Articles: Cooling

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Testbed and Methods

The Thermalright HR-03 Plus was tested in a closed system case with the following configuration:

  • Mainboard: ASUS P5K Deluxe/WiFi-AP (Intel P35 chipset, LGA775, BIOS 0501)
  • Processor: Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 (2400MHz, 1.2875V, 266x4MHz FSB, 2x4096KB L2 cache, Kentsfield B3)
  • CPU cooler: Thermalright SI-128 with a 120mm Scythe Minebea fan at 1140rpm
  • Thermal interface: Arctic Silver 5
  • Graphics card: Leadtek GeForce 8800 GTS GDDR3 320MB/320bit at 513/1188/1548MHz
  • Memory: 2 x 1024MB Corsair Dominator TWIN2X2048-9136C5D DDR2 SDRAM (SPD: 1142MHz, 5-5-5-18, 2.1V)
  • Disk subsystem: Samsung HD501LJ (SATA-II, 500GB storage capacity, 7200rpm, 16MB cache, NCQ)
  • Optical drive: Samsung SH-S183L DVD-burner (SATA-II)
  • System case: ASUS ASCOT 6AR2-B Black&Silver with two 120mm 980rpm system fans Sharkoon Luminous Blue LED for intake and exhaust and a 120mm 940rpm GlacialTech SilentBlade GT12025-BDLA1 fan on a side panel
  • Power supply: Enermax Galaxy EGA1000EWL 1000W (a 135mm 850rpm fan for intake and a 80mm 1650rpm fan for exhaust)
  • Monitor: Dell 1800/1FP UltraSharp (1280x1024, DVI, 60Hz)

To give you a notion of the overall heat dissipation of the system case, I want to tell you that the quad-core CPU was overclocked from its default frequency to 3514MHz at a voltage of 1.65V. The system memory worked at 1177MHz and 2.15V voltage

The graphics card from Leadtek is equipped with a reference cooler that only differs from the others of its kind with the figured aluminum piece on the face side:

Otherwise, it is the standard cooler with a copper base, two heat pipes, and a densely ribbed heatsink. Every place of contact has with a soaked thermal pad, and the copper base has a very thick layer of thermal interface:

I used Arctic Silver 5 for this test, of course. When tested in the automatic mode, the graphics card’s blower varies its speed from 1500 to 2000rpm. When adjusted manually, the maximum speed is 2740rpm.

The graphics card was overclocked to its maximum stable frequencies, which were 622/1458/1890MHz.

I didn’t test the GeForce 8800 GTX you could see in the photo above as it didn’t have the reference cooler. The card from BFG comes with a water-block for using with a liquid cooling system and it wouldn’t be correct to compare it with the Thermalright HR-03 Plus.

The testing programs were installed under Windows XP Professional Edition SP2. I used DirectX 9.0c (dated August 2007) and ForceWare 163.71.

The graphics card was loaded up by running 3DMark06’s Firefly Forest test for ten times at 1280x1024 with 16x AF and 4x FSAA. The temperatures were monitored with RivaTuner 2.0.4.

I performed at least two cycles of tests for each cooler and waited for 10-15 minutes for the temperature to stabilize between each test cycle. The ambient temperature remained at 23.5-24°C during the tests (marked with a vertical red line in the diagrams).

The noise level of each cooler was measured according to our traditional method. The subjectively comfortable level of 36dBA is marked with a dash line in the diagram; the ambient noise from the system case with a passively cooled graphics card was about 34dBA from a distance of 1 meter.

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