Best CPU Cooler Performance - Q3 2008 E-mail
Reviews - Featured Reviews: Cooling
Written by Olin Coles   
Wednesday, 08 October 2008
Table of Contents: Page Index
Best CPU Cooler Performance - Q3 2008
Thermally Conductive Element Reference
Cooler Master Geminii S
Cooler Master V8
Coolink Silentator
Evercool Transformer 6
OCZ Gladiator Max
Thermaltake V14 Pro
Vantec AeroFlow FX 120
Xigmatek Apache EP-CD901
Xigmatek HDT-S1284
Zalman CNPS9300 AT
Zaward Gyre ZCJ010
TIM Application and Surface
Testing Methodology
Test Results: Stock Cooling Fan
Test Results: High-Output Fan
CPU Cooler Final Thoughts
Best of Q3 2008 Conclusion

Best CPU Cooler Performance

When it comes down to it, consumers that shop for aftermarket cooling products only want one thing: the very best their money can buy. It makes perfect sense, too. Since so many products flood the market every day, it all comes down to price and performance. Based on this principal, Benchmark Reviews searches out the latest CPU coolers and tests them under real-world overclocked conditions. Want to know which cooling products stand-out? This quarterly update to our Best CPU Cooler Performance series will separate the good from the bad.

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. These changes helped up re-work our testing just in time for the last Best CPU Cooler Performance - Q2 2008 article.

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 of the readers who visit Benchmark Reviews have been involved with other community websites for several 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 third article of our series is to document performance and declare the best CPU coolers available as of Q3 2008.

New Test Products

Previous Performers

  • Cooler Master Geminii S (RR-CCH-PBJ1-GP)
  • Cooler Master V8 (RR-UV8-XBU1-GP)
  • Coolink Silentator
  • Evercool Transformer 6 (HPI-12025)
  • OCZ Gladiator Max (OCZTGLADM)
  • Thermaltake V14 Pro (CL-P0471)
  • Vantec AeroFlow FX 120 (VAF-1225)
  • Xigmatek Apache XP-CD901
  • Xigmatek HDT-S1284
  • Zalman CNPS9300 AT
  • Zaward Gyre (ZCJ010)

Honorable Mention

Under-Achievers

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 cooler. 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 mean 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.

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). 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 potentially offer better performance than the products we test for this article. Suffice it to say however, the vast majority of gamers and enthusiasts are using air-cooled solutions and therefore we target this review series towards them. 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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