Articles: Cooling
 

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Technical Specifications and Recommended Pricing

Testbed and Methods

We performed all cooler tests inside a system case with a removed side panel. Here is our testbed configuration:

We overclocked our six-core processor (with its default non-lapped heat-spreader) with the multiplier set at 25x and “Load-Line Calibration” (Level 2) enabled to the modest 4.2 GHz. The nominal processor Vcore was increased to 1.35625 V in the mainboard BIOS:

Turbo Boost and Hyper-Threading technologies were disabled during our test session. The memory voltage was at 1.64 V and its frequency was 1.4 GHz (8-8-8-18_1T timings). 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:

  • CPU Stress Test (CST) version 0.18b – to load the processor (matrix # 15, 10-12 minutes);
  • Real Temp GT 3.59 – to monitor the processor core temperature;
  • CPU-Tweaker 1.5 – to visually monitor temperatures and frequencies using graphics.

We replaced the Linpack x64 test in LinX shell we have been using before with the CPU Stress Test (CST) program for a very simple reason: the new program heats up our six-core processor even more (2-3°C more) than Linpack, generates more linear load and has significantly shorter intervals between the CST runs than between Linpack cycles.

So, the complete screenshot during the test session looks as follows:

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 23.9-24.4 °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 Zalman CNPS10X Performa and Thermalright Archon in their standard configuration with one fan:

 

 

The first one sells at the same price as Arctic Freezer 13 and the second one – at the price of Zalman CNPS9900 MAX, so the comparison promises to be very interesting. 

 
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