11. Test results
Besides the results of the CPU coolers we present today, the following graphs include the results of some other solutions we have tested in the past.
In the first series of tests our Core-i7 920 processor was set to operate at its stock voltage and clock. The Intel stock cooler kept the CPU's temperature at 58 degrees Celsius, so we expect any other cooler to offer a better result.
It is obvious that the size matters when it comes to CPU coolers. The Gelid Silent Spirit was a nice surprise in the test keeping the temperature down to 52 degrees C, while the best performance came with the XigmaTek Nepartak S983, mainly due to the high rotation speed of its fan.
We also tested the ProlimaTech Megahalems cooler without any fan installed (passive) and the temperature reached the 82C under full load. This means that you might use this cooler as a passive solution only in large PC cases with several fans.
The next step was to push the Intel Core-i7 920 to operate at 3.60GHz by increasing its voltage. Intel's stock cooler could not offer much here and the CPU temperature was higher than 90 degrees C. As you realize, using any passive cooling solution in such demanding cases is not a good idea. The MegaHalems (passive) cooler was very weak here and the reported temperature reached the 99C.
A look at the results below confirms that that the smaller the cpu cooler the less heat it can dissipate. For example, the XigmaTek Cobra D984 didn't perform as well as the NeparTak S983.
Higher performers such as the ProlimaTech MegaHalems really shined with one of the available fans installed. The Titan Fenrir is also a very capable cpu cooler but also more noisy. The Scythe Mugen 2 is also very capable and it takes the second place with two rotation fans installed. Adding four fans would give an even better performance.
Let's have a look at the noise levels. The Scythe Kama Angle keeps its promises for quiet cooling with 41 dB and the XigmaTek HDT-S1283 gave the same result. The Gelid Silent Spirit is also a good performer with just 46dB, while the other two XigmaTek (D984, S983) products produce high amount of noise, due to their small dimensions and the high rotation speeds of their fans.
Finally, we have a table with the retail prices. The Noctua NH-U12P SE1366 is the most expensive solution here with a cost of more than $70, meaning that means that buying two extra fans would probably cost you more than actually buying the NH-U12P SE1366 itself. The ProlimaTech Megahalems also retails for $60!
The rest of the cpu coolers are much more affordable. We pleasantly see the e Scythe Mugen 2 priced at just $32 and the XigmaTek NeparTak S983 to cost $27. You may also buy all these products for even less using return coupons so be sure to check at your local market for the latest retail prices.