|Best CPU Cooler Performance Q2-2010|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Cooling|
|Written by Olin Coles - Testing by David Ramsey|
|Tuesday, 27 July 2010|
Page 11 of 14
Heatsink Performance: Stock Cooling Fan
Benchmark Reviews tries to cover every angle, but sometimes it's just not possible given our time constraints. Initial articles from our 'Best CPU Cooler Performance' series originally 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 die size, but they also place the processor cores in different locations. Simply stated: what worked fine on a Core 2 platform may not work very well at all with Core-i7.
We previously tested heatsinks using the Intel Core i7-980X Extreme Edition six-core Gulftown processor, overclocked to 4.0GHz. Although we had good intentions, the lack of vCore headroom left our thermal tests somewhat flat. In this article David Ramsey uses his over-volted Intel Core i7-920 to produce test results on CPU coolers using stock manufacturer-included cooling fans. Whenever a cooler did not include a fan, the silent-yet-powerful Scythe Kaze-Jyuni SY1225SL12SH was used. 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 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:
* No manufacturer supplied fan. Tests use Scythe Kaze-Jyuni 'Slip Stream' SY1225SL12SH.
Best CPU Cooler: Stock Fan Performance
Thanks to a pair of powerful 120mm cooling fans, the Cooler Master V6-GT heatsink provides the best out-of-box performance and leads the pack with 42.4°C over the ambient room temperature. Equipped with only a single Scythe Kaze-Jyuni 'Slip Stream' silent cooling fan, the ProlimaTech Megahalems (43.3°C), Super Mega, and Thermalright Venomous-X (43.8°C) all trail behind the V6-GT.
Scythe's Mugen 2 (45.4°C) uses the Scythe Kaze-Jyuni fan by default, which competes directly with specially-controlled fan on their Yasya cooler (45.5°C). The Zalman CNPS10X Performa (45.6°C) performs nearly the same as Scythe's monster heatsinks, while the Zaward Vapor-120 (45.7°C) also keeps up well. Previous tests indicate that this performance segment is also home to the $70 Cogage Arrow, and $40 Cogage TRUE Spirit.
The third tier of cooling performance begins with the Xigmatek Balder SD1283 (47.1°C), which finishes ahead of the Scythe-equipped Xigmatek Thor's Hammer S126384 (48.2°C). The Titan Finrir's stock fan earns 48.7°C, which edges out the silent-running SilenX Effizio cooler (49.5°C).
Taken as a whole, every single heatsink tested here performed very well with an already-overclocked Intel Core i7-920 processor running at 1.375 volts vCore. If you want to see how all of these coolers performed with a high-volume Yate Loon cooling fan attached, please continue into the next section...