Articles: Cooling

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Testbed and Methods

Because of the problems with fitting the cooler into the system cases, we tested Scythe Orochi and its competitors only in one mode – in an open testbed, when the mainboard sits horizontally on the desk and the cooler is installed vertically.

Our testbed remained the same throughout the entire test session and featured the following configuration:

  • Mainboard: ASUSTek P5K Deluxe/WiFi-AP (Intel P35), LGA 775, BIOS 0812
  • Processor: Intel Core 2 Extreme QX9650 (3.0GHz, 1.25V, 2x6MB L2 cache, 4x333MHz FSB, Yorkfield, C0)
  • Thermal interface: Arctic Silver 5
  • Graphics card: HIS Radeon HD 3870 512MB / 256bit, @850/2480MHz
  • Graphics card cooler: Arctic Cooling Accelero S1 + Turbo Module
  • Memory:
    • 2 x 1024MB DDR2 Corsair Dominator TWIN2X2048-9136C5D (1142MHz / 5-5-5-18 / 2.1V);
    • 2 x 1024MB DDR2 CSXO-XAC-1200-2GB-KIT DIABLO (1200MHz / 5-5-5-16 / 2.4V).
  • Disk subsystem: Samsung HD501LJ (SATA-II, 500GB storage capacity, 7200rpm, 16MB cache, NCQ)
  • Optical drive: Samsung SH-S183L SATA-II DVD RAM & DVD±R/RW & CD±RW
  • System case*: ASUS ASCOT 6AR2-B Black&Silver (ATX) with 120mm ~960RPM Scythe Slip Stream fans for air intake and exhaust (the fans are installed on silicon spindles), and the same 120mm ~840RPM fan on the side panel
  • Control and monitoring panel: Zalman ZM-MFC2
  • Power supply: Enermax Galaxy DXX (EGA1000EWL) 1000W (a default 135mm fan for intake and 80mm fan for air exhaust)

* - necessary for one testing mode.

All tests were performed under Windows XP Professional Edition SP2. SpeedFan 4.34 Beta 44 was used to monitor the temperature of the CPU, reading it directly from the CPU core sensor. The mainboard’s automatic fan speed management feature was disabled for the time of the tests in the mainboard BIOS. The CPU thermal throttling was controlled with the RightMark CPU Clock Utility version 2.35.0. The CPU was heated up with OCCT (OverClock Checking Tool) version 2.0.0a in a 30-minute test with maximum CPU utilization, during which the system remained idle in the first 1 and last 4 minutes of the test so that the temperature could stabilize. OCCT monitoring charts are built automatically that is why unfortunately, we couldn’t change the scale or put multiple results onto the same chart.

I performed at least two cycles of tests and waited for approximately 20~25 minutes for the temperature in the open testbed to stabilize during each test cycle. Despite the stabilization period, the result of the second test cycle was usually 0.5-1°C higher. The maximum temperature of the hottest CPU core of the four in the two test cycles was considered the final result (if the difference was no bigger than 1°C – otherwise the test was performed at least once again).

The ambient temperature was checked next to the system case with an electronic thermometer that allows monitoring the temperature changes over the past 6 hours. Unfortunately, they turned off the central heater once cool weather set in. as a result, the room temperature dropped to 21 ~ 21.5°C range. It is used as a staring point on the thermal diagram. Note that the fan rotation speeds as shown in the same diagram are the average readings reported by SpeedFan, and not the official claimed fan specifications.

We decided to compare the performance of our Scythe Orochi against that of another passive cooler – Scythe Ninja Copper tested without any fans, because our main goal was to compare these two cooling solutions in passive mode considering Orochi’s positioning in the market. By the way, this is what they look like side by side:

The difference is evident, don’t you think so? :) And from the super-cooler camp we included the well-known ZEROtherm NV120 Premium cooler:

We tested this cooler in two modes: with the fan rotating at ~1320RPM and at maximum fan rotation speed of ~2760RPM. Scythe Orochi was tested not only with a standard 140-mm fan, but also with one and then with two 120-mm Scythe SlipStream 120 fans working at ~1040RPM and ~2020RPM.

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