Articles: Cooling

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Testbed and Methods

Since the base surface of the discussed coolers is extremely uneven, we couldn’t use them with Core i7 and Phenom II X4 processors. Therefore, we performed the tests with Intel Core 2 Extreme QX9650 processor. So the testbed we used this time featured the following components and configuration:

  • Mainboard: DFI LANPARTY DK X48-T2RS (Intel X48), LGA 775, BIOS 10/03/2008;
  • Processor: Intel Core 2 Extreme QX9650, 3.0 GHz, 1.15 V, L2 2 x 6 MB, 333 MHz x 4 FSB, (Yorkfield, C0);
  • Thermal interface: Tuniq TX-2;
  • Graphics card: ZOTAC GeForce GTX 260 AMP2! Edition 896 MB, 648/1404/2108 MHz (1030 RPM);
  • Memory:
    • 1 x 1024 MB Corsair Dominator TWIN2X2048-9136C5D (Spec: 1142 MHz / 5-5-5-18 / 2.1 V);
    • 2 x 1024 MB CSX DIABLO CSXO-XAC-1200-2GB-KIT (Spec: 1200 MHz / 5-5-5-16 / 2.4 ВV);
  • System HDD: Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS;
  • System case: Thermaltake Strike MX (VI6001BNS) (air intake: Noctua NF-P12 fan on the front panel at 1000 RPM (behind the dust filter), air exhaust: Noiseblocker NB-BlackSilent XL1 fan at 1020 RPM), case side panel removed;
  • Control and monitoring panel: Zalman ZM-MFC3;
  • Power supply: Thermaltake Toughpower XT 850 W.

During this test session we managed to overclock our 45nm quad-core processor (with polished heat-spreader) with the multiplier set at 10x only to 3.63 GHz using the weakest cooling system of the today’s testing participants. The nominal processor Vcore was increased to 1.45 V in the mainboard BIOS.

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

  • Real Temp 3.38b – to monitor the processor core temperature;
  • Linpack 64-bit with LinX shell version 0.6.4 – to create maximum CPU load (two test cycles, 5 Linpack runs in each cycle with 3072 MB RAM capacity involved);
  • RivaTuner 2.24 – for visual control over temperature changes (with RTCore plagin);
  • Everest 5.02.1925b – to monitor fans rotation speeds;
  • CPU-Z 1.52.2 – to monitor processor core voltage and frequency.

So, the complete screenshot during the test session looks as follows:

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 8-10 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 at 23.8-24.2 °C.

For the sake of more illustrative comparison we are going to add the best top-cooler – XILENCE Black Hawk COPPER – to compete against Nexus solutions in our today’s test session:

We tested this cooler in two test modes: in very quiet mode at 900 RPM and during automatic fan rotation speed control using PWM method in the interval from 710 to 1800 RPM.

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