It's been our great privilege to work closely with all five companies included in this shootout, and each one graciously provided us a statement about their history and their goals for the future of air cooling. Because we think this paints such a complete and interesting picture of the industry, we are including their comments verbatim, with just a bit of editing to account for translations (the companies hail from Austria, Switzerland, and Japan, as well as two from Taiwan).
Our first product was called Super Silent 2000 and launched in late 2001. That not only made quiet PCs possible, but also affordable for everyone – the reason why ARCTIC started its business. We had the vision … to provide everyone with a quiet PC. Through today, we’ve kept this origin in mind as a quiet computer being the basis for pleasant working conditions.
We never get tired though of inventing new technologies. We are constantly advancing the performance and quality of the air coolers through improved design and high quality manufacturing techniques. Good examples are the Freezer 33 TR, Freezer 33 eSports One and its successor, which will be launched in the late summer of 2018. Our whole product range is recognized for offering innovative quality at a fair price tag.
Our first release was the R1 Ultimate at the end of 2013. Since Cryorig has always deemed ourselves as a great-quality basis company, we decided to show the craftsmanship with a sophisticated, great-performance dual tower cooler as our first product that ever hit the market.
Our current goal for the aircoolers is to bring more new designs for the market. Like we're trying on full copper materials for all our existing models of aircoolers which are showcased early this year in the Taipei Computex, and the feedback is actually great from my knowledge. We also will have more RGB lighting as a factor in our future product line since it's become a major trend in the PC peripherals business.
The very first Noctua CPU coolers were released on October 25, 2005. They were the original NH-U12 (you can think of it as the grandfather of the current NH-U12S!) and NH-U9 (same for current U9S). Our first 120 and 92mm fans were still in development at that time, so we released them as heatsinks only. A lot of people ended up using them passive because the performance was so good. There was even a benchmark record with the U12 in passive mode.
As for our current goals, we're seeing the biggest potential for improvements in further optimizing our fans and fine-tuning the heatsinks for use with our next generation fans. We'll soon release a new 120mm fan model and are working on a new version of the U12 series to go with it. The goal is to roughly match the performance of current 14cm tower coolers in a 12cm package.
In May 2003 Scythe released the KAMAKAZE (鎌風) CPU cooler. In October 2003, KAMAKAZE Rev.B came out, which was a revised version of the first model. Here's a picture of KAMAKAZE Rev. B.
Since its establishment, Scythe has been upholding and pursuing design concepts that 'combine the world's highest level of cooling performance with quietness', and so far this concept has continued to adhere.
Our first cooler was the 'Nitrogon NT01' released in 2004. We had a pretty awesome case called the TJ06 in development at the time with an upside-down layout and an air duct. Plus we already had a couple of HTPC cases that require lower profile CPU coolers (with more to come). We felt there wasn't enough high-end choices on the market to match our cases so we decided to create one on our own that would fit perfectly for both TJ06 and our HTPC cases.
Here is coverage from Computex 2004 showing our prototype TJ06 housing the NT01 prototype. You can see this trend of creating height/size specific CPU coolers to fit our ever expanding case collections in the following couple of years: NT03 prototype debut at CES 2005, NT01 in a prototype LC18 HTPC case with integrated touch screen shown at the now defunct C3 expo New York in 2005, NT05 and NT06 introduced at CES 2006 to support even more of our HTPC and SFF cases. These 'Nitrogon' series coolers continue to be more application specific today so they are not built to be price competitive as the main goal.
Our launch of 'Argon' series in 2013 was our attempt at building more mainstream coolers that have cost to performance as the priority. The AR03 you have was designed as our cost/value model for CPUs with bigger heatspreaders (such as LGA1366 & 2011) so hopefully it'll perform well on Ryzen as well since it is a little bigger than Intel's LGA115X variants.
All right, now that you've read that wonderful introduction (we didn't write it, so we can say that!), it's time to get into the nitty-gritty of our results, starting with a review of installation and product features!