Articles: Cooling

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Technical Specifications and Recommended Pricing

Testbed and Methods

We performed all our today’s tests on two different platforms inside two different system cases with removed side panels. Here are the testbeds configurations (the top line refers to AMD testbed, the bottom line – to Intel):

  • Mainboards:
    • Gigabyte GA-MA790FXT-UD5P (AMD 790FX+SB750, Socket AM3, BIOS F8K);
    • ASUS P6T Deluxe (Intel X58 Express, LGA 1366, BIOS 2101);
  • Processors:
    • AMD Phenom II X6 1095?Black Edition 3.33 GHz, 1.45 V, 6 x 512 KB L2, 6 MB L3 (Thuban, PH-E0);
    • Intel Core i7-980X Extreme Edition, 3.33 GHz, 1.225 V, 6 x 256 KB L2, 12 MB L3 (Gulftown, B1);
  • Thermal interfaces:
    • Arctic Silver 5;
    • Arctic Cooling MX-2;
  • Memory:
    • DDR3 2 x 2 GB Wintec AMPX 3AXH1600C8WS6GT (Spec: 1600 MHz / 8-8-8-24 / 1.65 V);
    • DDR3 3 x 2 GB OCZ Platinum Low-Voltage Triple Channel (Spec: 1600 MHz / 7-7-7-24 / 1.65 V);
  • Graphics cards:
    • Zotac GeForce GTX 275 0.9 GB GDDR3 256 bit, 633/1404/2286 MHz;
    • ATI Radeon HD 5770 1 GB GDDR5 128 bit, 850/4800 MHz;
  • Sound cards:
    • Realtek ALC889A (integrated);
    • Auzen X-Fi Home Theater HD;
  • System drives:
    • RAID 0 of two Western Digital VelociRaptor HDDs (300GB, SATA-II, 10000 RPM, 16MB cache, NCQ) inside Scythe Quiet Drive 3.5” HDD silencer and cooler chassis;
    • OCZ Agility EX SSD (SATA-II, 60 GB, SLC, Indillinx controller, firmware v. 1.31);
  • System cases:
    • Hyper Osiris  (front panel: one Noiseblocker NB-BlackSilent XL2 fan at 900 RPM; back and top panels: two default fans at 900 RPM; side panel removed);
    • Antec Twelve Hundred (front panel: three Noiseblocker NB-Multiframe S-Series MF12-S1 fans at 960 RPM; back panel: two Thermalright X-Silent 120 fans at 960 RPM; top panel: standard 200 mm fan at 400 RPM; side panel removed);
  • Control and monitoring panels:
    • Zalman ZM-MFC2;
    • Zalman ZM-MFC3;
  • Power supply units:
    • Thermaltake 850 W, 120 mm fan;
    • Xigmatek 1500 W, 140 mm fan.

We overclocked our six-core processors as far as the least efficient cooler allowed us in quiet mode. As a result, our test CPUs with default non-lapped heat-spreaders reached the following frequencies:


Turbo Boost and Hyper-Threading technologies were disabled during our test session. All other parameters available in the mainboard BIOS and related to CPU or memory overclocking remained unchanged.

All tests were performed under Windows 7 Ultimate x64 operating system. We used the following software during our test session:

  • Linpack 64-bit with LinX shell version 0.6.4 – to create maximum CPU load (5 Linpack runs in each cycle with 4750 MB RAM for Intel and 3072 MB RAM for AMD);
  • CPU-Z 1.55 x64 – to monitor processor core voltage and frequency;
  • HWMonitor 1.16 x64 – to monitor the temperature of AMD CPU cores;
  • Real Temp GT 3.59.6 Beta – to monitor the temperature of Intel CPU cores;
  • CPU-Tweaker 1.5 – to visually monitor temperatures and frequencies of the Intel CPU using graphics.

So, the complete screenshots taken during the test session look as follows for each of the tested platforms:



While the screenshot from the Intel platform should already be very familiar to our regular readers, the screenshot from the AMD platform requires a few explanations. Note that the CPU temperature in idle mode is 12°C.! No, we haven’t moved to the North Pole and there were no cataclysms like in “The Day After Tomorrow” movie (at least not yet). Looks like our processor has wrongly calibrated thermal diodes, because the cores cannot run at 12 degrees C minimal temperature when the room temperature around them is 21°C! By the way, other monitoring programs showed the same temperature. That is why we decided to add 10°C to all results obtained on the AMD testbed. So, you will see corrected data on all diagrams hereafter.

The CPU was loaded with two consecutive Linpack x64 test runs with the settings as indicated above. The stabilization period for the CPU temperature between the two test cycles was about 8-10 minutes. We took the maximum temperature of the hottest CPU core for the results charts. Moreover, we will also provide a table with the temperature readings for all cores including their average values. The ambient temperature was checked next to the system case with an electronic thermometer with 0.1 °C precision that allows hourly monitoring of the temperature changes over the past 6 hours. The room temperature during our test session varied between the annoying 20.5-20.7 °C.

The noise level of each cooler was measured between 1:00 and 3:00 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. The noise meter was installed on a tripod and was always at a 150 mm distance from the cooler fan rotor. The tested cooling systems were 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.

We are going to compare our today’s testing participants against ThermoLab Baram2010 as one of the best coolers of that same tower-design and comparable price, as well as against our reference - Thermalright Silver Arrow:


Silver Arrow was equipped with its default Thermalright TY-140 fan tested in two speed modes: quiet 810 RPM and maximum 1280 RPM. Baram2010 was tested with one or two Thermalright TR-FDB fans in two modes, too: 820 and 2000 RPM. We used the same fans in addition to the default ones to test our tower-coolers Deep Cool Ice Warrior, Deep Cool Ice Blade Pro and Akasa Venom.

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