Installation, Performance, and Conclusion
The Gabriel includes hardware for both AMD and Intel processors, but I'm just covering Intel here. The process for both begins the same way, with the installation of the metal brackets next to the base of the heatsink.
The feet have washers attached to insulate from motherboard PCB
These brackets include small feet that accept the threads of the mounting screws. There is nothing to the installation process other than placing the heatsink over the CPU, and screwing it in from the other side of the motherboard.
However you decide to manage this – whether by holding the heatsink in place with one hand and attaching the screws with the other, or by placing the motherboard upside down over the heatsink (more feasible with a mini-ITX board) and then attaching the screws – it's tricky to accomplish without the heatsink sliding around, but it can be done.
Once attached it feels very secure and it fit around (and over) components on the motherboard rather well. I was a little worried about the screws holding it in place against the bare motherboard, but a closer inspection shows the included washers adequately padding the screws from the PCB.
The design of the heatsink provides excellent clearance around the components on the motherboard, and I didn't any issues in this area with the heat pipes pointed upward.
There is plenty of space between the edge of the heatsink and the RAM in this orientation, allowing the use of tall memory without any worry about clearance.
With the heatsink in place it's time to run some benchmarks!
|Processor||Intel Core i5-6600K|
|Motherboard||ASUS MAXIMUS VIII GENE (mATX Intel Z170)|
|Memory||Crucial Ballistix Sport 8 GB 2400 MHz DDR4|
|Graphics Card||XFX AMD Radeon 5450 (Fanless)|
|Storage||OCZ Vertex 460 120GB SSD|
|Cooling||DEEPCOOL Gabriel, Noctua NH-U9B SE2, Corsair H75 Liquid CPU Cooler|
|Power Supply||Corsair TX 650W PSU|
|OS||Windows 8.1 64-bit|
I selected a couple of other coolers on hand to provide an idea of how the Gabriel stacks up in the cooling and noise department. In the mix today are Noctua's compact tower-style cooler NH-U9B SE2, and for a closed-loop option the Corsair H75 liquid CPU cooler. Both of these coolers are efficient and very quiet, and while it might make more sense to only test against other low-profile air coolers, these two will at least help put the Gabriel's cooling performance into perspective.
The test setup I employ for cooling is very simple, with all components tested under the same conditions on an open test bench. To provide accurate noise readings a passively-cooled graphics card is used, and the power supply's fan does not spin under the loads I'm using for these tests. Temperatures were recorded using RealTemp software, with the hottest core at the end of one of the identical 5-minute long tests used for these results.
Noise was measured using a digital sound pressure meter positioned exactly 24 inches from the edge of the system. (Note that while great care was taken to take accurate readings with multiple samples taken for each result, the limitation of my instrument is an accuracy of +/- 1.5 dB.) The same meter was used for all tests with a consistent noise floor of 33.6 dBA.
To create load temps I used the x264 benchmark, separately creating "stress" temps using Prime95 (large FFT torture test). After completing all tests at the stock processor speed, I upped my Core i5-6600K to 4.3 GHz (at ~1.248 V), forcing all cores to run at this speed (default for Intel processors is per-core turbo boost) for a more difficult thermal load. The fans for all coolers used the same preset linear curve (the Noctua cooler has a fixed fan speed based on use of low-noise adapters).
Not surprisingly, the DEEPCOOL Gabriel finished behind the larger coolers in these tests, but these results are actually very good for a low-profile cooler that uses a fan tuned for silence. I was impressed that I was able to keep the overclocked processor well under thermal spec with the Gabriel, and while 4.3 GHz (all cores) @ 1.248 V isn't significantly overclocked for this Skylake CPU, there was enough overhead that I would consider going higher with this cooler.
Here the Gabriel has a good showing at idle and a simulated desktop load, though it loses some ground during the stress test. The Corsair H75 has the advantage of barely spinning up its two 120 mm fans (which idle under 900 RPM) under normal load temps, but the Gabriel was still a very quiet cooler. There is no competing with the Noctua's fixed fan speeds, which were barely audible with the ULNA (ultra low-noise) adapter in place on both fans, and only slightly louder with the LNA (low-noise adapter).
The DEEPCOOL Gamer Storm Gabriel is a compact cooler with an attractive aesthetic, good build quality, and premium feel that belies its $34.99 retail price (when purchased). In testing it proved to be a solid performer, handling even a modest overclock without coming close to the thermal limits of the test system's Core i5 processor. And while the low-profile design is the primary selling point, the Gabriel also offers a high quality 120 mm fan which is very quiet under normal loads.
- Low 60 mm profile with fan
- High build quality
- Excellent clearance around motherboard components
- Quiet fan (with a very nice flat cable)
- Good cooling performance for a smaller heatsink
- Direct installation style isn't the most user-friendly
For the price I can easily recommend the DEEPCOOL Gabriel for anyone looking for an inexpensive air cooler. The mounting system isn't my favorite, but once installed I have zero complaints. Looks nice, too.