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Reviews - Featured Reviews: Cooling
Written by Olin Coles   
Thursday, 01 January 2009
Table of Contents: Page Index
Best CPU Cooler Performance LGA775 - Q4 2008
Thermally Conductive Element Reference
CoolIT Domino ALC
GlacialTech UFO V51
Thermaltake SpinQ CL-P0466
Thermaltake V1 AX CL-P0508
Titan FENRIR TTC-NK85TZ
Zalman CNPS9900 LED
TIM Application and Surface
Testing Methodology
Test Results: Stock Cooling Fan
Test Results: High-Output Fan
CPU Cooler Final Thoughts
Best of Q4 2008 Conclusion

Best CPU Cooler Performance

From my experience, 2008 has been a very good year for CPU coolers. We've tested the OCZ Vendetta 2 to perform as well or better than coolers twice its price, and we've discovered that the Thermaltake V14 Pro can deliver top cooling performance while looking good. But heading into 2009 we must bid farewell to the LGA775 platform, which has been the home to many of our most popular products, and welcome in the new LGA1366 socket for the Intel Core i7 CPU & X58 platform. This Best CPU Cooler Performance - Q4 2008 article will be the last foreseeable socket T series round-up from Benchmark Reviews, unless something really big changes the landscape.

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.

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 fourth article of our series is to document performance and declare the best CPU coolers available as of Q4 2008.

New Test Products

Previous Performers

  • CoolIT Domino ALC
  • GlacialTech UFO V51
  • Thermaltake SpinQ CL-P0466
  • Thermaltake V1 AX CL-P0508
  • Titan FENRIR TTC-NK85TZ
  • Zalman CNPS9900 LED

Honorable Mention

Under-Achievers

Computer hardware is an ever-evolving industry, and since Moore's 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.



 

Comments 

 
# RE: Best CPU Cooler Performance LGA775 - Q4 2008SGT 2010-03-02 11:28
Used this for about 8 months and it started to leak around the pump area work well but in not up to the job in a long hall i replace it with a CORSAIR CWCH50 Hydro Water Cooler...and never look back
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# RE: Best CPU Cooler Performance LGA775 - Q4 2008Michael 2010-07-01 22:55
I used it for 6 month, not so good especially at low speed fan. Once you increase the fan speed it becomes very noisy!
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# Good CPU Cooler BUT MOBO CooksGraham 2010-11-10 06:13
As with most replacement ccolers you have a trade off.With Sttandard cooler you have reduced cooling available for overclocking yet you still have the mobo components cooled by the same fan.With this cooler solution you get amazing cooling if maybee a little noisy when ramped up,I use it on a intel Quad 6600 running at almost 4gig (per core) overclock on a top end Lanpsrty Mobo.The Cpu runs idle at 28-30deg and Sressed when benchmarking at 48-50 so really good.The biggest problem is, even when used in a huge custom case with 2 x 250 mm case fans and three 120 rear fans (One of which adds pull action to the Radiator of the coolit) i have a major problem with the motherboard cooling sometimes hitting in excess of 60 deg which causes all sorts of issues. So to conclued it is a great product If your not doing extreem Overclocking. BUT i Intend to replace it with a Noctua NH-C12P SE14, AM2/AM3/775/1156/1366 which has a 140mm downward facing fan to keep the mobo temps under control.
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