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Reviews - Featured Reviews: Cooling
Written by Olin Coles   
Wednesday, 06 January 2010
Table of Contents: Page Index
Best CPU Cooler Performance AMD Socket AM3 Preview
Thermally Conductive Element Reference
Scythe Kabuto SCKBT-1000
Scythe Mugen-2 SCMG-2000
Spire TherMax II
Tuniq Tower 120 Extreme
Xigmatek Thor's Hammer
ZEROtherm Nirvana NV120 PWM Premium
Cooler Surface Preparations
Cooler Test Methodology
Test Results: Stock Cooling Fan
Test Results: High-Output Fan

Test Results: Stock Cooling Fan

When it comes to personal computers, you could probably divide users into two separate groups for almost any one topic. This article is no different, and those two groups include both enthusiasts and overclockers. Hardcore overclockers and serious hardware enthusiasts may not consider the stock cooling results very interesting, but they're welcome to skip ahead into the next section where we add a high-performance fan and then add overclocked values. Believe it or not though, some people are on a budget and don't have the extra money to spend on aftermarket cooling fans or an additional bolt-through mounting kit; sometimes they just want good cooling right out of the box. This section is for them.

In regards to fan noise, there are those of us who want it quiet while other will tolerate an eardrum-ringing whine. Since noise is a problem and not a solution, I believe that most enthusiasts want as much performance as they can get without additional tweaking and time-intensive modifications. That's what this test section is all about: how the cooler performs out of the box. For the "Stock Cooling Fan" results, Benchmark Reviews tests our collection of LGA1366 CPU coolers for this article using the following criteria: Each cooler is tested with the manufacturer-included fan, so that performance will be relevant to consumers using the product in stock form.

In these stock-fan cooling tests, Benchmark Reviews tests each CPU cooler with the AMD Phenom II X4 965 overclocked to 4.0GHz at 1.55V. Benchmark Reviews has tested several new products (along with a few top-performers from the previous series) in stock form for the AMD AM2/AM3 socket results charted above. The performance results position the coolers in the following order, with the temperature difference noted (CPU core temp minus 20-20.7°C ambient room temp) beside them:

CPU Cooler

Thermal Difference
Zalman CNPS10X-Performa 31.9°C over ambient
Noctua NH-D14 (2x 140mm fans) 32.9°C over ambient
Scythe Mugen 2 SCMG-2000 33.1°C over ambient
Titan FENRIR TTC-NK85TZ 35.1°C over ambient
Tuniq Tower 120 Extreme 35.4°C over ambient
CyberPowerPC XtremeGear HP-1216B 37.2°C over ambient
Zalman CPNS10X-Quiet 38.1°C over ambient
3R System IceAge Prima Boss-II 38.3°C over ambient
Scythe Kabuto SCKBT-1000 38.4°C over ambient
Spire TherMax II SP679S1-PCI 38.6°C over ambient
Thermaltake Contac-29 38.8°C over ambient
Coolink Corator-DS 38.8°C over ambient
Xigmatek Balder SD1283 39.5°C over ambient
Dynatron Genius G950 46.7°C over ambient
ZEROtherm Nirvana NV120 Premium 51.3°C over ambient
Thermaltake SpinQ-VT 68.0°C over ambient

In stock form with a high-temperature overclock, there are more than a few aftermarket coolers that fail to perform when put to task. Consider this when you're paying for a new CPU cooler, because some are designed for looks while others are meant for performance, and seldom do both come in the same package. Please note that certain coolers have been excluded from this test because they do not come with a cooling fan (such as the Xigmatek Thor's Hammer). Other coolers, such as the Prolimatech Megahalems, Thermalright Ultra-120 eXtreme, and Cogage TRUE Spirit do not come with AMD mounting brackets and must be purchased seperately.



# RE: Best CPU Cooler Performance AMD Socket AM3 PreviewTFT 2010-02-17 17:11
Elements Thermal Conductance Research has not completed yet.
It lack the elements release rate into the air when heat stop provided to the element.
Nor has the chill factor when contacted with a reference element/cooper.
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# PaulyPaul Letteri 2010-03-12 05:29
Hello It would be most helpfull of listing what motherboards would work with these based on experience and feedback. also the dimentions espially from the mount to under the 1st fin for many of us with denominator type memory have problems with clearance .
I would also like to mention I have a 770usb3 Gigabyte board and it is very disturbing that their engineers did not give a least 65mm from center of the cpu for the % is very high for coolers with 120mm fans
especially for over clockers such as myself. thank you and good work on your testing reports , Paul.
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