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Noise Level

I would like to share my subjective estimate of the level of noise the new Gigabyte 3D Rocket II generates during work. At the maximum fan rotation speed, the cooler is actually pretty loud, I would even compare it to a medium-sized vacuum cleaner. At this rotation speed the airflow is so powerful that the sheet of paper placed above the cooler gets lifted vertically or horizontally (if you do the trick with the side panel of the case open). I doubt that the maximum 3000rpm rotation speed will be of any good use at such high noise level.

In “Normal” mode according to the regulator markings (2000rpm) the manufacturer declares 25dBA noise, which may seem as not that much. However, in reality, the cooler is still too loud. Even if you reduce the fan rotation speed down to the minimal 1400rpm (according to the monitoring report), the cooler won’t be a noiseless one, despite the claimed 16dBA level of noise. You can still hear the fans working quite distinctly. However, this is the mode when you can call it quiet, as this work mode would be considered the most optimal for everyday work.

Specification

The table below sums up all the technical specifications of the new Gigabyte 3D Rocket II cooler:

Testbed and Methods

During our test session we will compare the thermal performance of Gigabyte 3D Rocket II cooler against that of a well-known winner Thermaltake Big Typhoon in its standard modification without any modding done to it. Why we chose this particular rival? Well, it is widely available in the market these days, it is very inexpensive for its class and it provides excellent cooling efficiency.

Both coolers were tested in a closed system case and in an open testbed with the following configuration:

  • Asustek P5B Deluxe/WiFi-AP mainboard (Intel P965 chipset, LGA775, BIOS 1004);
  • Intel Core 2 Duo E6400 CPU (2133MHz, 1.325V, 266x4MHz FSB, 2x1024KB L2 cache, SL9S9 Malay Conroe B2);
  • Gigabyte thermal grease;
  • Sysconn GeForce 7600 GT 256MB graphics card (running at 670/1584MHz with a ‑90MHz delta) plus a Zalman VF900-Cu LED at 1700rpm;
  • 2 x 1024MB Corsair Dominator TWIN2X2048-9136C5D DDR2 SDRAM (SPD: 1142MHz, 5-5-5-18, 2.1V);
  • Hitachi HDT725032VLA360 HDD (SATA-II, 320GB storage capacity, 7200rpm, 16MB cache, NCQ);
  • ASUS ASCOT 6AR2-B Black&Silver ATX system case with 120mm system fans from Cooler Master (1200rpm, 21dBA);
  • MGE Magnum 500 PSU (500W) + 80mm GlacialTech SilentBlade fan (~1700rpm, 19dBA)

All tests were performed in Windows XP Professional Edition Service Pack 2. SpeedFan 4.32 was used to monitor the temperature of the CPU, reading it from the CPU Sensor. The AMD CPU is heated by S&M version 1.9.0b for 15 minutes at 100% FPU load. The Intel CPU was heated up with Intel Thermal Analysis Tool for 25 minutes (according to the method described in our article called Originality or Efficiency? Cooler Master Mars, Eclipse and Hyper TX Cooling Solutions Reviewed).

The mainboards’ automatic fan speed management in the BIOS was disabled for the time of the tests. The thermal throttling of the Intel Core 2 Duo processor was controlled with RightMark CPU Clock Utility version 2.25 (our processor began to skip clock cycles on reaching a temperature of 81.5°C).

I performed at least two cycles of tests in each mode (TAT and S&M) and wait for 25-30 minutes for the temperature to stabilize during each test cycle. During the tests on an open testbed we took half the time for temperature stabilization. The maximum temperature in the two test cycles was considered as the final result (if the difference was not bigger than 1°C – otherwise the test was performed once again). Despite the stabilization period, the result of the second cycle was usually 0.5-1°C higher.

The ambient temperature during the test session was monitored with an electric thermometer that could monitor temperature changes over the period of up to 6 hours. The room temperature remained at 23.5°C during the tests (as stated on the charts).

 
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