Best CPU Cooler Performance - Q2 2008 E-mail
Reviews - Featured Reviews: Cooling
Written by Olin Coles   
Monday, 14 July 2008
Table of Contents: Page Index
Best CPU Cooler Performance - Q2 2008
Thermally Conductive Element Reference
Cooler Master Hyper Z600
Cooler Master CM Sphere
Gigabyte G-Power II Pro
GlacialTech Igloo 5750
Noctua NH-C12P
SilenX IXC-120HA2
Sunbeam Core Contact Freezer CR-CCTF
Thermaltake V1 CL-0401
Thermaltake DuOrb CL-P0464
TIM Application and Surface
Testing Methodology
Test Results: Stock Cooling Fan
Test Results: High-Output Fan
Final Thoughts and Conclusion
Best of Q2-2008 Conclusion
The Aftermath: Editors Notes

Best CPU Cooler Performance - Q2 2008

Benchmark Reviews launched a quarterly roundup of CPU coolers beginning with the article Best CPU Cooler Performance - Q1 2008. That first article has been very successful and showed how well our collection of coolers performed, but I will be the very first person to admit that the methodology wasn't perfect. While the idea of testing each product with a common fan is good, it was decided that future articles would utilize the included stock fan in addition to a high-volume fan.

After publishing the first quarterly comparison article of the series, our methodology was adjusted to include test results with both reference and performance cooling fans. A follow-up article comparing the Vendetta 2 vs TRUE vs HDT-S1283 was later published using the new methods, and the results more accurately illustrated the performance an overclocking enthusiast might receive compared to someone who buys the product and uses it in the stock form.

Benchmark Reviews strives to offer the overclocker and hardware enthusiast community solid evidence reflecting the true performance of computer products through rigorous testing and evaluation. I personally understand that many readers who visit Benchmark Reviews have been involved with other community websites for years, and therefore take our test results personally. So now that our test process has been reworked, we have collected the most complete source of benchmark results possible and gathered in a controlled environment. The purpose of this second article of our series is to document performance and declare the best CPU coolers available as of Q2 2008.

Q2 2008 Featured Products

Comparison Products

(Listed in alphabetical order)

  • Cooler Master Hyper Z600
  • Cooler Master Sphere
  • Gigabyte G-Power II Pro
  • GlacialTech Igloo 5750
  • Noctua NH-C12P
  • SilenX IXC-120HA2
  • Sunbeam Core Contact Freezer CR-CCTF
  • Thermaltake V1 CL-0104
  • Thermaltake DuOrb CL-0604
  • (Listed in order of previous test performance)

    Computer hardware is an ever-evolving industry, and since Moores law only applies to an exponentially growing transistor count, then there should probably be another law for cooling. In the very recent past there have been two major trends which have accelerated the performance potential of CPU coolers. That first development was the use of heat-pipes to directly contact with the CPU surface; which resulted in the Heat-pipe Direct Touch technology. The second development is by no means a new concept, just new to our industry in specific. For many years now heatsinks have been full of right angles, but very recently companies have begun to recognize the need to disrupt smooth airflow and reduce the laminar skin effect which allows air to travel just above the solid surface. Some manufacturers have used at least one of these new concepts in their product design, and only a few are beginning to incorporate both. Benchmark Reviews will see how much this effects the overall performance as we test a large segment of products.

    Best_CPU_Coolers_of_Q2-2008_Splash.jpg

    Our scope is limited to stand-alone products only, meaning those products which can be installed and operated without additional critical components needed or kit construction. This generally excludes nearly all liquid cooling systems, which may offer better performance than the products we test. Suffice it to say however, the vast majority of gamers and enthusiasts are using air-cooled solutions and therefore we target this article towards them.

    Manufacturers are not expected to enjoy this sort of comparison, since we level the playing field by replacing their included fan (whenever applicable) with a common unit which we then use for every CPU cooler we test. Manufacturers regularly include fans with their CPU cooler products, and more often than not these fans are very high RPM units which offer great airflow at the expense of an obnoxiously loud noise level. By using the same model of cooling fan throughout our testing, we can assure our results are comparable across the board. This is one of the more significant changes we have made to our test methodology, since many of the benchmark tests we have conducted in the past have compared the total package. Ultimately we're more interested in discovering the best CPU cooler performance and we believe that you'll feel the same way.

    Before we introduce our newest collection of CPU coolers, let's establish that our tests consist of methods we have determined to be the best for our one singular purpose. Our methodology isn't written in stone, and could very likely be changed or modified as we receive justification (and feedback from the community).

    We encourage hardware enthusiasts to utilize the equipment available to them, and select the cooling fan that best suits their needs. Just keep in mind that exceptional cooling performance must begin with the CPU cooler, and end with the cooling fan. It's the foundation of the unit that makes a difference, which is exactly what we're after in this article.



     

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