While I have a lot of experience in building PC's, this was the first time I dealt with coolers and thermal paste as usually the stock coolers that come pre-supplied with some CPUs are satisfactory. But when I saw my CPU, AMD Phemon X4 2.2GHz Quad Core, started to reach 70+ degrees Celsius, I thought it's about time to upgrade the cooler.
First impressions are it's a very big item, though despite all that metal, it's also very light-weight. It will not cause any problems to full sized tower cases or strain on the motherboard, but beware: due to it's size it will only fit inside full sized ATX cases. If you only have a mini-ATX case, this cooler will not fit inside. It comes pre-supplied with it's own thermal paste, but I decided to remove that and use my own. I also cannibalized the stock CPU fan and turned it in to a case fan to help with the air flow. When I first booted up the PC, the CPU temp was at it's lowest it's ever been at only 6 degrees Celsius, and settling down about 5 minutes later around 15 degrees. Very good.
Next I played some demanding games, S.T.A.L.K.E.R Clear Sky, and GTA 4. Both these games pushed my CPU's temperature up to the 60's and 70's with the old stock fan, but using this cooler the highest the temperature the CPU got to was only 29 degrees and this was a good hours worth of playing on each game and with all the graphics settings maxed out at a screen size of 1,920 x 1,080 pixels. The log on the freeware program CoreTemp proved this.
It took a bit of effort getting the cooler fitted and the fan cable connected. If the holding brackets point up and down parallel to the memory banks then you most probably will need to remove the PSU to fit this, but I had no problems on my motherboard as the holding brackets pointed to the memory banks and rear I/O connectors.
The cooler comes with holding brackets for both AMD and Intel based motherboards, while I've never used Intel as a gaming platform I will not be able to review the Intel fittings, but the AMD fittings are quick and easy to fit. You just need a Philips screwdriver.
A highly efficient, quiet but not silent, inexpensive cooler most certainly deserving of it's price. It'll keep your CPU nearly just as cold as the current British weather (as of February 12, 2012). If you intend to replace your cooler anytime soon, certainly consider buying this.