off when the box was opened. Installing the hook was not fully satisfactory as there was a bit of play in the hook when it was screwed. There is no backplate with this cooler. Aerocool has provided two mounting brackets, metal LGA2011 screws, plastic push pins and plastic screw inserts for AMD/Intel non-LGA20XX sockets. These days, companies are investing in a user-friendly mounting hardware which is durable and reliable as well. Unfortunately, I don’t see Aerocool doing the same as using plastic made screws and push pins are easy to break and may not be suitable for multiple installations. I am hoping they would come up with better mounting hardware. The provided thermal paste seems to be an average stuff as we have seen over 5°C difference between the bundled paste and the Noctua NT-H1. Also, the bundled paste is good enough for a single use.

The fan bundled with this cooler is a 120mm one with the Blue LED lighting. While having a lighting fan is a plus, a single color limits the use of the cooler in the themed build. Hence, either a blackout fan without any LED or the RGB LED fan is in order. The fan has 4 LEDs in the central hub. The impellers are transparent so much so the frame itself is translucent and it does look quite dope when the fan lights up. This is a PWM fan as it has a 4-pin cable coming out of the fan’s hub. The cable is flat which is what I personally like. The length of the cable is approximately 277mm. This fan is rated at 5VDC as starting voltage and 12VDC as rated voltage. Its rated current draw is 0.37Amp with power consumption of 4.44W. The speed is rated at 800-2000 RPM. Our sample was doing 1885 RPM max. The air pressure rating is 0.78-1.24mmH₂O. The airflow is rated at 27.2-56.4 CFM. The noise level is rated at 15-27 dBA. The MTBF rating is 60000 hours. The fan is using the Hydraulic bearing.

This cooler is listed at $49.99 at the time of the review. It has performed decent if not better on our test bench. At this price point, I was expecting a better thermal performance than this. Unfortunately, the bundled thermal paste is not good enough and the fan is quite noisy which could shadow any performance gains. Using this cooler with aftermarket thermal paste like Noctua NT-H1 would produce better results.

We are thankful to the Aerocool for providing us the opportunity to review the Verkho 5 Dark CPU air cooler.