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Quiet Cooling AKASA Style, AK 821Q and Silver Mountain 2Q
Author : Wayne Date : 12th August 2002

...Product AKASA AK-821Q
...Manufacturer AKASA (UK)
Akasa (International)
...Supplier AKASA (UK)
Akasa (International)
...Price £17 + VAT




Introduction :

Probably AKASA's greatest claim to fame comes in the shape of their high performance Silver Mountain cooler, a cooler that came under criticism for being nothing more than a clone of the inconsistently performing Kanie Hedgehog. That was until a round dozen of them were sent over to the crew at [H]ard|OCP who confirmed that in addition to being a very impressive performer, it was also a very consistent performer too. Not only that, AKASA were very quick to point out that despite the undoubted similarities the Silver Mountain was no silver plated Hedgehog, it was a very different beast entirely with a more robust consrtuction and ground up design philosophy, something AKASA seem very good at.

Recently the name AKASA has been associated with a range of quality products from acoustic absorption kits to rounded cables but one thing that tends not to get a lot of press is their more mainstream and their noise limiting cooling solutions. It's all too easy to forget that for every 'Netizen who's prepared to shell out $50+ for the latest copper heat shifter there's probably a dozen more who want nothing more than a reliable, well priced cooler that they know they can fit and forget.

Today I want to take a look at AKASA's latest assault on the "quiet cooling" sector in the shape of their AK-821Q and Silver Mountain2Q CPU coolers, two heat sinks that are designed for those who need a good cooler that won't leave them with permanent hearing damage and won't have them loosing all control of their bowels when they see the price tag. As AMD systems partners and INTEL approved cooler manufacturers they should know a thing or two about keeping your CPU cool. Question is, can they do it on a budget? Let's find out.

First up let's examine the value oriented AK 821Q.


Supports AMD™ Athlon™ 1.7 GHz
Supports AMD™ Athlon XP 2200+
Sanyo Denki Ball Bearing Fan
Fan Rated Speed 4,600 R.P.M.

Fan Air Flow 23CFM

Fan Noise 33 dB(A)

DIM 72 X 60 X 25mm


A Closer Look :

At first glance you can't help but notice the similarity between the AK-821Q and the Swiftech MCX370 but other than a passing similarity the similarities are few. The AK-821Q has a thinner base, is considerably cheaper and built in a completely different way.

What gives the AK-821Q an edge over most other coolers at this price point is that fact that it's manufactured using a cold forged pin design. This means that the cooler is essentially stamped out of a block of aluminium under massive pressure that creates the pins and base without the need to press, pinch or solder them in later. To make this possible AKASA have to use a relatively soft aluminium which also means a relatively pure aluminium too so in all it's actually a fairly expensive way to go about creating a budget cooler. It also ensures a better thermal efficiency than would an extruded unit of similar dimensions, not that you could extrude a sink of this nature. I use the term "budget" cooler loosely because although its price positions it squarely at the budget end of the market it's in fact not the cheapest offering in the AKASA range and in many ways the low price betrays its appeal to users who would perhaps normally be shopping in a higher price bracket entirely.

The "Q" at the end of AK-821Q represents "Quiet" and to achieve this AKASA have opted to use a Sanyo Denki 23CFM fan with a rated noise level of 33 dB(A). Sanyo Denki make some exceptional fans and this counts as one of them but some may find the relatively low 23CFM rating a little disconcerting. I've actually used some quality Pabst fans in the past that offered much higher CFM ratings at very similar sound levels but other than this the choice of a Sanyo Denki can't really be faulted, particularly as it features a more reliable ball bearing system rather than the slightly quieter but shorter lived sleeve bearings often found on coolers in this range.

Something that AKASA have only recently changed is the clip. So recently in fact that at the time of writing this they still show the single lug version on the product shot that features on their site. The use of a three lug retaining clip may seem like overkill for a product that is actually very light by today's standards but personally I'd like to see all heatsinks mounted this way. It also means that if you've damaged the centre lug on your socket from earlier heat sink swops you can still clip the AK-821Q straight on with no problems.



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