|Best CPU Cooler Performance - Q1 2008|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Cooling|
|Written by Olin Coles|
|Tuesday, 08 April 2008|
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Best CPU Coolers of Q1 2008
Benchmark Reviews strives to offer the overclocker and hardware enthusiast community solid evidence reflecting the true performance of computer products through rigorous testing and evaluation. We understand that many of our readers have been involved with other community websites for years, and take our test results personally; this was made clear to us when we released our 33-Way Thermal Interface Material Comparison article. So then after months of planning and preparation, we have worked to achieve the most complete source of test results possible, offering irrefutable test results gathered in a controlled environment. The purpose of this article is to document our findings and declare the best and top-rated CPU coolers available as of Q1 2008.
Computer hardware is an ever-evolving industry, and since Moores law only applies to an exponentially growing transistor count then there should probably be another law for cooling. In the very recent past there have been two major trends which have accelerated the performance potential of CPU cooler. That first development was the use of heat-pipes to directly contact with the CPU surface; which resulted in the Heat-pipe Direct Touch technology. The second development is by no mean a new concept, just new to our industry in specific. For many years now heatsinks have been full of right angles, but very recently companies have begun to recognize the need to disrupt smooth airflow and reduce the laminar skin effect which allows air to travel just above the solid surface. Some manufacturers have used at least one of these new concepts in their product design, and only a few are beginning to incorporate both. Benchmark Reviews will see how much this effects the overall performance as we test a large segment of products.
Our scope is limited to stand-alone products only, meaning those products which can be installed and operated without additional critical components needed or kit construction. This generally excludes nearly all liquid cooling systems, which may offer better performance than the products we test. Suffice it to say however, the vast majority of gamers and enthusiasts are using air-cooled solutions and therefore we target this article towards them.
Manufacturers are not expected to enjoy this sort of comparison, since we level the playing field by replacing their included fan (whenever applicable) with a common unit which we then use for every CPU cooler we test. Manufacturers regularly include fans with their CPU cooler products, and more often than not these fans are very high RPM units which offer great airflow at the expense of an obnoxiously loud noise level. By using the same model of cooling fan throughout our testing, we can assure our results are comparable across the board. This is one of the more significant changes we have made to our test methodology, since many of the benchmark tests we have conducted in the past have compared the total package. Ultimately we're more interested in the discovering the best CPU cooler performance, and we believe that you'll feel the same way.
Before we introduce our newest collection of CPU coolers, let's establish that our tests consist of methods we have determined to be the best for our one singular purpose. Our methodology isn't written in stone, and could very likely be changed or modified as we receive justification (and feedback from the community).
We encourage hardware enthusiasts to utilize the equipment available to them, and select the cooling fan that best suits their needs. Just keep in mind that exceptional cooling performance must begin with the CPU cooler, and end with the cooling fan. It's the foundation of the unit that makes a difference, which is exactly what we're after in this article.