Reviewed: Deep Cool Gabriel CPU Cooler

Normally the installation section would go here but in the case of the Gabriel I wanted to talk about the performance first to set some context.

We tested the Gamer Storm Gabriel on our ASUS ROG test bench with the specifications listed below as well as 2 concept builds but the test results for comparison are from the ASUS test bench. We always re-baseline the fan profile in the FanXpert 2 software and run PWM mode in the ‘standard’ ASUS preset. The MSI GTX760 HAWK is basically silent and the perfect choice when testing as we want as little noise as possible coming from the system so that we can isolate the sound from the CPU cooler itself.

We recorded the delta temperatures for the results – the difference between the reported CPU core temperature and the ambient room temperature. In order to record a valid result, the ambient room temperature has to remain the same from the start of the test to the end of the test and must be between 18 and 24 degrees when starting. If the CPU hits 70 degrees over ambient, the test is considered a fail because that delta temperature places the CPU in the 90’s.

To create a consistent loading on the CPU for each run, we ran Prime95 for 30 minutes after a 30 minute idle period. The maximum temperatures across all 4 cores were recorded and an average generated for the results. This is a synthetic load and the closest activity we have seen that comes close to the test is video encoding. Although many games are CPU intensive, none have punished our CPU in the same way as the Prime95 test so you could consider this a worst case scenario.

ASUS Maximus VI Gene Test Bench

CPU i5-4670K
CPU Cooler Various
Memory 16GB Corsair Vengeance Low Profile – Black (4x4GB)
Case Lian Li Pitstop T60
Hard Drive Seagate Barracuda 2TB & Samsung EVO 250GB SSD
Power Supply Corsair HX850
Graphics Cards MSI GTX760 HAWK
Audio Logitech G430 Gaming Headset
Network Direct connection to the cable modem &
Shared Gigabit connection via Netgear WNDR3700
Optical Samsung SATA2 BluRay drive
OS Windows 8.1

Delta Temperature Results

Please note that these are all Delta temperatures where the recorded temperature is the difference  between the CPU and the recorded ambient room temperature which was a typically about 20 degrees. So a delta temperature of 35 degrees translates to a real world temperature of about 55 degrees.

“Stock” Intel i5-4670K Test Results


The Gabriel performed better than the Intel cooler but not as well as I expected for a 120mm square fin slab with an 1800rpm fan strapped to it. It’s fair to say that the Gabriel was far superior to the Intel cooler on the noise front in general use but still not quiet at full speed – then again not much is going to be quiet at 1800rpm. When configured for standard running with our i5-4670K, the PWM fan profile maxed out at a barely audible 960rpm with the delta temperature topping out at a delta temperature of 55.1 degrees. This is not a bad result for a synthetic load on a non-overclocked CPU and would be fine for a HTPC. At 12V, the fan hit 1882rpm and was loud – but it did knock off another 9 degrees. For the difference of 9 degrees, I’ll take the quiet but warmer PWM option every time.

Overclocked Intel i5-4670K Test Results


In the overclock test, we nailed the vcore to 1.29v and saw the Gabriel really struggle at 12v and only just fail under PWM mode. For whatever reason, despite hitting the full fan speed under the ‘Standard’ PWM profile, the cooler wasn’t able to handle the overclock. To be fair to the Gabriel and to the Deep Cool Gamer Storm designers, they don’t market this as an overclocking heat sink but rather HTPC and small form factor builds. As with other coolers like the Noctua NH-L9i that is not intended for overclocking we hit it with an overclock test as well just to see how it went and the results above show the results pretty clearly – at 12V the Gabriel scrapes in on the Prime95 synthetic test.

“Synthetic Test” is the key point here, the average gamer won’t slam their CPU that hard in normal use unless rendering video or folding. In the interests of a real world test, we did overclock our i5-4670K with these settings and ran it in a true gaming scenario to see how it fared and the Gabriel turned out to be on the high side of OK, hitting a delta temperature of 62 degrees at times when running Battlefield 4 for over 2 hours of solid gaming.

Gamer Storm “Gabriel Only” Load Test Results


 The Gabriel performed adequately for a low profile cooler and the above graph shows the results we saw from the different configurations.

Idle Delta Temperatures

The idle temperatures are all within a typical margin of error. Measuring idle temps can be finicky due to minor fluctuation among the ‘idle’ processes. Typically we expect delta temperatures around the 8 degrees mark as a standard and the Gabriel gave us around 9-11 degrees above ambient and was slightly higher than other coolers we have tested to date.

Load Delta Temperatures

For what it is, the Gabriel does ok with limited airflow (blocked by the motherboard in a downward facing orientation) and a thin fin stack. That said, with a larger footprint of fins and a bigger fan than the Noctua NH-L9i, I expected the gap to be bigger in performance between these 2 low profile coolers.

It isn’t easy to fit a different 120mm fan because of the clips but we did try with a Noctua NF-F12 and the thermal performance increase was minimal – this is where I started testing the touch temperatures of the heat pipes and wondering about how efficient the base plate and CPU contact really was on our review sample.

For a low profile cooler, I can’t stress enough how the load testing of Prime95 is a worst case scenario – The tests are intended show the capability of the coolers in a consistent way making for a balanced comparison.

Acoustic results

In PWM mode, we don’t expect to see as much of a thermal difference between the Gabriel and the rest of the pack because the standard ASUS FanXpert 2 profile has a thermal target. What we look for here is how hard the fan has to work to keep the temperature under 75 degrees and how much noise it makes. What the test showed us is that the profile had to work harder to maintain the temperature.

The fan speed is as per the specifications, topping out at a loud 1882rpm at 12v. In real world usage, you probably wouldn’t encounter this scenario.


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