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Reviews - Featured Reviews: Cooling
Written by Olin Coles - Testing by David Ramsey   
Wednesday, 28 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

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.
** Manufacturer supplied fan require speed controller. Fan speed set to high.


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...



# 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:
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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 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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