Testbed and Methods
All the tests were carried out in the following closed testbed:
- ASUS A8N-SLI rev.1.02 mainboard (nForce 4 SLI), Socket 939, BIOS v.1011.
- AMD Athlon 64 3000+ 1800 MHz CPU, 512 KB, Cool & Quiet Disable (Venice, E3).
- 2 x 512MB PC3200 SDRAM Corsair TWINXP1024-3200C2.
- PCI Express Sapphire X800 GT 256 MB graphics card, 256bit DDR3, 475MHz/1000MHz.
- 200GB Seagate Barracuda 7200.8 SATA HDD (3200826AS) 7200 RPM, 8MB.
- DVD±R/RW & CD-RW TSST SD-R5372 optical drives.
- ATX ASUS ASCOT 6AR2-B Black&Silver case.
- 420W Thermaltake W0009 PSU.
- Two 120mm Sharkoon Luminous Blue LED case fans (~1000rpm, 21dBA).
All tests were performed in Windows XP Home Edition Service Pack 2 with NVIDIA nForce system driver version 6.39, DirectX 9.0c and Catalyst 5.8 video driver.
It is quite logical that you don’t really need these powerful coolers if your AMD Athlon 64 3000+ works at its nominal speed of 1800MHz, so their working efficiency would be limited by the low CPU heat dissipation. That is why we decided to eliminate this limiting factor and overclocked our AMD processor to 2713MHz with 1.55V Vcore setting:
We used S&M utility version 1.7.1 for CPU warm-up, temperature monitoring and fan rotation speed control. We warmed up the CPU for 15 minutes in the Normal mode under 100% workload:
Moreover, keeping in mind that S&M loads the CPU very heavily, which is not typical of most software applications (I would even say that this workload is truly one of a kind), we performed the CPU warm-up tests with a Super PI benchmark, which is very popular among overclockers today. The calculation of the PI value up to 32 million digits takes about 26-27 minutes on the platform like ours.
All the coolers were tested in exactly the same testing conditions in the closed system case. We ran the tests in two modes: with both 120mm case fans on, and without them. The room temperature in our lab stayed at 22oC, which is our reference point on all diagrams.