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Performance and Thermal Parameters

To have some initial information, I measured the temperatures in the Idle mode – the monitor is displaying Windows’ Desktop with no running applications.

The Zalman TNN500AF easily handles the system components when they’re idle. The highest temperature was read from the sensor on a power transistor of the CPU voltage regulator, and this is no surprise since the TNN500AF doesn’t have a CPU cooler which usually creates airflows around the power transistors.

Next goes the “Burn CPU” mode. To fry the CPU up I launched two copies of the BurnP6 utility and had them running for 1 hour. The results are presented below:

59 degrees centigrade for a 3200MHz Prescott is an excellent result! The TNN500AF can really keep even the hottest modern processor cool. Although the rest of the system’s components bore no load in this test, they have got hotter, too, because the heat from the CPU increases the temperature of the side panel of the case and, accordingly, the temperature of the entire case with all the internals.

The temperature of the power transistors has become alarming – 132.8°C! It’s very short of the maximum temperature (150°C) the transistors in my mainboard are rated for. Moreover, the thermode reads the temperature of the transistor’s surface, not of the die that is probably even hotter.

So, it’s clear that the transistors of the CPU voltage regulator require air cooling and passive heatsinks, at least on the ASUS P4P800 mainboard and with a powerful processor like a Prescott 3.2GHz.

By the way, after running my tests I followed my own recommendation and took an old and dusty 60mm fan from some ancient cooler and powered it by 7 volts and hung it against the power transistors. This gave me 72.1°C temperature, which was much better than those threatening 132.8°C.

The next test mode is “Burn VGA”: the system is running game tests from 3DMark05 for an hour (1024x768 resolution, 4x full-screen antialiasing and 8x anisotropic filtering).

Curiously enough, the CPU temperature is even a little bit higher in this test than in the “CPU Burn” one – 60°C. The processor isn’t idle in 3DMark05, you can be sure. The temperature of the power transistors is another indication of that – it reached as high as 119.5°C.

The temperatures of the graphics processor, the graphics card’s PCB and the graphics memory chips are normal. The cooling system of the Zalman TNN500AF handled the RADEON X800 PRO well enough in the hardest test 3DMark05 is. The temperatures of the other system components are slightly higher than in the “CPU Burn” test – the graphics card and the CPU heated the case up more than the single processor did.

The next test is about the hard disk drive. I performed defragmentation with the standard Windows tools. This process took 40 minutes during which I was enjoying the sound of the DTLA 307015 working inside the TNN500AF.

Well, 46°C isn’t the best result possible, but the hard disk drive won’t have such loads too often. And if you want to install a powerful disc array into your Zalman TNN500AF, you can add one or two low-speed 120mm fans to ensure the maximum comfort for your discs.

The last test mode is a real game. I was playing Unreal Tournament 2004 against bots on the ONS_Torlan level for an hour (1280x1024 with 4x FSAA and 8x AF).

The temperatures of the CPU and the graphics card’s components are normal; the HDD temperature is a bit higher than I might want, but the greatest danger comes from the power transistors of the CPU voltage regulator. The Zalman TNN500AF has no CPU cooler and thus has no airflow around these transistors as in ordinary PC cases.

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