Articles: Cooling

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Testbed and Methods

Just like with a bunch of other cooling solutions, we tested Cooler Master V10 in two modes: in a closed system case and in an open testbed. In the former case the mainboard is set vertically and the “tower” coolers are turned horizontally, while in the latter case the mainboard sits horizontally on the desk and the coolers are installed vertically. Our testbed was identical for all coolers throughout the test session and featured the following configuration:

  • Mainboard: DFI LANPARTY DK X48-T2RS (Intel X48), LGA 775, BIOS 10/03/2008;
  • Processor: Intel Core 2 Extreme QX9650 (3.0GHz, 1.25V, 2x6MB L2 cache, 4x333MHz FSB, Yorkfield, C0);
  • Thermal interface: Arctic Silver 5;
  • Graphics card: XFX GeForce GTX 285 1024 MB, 648/1476/2484 MHz;
  • Memory: 2 x 1GB Corsair Dominator TWIN2X2048-9136C5DDDR2 SDRAM (1142MHz / 5-5-5-18 / 2.1V);
  • Disk subsystem: Western Digital VelociRaptor (SATA-II, 300GB storage capacity, 10,000RPM, 16MB cache, NCQ);
  • HDD silencer and cooler: Scythe Quiet Drive 3.5”;
  • Optical drive: Samsung SH-S183L SATA-II DVD RAM & DVD±R/RW & CD±RW;
  • System case: ASUS ASCOT 6AR2-B Black&Silver (ATX) with 120mm ~900RPM Scythe Slip Stream 120 fans for air intake and exhaust (the fans are installed on silicon spindles), and Enermax Magma fan at ~900RPM fan on the side panel. We applied noise insulation;
  • Control and monitoring panel: Zalman ZM-MFC2;
  • Power supply: Thermaltake Toughpower 1500W W0218 (with a default 140 mm fan).

All tests were performed under Windows Vista Ultimate Edition x86 SP1. We used the following software during our test session:

  • Real Temp 2.90 RC12 – to monitor the processor core temperature;
  • RightMark CPU Clock Utility 2.35.0 – to control processor thermal throttling;
  • Linpack 32-bit with LinX shell version 0.5.5 – to create maximum CPU load (two test cycles, 15 Linpack runs in each cycle with 1600 MB RAM capacity involved);
  • RivaTuner 2.22 – to visually control temperature changes (with RTCore plugin).

I decided to replace the formerly used SpeedFan with RealTemp program that reports a 4°C lower CPU temperature because we are transitioning to LGA 1366 platform with Intel Core i7 processors at this time. Besides, RealTemp offers broader monitoring capabilities and easier calibration.

So, the screenshot taken off the monitor during our test session now looks as follows:

The stabilization period for the CPU temperature between the two test cycles was 10 minutes. We took the maximum temperature of the hottest processor core after two test cycles for the results charts.

The ambient temperature was checked next to the system case or open testbed with an electronic thermometer with 0.1°C precision that allows monitoring the temperature changes over the past 6 hours. During our test session room temperature stayed at 23.5-24°C. It is used as a starting point on the temperature diagrams. Note that the fan rotation speeds as shown in the diagrams are the average readings reported by monitoring utilities, and not the official claimed fan specifications.

Now let me say a few words about the today’s main competitors of the new Cooler Master V10. First of all it is Cooler Master V8 that is not just the predecessor of our today’s hero, but also a very efficient cooling solution:

We tested Cooler Master V8 in two fan modes: in quiet mode at 1080 RPM and at maximum fan rotation speed of 2000 RPM. We used Zalman ZM-MFC2 panel to adjust the fan rotation speed.

There is also another cooler that will also participate in our today’s test session. They say that you can lower the CPU temperature by 2°C by simply putting it next to the system case… It is ThermoLab BARAM:

We tested this super-cooler with the same two fans that were installed on V10. We also performed the tests in two modes: quiet mode at 1080 RPM and at maximum fan rotation speed of 2300 RPM. The fans were installed onto the heatsink for intake-exhaust.

We tested Cooler Master V10 without the plastic casing in both: the open testbed and closed system case. The operational modes for the fans were the same as for ThermoLab BARAM.

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