Articles: Cooling

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Thermal and Acoustic Performance

The maximum CPU frequency was limited by the performance of the weakest cooler in this test session. Easy to guess, it was the Falcon 92-Al. Well, “weak” is not the right word since I managed to overclock the quad-core processor to as high as 3268MHz with it (the core voltage was set at 1.4875V). It’s an excellent result for a light aluminum cooler! For example, this frequency was the limit for the well-known Scythe Ninja with a 120mm fan working at 1200rpm.

But let’s view the full picture now:

Both coolers from CoolJag are inferior to the Big Typhoon, yet it’s not surprising as I’ve seen a similar picture in many of my tests. And I say that the Falcons do show high performance, especially the copper version. The fact that the Falcon 92-Cu is only 2-3°C better than the Falcon 92-Al at cooling the CPU is rather misleading. Let’s better see what maximum CPU frequency I achieved with each cooler and what temperature the CPU had under load. This test was performed on an open testbed:

The struck-out result of the Falcon 92-Al means that it didn’t pass the test at a core voltage of 1.5V. The frequency of 3268MHz with a voltage of 1.4875V is the best the aluminum Falcon 92 can do. The copper version turns in a superb result in terms of maximum frequency. Allowing the quad-core CPU to overclock to over 3300MHz, the Falcon 92-Cu enters the league of super-coolers!

The Falcon 92-Cu is worse than the Thermaltake Big Typhoon by 6°C under peak load and by 18MHz in the highest CPU frequency achieved, yet there is one more aspect I haven’t yet mentioned. After the manipulations with the thermal sensor, the maximum speed of the fan was only 1700rpm. A 92mm fan is going to be quieter at that speed than a 120mm fan at 1400rpm. This was confirmed by noise level measurements according to our methodology . The noise level of the Falcon 92-Cu was 35.9dBA when measured from a distance of 1 meter (and 53.1dBA from a distance of 3 centimeters) whereas the Big Typhoon produced 37.8dBA and 54.7dBA of noise, respectively, in the same test.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t find what the CoolJag coolers were capable of at the maximum declared speed of the fan (2500rpm) due to the reasons explained above. I guess that a stronger airflow would increase their performance a lot considering the small distance between the heatsink ribs.

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