Articles: Cooling
 

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Testbed and Methods

Our testbed was identical for all coolers throughout the test session and featured the following configuration:

  • Mainboard: ASUS P6T Deluxe (Intel X58 Express), LGA 1366, BIOS 1303;
  • Processor: Intel Core i7-920, 2.67GHz, 1.25V, 4 x 256KB L2, 8MB L3 (Bloomfield, C0);
  • Thermal interface: Arctic Silver 5;
  • Graphics card: ZOTAC GeForce GTX 260 AMP2! Edition 896MB, 648/1404/2108MHz (1030RPM);
  • Memory: DDR3 3 x 1GB Corsair DOMINATOR TWIN3X2048-1800C7DFIN (Spec: 1800MHz / 7-7-7-20 / 2.0V);
  • Disk subsystem: Western Digital VelociRaptor (SATA-II, 300GB storage capacity, 10,000RPM, 16MB cache, NCQ);
  • HDD silencer and cooler: Scythe Quiet Drive 3.5”;
  • Optical drive: Samsung SH-S183L;
  • System case: Antec Twelve Hundred (default 120mm fans replaced with Scythe Slip Stream 120 fans at 800RPM; 120-mm Scythe Gentle Typhoon at 800RPM installed on the lower front of the case; standard 200-mm fan at 400RPM at the top of the case);
  • Control and monitoring panel: Zalman ZM-MFC2;
  • Power supply: Zalman ZM1000-HP 1000W (with a default 140 mm fan).

During CPU overclocking we activated in the mainboard BIOS the “Load-Line Calibration” function that lowers the voltage drop on the part of the voltage regulator circuitry before the CPU. The system memory voltage was locked at 1.55V and its frequency started at 1500MHz (8-8-8-18 timings) and up. All other parameters available in the mainboard BIOS and connected with CPU or memory overclocking remained unchanged (set to Auto). Processor power-saving technologies were disabled during the test session. SMT was on.

All tests were performed under Windows Vista Ultimate Edition x86 SP1. We used the following software during our test session:

  • Real Temp 3.19b – to monitor the processor core temperature;
  • Linpack 32-bit with LinX shell version 0.5.7 – to create maximum CPU load (two test cycles, 15 Linpack runs in each cycle with 1624MB RAM capacity involved);
  • RivaTuner 2.24 – to visually control temperature changes (with RTCore plugin).

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

We tested all coolers at least twice for each fan operation mode. The stabilization period for the CPU temperature between the two test cycles was about 10 minutes. We took the maximum temperature of the hottest processor core of the four for the results charts. 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. During our test session room temperature stayed at 23.5-24°C.

We tested XIGMATEK Thor’s Hammer and its today’s competitor with two Enermax Magma fans. The fans were installed for air intake and exhaust:

 

The “war hammer” will be competing against “second infinity” in our today’s tests: Scythe Mugen 2 cooler:

According to our latest (and far not the last) cooler mega-shootout, Mugen 2 is currently the best solution from the efficiency-to-price standpoint. That is why our today’s hero as well as upcoming new solutions will have to challenge Mugen 2.

 
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