Articles: Cooling

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Cooling Efficiency and Acoustic Performance

The results of our tests are sorted out in order of increasing cooling efficiency. When the cooling efficiency was equal (read – the same CPU temperature under peak load) the preference was with a quieter system. So, here are the results:

It is obvious that the cooling efficiency of Thermaltake PW880i is extremely close to that of the best super-cooler in the today’s market equipped with two high-quality fans. I have to say that this is a fairly weak result for a custom liquid-cooling system put together from thoroughly selected components. However, as for a mass production liquid-cooling system, the outcome is actually quite nice, especially keeping in mind that the total cost of the air-cooler with the fans is around $125. The alternative PWB100 water block really does improve the cooling efficiency by about 3 °C in quiet as well as maximum rotation speed mode, which allows Thermaltake PW880i to catch up with the super-cooler in efficiency. It is interesting that in idle mode the liquid-cooling cools the CPU better than an air-cooler.

As for the acoustic readings, we can’t really flatter Thermaltake PW880i much, because the pump is quite noisy. It produced 39.6 dBA of noise, which is not in a comfortable or even moderate acoustic range. Of course, the location of the pump during the test session had definitely something to do with this high noise level. I am sure that if we put it inside the system case or place on something soft and shock absorbing, its crackling sound will be easier to deal with. Nevertheless, we would like to see Thermaltake finally take care of this issue, because the same exact pump model is shipped with the third liquid-cooling system from Thermaltake in a row that we have already tested. The fans turned out surprisingly quiet: at 1020 RPM we couldn’t hear them at all against the background of the quiet system case (33.0 dBA at a 1 m distance). No cracking sounds of any kind. And at maximum 1980 RPM rotation speed the fans generated 41.9 dBA. For your reference, Thermalright IFX-14 with the fans at 1170 RPM was also inaudible against the system case noises, and at 1830 RPM produced 38.7 dBA of noise.

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