Ever heard of Deepcool? There's a good chance you haven't, so here's a quick recap: founded 1996 in Beijing, China, Deepcool is a manufacturer of PC cooling components and employs roughly 700 people in its Shenzhen factory.
The company routinely smashes sales figures in its homeland and clearly knows a thing or two about thermal solutions. Why should this matter to our readers in the Western world? Well, having developed a distribution network in over 60 countries around the globe, Deepcool is now ramping up its presence in countries such as the UK and the USA. Key to this movement is the launch of the Gamer Storm sub-brand and the Lucifer CPU cooler.
Presented in a simple-looking black box, Lucifer doesn't appear to have a lot to shout about, but then it doesn't need to say a lot as the message is pretty clear: it's a massive heatsink offering a 300W cooling capacity and, here's the best bit, it costs just £29.
Cheap and Chinese are two words that routinely go together, yet Lucifer doesn't feel like a vastly inferior alternative. True, the packaging is basic and it doesn't carry the finesse of, say, a Noctua, however if you're looking for something that is cheap and cheerful, Lucifer could certainly fit the bill.
Take the heatsink out of the box and you get a sense of the sheer scale of this thing. Without any fans attached, the big block of aluminium fins and copper heatpipes takes overall dimensions to 140mm x 136mm x 168mm, and net weight is a hefty 1,080g.
That's a lot of cooler for £29 and, to our surprise, it is well-put together. The aluminium fins feel sturdy and well-spaced, the mirror-coated, machined copper base is suitably smooth and the half-a-dozen 6mm copper heatpipes are well-spread throughout the stack. Let's put it this way: Lucifer doesn't feel like a £29 product.
As part of the package, Deepcool includes a single 140mm PWM fan that has its pros and cons. We like the fact that the fan has widely-compatible 120mm mounting holes and can push air at 81 cubic feet per minute, but we really aren't keen on the green-coloured blades or the chrome central logo. The colour scheme is unlikely to match most PC builds, and we wish it came in good ol' black.
Still, you can't blame Deepcool for trying to build a brand identity, and we're likely going to be seeing more of the green, black and silver aesthetic in the company's future products. Elsewhere, box contents include a universal backplate, mounting brackets for the latest Intel and AMD sockets, four fan clips (meaning you could add a second fan in a push/pull configuration) and a good-sized tube of Gamer Storm thermal paste.
Installation entails fixing the backplate to the rear of the motherboard using a pair of mounting brackets and a combination of screw bolts and nuts (the Intel configuration is pictured above). Getting everything aligned is simple enough and the fit is suitably snug, but things become a little more complicated when attaching the heatsink.
The giant cooler is held in place using a metal retention plate with adjustable nuts. Getting it to screwed into place is tricky and requires two things: a long screwdriver and a bit of patience. And, of course, size can be a hindrance. Even though the heatsink fins are offset so as not to hamper memory, the attached fan still overhangs three out of four memory slots on our Gigabyte GA-Z87X-UD3H motherboard. As a consequence the fan had to be mounted slightly higher than usual to allow room for the Corsair Vengeance Pro memory modules.
Not a huge inconvenience, but it is a problem that air coolers of this size are faced with and you do need a good amount of room around the CPU socket if you are to consider Lucifer as an option. Right now, this is an area in which liquid coolers have the upper hand: they offer similar cooling potential but take up little on-board space.
Deepcool obviously isn't holding back and we'd be surprised if it ever launched a larger cooler. In fact, the manufacturer is so confident in the heatsink's ability that it claims Lucifer can be used entirely fanless to provide passive cooling on "mainstream processors." That's a good bit of marketing, but let's not beat around the bush, Lucifer is aimed primarily at high-end PCs so let's see how it performs when strapped to an Intel Core i7-4770K.
Specification and Test Methodology
To put CPU cooler performance into perspective we're benchmarking using a high-end Intel Haswell test platform. A detailed description of the CPU cooler being reviewed, our test platform and all comparison coolers can be found in the tables below.
Deepcool Gamer Storm Lucifer Specification
|Overall Dimension (Without Fan)
||140mm x 110mm x 163mm
|Overall Dimension (With Fan)
||140mm x 136mm x 168mm
||140mm x 140mm x 26mm
|Max. Air Flow
||LGA2011 / LGA1366 / LGA1156 / LGA1155 / LGA1150 / LGA775
||FM2 / FM1 / AM3+ / AM3 / AM2+ / AM2
||Intel Core i7-4770K
||16GB Corsair Vengeance Pro (2x8GB) DDR3 @ 1,866MHz
||Palit GeForce GTX 770 OC 2GB
||Crucial M500 240GB SSD
||Corsair Graphite Series 600T
||Philips Brilliance 272P (2,560x1,440)
||Windows 8.1 (64-bit)
||Heatsink dimensions (inc. fans)
|Corsair Hydro Series H75
||2x Corsair SP120L 120mm
||800 RPM - 2,000 RPM
|Deepcool Gamer Storm Lucifer
||1x Gamer Storm 140mm
||700 RPM - 1,400 RPM
|Intel Reference E97378-001
||Intel PWM 92mm
||1,200 RPM - 2,800 RPM
To get a feel for how well all of the above coolers compare, we start by running our Core i7-4770K at its default frequency and use HandBrake to encode a large 4K video clip, putting full load on all four cores/eight threads. Temperature is logged throughout the duration of this workload and in order to provide a stabilised reading we then calculate an average temperature across all cores from the last few minutes of encoding.
We then repeat the same test, only this time with the Core i7-4770K processor overclocked to a modest 4.4GHz, with voltage increased from 1.175V to 1.225V.
Actual CPU temperature is recorded, but to take into account any temperature fluctuations in our lab, we also graph the delta temperature - that's CPU temperature minus ambient temperature. And, last but not least, to give you an idea of cooler acoustics, we use a PCE-318 noise meter to measure overall system noise in both idle and load states.
Our Corsair Graphite Series 600T chassis is set to run with all three pre-installed fans; a 200mm front intake; a 200mm top exhaust; and a 120mm rear exhaust. All chassis fans are set to run as 'silent' from within the Gigabyte BIOS, while the CPU cooler is set to a 'normal' profile.
Each cooler is configured for optimum performance as per the manufacturer's recommendations, and any fans connected to a radiator are configured to draw air in from outside the chassis (hereby ensuring that the delta between the air temperature and the temperature of the radiator is maximised).
The Deepcool Gamer Storm Lucifer follows the Corsair Hydro Series H75 as only the second cooler to be put to the test on our new Intel Haswell test platform. The two comparable results will showcase the difference between high-end air or liquid cooling, and we will be adding other competing coolers in due course.
Ever wondered if you should bother upgrading from the bundled Intel reference cooler? In our opinion, it's well worth the little effort involved.
Installing the Deepcool Lucifer sees under-load temperature fall by as much as 32 per cent on a stock-clocked Intel Core i7-4770K.
A cooler as large as this is best suited to overclocked systems, where Lucifer's thermal capabilities hold up well. With the CPU overclocked to 4.4GHz, under-load temperature remains below 65ºC. Very healthy indeed and a smidge cooler than Corsair's Hydro Series H75.
We will continue to add other high-performance coolers to our benchmarks over the course of the coming months, so if there are any in particular you would like to see tested, please do get in touch and let us know.
There isn't a great deal in it when comparing noise levels between the high-end air- and liquid-based coolers. Corsair's Hydro Series H75 is a tad quieter under load, but the Deepcool Lucifer - with only one fan and no pump - has the edge when idle. Both are a marked improvement over reference.
Final Thoughts and Rating