Articles: Cooling

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Performance Results in a Closed Testbed

Let’s first take a look at the results obtained in the most favorable operation mode, when both case fans are working:

* - the fan rotation speeds are taken not from the specification list, but are calculated as the average rpm value according to S&M measurements.

Well, let’s start our discussion of the obtained results.

The standard boxed cooler from AMD Athlon 64 (Socket 939) appeared surprisingly powerful and managed to retain the temperature of the overclocked processor within acceptable limits. The bad thing about it was though that the temperature growth pushed up its rotation speed too, so that the fan rpm value increased from the nominal ~3000rpm to ~4800rpm, and the cooler starts generating pretty unpleasant noises.

The youngest heatpipe butter-fly, Titan Vanessa S-type didn’t perform that well at the minimum fan rotation speed. It lost about 7o C(!) even to the regular boxed cooler. Yes, Vanessa’s fan is practically noiseless at 1,380rpm rotation speed, but you have to sacrifice low temperature for the sake of noiseless operation. Once the fan speeds up to its maximum, Titan Vanessa S-type regains its power and the cooling efficiency improves significantly. However, it still managed to win only 3o C from the boxed cooler under the peak workload, which is unacceptable luxury for a 36-dollar cooling solution. Unless you are ready to pay for the exterior design when shopping for a CPU cooler…

Titan Vanessa L-type appeared much more efficient than its younger sister. The remarkable thing however, is that the gap between these two solutions reaches 5-6o C in quiet modes, while in the peak modes it closes to only 2o C, though the leadership still stays with Vanessa L-type.

Thermaltake Big Typhoon… what can we say here? This “natural phenomenon” demonstrates outstanding cooling efficiency for our overclocked to 2.7GHz AMD Athlon 64 3000+ processor with 1.55V Vcore. This cooler managed to get 12o C ahead of the best from the already discussed solutions under peak workload. Noiseless operation and maximum efficiency – these are the key advantages of this solution. The temperature didn’t rise above 48o C throughout the entire S&M test session (you can take a look at this graph for more detailed report). Those of you who like to compare the testing results obtained in different test sessions and described in different articles should remember that it is not always correct. Such parameters as room temperature, system case model, case fan size (120mm instead of 80mm) will certainly affect the results. Moreover, ASUS ASCOT 6AR2-B case we used this time has a grid embedded into the side panel that allows more fresh air inside the case. Far not all the case models we use for our cooler test sessions can boast something similar.

And what about Zalman CNPS9500 LED? Unfortunately, I have to admit that our hopes didn’t come true this time. :( On the one hand, it is very sad because I was looking forward to this particular cooler like many other overclockers, and it was destined to turn into a new example of high efficiency, quiet operation and great looks in my system case (the latter is purely subjective, of course). But on the other hand, things are not so bad at all, as there is a more efficient cooling solution than Zalman CNPS9500 LED! What else could we say about an 11o C difference under the peak workload when the testing participants were working in quiet mode? Yes, the 92mm fan of Zalman CNPS9500 LED running at ~1,420rpm is a little bit quieter than the fan of Thermaltake Big Typhoon running at ~1,370rpm. However, both these solutions are nevertheless so quiet, that you can only tell the difference by ear if you disable both case fans and install an ATI Radeon X300 graphics card with a fanless passive cooler onboard. I do not exclude the possibility that in case of hotter processors, such as Intel Pentium 4 Prescott @ 4.2GHz the performance difference between these two cooling solutions may grow smaller, but I am pretty sure that Thermaltake Big Typhoon will not lose. Here I also have to add that when we turned the Zalman CNPS9500 LED cooler so that the air flow was going towards the case fan instead of the system PSU, the CPU temperature got only 1o C lower. I assume that this difference is pretty insignificant because there is an 80-mm fan inside the PSU that sucks the air in from the area around the CPU cooler.

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