Articles: Cooling

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Thermal Performance

During our overclocking test session we had Gigabyte 3D Rocket II working in quiet mode inside a system case. In this work mode we could overclock our Intel Core 2 Duo E6400 (2133MHz nominal speed) to 3256MHz without increasing the processor Vcore:

Considering that the airflow from 3D Rocket II is being directed primarily upwards, and in this case the case fan blowing the air onto the processor socket may be disturbing, we decided to perform two test sessions in a closed system case. The first test session was performed with the sealed side window for the case fan (assuming that not all system cases have vent holes or fans in this part of the case). And the second test session was performed with the 120mm fan (1200rpm) installed into the side panel of the case, but instead of sucking the air into the case and directing it towards the processor socket, this fan was ousting the air outside the case. These results on the charts are marked as “+fan out”. When we tested Thermaltake Typhoon in the second test mode, the case fan wasn’t turned the other way around.

I would like to add that the fan rotation speeds on the diagrams are stated not according to their technical specifications, but according to the monitoring reports.

So, let’s now discuss the actual results:

As you can see, during the tests in a closed system with the sealed side panel opening new Gigabyte 3D Rocket II didn’t prove that efficient. In quiet mode at 1400rpm the CPU got close to the throttling mode. And that was during relatively modest overclocking without even increasing the processor Vcore! The loud work mode when the fan is working at its maximum rotation speed improves the cooling efficiency of the new 3D Rocket II by 8°C, which proves our above expressed concern that the slits between the heatsink plates may be too narrow for sufficient air intake.

The situation turns out much better if there is a fan installed onto the case side panel that ousts warm air outside the system case. In the same quiet mode Gigabyte 3D Rocket II works as efficiently as it performed at its maximum fan rotation speed in the previous test with sealed side panel. Moreover, when tested in an open testbed at the same 1400rpm the results of our hero are even worse than in the closed case with the side fan installed. Maximum fan rotation speed improves the efficiency by another 4.5°C. Nevertheless, these attempts of the new Gigabyte 3D Rocket II cooler to compete with Thermaltake Big Typhoon do not succeed.

Why do we claim the defeat? Although according to the results we have just discussed Gigabyte 3D Rocket II yielded to Thermaltake Big Typhoon only 3°C in a closed system and 5.7°C in an open testbed, the difference in the level of generated noise is dramatic. Besides, Thermaltake’s solution allows much better CPU overclocking. Therefore, we decided to check out the maximum CPU overclocking result that could be achieved with Gigabyte 3D Rocket II in the most optimal mode for this cooler and for the overclocker who cares about the noise issue. The experiment took place in a closed testbed with a 120mm fan installed into the side panel for air oust and Gigabyte 3D Rocket II was working at 1400rpm. Intel Core 2 Duo E6400 processor proved stable at 3.423MHz with 1.4V Vcore:

And again here come the results:

Although Gigabyte 3D Rocket II coped well with an even higher overclocked CPU, it still lost over 10°C to Thermaltake Big Typhoon.

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