|Best CPU Cooler Performance: Intel Q3-2010|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Cooling|
|Written by Olin Coles|
|Wednesday, 17 November 2010|
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Heatsink Performance: Stock Cooling Fan
This section concentrates on the cooling performance of each kit with the included fan. 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. These results best compare products right out of the box.
For the purpose of this article, all CPU-coolers have been orientated so that heatpipes span horizontally from front-to-rear with fans exhausting upward and not top-to-bottom with fans blowing towards the rear of the computer case. While the difference may be minimal, performance enthusiasts will want to use every technique available to reach the highest overclock possible.
Benchmark Reviews has tested several new products against some proven top-performers from previous tests in this section, all using stock fans on the Intel LGA1366 socket. The average temperature difference (core temp minus ambient temp) is noted beside each heatsink:
Best CPU Cooler: Stock Fan Performance
Leading the pack is Thermalright's Venomous-X heatsink kit, which adds a basic 120mm cooling fan with the RT version of the kit. After five recorded test runs on the overclocked/overvolted i7-930, the Venomous-X averaged 38.98°C above the 20~21°C ambient room temperature. Next came the Zalman CNPS10X-Performa heatsink, which cooled to 39.32°C over ambient with stock fan and trailed behind by a mere 0.34°C on average. Xigmatek's Aegir SD128264 heatsink was only 1°C behind the leader, cooling to 39.78°C in stock form. Schythe's jumbo-sized Mugen 2 heatsink kept cool using the included Slip-Stream fan, and averaged 41.39°C over. The Titan EVO NK85TZCS2 heatink comes with a fairly powerful fan, and cooled to 41.83°C over ambient on average.
The next 'step' in heatsink performance occurs with the Cooler Master N620, a cooler that uses twin 120mm cooling fans in push/pull configuration, and cooled down to 42.95°C over ambient. The Xigmatek Balder recorded 43.18°C over ambient temperatures, nearly matched by the Scythe Ninja 3 at 43.25°C over, and Cogage TRUE Spirit with 43.40°C. The Scythe Rasetsu trailed behind and cooled to 43.98°C over ambient with the included Slip-Stream fan.
Set to 'High', the CoolIt Vantage ALC all-in-one liquid cooler reduced overclocked temperatures down to 46.89°C over ambient, and remained extremely quiet during operation. The Deep Cool Gamer Storm heatsink offered very aggressive looks, but the stock cooling fan was silent and didn't stir up much air as a result, giving the Gamer Storm 49.32°C over the ambient room temperature.
Taken as a whole, every single heatsink tested here performed very well with our heavily-overclocked Intel Core i7-930 processor running at 1.40 volts vCore. In the next section, we re-test the collection with a pair of Noctua NF-P12 cooling fans in push-pull configuration...