Articles: Cooling

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Testbed and Methods

The coolers were tested on an open testbed as well as in a system case with the following configuration:

  • Mainboard: ASUS P5B Deluxe/WiFi-AP (Intel P965 chipset, LGA775, BIOS 1101)
  • Chipset cooler: Thermaltake Extreme Spirit II (~2500rpm)
  • Processor: Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 (2400MHz, 1.2875V, 266x4MHz FSB, 2x4096KB L2 cache, Kentsfield B3)
  • Thermal interface: Fanner 420 (Stars)
  • Graphics card: Sysconn GeForce 8600 GTS (256MB, 128-bit, 675/2016MHz)
  • Graphics card cooler: Arctic Cooling Accelero S2 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: NEC ND-4571A DVD-burner
  • System case: ASUS ASCOT 6AR2-B Black&Silver with two system fans from Cooler Master (120mm, 1180rpm, 21dBA) and a 120mm Sharkoon Luminous Blue LED (1000rpm) on a side panel
  • Power supply: MGE Magnum 500 (500W) with a 80mm GlacialTech SilentBlade fan (~1700rpm, 19dBA)

I’ve been asked by email what quad-core CPU we have and why it is so cool. Well, I don’t think it’s cool, I think it’s quite hot. And here is a photo of it:

So, I use an engineering sample of the Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 processor with a default clock rate of 2400MHz. There is no traditional 5-character marking on the heat-spreading cap and Intel’s website mentions only one quad-core CPU with a frequency of 2400MHz. It is marked as SL9UM and has the following characteristics:

As I found earlier (for details see our article called Thermalright Ultra-120 eXtreme vs. Super Coolers), the maximum stable frequency of this CPU was 3392MHz at a voltage of 1.5V and with an air cooler (an open tested, an Enzotech Ultra-X cooler at 2500rpm). According to eXtreme Power Supply Calculator (v2.5 Lite), the processor’s TDP is increased from the default 105W to 201W under such conditions.

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 25-minute test during which the system remains idle in the first and last 4 minutes.

The mainboard’s automatic fan speed management 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 25-30 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 24-24.5°C during the tests. The fan rotation speed is shown in the diagram as reported by monitoring tools.

I didn’t look long for an opponent to the CoolJag coolers. The Big Typhoon from Thermaltake is one of the most optimal solutions in terms of performance, availability and price. (But you can write to our forum for suggestions on what coolers should be taken for reference in our future tests). I have also tested several coolers recently (for details see our article called Thermalright Ultra-120 eXtreme vs. Super Coolers), including the Big Typhoon, so it’s easy to compare the results of today’s test session with those of the cooler you’re interested in.

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