Articles: Cooling
 

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Testbed and Methods

Today all tests were performed on two platforms: with an Intel CPU and an AMD CPU. Therefore, we assembled two testbeds with the following configurations:

All tests were performed under Windows 7 RTM x64. We used the following software during our test session:

  • Real Temp 3.30 RC10 – to monitor the processor core temperature;
  • Everest 5.02.1815b – to monitor the AMD CPU temperature;
  • Linpack 32-bit with LinX shell version 0.6.0.2 – to create maximum CPU load (two test cycles, 15 Linpack runs in each cycle with 1624 MB RAM for Intel platform and 1400 MB RAM for AMD platform);
  • RivaTuner 2.24 – to visually control temperature changes (with RTCore plugin)
  • CPU-Z 1.52 – to monitor processor core voltage and frequency.

The CPU was loaded with two consecutive Linpack test runs with the settings as indicated above. The stabilization period for the CPU temperature between the two test cycles was about 10 minutes. We took the maximum temperature of the hottest processor core of the four for the results charts. The ambient temperature was checked next to the system case with an electronic thermometer with 0.1 °C precision that allows monitoring the temperature changes over the past 6 hours. During our test session room temperature was unusually high and stayed at 22.1-22.4 °C.

The best competitors for our today’s testing participants will be the so-called “boxed” coolers that come with retail AMD and Intel processors. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any at my disposal at the time of tests. That is why I could only use the price point as the criterion for finding the rivals for today’s race and included an inexpensive Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus that costs only $29.99. Of course, its size is incomparable with the size of our today’s heroes and it will hardly fit into an HTPC case. But that was the only choice I had. AT least it will allow us to determine the advantage a full-size tower cooler has over the miniature solutions.

Since the noise level is of utmost importance for home theater PC systems, we tested the coolers not only at their maximum fan rotation speeds, but also in pretty quiet mode at 1000 RPM, which is nearly silent operation for 92 mm Thermaltake or 120x12 mm Scythe fans. Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus was tested at quiet 850 RPM and at maximum 2220 RPM fan speed.

 
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