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Reviews - Featured Reviews: Cooling
Written by Olin Coles   
Wednesday, 18 March 2009
Table of Contents: Page Index
Best CPU Cooler Performance LGA1366 - Q1 2009
Thermally Conductive Element Reference
Arctic Cooling Freezer Xtreme
Cooler Master V10 RR-B2P-UV10-GP
CoolIT Domino ALC
Prolimatech Megalems
Spire TherMax II SP679S1-PCI
Thermolab BARAM
Xigmatek Dark Knight S1283V
Xigmatek Thor's Hammer S126384
Zalman CNPS9900 LED
TIM Application and Surface
Testing Methodology
Test Results: Stock Cooling Fan
Test Results: High-Output Fan
Overclocked Test Results
CPU Cooler Final Thoughts
Best CPU Cooler Conclusion

Best CPU Cooler Conclusion

Intel has made its mark with their LGA775 'Socket T' interface. For enthusiasts and overclockers, there's still plenty of life left in the old platform. As of March 2009 the quad-core Q8200 and Core 2 Duo E8400 each sell for around $164.99, while the price on a Core 2 Quad Q6600 has actually increased to $198.99; thus proving that popularity for the LGA775 platform still exists. All of these products provide excellent value, and give hardware enthusiasts a reason to continue using or consider P45 and X48 chipsets. Furthermore, AMD has rebounded nicely and also offers competitive products with their latest Phenom II launch. As of March 2009, the Phenom II X4 940BE is sold at NewEgg for $200 and the triple-core Black Edition Phenom II 720 is available for $147, but by using the Benchmark Reviews price comparison tool we discovered several other deals offered.

While not every product tested in this articles is worth your money, practically all of the CPU coolers making it into our overclocked results chart offer excellent performance. Benchmark Reviews offers an excellent guide for beginners wanting to overclocking their CPU, so join in and see how far you can stretch that dollar! I've delivered my choices for the LGA775 platform back in the Best of Q4 2008 Conclusion, so if you're in the market of a high-performance LGA1366 CPU cooler then here are my suggestions:


For absolute performance without regard for cost, my recommendation goes to the Prolimatech Megahalems. This is a product designed by the former Thermalright engineering team, and takes the best design aspects into consideration to produce one phenomenal product. The mounting base is unparalleled by any other I've tested, which delivers extraordinary contact surface pressure between the processor and the mirror-finish on the Megahalems. Unfortunately, Prolimatech isn't a household name (yet), and major online retailers like NewEgg haven't started to carry their products. This will make finding a Megahalems kit extremely difficult for the top-shelf overclocker, but it won't hold back our Golden Tachometer Award.

As of April 2009 only FrozenCPU is selling the ProlimaTech Megahalems, but if you don't find it available I can suggest two alternate recommendations. The Thermalright Ultra-120 eXtreme has a long history of cooling high-temperature overclocks, and the kit I tested (which was furnished by Intel Corporation for the Core i7 and X58 platform launch) came with a smoother contact surface than the kit I received from Thermalright for the LGA775 platform. Although the Intel-supplied kit had a separate 120mm fan and retaining kit, I don't believe these are included with retail packages. Offering identical cooling performance was the Xigmatek Thor's Hammer S126384, which is available at NewEgg for $64.99. The CAC-SXHH7-U01 kit comes with the new CrossBow ACK-I7363 mounting system, and has the ability to fit two 120mm fans or either 25mm or 35mm depths. Between the two, the Thor's Hammer offers greater performance under the most intense thermal loads.

Beyond these three performers, there's only a handful of other CPU coolers I might consider worthy of high-temperature overclocking projects. The Titan FINRIR TTC-NK85TZ and Thermolab BARAM are two new products unlikely to be found in North American stores but still deserve your attention. More likely to be a favorite among online retailers will be the Cooler Master Hyper Z600 RR-600-NNU1-GP kit for $59.99 and Xigmatek Dark Knight S1283V which sells for $39.99 at NewEgg. Each of these kits offers LGA1366 compatibility, and each comes with a capable cooling fan (although the Hyper Z600 can fit four 120mm units).

This concludes the Best CPU Cooler Performance LGA1366 - Q1 2009 roundup article. Overall, I believe Benchmark Reviews has done a very good job of searching out the best-of-the-best cooling products over for the new Core i7 platform, and proved what works on a real-world system as well as a moderately overclocked performance computer. In future articles I would like to incorporate a new approach, possibly with a bigger and more powerful 120x120x35mm fan to cool a much more demanding overclock. If you have constructive suggestions, Benchmark Reviews encourages you to leave comments and questions in our Discussion Forum.

EDITOR'S NOTE 13 FEB 2010: Benchmark Reviews will publish our Q1-2010 Best CPU Cooler Performance LGA1366 article on 11 March 2010. Several new heatsinks along with some enthusiast favorites will all be tested on an overclocked six-core processor. Additionally, our performance test results for the AMD AM3 socket will also be included.

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# Fans die quickKameal Celestee 2012-04-04 06:48
Had one of these and whilst they work well the fans didn't last more than a year, first one went down and then the other a few weeks later.
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