Articles: Cooling
 

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Testbed and Methods

We ran all tests inside a system case with a removed side panel. Here is our testbed configuration:

  • Mainboard: ASUS P6T Deluxe (Intel X58 Express, LGA 1366, BIOS 2101, the chipset heatsink is topped with a 50 mm fan);
  • Processor: Intel Core i7-980X Extreme Edition, 3.33 GHz, 1.225 V, 6 x 256 KB L2, 12 MB L3 (Gulftown, B1);
  • Thermal interface: Arctic Cooling MX-2;
  • Graphics card: ATI Radeon HD 5770 1 GB GDDR5 128 bit, 850/4800 MHz;
  • Memory: DDR3 3 x 2 GB OCZ Platinum Low-Voltage Triple Channel (Spec: 1600MHz / 7-7-7-24 / 1.65 V);
  • Sound card: Auzen X-Fi HomeTheater HD;
  • System drive: OCZ Agility EX SSD (SATA-II, 60 GB, SLC, Indillinx, firmware v1.31);
  • HDD for games and programs: Western Digital VelociRaptor (SATA-II, 300 GB storage capacity, 10,000 RPM, 16 MB cache, NCQ) inside Scythe Quiet Drive 3.5” silencer and cooler chassis;
  • Backup HDD: Western Digital Caviar Green WD10EADS (SATA-II, 1000 GB, 5400 RPM, 32 MB, NCQ);
  • System case: Antec Twelve Hundred (front panel: three Noiseblocker NB-Multiframe S-Series MF12-S1 fans at 960 RPM; back panel: two Thermalright X-Silent 120 fans at 960 RPM; top panel: standard 200 mm fan at 400 RPM; side panel removed);
  • Control and monitoring panel: Zalman ZM-MFC2;
  • Power supply: Zalman ZM1000-HP 1000 W (with a default 140 mm fan).

When we tested the coolers with fans installed, we overclocked our six-core processor (with its default protuberant heat-spreader) with the multiplier set at 24x and “Load-Line Calibration” enabled to 4.41 GHz. The nominal processor Vcore was increased to 1.44375 V in the mainboard BIOS:

Turbo Boost and Hyper-Threading technologies were disabled during our test session. The memory voltage was at 1.64 V and its frequency was 1.47 GHz (7-7-7-14_1T timings). All other parameters available in the mainboard BIOS and related to CPU or memory overclocking remained unchanged.

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

  • Linpack 64-bit with LinX shell version 0.6.4 – to create maximum CPU load (5 Linpack runs in each cycle with 4500 MB RAM capacity involved);
  • CPU-Z 1.55 x64 – to monitor processor core voltage and frequency;
  • Real Temp GT 3.59 Beta – to monitor the processor core temperature;
  • CPU-Tweaker 1.5 – to visually monitor temperatures and frequencies using graphics.

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

We increased the amount of RAM compared with our previous test session in order to increase the load. 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 CPU core for the results charts. Moreover, we will also provide a table with the temperature readings for all cores including their average values. 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. The room temperature during our test session varied between the annoying 23.6-23.9 °C.

We are going to compare Thermalright Silver Arrow against Noctua NH-D14 super-cooler with a default fan and with two Thermalright TY-140 fans:

 

 

Both coolers were tested in three speed modes of their Thermalright TY-140 fans: at 810, 1020 and 1280 (±2%) RPM. Besides that, we also tested the efficiency of Silver Arrow and NH-D14 with two high-speed Scythe Slip Stream 140 fans at 1750 RPM (92.4 CFM).

 
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