|Best CPU Cooler Performance Intel/AMD Q1-2010|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Cooling|
|Written by Olin Coles|
|Saturday, 13 March 2010|
Page 20 of 24
Intel 980X: Stock Cooling Fan
Benchmark Reviews tries to cover every angle, but sometimes it's just not possible given our time constraints. Past articles from our 'Best CPU Cooler Performance' series have largely focused on the Intel Core 2 Duo/Quad LGA775 socket, and while the results are relevant to users owning that series of processor, the new Core i7 platform is completely different. To the inexperienced enthusiast, a top-performing LGA775 cooler might be (mistakenly) considered worthy for cooling a new LGA1366 Core i7 project. This would be a grave error, because not only are the two processors different in overall size, they also place the processor cores in different locations. Simply stated: what worked well on a Core 2 platform may not work very good at all with Core i7.
Since our Intel Core i7-980X Extreme Edition six-core Gulftown test processor has been overclocked to 4.0GHz for both LGA1366-based heatsink tests, the only real difference will be the fans used. For the "Stock Cooling Fan" results, Benchmark Reviews tests our collection of LGA1366 heatsinks for this article with the manufacturer-included fan, so that performance will be relevant to consumers using the cooling product in stock form. Manufacturer-supplied stock cooling fans usually offer either extremely high airflow or incredibly low noise, so there's a lot riding on what's packaged with the kit. Sure, there's added importance on the cooler's design and construction, but at the stock level these factors really don't carry tremendous weight.
Benchmark Reviews has tested several new products (along with a few top-performers from previous tests) in stock form for the Intel LGA1366 socket, with the average temperature difference (core temp minus ambient temp) noted beside each heatsink:
Using the included stock fan, the $69.95 Cogage Arrow yields an impressive performance of only 28.8°C over the ambient room temperature. For only $34.99 though, the Scythe Mugen-2 nearly ties performance by earning 29.0°C over ambient. Zalman's CNPS10X-Permorma also joins the top heatsinks after posting 29.71°C, while the Titan FENRIR and Thermolab BARAM chase it similar results. Not far behind the leaders is giant-sized Noctua NH-D14 that produced 30.09°C with two NF-P14 140mm fans. At an affordable $39.95 price point, the Cogage TRUE Spirit brings top-end performance to mainstream enthusiasts on a budget.
The Coolink Corator-DS heatsink offers excellent cooling performance with very little noise, and produced only 31.48°C over ambient with the stock SWiF2-120P fan. Tuniq's Tower-120 Extreme, the inexpensive CyberPowerPC XtremeGear HP-1216B, Xigmatek Balder SD1283, and 3R-System IceAge Prima Boss-II all battle within the 32°C range.
A noisy ZEROtherm Nirvana NV120-Premium delivered 33.44°C over ambient, while a much more quiet Cooler Master Hyper-N620 produced 34.27°C. The Thermaltake Contac-29, twin-fan Noctua NH-U12P SE1366, and Intel DBX-B Advanced Thermal Solution each offered a silent 36°C over ambient temperature. All in all, every single heatsink performed very well with an already-overclocked Intel 980X processor running at 4.0GHz with 1.375 volts.
If you want to see how all of these coolers performed with a high-volume cooling fan attached to the overclocked 980X processor, please continue into the next section...