First of all we would like to answer the question about why there is no competitor for Asus Axe Square AMAzing cooler in our today’s test session. Well, this cooling solution failed to cope even with the modestly overclocked Intel Core 2 Extreme QX9650 (LG775) CPU. After five minutes in Linpack at 3.6 GHz frequency and 1.4375 V Vcore the CPU temperature reached 92 °C and we had to terminate the test. Unfortunately, the same thing repeated in all cooler installation positions:
Even when we put the system case sideways, the result didn’t get any better. The heatpipes warmed up just fine and the heatsink plates felt warm to the touch, but Axe Square AMAzing didn’t work efficiently. Was it a defective sample? Was the contact between the CPU and the cooler base not tight enough because of the push-pin retention? Or was it the wavy base surface? Either way, after half a day of vain efforts I moved on to Asus Triton 88 and my disappointment gave way to admiration. I am sure that you will also be positively surprised with the obtained results:
It is the first time in our experience that Thermalright IFX-14 didn’t outperform another cooling solution and this solution is Asus Triton 88. While both cooler shave the same design and equally uneven base surfaces, six 6 mm heatpipes proved just as good as four 8 mm heatpipes. However, this is just a general summary of all the test results combined. Let’s take a closer look at each test individually.
Firstly, Asus Triton 88 is seriously behind Thermalright IFX-14 in quiet operational mode of its default fan at 940 RPM. The frameless fan obviously can’t pump enough air through two heatsink arrays at this rotation speed. The indirect proof of this conclusion is that its efficiency increased substantially as soon as we added an additional Noiseblocker fan to the outside of the first Asus Triton 88 heatsink array. As a result, Triton 88 with two fans at 940 RPM turns out as efficient as IFX-14 with one fan at the same speed. When we switch to two and three fans in quiet mode, Thermalright cooler becomes a little more efficient than Asus.
Secondly, you can clearly see that the situation changes at maximum fan rotation speed. Thermalright IFX-14 is no longer an undefeated leader among air coolers as it loses a little to Asus triton 88 when tested with one and three fans. With two identical fans, the coolers run equally efficient. Note that the use of the third fan with Thermalright IFX-14 reduces the peak CPU temperature by only 1 °C, while the third fan on Asus Triton 88 delivers 2 °C improvement. This is pretty strange, because IFX-14 has denser heatsink array (only 1.5 mm gaps) than Triton 88 with 2.0 mm between the plates. Although Thermalright’s plates themselves are almost half the size of those by Asus: 0.25-0.3 mm vs 0.5 mm respectively.
Thirdly, I suggest that you take a look at the efficiency of these coolers with three fans at 1880 RPM (Asus was tested with two Noiseblocker fans besides the default one) during maximum overclocking of our quad-core processor (4.01 GHz at 1.36875 V). Here I have to point out that during the tests of Thermalright IFX-14 the room temperature was 1.5 °C higher than during Asus Triton 88 tests. Here are the results:
Even taking into account the room temperature difference, Asus triton 88 cools the CPU better than Thermalright IFX-14. However, these operational modes are only interesting for short-term benchmarking purposes, because the noise generated by the fans in this case is way too high even for high-quality fans. The next part of our review will focus particularly on the noise aspects.