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Best CPU Cooler Performance LGA1366 Q2-2009 E-mail
Reviews - Featured Reviews: Cooling
Written by Olin Coles   
Wednesday, 05 August 2009
Table of Contents: Page Index
Best CPU Cooler Performance LGA1366 Q2-2009
Thermally Conductive Element Reference
Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus
Cooler Master Hyper N620
Kingwin XT-1264
Prolimatech Megahalems
Scythe Zipang 2
Thermaltake ISGC-300 CLP0539
Thermaltake ISGC-400
Xigmatek Thor's Hammer S126384
Zalman CNPS10X Extreme
Cooler Surface Preparations
Cooler Test Methodology
Test Results: Stock Cooling Fan
Test Results: High-Output Fan
Overclocked Test Results
CPU Cooler Final Thoughts
Best CPU Cooler Conclusion

High-Output Fan Results

This section uses the high-output Yate Loon D12SH-12 cooling fan on each product tested. Because of the size and design constraints of most products, a 120x120x25mm fan is as large as we can go with our collection of coolers. We are aware that much more impressive fans are available to consumers, such as the 120x120x35mm screamers that require a bolt-on kit to retain them. But in my experience, the Yate Loon D12SH-12 is one of the best 120mm cooling fans available in regards to the noise to performance ratio. The D12SH-12 cooling fan forces an impressive 88 CFM of air at a moderately noisy 40 dbA.

In our recent review of the Xigmatek Thor's Hammer S126384 cooler, Benchmark Reviews used the Scythe Kaze-Jyuni Slip Stream 120mm cooling fan (model SY1225SL12H) along side the Yate Loon D12SH-12. Although Scythe claims the Kaze offers 88.11 CFM, I had a difficult time believing the stated specification when the results were always in favor of the Yate Loon product. Regardless, the Kaze series is quite popular with enthusiasts and the SlipStream does do well to provide sufficient airflow without all the irritation of noise... but Benchmark Reviews isn't going to use it for testing in this article.


Our high-output fan tests held only a few exceptions, such as the CoolIT Domino ALC water-cooled solution, which I thought would be interesting to measure the performance of against our collection (although this time the fan was switched onto the 'high' setting). The Scythe Zipang 2 and Zalman XNPS10X Extreme were did not get included in these results because of proprietary non-replacable fans, while all of the other CPU coolers received a single Yate Loon D12SH-12 cooling fan. The cooling performance test results are charted above and in detail below with the temperature difference (CPU core temp minus ambient room temp) beside them:

CPU Cooler

Thermal Difference
Prolimatech Megahalems 25.4°C over ambient
Xigmatek Thor's Hammer S126384 27.4°C over ambient
Thermalright Ultra-120 eXtreme 27.6°C over ambient
Cooler Master Hyper Z600 28.4°C over ambient
Xigmatek HDT-S1284 28.9°C over ambient
OCZ Gladiator Max 29.0°C over ambient
Thermolab BARAM 29.4°C over ambient
CoolIt Domino ALC (high fan setting) 29.5°C over ambient
OCZ Vendetta 2 OCZTVEND2 30.7°C over ambient
Noctua NH-U12P SE1366 31.4°C over ambient
Kingwin XT-1264 33.4°C over ambient
Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus 34.5°C over ambient
Thermaltake ISGC-400 36.5°C over ambient
Thermaltake ISGC-300 37.6°C over ambient
Intel LGA1366 Stock Cooling Solution 55.0°C over ambient

It becomes evident that there's a point of diminishing returns for every CPU cooler, and when 'over-fanned' the results collide closely together. Although the 2.66GHz Intel Core i7-920 processor does a decent job of separating the crowd when these coolers wear their stock fan, once a high-output fan is attached there's only about 12°C between the coolers we tested. It's a good bet that most of these top-performing products could cool an overclocked system extremely well, but these days only the very best will do. Much like the Thermal Interface Material testing we've conducted, all of the high-performance products are beginning to perform at nearly the same levels. Eventually, I expect to see the same technology used in all cooling products with the difference being the application. This is where experience comes in handy, and we've shared some of this with you in our Best Thermal Paste Application Methods article. Remember, less is more when it comes to thermal paste, and soon CPU coolers may offer the same paradigm.

Once again, the Prolimatech Megahalems dominated high-output fan tests, just as it did in our stock results. The Xigmatek Thor's Hammer S126384 and Thermalright Ultra-120 eXtreme and are neck and neck with each other, but still a few degrees behind the Megahalems cooler. The jumbo-sized Cooler Master Hyper Z600 kept up with the leaders with the high-output Yate Loon fan attached, followed by the Xigmatek HDT-S1284 and OCZ Gladiator Max coming in right behind it. On the outer edge of the top-performers is the Thermolab BARAM, CoolIt Domino ALC (using the high fan setting), and an old LGA775 favorite: the OCZ Vendetta 2 OCZTVEND2. After the Noctua NH-U12P SE1366 cooler, performance for the remaining products was fairly lukewarm.

Even though the temperatures were comparable to some of the leaders, the Kingwin XT-1264 and Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus fell on the cusp of high-performance. Less likely to fall into that category are the Thermaltake ISGC-400 and ISGC-300 coolers, which may not be up to the task when we add some voltage and overclock the processor... which is exactly what happens in our next section.



# Backing platebruce h storm 2010-06-01 16:53

What was the backing plate you used on the Prolimatech Megahalem . Was it the Xigmatek ACK-I5361 Intel Core i7/Core i5 compatible Bracket Set or Xigmatek ACK-I5363 Intel Core i7/Core i5 compatible Bracket Set
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# RE: Backing plateOlin Coles 2010-06-01 17:45
The ProlimaTech Megahalems has its own backplate that comes with the heatsink, and is far superior to the Xigmatek versions. Take a look at the full review that's linked in this article.
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# Is the backplate required?Ben 2010-07-01 07:07
If I buy the Megahalems will I need the backplate if I'm going to use it on a 1366 Socket?
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# RE: Is the backplate required?Olin Coles 2010-07-01 07:08
The 1366 backplate is already included in the kit.
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# RE:Ben 2010-07-01 10:28
I mean will I have to use it or it will go on to the 1336 socket without the backplate?
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# RE: RE:Olin Coles 2010-07-01 10:37
You will need to use it... and I recommend that you read the full review here:
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