Articles: Cooling

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Thermal and Acoustic Performance

First of all let’s take a look at the thermal performance of our cooling solutions with an overclocked quad-core CPU:

Well, XIGMATEK HDT-S963 killed all its competitors in a closed system case, including the Scythe Infinity. Of course, in an open testbed Scythe Infinity took back the leading position, especially since it can easily accommodate a second 120-mm fan, while XIGMATEK HDT-S963 doesn’t allow it. Although at the maximum fan rotation speed, XIGMATEK HDT-S963 didn’t fall too far behind its today’s competitors.

However, now we should better check out the noise level diagram (the measurements were taken according to our methodology described in the previous articles; the subjectively comfortable noise level of 36dBA is marked with a dotted line):

As you can see, XIGMATEK HDT-S963 is too noisy with the fan working at its maximum rotation speed, which is also proven subjectively. The lowest rotation speed of 1650rpm was also selected for a reason (we performed the management with SpeedFan tool): if you raise its rotation speed above this level, the cooler will immediately stand out against the background of the considerably quiet system case. Moreover, it is a pretty dramatic change in the acoustic performance, that indicates a not very high quality fan motor, because it is the fan motor and not the airflow or the bearing that generates most of the noise.

In addition to the thermal measurements described above, we would like to say that the heatsink of XIGMATEK HDT-S963 cooler heats up almost immediately when the processor workload increases. Heatpipe direct touch technology works exactly as it is supposed to, however, the heatsink heat dissipating surface area is not big enough for the overclocked quad-core processor that is why the results are pretty low in the quiet mode and improve significantly (by 8?C in an open testbed) once the fan rotation speed hits its maximum. So, looks like they will need to increase the heatsink surface area to improve the cooler efficiency.

Now let’s check out the maximum processor frequency and its peak temperature in burn mode for each of the testing participants. All the tests were performed in an open testbed:

For a more adequate analysis of our testing participants’ cooling abilities we also provide the noise measurements (taken from a 1m distance). We would also like to add some processor voltage data at maximum frequency, which varied for different coolers:

  • XIGMATEK HDT-S963 at 1650rpm – 1.4625V;
  • XIGMATEK HDT-S963 at 2800rpm – 1.500V;
  • Cooler Master Hyper TX – 1.500V;
  • Scythe Infinity – 1.500V.

The results demonstrated by our today’s main hero, XIGMATEK HDT-S963, are quite logical: high processor temperature and the lower overclocking result in quiet mode and at the same time excellent result at maximum fan rotation speed. Cooler Master Hyper TX looks even better: although it loses to XIGMATEK HDT-S963 under peak workload, it gets the CPU to run stably at 3304MHz with lower noise level (37.5dBA against 39.4dBA by XIGMATEK HDT-S963). As for Scythe Infinity, it is beyond all competition this time.

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