Articles: Cooling

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Cooling Efficiency

You can view the results of our tests as a table and in the following diagram:

Click to enlarge

Let’s first analyze the performance of the coolers with one fan only. As you can see, the Rasetsu offers the lowest performance in today’s test. Despite the open side panel of the system case, this top-design cooler is inferior to the tower-design ones, and the difference is sometimes considerable. On the other hand, the Rasetsu should be given credit for coping with an overclocked six-core CPU under such extreme conditions.

When tested with one fan, the four tower-design coolers are always changing places, depending on the speed of that fan. For example, the ThermoLab Baram 2010 is the worst one at 800 and 1200 RPM but beats the others at 1900 RPM (we could expect this because the Baram 2010 has the densest pack of fins and, despite its thought-through heatsink design, depends the most on the speed of the fan, especially if the fan is only one). The new Scythe Ninja 3 is the best cooler in quiet mode, second to the Mugen 2 rev. B at 1200 RPM and only third at 1900 RPM, falling behind the ThermoLab Baram2010 and the Mugen 2 rev. B. The latter is more effective than the Ninja 3, let alone the Yasya, in two out of the three test modes.

When the tower-design coolers work with two fans, their performance is very similar in every test mode. How can we find the best cooler then? Well, the Rasetsu having defaulted from the race, we can overclock the CPU even more to do that. So, we overclocked our Intel Extreme Edition i7-980X to 4440 MHz at a voltage of 1.45625 volts. We performed the tests with two fans at 1200 and 1900 RPM.

The results can be seen in the following table and diagram:

Click to enlarge

The coolers do not change places here anymore. We’ve got one outsider (Yasya) and two leaders (ThermoLab Baram 2010 and Scythe Mugen 2 rev.B). The new Ninja 3 is in the middle. It is optimized for very quiet modes, so we can’t expect extremely high performance from it. Unfortunately, the Ninja 3 did not cope with our Intel Extreme Edition i7-980X processor at its default frequency without fans under such hot weather (the ambient temperature was as high as 31°C). When we launched 64-bit Linpack, the CPU would get as hot as 86°C in 5 minutes and we had to stop the test to prevent it from getting even hotter. On the other hand, we suspect that the Ninja 3 would be able to cope with its job in fan-less mode if you take a colder CPU or have milder ambient conditions.

Every cooler was tested with Slip Stream 120 Adjustable PWM fans (SY1225SL12HPVC). You can refer to our earlier review for information about this fan’s noise characteristics.

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