Articles: Cooling

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The specification of the Cooler Master CoolViva Pro is listed in the following table in comparison with that of its opponent Zalman VF900-Cu LED cooler:

Testbed and Methods

The tests are going to be performed in a closed system case with the following configuration:

  • Mainboard: ASUS P5B Deluxe/WiFi-AP (Intel P965, LGA775, BIOS 1004)
  • Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo E6400 (2133MHz, 4x266MHz FSB, 2x1024KB L2 cache, SL9S9 Malay, Conroe B2)
  • CPU cooler: Enzotech Ultra-X (~1650rpm)
  • Thermal interface: Noctua
  • System memory: 2x1024MB DDR2 PC6400 Corsair CM2X1024-6400C4 (SPD: 800MHz, 4-4-4-12)
  • Graphics cards:
    • Sysconn GeForce 7600 GT 256MB (128 bit, @670/1584MHz with a -90MHz delta)
    • Sapphire Radeon X1950 XT 512MB (256 bit, 621/1594MHz)
  • Disk subsystem: Hitachi HDT725032VLA360 (SATA-II, 320Gb capacity, 7200rpm, 16MB cache, NCQ)
  • System case: ASUS ASCOT 6AR2-B Black&Silver with three 120mm fans from Cooler Master (~1200rpm, ~21dBA)
  • Power supply: MGE Magnum 500 + 80mm GlacialTech SilentBlade fan (~1700rpm, 19dBA)
  • Monitor: LG FLATRON 795FT Plus (1600x1200@72Hz max display mode).

As you see, I take two graphics cards from different price segments and with different levels of heat dissipation. This will show us what graphics card the new cooler is most suitable for. The Radeon X1950 XT is a very hot device even at its regular frequencies, so I don’t overclock it for this test.

The tests are performed in Windows XP Professional Edition SP2 using DirectX 9.0c (released February 2007), ForceWare 93.71 and Catalyst 7.2.

The graphics cards are loaded up by running the Firefly Forest test from the 3DMark 2006 suite with 16x anisotropic filtering. I don’t turn on full-screen antialiasing. The graphics card’s temperatures are monitored with RivaTuner version 2.0 RC16.1. Each cooler is tested at least two times with a stabilization period of 10-15 minutes between test cycles.

The Zalman VF900-Cu LED is tested in two modes: at a quiet 1780rpm and at the maximum 2600rpm (when attached directly to the mainboard). Besides the Zalman VF900-Cu LED and the Cooler Master CoolViva Pro, the graphics cards’ stock coolers take part in the tests. The Radeon X1950 XT is by default equipped with an ordinary dual-slot blower (it is tested in the automatic speed management mode and with its speed manually set at the maximum) while the Sysconn GeForce 7600 GT has a non-standard cooler, which resembles the all-aluminum Zalman VF700 and is capable of cooling an overclocked GeForce 7600 GT with ease.

As for the noise factor, the Cooler Master CoolViva Pro proved to have a variable fan speed from 600 to 1880rpm when it was connected to the graphics card and the latter could control the speed of the fan. If the cooler is connected to the PSU via the Molex connector, or if the graphics card cannot control the fan speed (like the Sysconn GeForce 7600 GT I use in this test), the blower works at its highest 1880rpm speed. Its rumbling sound is barely perceptible then against the noise from a quiet system case. So, the new cooler is very quiet indeed. When the graphics card controls the fan speed, like the Sapphire Radeon X1950 XT does, the blower’s speed is varied from 600 to 1280rpm depending on the temperature thresholds written into the graphics card’s BIOS. The cooler is absolutely silent then. Controlling the fan speed manually, I found that the CoolViva Pro remained silent at speeds below 1450rpm. After that, you begin to hear the low rumble of its motor.

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