Testbed and Methods
We tested the new V8 cooler in two modes: in an open testbed when the mainboard sits horizontally on the desk and the cooler is installed vertically, and in a closed testbed with the mainboard in vertical position.
Our testbed was identical for all coolers and featured the following configuration:
- Mainboard: DFI LANPARTY DK X48-T2RS (Intel X48), LGA 775, BIOS 08/29/2008
- Processor: Intel Core 2 Extreme QX9650 (3.0GHz, 1.25V, 2x6MB L2 cache, 4x333MHz FSB, Yorkfield, C0)
- Thermal interface: Arctic Silver 5 (for all coolers)
- Graphics card: HIS Radeon HD 4670 IceQ GDDR3 512MB / 128bit, 780/2000MHz
- 2 x 1024MB DDR2 Corsair Dominator TWIN2X2048-9136C5D (1142MHz / 5-5-5-18 / 2.1V);
- 2 x 1024MB DDR2 CSXO-XAC-1200-2GB-KIT DIABLO (1200MHz / 5-5-5-16 / 2.4V).
- 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 ~960RPM Scythe Slip Stream fans for air intake and exhaust (the fans are installed on silicon spindles), and the same 120mm ~960RPM fan on the side panel
- Control and monitoring panel: Zalman ZM-MFC2
- Power supply: Enermax Galaxy EGA1000EWL 1000W (a default 135mm fan for intake; and 80mm fan for air exhaust)
All tests were performed under Windows Vista Ultimate Edition x86 SP1. SpeedFan 4.34 was used to monitor the temperature of the CPU and mainboard, reading it directly from the CPU core sensor and to monitor the rotation speed of the cooler fans:
The mainboard’s automatic fan speed management feature was disabled for the time of the tests in the mainboard BIOS. The CPU thermal throttling was controlled with the RightMark CPU Clock Utility version 2.35.0:
The CPU was heated up in two modes. First we used Linpack 32-bit with very useful LinX shell to heat it up to its maximum. We manually set the RAM capacity at 1200MB and recorded 13 runs.
Since we ran the test twice with 20-minute idle period between the runs for the system to cool down and temperatures to stabilize, the relatively short actual testing period was quite enough for the maximum processor temperature to become stable. The complete screenshot from the test run is given below:
Since Linpack generates not quite typical workload for the CPU, which you will hardly come across in any other application, we decided to also test our system in a very resource-hungry game – Unreal Tournament 3 - that works with all four processor cores.
During the test the “Fly By” scene was run 5 times at “DM-ShangriLa” level wit the help of HardwareOC UT3 Bench v126.96.36.199 benchmark. To minimize the dependence of the CPU performance on the not very fast graphics card in our system we used 800x600 resolution and average image quality settings.
I performed at least two cycles of tests and waited for approximately 20 minutes for the temperature inside the system case to stabilize during each test cycle. The stabilization period in an open testbed took about half the time. Despite the stabilization period, the result of the second test cycle was usually 0.5-1°C higher. The maximum temperature of the hottest CPU core of the four in the two test cycles was considered the final result (if the difference was no bigger than 1°C – otherwise the test was performed at least once again).
The ambient temperature was checked next to the system case with an electronic thermometer that allows monitoring the temperature changes over the past 6 hours. During our test session room temperatures varied between 25.0°C. It is used as a staring point on the temperature diagrams. Note that the fan rotation speeds as shown in the diagrams are the average readings reported by SpeedFan, and not the official claimed fan specifications.
We will be comparing the cooling efficiency of the Cooler Master V8 against another tower cooler Thermalright Ultra-120 eXtreme (~$60) equipped with a single Scythe Slip Stream 120 fan (~$8) in two modes: at 900RPM and at the maximum speed of ~2030RPM.