Articles: Cooling

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Test Results

AMD Platform

To make the trial harder, I overclocked the AMD Athlon 64 3200+ processor from its default 2000MHz to 2700MHz, increasing its voltage to 1.6V.

Let’s see how the coolers do on an open testbed. In the top of the diagram the results of the coolers with their stock fans in quiet mode and at max fan speed are given (there is only one test mode for the Scythe Mine due to obvious reasons). In the middle part of the diagram there are results of three super-coolers and of the Scythe Mine all with the same 120mm fan in the quiet mode (~1450rpm). In the bottom part there are the same four coolers at the maximum fan speed (~2000rpm).

As you can see, the Zalman CNPS8000 in the quiet mode and the Scythe Mine deliver a rather mediocre performance in comparison with the super-coolers, but the Scythe Mine is 5°C better than the new cooler from Zalman. The all-copper Pentagram Freezone NXC-100 Cu is competitive against the heat pipes based CNPS8000 in the quiet mode, but costs much less. The Zalman leaves the Scythe Mine behind when its fan speed is increased, but becomes rather loud at that. Don’t forget, however, that you can replace the 100mm fan of the Scythe Mine with, say, a 120mm one. This simple operation helps the Scythe Mine outperform the Zalman CNPS8000. I’m talking about the quiet mode now, the 120mm fan rotating at about 1450rpm.

Increasing the fan speed further doesn’t affect the performance of the super-coolers on the open testbed. The Scythe Mine is the only one that lowered the CPU temperature by 2°C in comparison with the quiet mode.

Now let’s see what we have in a closed system case:

A nasty surprise, the system with the Zalman CNPS8000 in the quiet mode couldn’t pass the test. 73°C was the last mark on the monitoring graph. So, the new Zalman CNPS8000 is not suitable for cooling well-overclocked CPUs in a closed system case and in hot weather. That’s sad as I had expected better results from it. Yes, at the higher fan speed this cooler will do for overclocked single-core AMD processors with increased voltage and it matches the cooling efficiency of the Scythe Mine, but look at the results of the Pentagram Freezone NXC-100 Cu! It leaves no chance to its two opponents at the max fan speed and is as effective as the Scythe Mine in the quiet mode.

In its turn, the efficiency of the Scythe Mine can be improved to the level of the Scythe Ninja, the best super-cooler in this review, by simply replacing its stock 100mm fan with a 120mm one. That’s impressive, but Scythe unfortunately doesn’t ship its new cooler with a 120mm fan by default. All the four coolers do considerably better when their fan speed is increased, but I don’t think you will want to exchange the silence for the CPU temperature reduction of only 3°C.

As a final touch to my tests on the AMD platform, I decided to check the supposition that the Scythe Mine’s airflow was used in a non-effective way. The sides of this cooler are open, contrary to the Noctua coolers, for example. So, I sealed the sides, top and bottom of the Scythe Mine’s heatsink with a piece of scotch tape, expecting to see a considerable boost in its performance, but there was no miracle. The CPU temperature became lower by only 1°C!

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