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Reviews - Featured Reviews: Cooling
Written by Olin Coles - Testing by David Ramsey   
Tuesday, 27 July 2010
Table of Contents: Page Index
Best CPU Cooler Performance Q2-2010
Thermally Conductive Element Reference
Cooler Master V6 GT Heatsink
ProlimaTech Super Mega Heatsink
Scythe Yasya SCYS-1000 Cooler
SilenX Effizio EFZ-120HA4
Thermalright Venomous-X RT Cooler
Zaward Vapor-120 ZCJ013 Cooler
CPU-Cooler Preparations
Heatsink Test Methodology
Heatsink Performance: Stock Cooling Fan
Heatsink Performance: High-Output Fan
CPU Cooler Final Thoughts
Best CPU Cooler Conclusion

Best CPU Cooler Performance Q2-2010

Why do we overclock? It's really a very simple question, but one that has found new meaning over the years. It used to be that computer hardware enthusiasts had very few options when it came to choosing a processor, and building your own custom system was simply not possible. You looked for the best pre-built system, and compared Kilobytes of memory between choices. Those days are behind us, and now the computer hardware industry offers hundreds of processor, motherboard, memory, and peripheral hardware options. But the question still remains.

Its been more than a decade, but I still remember why I began overclocking: it was out of necessity, because my computer operated close to a modern day speed limit. This was back in the day when computers featured a 'Turbo' button, overclocking from 33 to 66MHz was a click away. It wasn't until around 1998 that I began visiting 'enthusiast' websites and found myself overclocking a pathetic Cyrix M-II 233MHz processor. My pursuit for speed would risk an entire Packard Bell computer system for the purpose of finishing reports faster. Back then, overclocking the CPU could push clock speeds past any production level. Today the market is different, and overclocking the processor could result in very little additional performance.

Now days I'm fortunate enough to afford top-end hardware, and so I no longer overclock out of need. With so many dual-, quad-, and hexa-core processors sold on the open market, it seems unnecessary to overclock for the sake of productivity. Overclocking has transformed itself from a tool to help people work faster, into a hobby for enthusiasts. There's a level of overclocking for every enthusiasts, from simple speed bumps to the record-breaking liquid nitrogen extreme projects. Overclocking is addictive, and before you know it the bug has you looking at hardware that might cost as much as a low-end computer system.

Enthusiast overclockers demand only the best performance from their computer hardware, which is why the aftermarket heatsink industry is thriving with fierce competition. Using an overclocked Intel Core i7 processor on the X58-Express platform, only the very best CPU coolers will endure. Benchmark Reviews tests the latest Intel LGA1366 heatsinks in this Best CPU Cooler Performance Q2-2010 article.

Best_CPU_Cooler_Performance_Q2-10.jpg

Computer hardware is an ever-evolving industry, and since Moore's law only applies to an exponentially growing transistor count then there should probably be another law for cooling products. 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 affects the overall performance as we test a large segment of enthusiast cooling products.

Before the Intel Core i7/X58 platform arrived, the Core 2 Duo and Core 2 Quad processors did their part to separate the cream of the crop from our large collection of LGA775 coolers. In a previous Best CPU Cooler Performance article, Benchmark Reviews retired the LGA775 platform from its testing duties and made room for the up-and-coming LGA1366 socket. It didn't take long to collect several CPU coolers designed for the Intel Core i7 CPU & X58 platform. It's a mistake to think that any LGA775 cooler can do just as well with the new LGA1366/Core i7 platform; primarily because the size and location of processor cores has changed.

New Intel Test Products

Top Performers

  • Cooler Master V6-GT RR-V6GT-22PK-R1
  • ProlimaTech Super Mega
  • SilenX Effizio EFZ-120HA4
  • Sythe Yasya SCYS-1000
  • Zaward Vapor-120 ZCJ013

Highly Recommended

Past Honors

Before we inspect each member of our new CPU cooler collection, 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). 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 most commercial liquid cooling systems, which may potentially offer better performance than the products we test for this article but require components to be assembled from various options and equipment. Suffice it to say, the vast majority of gamers and enthusiasts are using air-cooled solutions and therefore we target this review series towards them. 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.



 

Comments 

 
# FanGyta 2010-07-27 17:45
I´m puzzled about V6 GT heatsink,what caused the loss in performance? Could it be the fan has less CFM?? Or it is the static air pressure?? or another thing that i cannot think?
Aside from that great test, as good as always, and still help me emphasizing that i did a good thing buying scythe mugen 2.
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# RE: FanOlin Coles 2010-07-27 19:19
There's no doubt that the Mugen 2 was a good investment... it's a great cooler for very little money. The V6 GT has two high-output fans on it to begin with, configured in a push/push set, so it's understandable to see performance decrease with one higher-output fan.
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# RE: FanDavid Ramsey 2010-07-27 19:21
It's simple: the Cooler Master V6 GT's stock fans provide a lot more airflow than the single Yate Loon fan. Base on the fan specifications, airflow drops by about 50% in this case, so the cooler's performance suffers. The V6GT represents a design trend in coolers that provides good performance with a relatively small heatsink by simply pushing a lot of air through it. You'll probably see more of this, since plastic and fans are cheaper than copper and aluminum.
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# RE: RE: FanOlin Coles 2010-07-27 20:00
Either lots of plastic and fans, or pretty copper fringes to make you feel better about the premium price.
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# RE: RE: RE: FanServando Silva 2010-07-27 21:17
Don't forget to paint it black to get extra premium performance...
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# Vertical motherboard test?Testy01 2010-07-27 20:03
It appears these coolers are designed for horizontal motherboards as heat rises. Surely using a system in this orientation with aftermarket or supplied fans will give a better outcome.
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# RE: Vertical motherboard test?Olin Coles 2010-07-27 21:31
Vertical motherboard means that it stands upright, as in the case of most all mid-tower enclosures.
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# RE: Best CPU Cooler Performance Q2-2010halfwaythere 2010-07-27 20:58
The V6 simply doesn't have what it takes to be a top notch product. Its too small and the build quality is not very good. The problem is if you turn the stock fans down performance figures will drop pretty quick.
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# RE: RE: Best CPU Cooler Performance Q2-2010David Ramsey 2010-07-28 06:59
Sure it does. The build quality on the sample I tested was excellent-- flat, well-finished base; perfectly ven fins, and nice little details like the rubber anti-vibration pads on the snap-on shrouds that hold the fans. The stock V6 fans are PWM controlled, so let your motherboard decide how fast they should be run, and you'll get a very good combination of balance and noise. The performance with the stock fans is excellent, too. My only complaint about the cooler is its high price.
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# ?Daniel Mayes 2010-07-28 07:02
How come the Titan Fenrir was in instead of the Thermaltake Frio? The Thermaltake Frio did better than the ProlimaTech Megahalems in stock fan test and a little worse than the Mugen 2 with the Yate Loon D12SH-12. Are you using one or two Yate Loon D12SH-12? I'm sure I'm not the only that would like to see temperatures with both one and two high-output fans on there.
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# RE: ?Olin Coles 2010-07-28 07:05
Usually it's because of time contraints. If we had unlimited time, every single heatsink ever made would be tested for each article... but that's just not the case. We've already reviewed the Frio in our cooling section, so take a look there: benchmarkreviews.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=519&Itemid=62
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# RE: RE: ?Daniel Mayes 2010-07-29 07:10
It would be awesome to see pictures of the heatsinks in the computer setup in the future, I tried my thermaltake frio with the air blowing up but it blocked the first 2 ram slots, so I had to turn it where it blows outside the case since the computer would be faster in dual channel mode than single channel mode
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# RE: Best CPU Cooler Performance Q2-2010Ladyfox 2010-07-28 11:41
Are there any plans to do a similar review, maybe smaller in scale, for those coolers that use 92mm fans instead? Reason I ask is that some mATX cases like the NZXT Vulcan have clearance issues with a good many 120mm systems even with the added room of special side panels. Consider as well that many have even released revised designs that will work on LGA-1156 and LGA1366 sockets including those from AMD with a sample list here:

ARCTIC COOLING Freezer 7 Pro Rev.2
COOLER MASTER Hyper N 520
Cooler Master Hyper TX3
Noctua NH-U9B SE2
Scythe "NINJA MINI Rev.B"

Granted, there are individual reviews for some of these out there but let's face it they're not you guys. ^_^
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# RE: RE: Best CPU Cooler Performance Q2-2010Olin Coles 2010-07-29 07:13
I have wanted a writer to take on the 92mm segment for over a year now. Apparently the threat of constant work with unreasonably tight tolerances has dissuaded everyone on staff. That and it's boring beyond belief. Still, I have my hopes.
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# RE: Best CPU Cooler Performance Q2-2010Padge 2010-08-13 15:47
I would love to see a system for rating the mounting hardware on each review. There are a couple heatsinks I'm really liking but the hardware uses pushpins (Cogage True Spirit) or is a mini erector set (Mugen 2). I really think a Cogage True Spirit with ProLimatechs brackets would be the best.
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# Can we get CPU Perf for LOW PROFILE Collers?OneEyedPony 2010-09-10 11:35
These big brick sized CPU coolers are great for the monster and mid towers, BUT...

I deal in building small cased PCs for people. I would like to see recommendations for CPU coolers in the 50-100mm height range.
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# Low profile?RealNeil 2010-09-28 05:23
Corsair H50,.....Asetek LCLC (they actually make the H50 for corsair) and the ECO A.L.C. ECO-R120 CPU Cooler. All are water cooling solutions and all are relatively low profile.
I have two of the Asetek LCLC's (stands for: Low Cost Liquid Cooling) here and they work really well. I added extra fans to both of mine for a push/pull effect. I also have a Scythe Big Shuriken SCBSK-1000 120mm CPU Cooler on a Linux box and it's a very low profile cooler.
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# HS MaterialsAthlonite 2010-12-22 18:29
"Because of their density, metals are the best conductors of thermal energy"

Actually that's wrong the best material is Diamond but an HS made of diamond would cost and absolute fortune.... you should have said best Perfomance/cost material is metal of which the best is Gold (best $$$$/Performance = Copper)for now atleast until they make Carbon nano tube materials more readily available
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