10. Test Methodology
2. CooLink Silentator
3. Evercool Buffalo
4. Evercool PT12-9525EA
5. GlacialTech Igloo 5750 Silent & PWM
6. Noctua NH-U12P
7. Spire Fourier - SP602B3
8. Spire Starflow SP519S7
9. Thermalright SI-128SE
10. Test Methodology
11. Benchmarks - Idle Results
12. Benchmarks - Load Results
13. Benchmarks - Noise levels
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:
- CPU: Intel E6750 Retail
- Case: ThermalTake Soprano
- Motherboard: Asus Blitz Extreme Bios 1024
- Memory: 2x1GB SuperTalent DDR3-1600CL7
- PSU: Corsair HX620W, OCZ 720W
- HDD: WD 80JB
- Operating system Windows XP with all the latest updates installed
- Software: Intel Thermal Analysis Tool (TAT) & CoreTemp 0.95.4
- Thermal Paste: Arctic Cooling TX-2
- Idle time: ~30min
- Load time: ~30min
- Case fan rpm: 1250 rpm (full speed)
- RPM speed controllable via SmartFan BIOS or via external hardware controller
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:
- PLL Voltage: 1.60V
- DDR3 Voltage: 1.90V
- Vcore: 1.3375V (normal)
- Vcore: 1.4500V (overclock)
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.