Articles: Cooling

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Technical Specifications and Recommended Pricing

Testbed and Methods

We are going to test the cooling efficiency of our today’s testing participants in a closed system case with the following configuration:

  • Mainboard: DFI LANPARTY DK X48-T2RS (Intel X48, LGA 775, BIOS version from 10/03/2008);
  • Processor: Intel Core 2 Extreme QX9650, 3.0 GHz, 1.15 V, 2 x 6 MB L2, (Yorkfield, C0);
  • Thermal interface: Arctic Cooling MX-2;
  • Graphics card: ZOTAC GeForce GTX 275 896 MB 256 bit, 633/1404/2268 MHz;
  • Memory:
    • 2 x 1024 MB Corsair Dominator TWIN2X2048-9136C5D (1142 MHz, 5-5-5-18, 2.1 V);
    • 2 x 1024 MB CSX DIABLO CSXO-XAC-1200-2GB-KIT (1200 MHz, 5-5-5-16, 2.4 V);
  • HDD: Western Digital VelociRaptor (SATA-II, 300 GB storage capacity, 10,000 RPM, 16 MB cache, NCQ);
  • HDD silencer and cooler chassis: Scythe Quiet Drive 3.5”;
  • System case: Hiper Osiris (default fans at 900 RPM);
  • Control and monitoring panel: Zalman ZM-MFC3;
  • Power supply: Thermaltake Toughpower XT 850 W.

Processor overclocking was limited by the least efficient cooler of our today’s testing participants in its quiet mode. As a result, we managed to overclock our processor to 365 GHz. The nominal processor Vcore was increased to 1.45 V in the mainboard BIOS. The memory voltage was at 2.0 V and its frequency was around 1 GHz (5-5-5-12_2T timings). All other parameters available in the mainboard BIOS and connected with CPU or memory overclocking remained unchanged (set at Auto).

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 2500 MB RAM capacity involved);
  • CPU-Z 1.54 – to monitor processor core voltage and frequency;
  • Real Temp 3.58 – to monitor the processor core temperature;
  • Everest 5.30.2049 Beta – to monitor default fans rotation speeds.

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

The CPU was loaded with two consecutive Linpack 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 monitoring the temperature changes over the past 6 hours. The room temperature during our test session varied between 25.9-26.1 °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 200 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 and very low noise level – around 32 dBA. 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.

For the sake of comparison, we are going to include the results of Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus, as it is the next solution on the way from budget to more expensive ones (it is priced at $29 MSRP). This competitor was tested with its default fan – Blade Master 120. The Cooler Master Hyper TX3 tower cooler was tested not only with its default fan but also with two Thermalright TR-SL-92-1500 fans at 1560 RPM installed for air intake and exhaust respectively.

Let’s check out the obtained results now.

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