Gelid Black Edition CPU Cooler Review
WHAT WE LIKED:Great performance, quiet, small footprint, 5-year warranty, did I mention quiet?
WHAT WE DISLIKED:Installation is tricky with only two hands, forget about installing it while the motherboard is in a case.
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Installation – Intel
The back plate comes with an insulating pad pre-applied for Intel sockets. The screw shown has a notch on either side that once placed through one of the notches in the plate will lock into the tabs and keep the screw from spinning.
The tricky part here is to place the screws through the motherboard and while holding the back of a screw with one hand place an insulating washer over the screw with another hand and thread the spacer onto the screw. You do this all while making sure the screw’s tab doesn’t slip out of the backing plate’s appropriate location. A big improvement here would be to utilize the sort of plastic locking spacer like we saw on the NZXT Respire T20 and T40 coolers. Otherwise an extra set of hands will make your installation easier.
Once the four threaded spacers are installed, your pin alignment is checked and everything is tightened, you can go ahead and install the mounting brackets with the four included slotted screws. Phillips-head drivers are useless here as they will not go far enough down to grab the notches. A flat head worked best for me.
Once the brackets are tight you can apply your TIM of choice and mount the cooler. Remember the off-side mounting and be sure to mount it as shown here. The springs are held on the screws by retainers so you don’t need to worry about them coming off; however, it’s a tight fit (with big fingers like mine) to hold the screws in place and screw them in with a screwdriver with the other hand. After fighting with dropping screws for a few minutes I ended up using a pair of small long-nose needle-nose pliers to hold the screws. This is definitely something you will not be installing when the board is mounted in a case.
Once that’s finished, you use the provided clips to secure the front fan.
You then use a second set of clips to secure the center fan. You’ll notice a small cutout between the center fan’s clip and the tower in front of it. This is to aid in installing the clips on the center fan. Bravo for Gelid for the little details like this. Plug both fans into the Y-cable and then into the motherboard header and you’re finished.
You’ll notice that even with the offset tower and slim fan the first RAM slot is useless with anything but low-profile RAM.
Clearance between the cooler and the first PCI-E slot is huge, though the fan mounting clips get in the way. Be sure to note this and your motherboard’s layout to determine if you’ll have any compatibility issues.Reviewer’s edit: I had initially installed the fan clips improperly. The updated image above shows the clearance with the clips mounted facing inwards as they should be. In this correct mounting position you’ll see there’s plenty of clearance between the cooler and my reference XFX 6870.
Now that the frustration level is up from the install process, let’s run some tests while we relax.