Articles: Cooling

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Testbed and Methods

The water cooling kits were tested on an open testbed. Putting aside the problems of assembly and filling in, no system case is required for our test because heat is anyway transferred to the outside. As for the assembly procedure, it will largely depend on the type and internal design of the specific system case, so I can’t make any general statements about it.

The testbed was configured like follows:

  • ASUS P5WDG2-WS mainboard
  • Intel Pentium Extreme Edition 955 (3.46GHz; Presler core, Hyper-Threading off)
  • Thermaltake Big Typhoon cooler (1200rpm)
  • 512MB DDR2 SDRAM
  • ATI Radeon X800 XL 256MB graphics card
  • Seagate Barracuda 7200.8 80GB hard disk drive
  • Seasonic SS-401HT power supply

The testbed has changed a little. As I wrote in my previous review, we had spent some time searching for a proper replacement to our late Intel Pentium Extreme Edition 3.2GHz on the Smithfield core. And now we can claim that our system is far ahead of any regular user configuration as well as of a lot of overclocked ones in terms of CPU heat dissipation. This should suffice for testing CPU coolers as well as system cases.

There were four test modes: Idle and Burn (two copies of the CPU Burn utility running). For the first and fourth configurations I also added HDD Burn mode (two file sets, a 7GB folder with many small files and a 40GB folder with movies, were being copied simultaneously from one partition to another) to evaluate the AquaBay M4. The HDD temperature was reported by the HDD Thermometer program.

The temperatures of the CPU and mainboard were read with ASUS PC Probe which was supplied with the mainboard. The chipset temperature was read by means of a thermocouple tester the ASUS P5WDG2-WS mainboard was unable to monitor the North Bridge temperature.

The temperatures were read only after they had fully stabilized.

As for the noise factor, I’ll give you my opinion about the noisiness of the preinstalled fans below. When testing the second system, I set the controller at the minimum, middle and maximum position which resulted in speeds of 1200, 1550 and 2400rpm, respectively.

If you want to know details, here is a table of specifications for each component of the water cooling kits I tested:

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