Technical Specifications and Recommended Pricing
Testbed and Methods
The tests were performed in a closed system case. Our testbed was configured as follows:
- Mainboard: Intel Siler DX79SI (Intel X79 Express, LGA 2011, BIOS 0494 from 04/24/2012);
- CPU: Intel Core i7-3960X Extreme Edition, 3.3 GHz, 1.2 V, 6 x 256 KB L2, 15 MB L3 (Sandy Bridge-E, C1, 1.2 V, 6x256 KB L2, 15 MB L3);
- CPU cooler: Phanteks PH-TC14PE (2 135 mm, 900 RPM);
- Thermal interface: ARCTIC MX-4;
- System memory: DDR3 4 x 4GB Mushkin Redline (Spec: 2133 MHz / 9-11-10-28 / 1.65 V);
- Graphics card: MSI R7970 Lightning 31 GB/384 bit GDDR5, 1140/7160;
- System drive: Crucial m4 256 GB SSD (SATA-III,CT256M4SSD2, BIOS v0009);
- Drive for programs and games: Western Digital VelociRaptor (300GB, SATA-II, 10000 RPM, 16MB cache, NCQ) inside Scythe Quiet Drive 3.5” HDD silencer and cooler;
- Backup drive: Samsung Ecogreen F4 HD204UI (SATA-II, 2 TB, 5400 RPM, 32 MB, NCQ);
- System case: Antec Twelve Hundred (front panel: three Noiseblocker NB-Multiframe S-Series MF12-S2 fans at 1020 RPM; back panel: two Noiseblocker NB-BlackSilent PRO PL-1 fans at 1020 RPM; top panel: standard 200 mm fan at 400 RPM);
- Control and monitoring panel: Zalman ZM-MFC3;
- Power supply: Xigmatek “No Rules Power” NRP-HC1501 1500 W (with a default 140 mm fan);
- Monitor: Samsung S27A850D, 27”.
One of the available BIOS versions for MSI graphics card already has increased operational frequencies of 1070/5600 MHz. However, we decided to heat things up a little more and overclocked this graphics card even more – to 1140/7160 MHz:
We are going to compare the cooling efficiency and acoustic performance of the new Arctic Accelero Xtreme 7970 against the default MSI Twin Frozr IV cooler.
The testing programs were installed under Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1. We used DirectX End-User Runtimes libraries (from November 2010), as well as AMD Catalyst 12.4 graphics card drivers. We warmed up the card with five runs of Aliens vs. Predator game in 2560x1400 resolution and with maximum image quality settings, 16x anisotropic filtering and 4x antialiasing:
With the settings we used this test loads even a powerful graphics accelerator very heavily, but can’t damage it, which could be the case with FurMark (that is why we decided not to use this benchmark fully in our test session).
The tests were run at least twice. The temperature stabilization period between the two test cycles was about 10-12 minutes. The ambient temperature was checked next to the system case 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 24.8-25.3°C. We used our in-house controller to adjust the rotation speed of the fans.
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 36 dBA (do not mix it up with low noise level).
Now let’s check out the results of our tests.