Alpenfohn Black Ridge Review – Slim Pickings

Published Categorized as CPU Cooler
Black Ridge inside the box

Is the Alpenfohn Black Ridge worth buying?

NO, there are far too many restrictions for your build if you choose the Alpenfohn Black Ridge. Its performance is almost the same as other low-profile heatsinks while being more expensive and restrictive.

Alpenfohn Black Ridge Full Review

Here is a review of Alpenfohn Black Ridge cooler paired with the K39.

Despite its smaller size, the K39 is well ventilated, so we expect hot air to escape and not get trapped inside this small chassis. Not only that, but we choose to pair the cooler with low-profile memory and a slim 120mm Noctua NF-A12x15 fan to see if there’s a major difference.

Using the Black Ridge cooler, you will able to put another hard drive into the case. This was not possible in the previous build with the Cryorig C7 cooler. Even though these coolers have the same height, the Black Ridge allows space for another drive in the bottom of the case, attached to the PSU.

I ran AIDA64 for 30 minutes and it was toasty. The temperature reached a high of 98°C. The Ryzen 7 3700x is too powerful for a 47mm CPU cooler which is meant more for fitting in small cases than cooling powerful CPUs.

A Black Ridge installed.

The cooler is still capable of handling gaming, video editing, and rendering which are the only heavy tasks I subject my PCs.

Bear in mind that because the fan is mounted underneath the heatsink with the fan-blowing-to-the-heatsink orientation, blowing dust out to keep it clean is a difficult job.

To mount this fan to the cooler, we’ll need the mounting brackets that come with the Black Ridge. There are two types of braces, and we use the larger one to place the slim 120mm fan underneath the heatsink.

Insert the brackets into the heatsink’s four holes. Then we’ll be able to secure the fan. With a larger fan, there will be no space for the M.2 heatsink, so it will have to go.

How to Choose VLP Memory for Alpenfohn Black Ridge

This is where you should do your research. It is not a problem if you have an Intel CPU, and you don’t probably care about the performance boost of high-speed memory. The ADATA’s non-ECC Very Low Profile memory is the best choice. These have a maximum clock speed of 2666 MHz CL19, but you can try overclocking them.

Needless to say, if your workload needs more than 16GB of ram and you have an AMD rig, this VLP memory is not gonna cut.

This RAM is the safest bet since it is guaranteed to operate for both Intel and AMD processors. If you have a Ryzen processor and need 32GB of RAM or even a high-speed ram, you should search for Unbuffered ECC memory.

Before you buy the Black Ridge, keep two things in mind:

  1. AMD Ryzen CPUs support ECC RAMs, also known as server memory. However, before you buy, make sure that your motherboard supports it as well. For example, I’ve read that many people with the Asus Strix X570i couldn’t use ECC memory, but those with the Strix B450i, X470i, and the new B550i could. Do your research if you ever choose this CPU cooler.
  2. If your motherboard does support it, make sure you buy Unbuffered ECC memory, also known as UDIMM, rather than registered memory, also known as RDIMM.

The speed is really good: 3200MHz CL22 with just 1.20V. These are Micron E-die. I tried looking for a legal place to buy these online, but I couldn’t find one. With all of the parts packed, it’s time to reassemble the case. Before we can mount the fan, we must first attach the two RAM sticks and the PCI-E riser cable.

This is a very small kit. There isn’t any wiggle space. The fan is pressing against the PCI-E riser cable from this angle. I had to use brute force to screw in the side door, so there’s a small bump, but it’s barely noticeable.

K39 with the Alpenfohn Black Ridge

Alpenfohn Black Ridge Temperature

The temperature averaged about 90°C and peaked at nearly 92°C.
As a result, the temperature drops by around 6°C. The two RAM sticks were about 52°C to 53°C in temperature. The temperatures of the two 2.5″ drives were both about 50°C.

At 50°C, the NVME without the heatsink also performed well. Although the temperature behind the motherboard was 60°C, you might be wondering if it’s worth the money and effort.

For me, any temperature change is welcome; sure, it is not a “insane 15°C reduction,” but given an option between an average temperature of 95°C and 90°C during a stress test, I’ll take 90°C any day.

When I tried ECC RAM for the first time, they kept showing me a Blue Screen of Death, so I realized that the voltage I used to undervolt the 3700x was inadequate to keep it stable.

I had to boost the CPU voltage from 1.18V to 1.22V to get the PC to work normally. Hence, it is better to just have “normal” parts so you do not have to tinker with the voltages and others.

By Kiki Bagana

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