Articles: Cooling
 

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Technical Specifications and Recommended Pricing

Testbed and Methods

We tested the new cooling systems inside a closed system case. Our testbed was configured as follows:

  • Mainboard: ASUS P6T Deluxe (Intel X58 Express, LGA 1366, BIOS 2101);
  • Processor: Intel Core i7-980X Extreme Edition, 3.33 GHz, 1.225 V, 6 x 256 KB L2, 12 MB L3 (Gulftown, B1);
  • CPU cooler: Spire TherMax Eclipse II (2x120 mm Thermalright TR-FDB 1100 RPM);
  • Thermal interface: Arctic Cooling MX-2;
  • Graphics card: ATI Radeon HD 5970 2x1024 MB / 256 bit, 725/4000 MHz;
  • Memory: DDR3 3 x 2 GB OCZ Platinum Low-Voltage Triple Channel (Spec: 1600MHz / 7-7-7-24 / 1.65 V);
  • System drive: OCZ Agility EX SSD (SATA-II, 60 GB, SLC, Indillinx, firmware v1.31);
  • HDD for games and programs: Western Digital VelociRaptor (SATA-II, 300 GB storage capacity, 10,000 RPM, 16 MB cache, NCQ) inside Scythe Quiet Drive 3.5” silencer and cooler chassis;
  • Backup HDD: Western Digital Caviar Green WD10EADS (SATA-II, 1000 GB, 5400 RPM, 32 MB, NCQ);
  • System case: Antec Twelve Hundred (front panel: three Noiseblocker NB-Multiframe S-Series MF12-S1 fans at 900 RPM; back panel: two Scythe SlipStream 120 fans at 900 RPM; top panel: standard 200 mm fan at 400 RPM);
  • Control and monitoring panel: Zalman ZM-MFC2;
  • Power supply: Enhance ENP-6685G 850 W (with a default 140 mm fan);
  • Monitor: Samsung 305T Plus.

We overclocked our processor to 4.3 GHz and increased its Vcore to 1.3975 V in the mainboard BIOS. The memory voltage was at 1.64 V and its frequency was around 1.47 GHz (7-7-7-14_1T timings).

The graphics card frequency wasn’t increased during the primary test session and stayed at 725/4000 MHz:

The testing programs were installed under Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate RTM x64. We used DirectX End-User Runtimes libraries (from February 2010) and Catalyst 10.5 graphics card drivers. We used 15 runs of FireFly Forest test from the semi-synthetic 3DMark 2006 suite in 2560x1600 resolution to warm up the graphics cards. We enabled anisotropic filtering 16x:

Besides, we additionally used FurMark version 1.8.0 burn test that was launched with a renamed EXE-file for about 20 minutes in stability test mode in 2560x1600 resolution:

We used MSI Afterburner utility version 1.6.0 Beta 5 to monitor graphics card temperatures and frequencies and GPU-Z version 0.4.3 utility:

The tests were run at least twice for each type of load. The temperature stabilization period between the two test cycles was about 10-12 minutes. The ambient temperature was checked next to the system case or open testbed with an electronic thermometer with 0.1°C precision that allows monitoring the temperature changes over the past 6 hours. During our test session room temperature stayed around 22.4-22.6°C.

The noise level of each cooler was measured after 1:00 AM in a closed room about 20 m2 big using CENTER-321 electronic noise meter. The noise level for each cooler was tested outside the system case when the only noise sources in the lab were the cooler and its fan(s). The noise meter was installed on a tripod and was always at a 200 mm distance from the cooler fan rotor. The mainboard with the graphics card equipped with the tested cooler was placed at the edge of the desk on a sheet of polyurethane foam. The lowest noise reading our noise meter device can register is 29.8 dBA and the subjectively comfortable noise level in these testing conditions was around 35 dBA (do not mix it up with low noise level). The fan(s) rotation speed was adjusted in the entire supported range using the new controller revision by changing the voltage with 0.5 V increment.

 
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