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Cooling Efficiency Tests

AMD Radeon Graphics Cards

First of all let’s see how well the new Scythe Setsugen 2 and its competitors will cope with a hot graphics accelerator like AMD Radeon HD 6970 2 GB in the gaming mode:

Overall, the situation looks very good for Setsugen 2, because even in quiet mode of the standard fan at 1000 RPM, the cooler works better than the reference one in automatic mode. Setsugen 2 starts cooling even better if you replace the slim default fan a regular 255 mm fan: the peak temperature in this case dropped by 9°C. At maximum fan rotation speed this difference reduces to 4°C. I have to say that even though Setsugen 2 proved to be more efficient than the reference cooler in the gaming mode, it lost to both alternative competitors from Arctic Cooling and Thermalright. However, it was something we had expected to happen. Here I would only like to add that Arctic Cooling Accelero Twin Turbo Pro has totally failed on a powerful graphics card like that:

At the same time, we shouldn’t get too excited about the success of Setsugen 2 in the gaming test just yet, because it still has to pass the “brutal” FurMark:

Scythe Setsugen 2 fails to cool AMD Radeon HD 6970 2 GB in this test. And it is not really about the super-high GPU temperature. The GPU overheating protection system kicks in, because even at maximum rotation speed of the cooler’s default fan and with the max overheating threshold increased by 20% in the Catalyst driver, we still go the following graph under heavy load in the FurMark test:

The overheating protection starts kicking in after 4-5 minutes into the test, and replacing the slim fan with a standard one didn’t help, although it did lower the peak temperature by 8°C. At the same time, other testing participants, including the reference cooling system produced straight graphs without any short-term drops in graphics card clock speed. I would also like to add that Arctic Cooling Accelero XTREME 5970 on Radeon HD 6970 proved to be more efficient than Thermalright Shaman.

Well, since Scythe Setsugen 2 failed to cool a super-powerful AMD Radeon HD 6970 2 GB, let’s see how well it deals with a less hot AMD Radeon HD 6870 1 GB at nominal frequencies. Unfortunately, neither Arctic Cooling Accelero XTREME 5970 nor Thermalright Shaman were compatible with this graphics cards, so Setsugen 2 will only be competing against the reference graphics card cooler and Arctic Cooling Accelero Twin Turbo Pro in two speed modes. Here are the results obtained in FurMark:

As we can see, Scythe Setsugen 2 does way better with the less hot Radeon HD 6870 than it did with AMD’s most powerful single-GPU graphics accelerator Radeon HD 6970. At the same time, the cooler loses 5°C to its competitor, Arctic Cooling Accelero Twin Turbo Pro, in quiet mode although it does outperform the latter at maximum fan speed. Replacing the default Slip Stream Slim fan with a 25 mm one was considerably less rewarding than on Radeon HD 6970, but the cooling efficiency did improve. As we have expected, the reference Radeon HD 6870 cooler was the ultimate outsider this time, unless you don’t really care about the noise from the VGA cooler at all.

Now let’s see how the new Scythe cooling solution and its competitors will cope with an Nvidia GPU.

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