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Appeared on: Sunday, May 15, 2005
ArcticCooling - ATI Silencer5


1. Introduction

Arctic Cooling is a leading company in providing thermal cooling solutions with reduced noise levels for GPUs (Graphic Processing Unit) and CPUs (Central Processing Unit) in personal computer systems. It is already a standard solution for a lot of graphics card manufactors like HiS.

In this review, we are going to take a better look at the ATI Silencer 5. This is the latest release of the ATI Silencer series supporting ATI X800 XL, X850 PRO,X850 XT and X850 XT PE cards.

Features:
Before taking a look at the Silencer 5 features, we should first explain some terms and units that you might have never heard of.

Noise Level Measurement in Sones
According to Arctic cooling, the ATI Silencer 5 noise level is measured in Sones (loudness) instead of dB (sound pressure). The loudness depends upon the ear' response curves and tells you exactly, how bothering a certain noise is. Sone takes the frequency and bandwidth of a sound into account. A doubling of the number of Sones sounds to the human ear like a doubling of the loudness. The comparison of products from different manufacturers is basically impossible, since all manufacturers measure in different ways. Even a rough translation from Sone to dB doesn't help. A 15dB cooler can be louder than a 1 Sone cooler from another manufacturer.

Nevertheless with the Sone data you can compare coolers between each other and get a fairly precise idea of how annoying the product will be.
1 Sone:     nearly inaudible in a computer case
2 Sones:   clearly audible
3 Sones and more:  disturbing

DHES (Direct Heat Exhaust System)
The DHES draws cool air from inside the case and exhausts warm air outwards. This prevents the fan from recycling warm air to cool the GPU, increasing cooling performance. Further, the DHES lowers the air temperature inside the case, because the heat of the GPU will be carried out directly.

Click to enlarge

Below is a table with the technical data for the ATI Silencer 5:

Technical Specifications
Fan: 72 mm
Overall Dimensions (active GPU Cooler): 218.5 x 100 x 31 mm
Overall Dimensions (passive Memory Cooler): 137 x 103 x 35 mm
Rated Fan Speed: 2000 RPM
Bearing: ARCTIC Ceramic Bearing
Noise Level: 0.5 Sone
Weight (active GPU Cooler): 100 g
Weight (passive Memory Cooler): 56 g
Warranty: 6 Years
Prize: 20 euros

Installation is very easy and you will find all the neccesary details in the installation notes that are provided with the cooler. Notice that the cooler extends over to the adjacent pci slot, next to the graphics card it is cooling so this second slot cannot be used by another card.


2. The Tests

Below is our test testbed setup.

System Specifications
Processor: AMD 3500+ S939
Cooler: Stock AMD Heatsink-Fan
Case: CoolerMaster Stacker
VGA Card: Sapphire X800 XL 256MB
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-kbnxp-9
Memory: 2x512MB Kingston CS 2,5 PC-3700 Memory
Hard Disk Drive: WD800JD SATA 120GB 7200RPM & Hitachi SATA 120GB 7200RPM
DVD-RW: Pioneer DVR-109
PowerSupply: Tagan 480Watt
Extras: DirectX v9.0c

We recorded the temprature levels with the original cooling system and then with ATI Silencer 5 installed. We used ATITool to take temprature measurements while running several games with both the original cooling system and the ATI Silencer 5 to determine the maximum temperature levels. All the games and benchmark applications were set to maximum settings in order to push our card to its limits and hopefully register the maximum possible temperature values.

Games
Name & Version Resolution Settings
Farcry (v1.3) 1600x1200 Very high quality, 6AA, 12AF
Trackmania Sunrise 1600x1200 Very high quality, 6AA, 16AF
Half Life 2 - Video Stress Test 1600x1200

Very high quality, 6AA, 16AF

Programs

Name & Version

Resolution

Settings

3DMark05 (v.1.2.0)
3DMark03 (v.3.6.0)

1600x1200

6 AA, Filter mode AF, Max AF 16x

The results are given below:

As we can see, with the Silencer 5 installed, we managed a reduction in tempratures of about 20%. Which is a very good improvement, especially considering that we couldn't even hear the cooler.

We also saw some small changes in the GPU environment temperatures. These are the temperatures returned by the LM63 Remote Diode Digital Temperature Sensor.

Overclocking

With the ATI Silencer 5, we managed to overclock our X800XL to slightly higher values. About 5Mhz more in the memory and 14Mhz more in the core. (This will give you about 130 marks more on 3DMark 2005).


3. Conclusion

The ATI Silencer 5 lowered temperature values by 20% and with far less noise (inaudible) than the original cooling system. The only thing that we can think of as a negative, is that it requires a second slot on the motherboard, adjacent to the graphics card (it doesn't actually use the PCI slot, it simply resides over the slot). The fan costs €20, which is a very low price. We highly recommend it.

Click to enlarge



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