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Appeared on: Monday, March 24, 2008
Battle of the CPU Coolers - March 2008


1. Coolermaster Hyper 212

After our first look into various cpu coolers last month, its about time to make another roundup with several new cpu coolers, mostly for Socket 775 platform. Al the cpu coolers were tested under exactly the same environmental conditions and of course using the same testing methodology. Before running the benchmarks, let's meet those new cpu coolers.

- Coolermaster Hyper 212

Manufacturer
Coolermaster
Model
Price
$43
Category
Overclockers

Coolermaster is a well respected manufacturer for general pc products and of course cpu coolers. One of their latest products comes with the codename "Hyper 212". The design of Hyper 212 includes a big rotating 120mm fan and its unique fins design promises to offer the best cooling performance.

- Full specifications

CPU Socket
Intel Socket LGA775

AMD Socket (AM2/ 940/939/754)
CPU Support
Intel
Core 2 Extreme, Core 2 Quad, Core 2 Duo,
Pentium Extreme, Pentium Dual-Core, Pentium D, Pentium 4,
Celeron Dual-Core, Celeron D, Celeron

AMD
Phenom,
Athlon 64 FX, Athlon 64 X2, Athlon X2,
Sempron
Dimensions
122 x 98 x 160 mm
Weight
710 g
Heat Sink Material
Copper base/ Aluminum fin/ 4 heatpipes
Heat Pipes Dimensions
Φ6 mm
Fan Type
Blue LED fan
Fan Dimension (W / H / D)
120 x 120 x 25 mm
Fan Speed
2000 R.P.M.
Fan Airflow
69.69 CFM
Fan Air Pressure
2.94 mmH2O
Bearing Type
Long life sleeve
Fan Life Expectancy
50,000 hours
Fan Noise Level (dB-A)
19 dBA
Connector
3-pin
Rated Voltage
12 V
Start Voltage
7 V
Operating Voltage
10.8~13.2 V
Rated Current
0.35 A
Input Power
4.2 W

- Retail package

The retail package of Coolermaster Hyper 212 is big enough to give you an idea of what the volume of the cooler should be. The cooler comes complete with its own custom front and back mounting plates, backplates for all popular CPU sockets, screws and even some thermal paste.

Note that due to the heatsink design, you can easily add a second fan and further improve the total cooling efficiency.

The base is made out of full copper. The four (4) U-shaped heatpipes look capable of conducting heat efficiently.

- Installation

The installation of CoolerMaster Hyper 212 is not very easy, meaning that you will probably need to read the manual and prepare yourself for the upcoming important steps. First you have to use the socket 775 plates and mount them into the copper base. Then you need to use the rubber absorbers and by flipping the motherboard upside down, secure the cooler using the the included mounting screws.

Despite the relatively large volume of the cooling system, there shouldn't be any problem with nearby motherboard components.

 

After installation, the top side of the cooler is very close to the removed side panel of our test PC.

- Ratings (without benchmarks)

Retail package
Design
Motherboard compatibility
Installation time
Copper Base quality

2. CooLink Silentator
Manufacturer
CooLink
Model
Price
$56
Category
Power Users

The CooLink Silentator promises to offer extended cooling dispass and quiet operation. There is an obvious similarity with Noctua's products, which is true, since Noctua products are manufactured in Coolink's factories. The Silentator employs the SecuFirm mounting system. The noise levels of the SWiF-1202 can be reduced to a mere 14dB(A) by using the supplied PCI-bracket fan controller.

- Features

- Retail package

The retail package of CooLink Silentator is rather big and includes all you need to get things started.

The cooler supports AMD K8, AM2 and Socket 775 platforms. Each package has been tagged for easy access and you can use whatever fits your needs. There is also a fan controller that can be mounted at the back, several extra mounting screws, thermal paste, etc.. Again, the included manual should be read before attempting to install the Silentator.

The CooLink Silentator is made our of a copper base with U-shaped copper heatpipers and aluminum fins. There is a also a typical 120mm rotating fan pre-installed

The base includes a protective sticker to avoid scratches

- Installation

Everything you need for the installation is included, allowing installation in either horizontal or in vertical position. For our tests, we placed the cooler horizontally as shown on the photos bellow:

Before placing the cooler you need to install two additional plates that secure the whole structure. Remember to remove the pre-installed cooler first.

After sometime, our cpu cooler is ready and armed. Just re-install the included 120mm rotating fan.

This is how the cpu cooler will look like after installed in a case. Note that there is enough space at the back, in case you need to add an extra 120mm rotating fan. There are some steel clips included for that purpose.

In case a second fan is available, the total weight might reach up the1kg. We cannot be sure that this is safe for you motherboard. But if you are up for it, the installation process for the second fan is very easy.

- Ratings (before benchmarks)

Retail package
Design
Motherboard compatibility
Installation time
Bottom Base quality

3. Evercool Buffalo
Manufacturer
Evercool
Model
Price 
$20
Category
Medium Level

Evercool introduces a low budget cpu cooler with the codename "Buffalo". This cpu cooler uses Intel's standard mounting mechanism and promises very good performance with low noise.

- Features

- Full Specifications

Overall Dimensions :
110 x 72 x 142.7 mm
DC Fan Size :
100 x 100 x 25 mm
Base Material :
Heat Pipe
Bearing Type :
Ever Lubricate Bearing
(Long Life bearing)
Speed :
1800 ±10% RPM
Noise Level :
<23 dBA
Rated Voltage :
12 V
Weight :
500 g

- Package

The package is spartan, since you will not find anything more inside the box except the Buffalo cooler of course. Looking at the front, we see a 92mm rotating fan with red color red blades mounted at aluminum fins. There are two U-shaped heatpipes that absorb heat from the copper bottom.

.

The 92mm rotating fan comes with the Evercool logo:

The mounting steel clips has a small detail at the end and a rubber finish:

And this how the fan look like when you are using the the steel clip

- Installation

The installation procedure is very simple since the Evercool Buffalo uses the Intel standard mounting type. In case you don't are not familiar with that process, just visit this page.

 

The Buffalo cpu cooler was installed at the Soprano midi ATX case PC case.

- Ratings (without benchmarks)

Retail package
Design
Motherboard compatibility
Installation time
Copper Base quality

4. Evercool PT12-9525EA
Manufacturer
Evercool
Model
Price 

$12

Category
Entry Level

The Evercool PT12-9525EA is a low-budget cpu cooler for Socket 775, aimed for OEM, or just for users who wish to upgrade their stock Intel cpu cooler with something less noisy and possibly more efficient.

- Features

- Full specifications
Overall Dimension :
95 x 95 x 67.7 mm
Fan Dimension :
95 x 95 x 25 mm
Heatsink Metarial :
Aluminum
Rated Voltage :
12 V
Rated Current :
0.24 A
Power Consumption :
2.88 W
Rated Speed :
(Add Heatsink to Fan)
2800 ±10%  RPM
Rated Speed :
2600 ±10%  RPM
Airflow :
49.37 CFM
Static Pressure :
0.1 InchH2O
Noise Level:
<22.2 dBA
No. of Pole:
4 Pole
Rotation Direction :
Counter-Clockwise
Bearing Type:
Ever Lubricate bearing
(Long Life bearing)
Life Time :
(Ambient Temp: 25°C
40,000 Hours

- Retail package

The package of Evercool 9525EA is very small, since it includes just the cpu cooler.

There isn't much to comment here. The 95mm fan should perform better than what Intel bulks its stock coolers.

The bottom looks typical.

- Installation

The installation process is simple. The cooler's compact round design does not interfere with nearby motherboard components.

The low height and profile make this cooler ideal for HTPC:

- Ratings (without benchmarks)

Retail package
Design
Motherboard compatibility
Installation time
Copper Base quality

5. GlacialTech Igloo 5750 Silent & PWM
Manufacturer
GlacialTech
Model
Price 

$??

Category
Entry Level

GlacialTech launched the latest IGLOO 5750 PWM CPU cooler and IGLOO 5750 Silent CPU Cooler for both Intel LGA775 Socket CPU’s and AMD 754, 939, 940, AM2 & F Socket CPU’s. The unique design for the enthusiast incorporates a specially aligned aluminum heatpipe combination of four pipes that dissipate the heat from the CPU directly into the heatsink fins.

The low decibel (19dB), high volume (30.8 CFM) fans are 92mmx92mmx25mm and run at an ultra-quiet speed of 1800 RPM. The dual fan is a unique concept that not only cools down the radiator, but the added blow down effect also cools down the heatsink directly above the CPU.

Unlike the Silent version of this series, the PWM version has a dual 92mm×92mm×25mm adjustable speed fan setup which brings the temperature down according to your needs. The fan ranges in speed from 800~2500RPM, with a maximum volume throughput of 51.3CFM. The Fan puts out 34dB maximum at full revolutions. The entire heatsink (both versions) keeps a relatively low profile and only weighs in at 507grams, making it safe and light enough to pose no danger to your Intel CPU (Designed to comply with weight regulations of 550 grams on Intel CPU’s).

- Features

- Full specifications
Model
Igloo 5750 Silent
Igloo 5750 PWM
Intel CPU Clock Speed
(max.)
Intel Pentium D 3.4 GHz (95W)
Intel Pentium 4 (Prescott) 3.4 GHz (84W)
Intel Core2 Duo E6700 2.66 GHz (65W)
Intel Core2 Duo E4300 1.8 GHz (65W)
Intel Core2 Extreme X6800 2.93 GHz (75W)
Intel Core2 Extreme QX6850 (130W)
Intel Core2 Quad Q6600 / 6700(95W~105W)
All Celeron (84W)
Intel Pentium D 3.4 GHz (95W)
Intel Pentium 4 (Prescott) 3.4 GHz (84W)
Intel Core2 Duo E6700 2.66 GHz (65W)
Intel Core2 Duo E4300 1.8 GHz (65W)
Intel Core2 Extreme X6800 2.93 GHz (75W)
Intel Core2 Extreme QX6850 (130W)
Intel Core2 Quad Q6600 / 6700(95W~105W)
All Celeron (84W)
Cooler Dimension (mm)
96 x 120 x 121
96 x 120 x 121
Cooler Weight (gram)
507
507
Fan Bearing Type
1B1S
1B1S
Rated Voltage
DC 12 V
DC 12 V
Dimension (mm)
92 x 92 x 20
92 x 92 x 25
Speed (RPM)
1400(±10%) per fan
800(± 300 rpm) ~ 2500(±10%) per fan
Airflow (CFM)
21.18 per fan
38.1 per fan (Max.)
Noise (dBA)
15.2 per fan
28 per fan (Max.)
Interface Material
High Efficiency Thermal Compound

- Retail package

The medium-sized packages of GlacialTech Igloo 5750 Silent & PWM have a plastic window on the front.

The GlacialTech Igloo 5750 series include two 92mm fans that should give pretty good performance.

 

The bottom isn't something special, it uses Intel's standard mounting mechanism, that should also mean an installation process.

Four U-shaped aluminum heatpipes transfer all the produced heat to the aluminum fins...

- Installation

The installation process is very simple, no worries here. We didn't encounter any major problem with the GlacialTech Igloo 5750 series, despite the presence of the big heatpipes.

The low height and profile make this cooler appropriate for installation in small PC cases:

- Ratings (without benchmarks)

Retail package
Design
Motherboard compatibility
Installation time
Copper Base quality

6. Noctua NH-U12P
Manufacturer
Noctua
Model
Price 

$60

Category
Entry Level

The NH-U12P continues the legacy of Noctua's classic NH-U coolers, which won over 150 awards and recommendations from international websites and magazines. While retaining the successful design and its SecuFirm mounting system, the newest revision has been reworked for enhanced main board compatibility and now comes with Noctua's NT-H1 pro-grade thermal compound.

In short, the major change here is the adoption of NF-P12 fan that proved to be better than the NF-S12 rotating fan. There is also a change at the base heatsink, which is now nickel-plated instead of fully coppered base. Weight is upwards of 770 grams.

- Features

4 Dual-Heat pipes for optimal heat absorption
The 4 u-shaped Dual-Heat-Pipes have a huge contact area with the copper base to efficiently absorb the CPU's heat. They form 8 risers to spread the heat throughout the fins.

38 aluminum cooling fins for optimal heat dissipation
Thanks to a surface area of more than 5000cm², the cooling fins dissipate the heat extremely fast. Both the choice of aluminum and the fins' shape and spacing allow for outstanding cooling performance with the supplied ultra silent NF-S12-1200 fan.

Soldered joints for optimal heat-transfer
Unlike many other coolers, whose heat-pipes are stuck to the base and the fins, the Noctua NH-U12F possesses high-grade soldered joints to ensure optimal heat transfer.

Noctua NF-S12-1200 fan with Ultra-Low-Noise adaptor
Thanks to the sound-optimized blade geometry of the Noctua Straight-Blade-Design and the self-stabilizing oil-pressure bearing (SSO bearing), the NF-S12-1200 achieves a flow rate of 81m³/h at a noise rating of only 17dB(A). Using the supplied Ultra-Low-Noise adaptor, the noise level can be lowered to only 8dB(A)!

Screwless fan-mount including anti-vibration strips
Attaching the fan with the steel clips is a child's play and doesn't even require a screwdriver. The supplied anti-vibration strips minimize vibrations transmitted to the cooler and hence allows for extra quietness.

Easy installation on socket LGA 775, K8 (754, 939, 940) & AM2
The NH-U12F fits Intel's socket LGA 775 as well as AMD's K8 (754, 939, 940) and AM2. Thanks to the detailed step-by-step installation guide, installation only takes a few minutes!

SecuFirm™ mounting system
The SecuFirm™ mounting system guarantees optimal contact pressure and maximum security thanks to the use of a backplate and spring-loaded screws. As a result, the SecuFirm™ mounting system makes it possible to safely transport the assembled system without any risk even though the cooler exceeds the 450g weight specification established by Intel and AMD. Perfect for LAN gamers!

Can be rotated by 90° for improved compatibility and optimal positioning within the case
The NH-U12F can be installed rotated by 90° on all compatible sockets to allow for an optimal positioning of the cooler within the airflow inside the case and to evade compatibility issues.

Including manual, thermal paste and mounting hardware
In addition to the mounting hardware, the manual and the NF-S12-1200 fan, the package contains a syringe of high-grade thermal paste so that you can get started right away!

- Specifications

Socket compatibility
Intel Socket LGA 775, AMD K8 (754, 939, 940) & AM2
Height (without fan)
155 mm
Width (without fan)
126 mm
Depth (without fan)
70 mm
Height (with fan)
155 mm
Width (with fan)
126 mm
Depth (with fan)
95 mm
Weight (without fan)
640 g
Weight (with fan)
790 g
Material
Copper (base and heat-pipes), aluminum (cooling fins), soldered joints
Fan size
120x120x25mm / 120x120x38mm (2 fans mountable)
Fan
Bearing
Blade Geometry
Rotational Speed (+/- 10%)
1200 RPM
Rotational Speed with U.L.N.A. (+/- 10%)
800 RPM
Airflow
81 m³/h
Airflow with U.L.N.A.
59 m³/h
Acoustical Noise
17 dB(A)
Acoustical Noise with U.L.N.A.
8 dB(A)
Input Power
1,44 W
Input Current
0,12 A
Voltage Range
4-13 V
MTBF
> 150.000 h
Scope of Delivery
  • NH-U12F
  • NF-S12-1200
  • Complete mounting hardware
  • Ultra-Low-Noise Adaptor (U.L.N.A.)
  • Thermal Paste
  • Anti-Vibration-Strips
Warranty
6 years

- Retail package

The retail package of Noctua NH-U12P is slightly bigger than what we had saw with the NH-U12F so many new things should be included.

Getting the package out we can see that everything is well placed and organized.

Inside we found the usual Noctua connectors and accessories for AMD K8, AM2 and Intel's Socket 775 platform.

The Noctua NH-U12P is made our of a nickel-plate copper base with U-shaped copper heatpipers and aluminum fins. So after all there are several "improvements". The heatpipes and copper base in this model are all nickel plated now, and every metal joint is soldered. Soldering decrease thermal joint resistance between the fins and heatpipes, or heatpipes and base.

The included 120mm rotating fan comes from Noctua with NF-P12 model code:

The base is made out of nickel-plated copper to which all four copper heatpipes are soldered. The base has a machined surface finish, done with a slight ridge texture.

- Installation

The installation process is more or less what we have covered in our Noctua NH-U12F article, visit this page for more information.

- Ratings (without benchmarks)

Retail package
Design
Motherboard compatibility
Installation time
Copper Base quality

7. Spire Fourier - SP602B3
Manufacturer
Spire
Model
Price 

$40

Category
Power Users

Spire newest thermal product comes with the legendary name ''Fourier '' . ''The name speaks for itself; the Fourier stemming from the Law of Heat conduction, brings a unique design and silent cooling to another level," Spire claims.

An aluminum stacked micro-fin heat-sink design with massive copper base. This Spire signature clear fan promises to offer the ultimate in cooling with the sheer quietness.

- Features

* 4 Thermally improved copper Heat Pipes
* Aluminum Micro-Fin with Massive copper-base
* 12cm ClearFan, providing a whopping 52.2 CFM
* 16.0 dBA : Silent!
* Sleek innovative design
* Universal Clip for 775 and AM2/K8 sockets
* Fits all the latest micro-processors on the market

- Specifications

Dimensions
Heat sink :        136×125×103 mm (l × w × h)
12VDC Fan : 120×120×25 mm
Bearing Ball bearing
Rated speed 1500 RPM +/-10%
Rated power 3.0 W
Noise level 16.0 dBA
Air flow 52.05 CFM at 1,500 RPM +/-%
Current 0.25 A
Life hours Ball: 50.000
Features 4 Copper Heat Pipes, Aluminum Micro-Fin,
Copper base
Connector 3 pin, mainboard
Application
Intel :   Celeron D ~ 3.2 GHz
Celeron D ~ 2.93 GHz (340J)
Intel  :   Core 2 Duo ~ 3 GHz (775 Dual-core)
Intel :   Core 2 Quad ~ 2.66 GHz (775 Quad-core)
Core Duo ~ 2.33 GHz (775 Dual-core)
Pentium 4 ~ 3.73 GHz (775 Prescott)
Pentium D ~ 3.4 GHz (775 Dual-Core)
Pentium EE ~ 3.73 GHz (775 Dual-Core)
AMD :   Athlon 64 ~ 5200+ (K8)
Athlon 64 FX-51 (K8)
Athlon 64 FX-53 (K8)
Athlon 64 FX-55 (K8)
Athlon 64 FX-60 (K8)
Athlon 64 X2 ~ 6400 GHz (AM2)
Opteron ~ 2.6 (K8)
Sempron ~ 3300+ (K8)
AM2 :   Athlon X2 ~ 6400 GHz (AM2)
Thermal resistance 0.24 °C/W
Thermal type Stars-420 white grease(Injection Tube,0.5g)
*All Spire CPU cooling products come with thermal compound either pre-applied onto the cooler or in an injection tube. Compound will begin to function at its optimum potential, after a gradual increase in heat-dissipation, approximately 168 hours (7days) after initial application.

- Retail package

The retail package of Spire Fourier Noctua SP602B3 is big enough to make you wonder what exactly is placed inside at the box.

Opening the box unveils just the various installation bases for all kinds of cpu processors :)

Getting familiar with the Spire fourier cooler, we can see a massive 120mm rotating fan at the top

While there are four full copper heatpipes coming from the base to the aluminum fins

The base is made out of full copper with excellent finish..

- Installation

While in the beginning we tried to get everything together, something didn't work exactly as we hoped. The design of the cooler itself does not allow for an easy installation for two main reasons. The pre-assembled mounting screws are very hard to be rotated without the included tool. That means it takes much time to rotate the screws and if your motherboard has a big cooling system, then you are out of luck.

The second reason is that the design of the heatpipes will mostly interfere with the existing motherboard cooling system in a way that you will need to apply extra pressure to get everything together.

The following pictures illustrate the mounting problem we had with this cpu cooler:

We had to apply force in order to get the Spire Fourier base to conact the processor. No matter if we rotated the cpu cooler, the problems remained the same:

After several attempts, we got everything installed, even we weren't very sure about the performance of the cpu cooler since the base was not firmly attached on the cpu.

- Ratings (without benchmarks)

Retail package
Design
Motherboard compatibility
-
Installation time
-
Copper Base quality

8. Spire Starflow SP519S7
Manufacturer
Spire
Model
Price 

$15

Category
Entry Level

The StarFlow is the next extremely silent retail cooler from Spire.

The new fan is an evolved version of the "CoolBlue" DC fans.

Spire engineers have reduced the spokes that hold the fan motor and elevated these to create a greater air intake area and to reduce the resistance of spokes which sometimes can cause a high-pitched sound.

It reaches a maximum noise level of only 19dBA and still manages to push a whopping 42.28 CFM at a 2.000RPM.

- Features

* Extremely silent BlueStar DC Fan
*
Aluminum based Star-Heatsink design
*
Secure and solid installation
*
Silent at only 19.0dBA!
* R
etail packed in full color packaging

- Specifications

Dimensions
Heat sink :        72×72×32 mm (l × w × h)
12VDC Fan : 90×90×35 mm
Bearing Sleeve bearing
Rated speed 2000 RPM +/-10%
Rated power 1.92 W
Noise level 19.0 dBA
Air flow 42.28CFM at 2,000 RPM +/-10%
Current 0.16 A
Life hours Sleeve: 30.000
Features 'StarBlue' inverted 90x35mm DC fan, Radial finned heat sink
Connector 3pin, Mainboard
Application
Intel :   Celeron D ~ 3.2 GHz
Celeron D ~ 2.93 GHz (340J)
Intel  :   Core 2 Duo ~ 3 GHz (775 Dual-core)
Intel :   Core 2 Quad ~ 2.66 GHz (775 Quad-core)
Core Duo ~ 2.33 GHz (775 Dual-core)
Pentium 4 ~ 3.73 GHz (775 Prescott)
Thermal resistance 0.335 °C/W
Thermal type Stars-420 white grease(Injection Tube,0.5g)
*All Spire CPU cooling products come with thermal compound either pre-applied onto the cooler or in an injection tube. Compound will begin to function at its optimum potential, after a gradual increase in heat-dissipation, approximately 168 hours (7days) after initial application.

- Retail package

The retail package of Spire Starflow is very small, this cpu cooler aims for entry level users.

Inside the box there is a backplate for Socket 775 motherboards, thermal paste and of course the cpu cooler.

On the the base you can find some thermal paste already applied.

- Installation

The installation time is very short. The backplate matches perfectly the Socket 775 holes and the mounting process is very easy.

While the cpu cooler has enough volume we didn't had any problem, probably due to the fact that the aluminum fins are very thin

- Ratings (without benchmarks)

Retail package
Design
Motherboard compatibility
Installation time
Copper Base quality

9. Thermalright SI-128SE
Manufacturer
ThermalRight
Model
Price 

$50

Category
Power Users

ThermalRight is a well respected company among enthusiasts mainly for their very good quality and of course performance. We will test today the SI-128SE, a product that aims in silent (passive) cooling, that of course needs a 120mm rotating fan to improve overall efficiency.

- Features

- Specifications

- Retail package

The retail package of ThermalRight came at a no-so-impressive cartoon box, with only the ThermalRight logo upon it

Inside the box you can find many installation clips either for Socket 775 (Intel) or AMD AM2 sockets

The SI-128SE is a very impressive cooler. While it is designed for passive (silent) cooling it can also be used from power users, after installing your favorite 120mm fan.

Lets now zoom at the base. The finish is almost perfect. The base is constructed of two pieces, a nickel-plated copper bottom and an aluminum top cap, with the four heatpipes sandwiched in between.

The Thermalright SI-128 SE has four 8mm copper heat pipes to transfer heat from the base into the array of aluminum fins. The heat pipes' diameter is kind of larger than what we find with similar coolers.

- Installation

ThermalRight has a web page with detailed instructions on how to proper install the cpu cooler and get everything together.

First you have to get the backplate base prepared as follows.

Then you have to install the motherboard clips:

And mount the whole structure with the included installation tool

 

Due to the design, you can only install the SI-128SE in one way, but overall there is much free space lest around the cpu area.

Getting access to install the cpu cooler is pretty much effortless

For our tests we used the Noctua NF-P12 as the following picture shows:

Something we noticed is that the two small aluminum heatsinks may interfere with the case rotating fans, in our case it simply came very close:

A top view shows the overall volume of this cpu cooler

- Ratings

Retail package
Design
Motherboard compatibility
Installation time
Copper Base quality

10. Test Methodology

All the coolers were tested after installation inside a PC case, at the same conditions most users will meet in their systems. This is a controversial subject and most of  the coolers manufacturers ask us to do so. Then we tried to choose an ideal motherboard to test all these coolers. What we mean by saying ideal? The motherboard that carries the most copper heatpipes that should be a good example in order to test the compatibility of all coolers, especially those who have a massive volume. After a quick look at the available motherboards we had in our labs and we chose the Asus Blitz Extreme.

The testbed configuration is as follows:

In order to produce the highest possible temperature we used Intel's Thermal Analysis Tool (TAT) that offers higher thermal production compared to Prime95 (3-4celcius more!).

We left both cores running at full load for 30 minutes. All temperatures were logged via CoreTemp 0.95.4. In the Asus Blitz Extreme motherboard we set various voltages in order to have the same conditions for all tested CPU coolers:

We measured the produced noise from all the coolers with Precision Gold N09AQ Environment Meter. We decided to measure the noise with the two system 120mm fans (by Thermaltake) installed and of course the noise that the power supply produces.

All measurements were made just outside the case, mostly near the side panel and slightly on the front. Remember that higher rpm means more noise, so we lowered the rpm either via the BIOS smartfan or via the 3pin controller. This way we tested all the coolers either at full rpm speed or at low rpm speed.

For all the coolers we used the same thermal compound from Arctic Cooling, the TX-2. We tried to apply the same amount of thermal paste in the same way in all the coolers. However, notice that it is possible that due to Vdroop (Vcore variations) a 1-2 degrees Celsius difference in performance may occur from system to system.

Lastly, all tests were performed with the front panel closed, that produces the worse case scenario in terms of internal air flow.


11. Benchmarks - Idle Results

Let's start by presenting our test results with the Idle report. In Idle mode, we have the lowest heat production from the whole system. Most CPU coolers should perform more or less the same...or maybe not?

The Intel stock cooler reports around 43 Celcius and hopefully most cpu coolers in this test will perform better than what Intel packs its retail processors with. The CooLink Silentator performed very good, when paired with an extra fan.

Raising the CPU voltage to stabilize the system means more heat is produced. The Intel stock processor reports around 51 Celcious, while all tested cpu coolers have a better performance. The CoolerMaster Hyper 212 and CooLink Silentator performed very good, while Noctua NH-U12P follows closely.

By lowering the rotation speed of most CPU coolers, the temperature is increased. We don't present the results of low fan speed in an overclocking mode, since it isn't ideal to have the lowest noise while overclocking, even if it's wanted.

There are various cpu coolers that performed very good at this test, no matter if they are low-priced (Evecool Buffalo) or even more expensive, like the CoolerMaster Hyper 212, ThermalRight SI-128SE or CooLink Silentator.


12. Benchmarks - Load Results

Apart from the idle mode, majority of the of PC systems work in full load. The Intel stock cpu cooler reaches 71 Celsius when paired with an Intel E6750 @ 2.66GHz. Lets see how the coolers performed in this test.

The cpu coolers with two fans seem to behave more or less the same with 54 Celsius overall heat load. The ThermalRight SI-128SE has very good performance, even when a single fan is installed.

Overclocking our system to 3.60GHz will unveil more interesting details about the behavior of each cooler. The performance differences are very small, and the CoolerMaster Hyper 212 with two fans seem to get the second place, following two similar fans (CooLink Silentator & Noctua NH-U12F). After removing one fan, the majority of the high-end coolers seem to behave very closely to each other with 71 Celsius. What didn't impressed us was the fact that Spire Starflow cpu cooler performed worse than Intel's stock cooler in this test.

Last, by lowering the cooler's rotation speed, we can see which cooler performed better under low noise conditions.What affects the performance of each cooler in this test is the efficiency of the design and fan of each cooler. The best performance comes from CooLink Silentator, which comes with two fans installed. CoolerMaster Hyper 212 and ThermalRight SI-128SE follow very closely.


13. Benchmarks - Noise levels

The produced noise of each CPU cooler depends on the design and material of the fan ant it is generally proportional to its rotation speed. The Noise tests, proved to be rather difficult since you can't just post a number and be sure that it's accurate. There are many factors that can increase/lower the produced noise of a CPU cooler, but anyway all displayed models were tested in exactly the same conditions. Keeping the rotation speeds at full throttle gives us the best possible performance. However it also increases noise.

Looking at the test results, the ThermalRight SI-128SE was very silent with 50dB at full rotating fan speed.

Lowering the rotation speed down to a minimum does reduce the produced noise. Again ThermalRight SI-128SE rocks this test with only 45dB noise.


14. Conclusion

Today's second cpu cooler roundup, left us with very good impressions related to the fact that several new models performed pretty well, while they are remaining affordable for the user. Let's summarize which cpu coolers we tested at this roundup:

Pricewise, this is the situation:

Depending your budget you can choose what is more affordable for you. From our point of view, the CoolerMaster Hyper 212 is well-priced at $40 and if that number sounds high, check out the Evercool Buffalo at just $20 coupled with a very good performance.

Top CPU Coolers March 2008
Award
Thermalright SI-128SE
Evercool Buffalo/
GlacialTech Igloo 5750

We would like to thank the following companies for their support and help in order to complete this roundup:



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