Articles: Cooling

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The technical specs of Zalman’s water-cooling system are listed below.

Testbed and Methods

I think the Zalman Reserator 2 should be compared with a liquid cooling system or a high-performance air cooler. I didn’t have another liquid cooler at hand, but had plenty of super-coolers. Considering that the Reserator 2 features silent operation, I set the noise level from the opponent coolers to a minimum. The 120mm fan of the CPU cooler Enzotech Ultra-X was working at its lowest possible speed of 1130rpm (according to the monitoring tools), for details on the Enzotech Ultra-X cooler see our article called Scythe Andy Samurai Master and Enzotech Ultra-X Coolers vs. Overclocked CPUs. A Zalman VF900-Cu LED was installed on the graphics card to oppose Zalman’s water-block (for details see our article called Zalman VF900-Cu LED: New Universal VGA Cooler Review). It was set at its minimum 1380rpm, too. These two air coolers were audible, yet were very quiet at the said speeds.

The coolers were tested in a closed system case with the following configuration:

  • Mainboard: ASUS P5B Deluxe/WiFi-AP (Intel P965 chipset, LGA775, BIOS 1004)
  • Processors: Intel Core 2 Duo E6400 (2133MHz, 1.325V, 266x4MHz FSB, 2x1024KB L2 cache, SL9S9 Malay, Conroe B2)
  • Graphics card: Sysconn GeForce 7600 GT 256MB/128bit (running at 670/1584MHz with a ‑90MHz delta)
  • VGA cooler: Zalman VF900-Cu LED at 1380rpm
  • Thermal interface: Arctic Silver ­­­­5
  • Memory: 2 x 1024MB PC6400 Corsair CM2X1024-6400C4 DDR2 SDRAM (SPD: 800MHz, 4-4-4-12)
  • Disk subsystem: Hitachi HDT725032VLA360 (SATA-II, 320GB storage capacity, 7200rpm, 16MB cache, NCQ)
  • System case: ASUS ASCOT 6AR2-B Black&Silver with three system fans from Cooler Master (120mm, 1200rpm, 21dBA)
  • Power supply: MGE Magnum 500 (500W) + 80mm GlacialTech SilentBlade fan (~1700rpm, 19dBA)

All tests are performed in Windows XP Professional Edition Service Pack 2. SpeedFan 4.32 is used to monitor the temperature of the CPUs, reading it from the CPU sensor. The mainboard’s automatic fan speed management is disabled for the time of the tests. The thermal throttling of the Intel Core 2 Duo processor is controlled with RightMark CPU Clock Utility version 2.2 (our processor begins to skip clock cycles on reaching a temperature of 81.5°C).

The CPU was heated by Intel Thermal Analysis Tool (TAT) according to the method described in our article called Originality or Efficiency? Cooler Master Mars, Eclipse and Hyper TX Cooling Solutions Reviewed. Considering that liquid cooling systems need a long time for the coolant to heat up fully in the circuit, I left the system working for 1 hour (instead of 18 minutes as usual) under 100% load for both CPU cores. The CPU temperature would stabilize after 35-40 minutes with the liquid cooling system. With the air super-cooler the CPU temperature would stabilize in 7-8 minutes after the start of the test.

The Game test mode was simulated by running the Firefly Forest test from 3DMark 2006 in a loop for an hour. Anisotropic filtering and full-screen antialiasing were not enabled.

I performed at least two cycles of tests in each mode (TAT and S&M) and waited for 25-30 minutes for the temperature inside the system case to stabilize before each test cycle. The maximum temperature in the two test cycles was considered as the final result (if the difference is not bigger than 1°C – otherwise the test is performed once again). Despite the stabilization period, the result of the second cycle was 0.5-1°C higher.

The ambient temperature was monitored by means of an electric thermometer and remained at 24.5°C during the tests.

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