Articles: Cooling

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Cooling Efficiency vs. Thermalright IFX-14

We managed to overclock our 45 nm quad-core processor (with the multiplier locked at 21x) to 3.9 GHz (+46.2%) under the weakest cooling system of the today’s testing participants. The nominal processor Vcore was increased to ~1.33125 V in the mainboard BIOS (+10.9%):

During CPU overclocking we activated in the mainboard BIOS the “Load-Line Calibration” function that lowers the voltage drop on the part of the voltage regulator circuitry before the CPU. The system memory voltage was locked at 1.55V and its frequency was at 1481MHz (8-8-8-18 timings). All other parameters available in the mainboard BIOS and connected with CPU or memory overclocking remained unchanged (set to Auto).

Let’s see what results we got here:

We all remember very unimpressive performance of quite a few liquid-cooling systems we tested before. But this time I have to confess I was pleasantly surprised with the good results demonstrated by CoolIT Domino A.L.C. Yes, if we sum up the results of all tests, its overall efficiency will be lower than that of the best air cooler selling at a comparable price. However, it is important to keep in mind that today we are testing the cheapest liquid-cooling system of all exiting in the market and one of the most expensive air coolers. Don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to influence your decision in favor our today’s hero. What I am trying to say is that from the review of this system and its technical specifications, it had to fall much farther behind the leader than it actually did. I would also like to add the results of coolant measurements in each of the three test modes (idle/burn):

  • 1150~1750 RPM: 36/45°C;
  • 1750~2400 RPM: 33/40°C;
  • 2900 RPM: 31/38°C.

Now let’s check out the maximum CPU overclocking result with each of the testing participants and their fans at maximum rotation speed:

CoolIT Domino A.L.C. 
(~2900 RPM)

Thermalright IFX-14 
(2 x 1410 RPM)

So what do we see? The CPU overclocked to the same exact frequency in both cases, and for the IFX-14 cooler we had to push the processor Vcore one more step up (from 1.36875V to 1.375V). To be fair I have to say that Thermalright is nevertheless a little more efficient CPU cooler than CoolIT Domino A.L.C., with lower level of generated noise. But this is going to be the topic of the next chapter, so let’s move on.

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