|Best CPU Cooler Performance Intel/AMD Q1-2010|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Cooling|
|Written by Olin Coles|
|Saturday, 13 March 2010|
Page 19 of 24
AMD X4-965: High-Output Fan
Overclockers are known for being particular to their equipment, which is why Benchmark Reviews changes our format with each new project. Although it's impossible to nail-down which fan is the overwhelming choice for overclocker project, most enthusiasts would agree that the higher the airflow the more appropriate the fan. Because of size and design constraints in most of these products, a 120x120x25mm fan is as large as we can go with our collection of CPU coolers. This section uses the high-output Yate Loon D12SH-12 cooling fan on each product tested. The D12SH-12 cooling fan forces an impressive 88 CFM of air at a moderately noisy 40 dBA, and performs better than several 120x120x38mm fans we've tested (more on that later). In my experience, the Yate Loon D12SH-12 is one of the best 120mm cooling fans available in regards to the noise to performance ratio.
While our stock-fan performance tests utilize aftermarket CPU coolers in stock form, this section makes use of Yate Loon D12SH-12 cooling fan to tame the 4.0 GHz overclock at 1.55V on the AMD Phenom II X4 965. While some enthusiasts have dared to trespass beyond this voltage, Benchmark Reviews needed our test system to remain functional long enough to complete testing on nearly twenty various products under several different conditions. Our readers must remember that every product must pass testing on the same motherboard and processor, or the testing must be redone completely. This is why we backed down from 1.6V after a few tests, since three of the top coolers we tested could barely keep the temperatures under control.
All of the top performing CPU coolers have a few things in common: bolt-through mounting clip systems that create impressive contact pressure. Adding a high-volume fan ensure that the cooler performs at it's very best. Listed in their order of overclocked cooling performance, these are the Best CPU Coolers for an overclocked AMD AM2/AM3 socket, with the temperature difference noted beside each cooler (CPU core temp minus 20-20.7°C ambient room temp):
Without a doubt, the Scythe Mugen 2 SCMG-2000 is making a solid name for itself by leading the results with 26.2°C over ambient. This reinforces my Honorable Mention in the Benchmark Reviews Editors Choice Awards 2009. Xigmatek's S126384 does well enough to tame our overclocked processor down to 27.6°C over ambient. The new Zalman CNPS10X-Performa impressed us with an overclocked temperature of 29.8°C over ambient.
Of course, we can't forget that several high-end coolers didn't get tested on the AMD platform for lack of mounting hardware. Popular top-performers like the Prolimatech Megahalems, Thermalright Ultra-120 eXtreme, and Cogage TRUE Spirit will have to live in an Intel-dominated world... at least until the mounting kits arrive. In the next section, these heatsinks (and a few others) are tested on the six-core Intel Core i7-980X Gulftown processor.