Specifications and Price
The specifications and pricing of the new cooler from Cooler Master are listed in the following table:
Testbed and Methods
The Cooler Master Sphere and its opponent were tested on an open testbed as well as in a system case with the following configuration:
- Mainboard: ASUS P5K Deluxe/WiFi-AP (Intel P35 chipset, LGA775, BIOS 0501)
- Processor: Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 (2400MHz, 1.2875V, 266x4MHz FSB, 2x4096KB L2 cache, Kentsfield B3)
- Thermal interface: Arctic Silver 5
- Graphics card: Sysconn GeForce 7900 GS GDDR3 (256MB, 256-bit, 575/1710MHz)
- Graphics card cooler: Arctic Cooling Accelero S1 in passive mode
- Memory: 2 x 1024MB Corsair Dominator TWIN2X2048-9136C5D DDR2 SDRAM (SPD: 1142MHz, 5-5-5-18, 2.1V)
- Disk subsystem: Hitachi HDT725032VLA360 (SATA-II, 320GB storage capacity, 7200rpm, 16MB cache, NCQ)
- Optical drive: Samsung SH-S183L DVD-burner (SATA-II)
- System case: ASUS ASCOT 6AR2-B Black&Silver with two 120mm 980rpm system fans Sharkoon Luminous Blue LED for intake and exhaust and a 120mm 940rpm GlacialTech fan on a side panel
- Power supply: Enermax Galaxy EGA1000EWL 1000W (a 135mm 850rpm fan for intake and a 80mm 1650rpm fan for exhaust)
The CPU was overclocked to its maximum frequency on the weakest of the tested coolers. The resulting frequency was 3140MHz at a core voltage of 1.4V.
All tests are performed in Windows XP Professional Edition Service Pack 2. SpeedFan 4.32 is used to monitor the temperature of the CPU, reading it from the CPU sensor. The CPU is heated up by means of OverClock Checking Tool version 1.1.0 in a 24-minute test during which the system remains idle in the first and last 4 minutes.
The mainboard’s automatic fan speed management (Q-Fan technology) is disabled for the time of the tests. The thermal throttling of the Intel Core 2 Duo processor is controlled with RightMark CPU Clock Utility version 2.25. Our CPU begins to skip clock cycles on reaching a temperature of 82°C and higher.
I perform at least two cycles of tests and wait for 20 minutes for the temperature to stabilize during each test cycle. The maximum temperature of the hottest CPU core in the two test cycles is considered as the final result (if the difference is not bigger than 1°C – otherwise the test is performed once again). Despite the stabilization period, the result of the second cycle is usually 0.5-1°C higher.
The ambient temperature was monitored by means of an electric thermometer and remained at 22.0°C during the tests (marked with a vertical red line in the diagrams). The fan rotation speeds are shown in the diagrams as reported by SpeedFan.
The noise level of each cooler was measured according to our traditional method. The subjectively comfortable level of 36dBA is marked with a dash line in the diagram; the ambient noise from the system case, without the CPU cooler, was about 34dBA.
The new orb-like cooler will be opposed by the well-known Cooler Master Hyper TX working at a constant 1890rpm speed. The recommended price of the latter is almost two times lower at $21 but I didn’t take price as an evaluation criterion for this test session. I’ll explain why in the conclusion.