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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
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 of Q4 2008 Conclusion

Intel has made its mark with their LGA775 'Socket T' interface. For enthusiasts and overclockers, there's still plenty of life left in the old platform. Prices on the Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 and Q8200 have both dropped to $189.99 as we begin 2009, while the Core 2 Duo E8400 sells for $164.99. All of these products provide excellent value, and give hardware enthusiasts a reason to patronize P45 and X48 chipsets. Furthermore, there are so many excellent CPU coolers to choose from that you can't go wrong with any one of our top choices. My sources tell me that high-temperature processors are going to be put into extinction before long, and overclocking the CPU will become more challenging.

Testing these CPU coolers has a very long and stressful job for me over the past year; but once the data gets transferred and results are calculated it begins to make it all worth the trouble. Three degrees is all that separates over fifteen different top-end CPU coolers. Because the technical architecture and design concepts have been converging for so long now, it's not really all that surprising to see similar results. Nevertheless, this article is the last round-up for the Core Duo platform, and we now concentrate our effort towards the new Intel LGA1366 socket found on the X58 platform. I expect to use the Gigabyte GA-EX58-EXTREME motherboard, primarily because radiant heat can be removed from the X58 Northbridge by looping it into the video cards water-cooling system.


But before Benchmark Reviews moves on, allow me to offer my final suggestions for CPU coolers. I determined this standing by taking five variables into account: performance, cost, installation, construction, and availability. Obviously performance has the most impact on my decision, but if two or more coolers perform the same and one costs half as much it begs to reason that I favor the more affordable product. Furthermore, well-built and easy-to-install products get my vote over something less convenient. Finally, rare and hard-to-find CPU coolers are less desirable than readily-stocked products. So without further delay, here are my top ten choices for the socket LGA775 platform in order of preference:

  1. OCZ Vendetta 2 (OCZTVEND2): Consistent top-performer with the OCZTFORCV mounting kit available for maximum contact pressure. As of January 2009, the OCZTVEND2 kit sell for $49.99 ($39.99 after rebate) at NewEgg.
  2. Kingwin RVT-12025: A clone of the HDT-S1283, but with slightly lower-volume fan included. With a $13.98 price tag, this is the most affordable top-performance product available; leaving money to upgrade the fan and mounting kit.
  3. Xigmatek HDT-S1283: The grandfather of HDT still performs at the top of of our charts, and the Xigmatek CrossBow kit ACK-I7751 only costs an extra $6.99. Presently the HDT-S1283 sells for $36.61.
  4. Vantec AeroFlow 120 VAF-1225: Clones the HDT-S1283 design and cleans-up the appearance with a well-polished look. Currently the VAF-1225 sells for $39.99 from NewEgg, and accepts the same bolt-through kits.
  5. Cooler Master Hyper Z600: This large multi-fan ready cooler has enormous potential for extreme overclocking. The RR-600-NNU1-GP package is available for $59.99 and comes with it's own LGA775 and LGA1366 bolt-through kits.
  6. Sunbeam Core Contact Freezer CR-CCTF: Four exposed heat-pipes offer very good cooling, even with the stock fans. A proprietary clamp-down system keep the CR-CCTF in place. Available at NewEgg for $39.99.
  7. Noctua NH-U12P: Although this is our best-performing CPU cooler, it is also the hardest to find. NewEgg offers the updated 'Second Edition' NH-U12P SE1366 for $74.99 which includes two fans and bolt-through kits for LGA775 and LGA1366.
  8. SilenX IXC-120HA2: Similar to the CR-CCTF, but supports two 120mm fans. SilenX includes one of their iXtrema Pro Quiet fans, which I enthusiastically endorse. NewEgg lists the SilenX IXC-120HA2 for $49.99.
  9. Thermalright Ultra-120 eXtreme: Known as the 'TRUE' this cooler needs some extra attention and requires that you purchase fan(s) separately, but otherwise performs very well. At $79.99, very few retailers still offer the TRUE online.
  10. Cooler Master V8: Performs well with the included 120mm fan, but performs even better with the Yate Loon D12SH-12. The RR-UV8-XBU1-GP kit includes LGA775 and LGA1366 bolt-through components, and sells for $69.99 online.

This concludes the Q4 2008 review of the Best Performing CPU Coolers. Overall, I believe Benchmark Reviews has done a very good job of searching out the best-of-the-best cooling products over the past year, and proved what works on a real-world system. These are my suggestions for the Best CPU Cooler products heading into 2009 for the Core Duo/LGA775 platform. In our next roundup article, we begin trials on the Core i7-920 for the LGA1366 socket. Please make your suggestions, or leave comments and questions in our Discussion Forum.

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# 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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