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Best CPU Cooler Performance Q2-2010 E-mail
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: High-Output Fan

Overclockers are known for being particular to their equipment, which is why Benchmark Reviews changes our format with each new project. Although it's impossible to nail-down which cooling fan is the overwhelming choice for overclocker projects, most enthusiasts would agree that fans with the best static pressure and highest airflow are the most appropriate. Because of size and design constraints in most of these products, a 120x120x25mm fan is as large as we can go with our collection of CPU coolers. This section uses the 'special' high-output Yate Loon D12SH-12 cooling fan on each product tested. Most D12SH-12 cooling fans force 88 CFM of air at a moderately noisy 40 dBA, but the clear acrylic version we use (see Heatsink Test Methodology section for image) performs better than most 120x120x38mm fans we've tested.

Benchmark Reviews tests this heatsink collection with the same high-output fan for each cooler, using an overclocked and over-volted Core i7-920 with 1.375V vCore. While some enthusiasts may dare to trespass beyond this voltage, Benchmark Reviews needed our test system to remain functional long enough to complete testing on all products under several different conditions. Please keep in mind that every product must complete testing on the exact same motherboard and processor for our results to be comparable, and if one of these fail all the testing must be redone completely.

All of the top performing CPU coolers have a few things in common: bolt-through mounting clip systems that create impressive contact pressure. Although some mounting systems are better designed than others, The mounting system on the ProlimaTech Megahalems and Armageddon heatsinks use a bolt-through system with slotted alloy plates to ensure a perfectly centered cooler, which was a good bit better than the Xigmatek Crossbow kits we use on compatible coolers. The new 70LB screws that come with the ProlimaTech Super Mega, along with the Thermalright Venomous-X heatsink 'Pressure Vault' mounting kit, create a dangerous amount of contact pressure on the processor. Although we were able to tighten these coolers all the way down without incident, our readers should take caution.

Thermalright's Ultra-120 eXtreme, Cogage TRUE Spirit, and Cogage Arrow all use a similar bolt-through kit that creates substantial contact pressure. At least half of our CPU cooler collection have very flat mirror-finished contact surfaces, whereas the other half use Heat-pipe Direct Touch (HDT) technology. Every single one of these coolers have either large-gauge heat-pipes, or several pairs of heat-pipe rods integrated into the base. In my opinion nearly every single product on this chart is an outstanding aftermarket cooler, but only a select few can be considered the very best!

Benchmark Reviews reveals the results of our Intel LGA1366 CPU-cooler performance tests using high-output cooling fans in the chart below:


Very recently another staff member and I each tested the ProlimaTech Super Mega directly against the older Megahalems model. In that review, the Super Mega trailed behind the Megahalems in both independent tests, just as it does here again. When a heatsink costs $62 it had better be really good... and thankfully the ProlimaTech Megahalems really is. Cooling to a temperature of only 39.3°C over ambient, the Megahalems keeps the Super Mega (39.5°C) and $68 Thermalright Venomous-X RT (39.8°C) heatsinks trailing right behind. All three of these heatsinks come with smooth/polished base, and a high-pressure bolt-through mounting system.

Validating that our Benchmark Reviews Editors Choice Award was hard-earned, the Scythe Mugen-2 produces an impressive 41.8°C over ambient while costing only $35. If you're not after any overclocking world-records, and you don't mind the giant size and installation hassle, this could easily be the best value of the bunch. For reference, the Cogage Arrow delivers similar performance for twice the size and cost. Distanced a noticeable margin behind, the Xigmatek Balder SD1283 (43.1°C), SilenX Effizio EFZ-120HA4 (43.4°C), Scythe Yasya (43.5°C), Zalman CNPS10X-Perform (43.7°C), and Xigmatek Thor's Hammer S126384 (43.8°C) all occupy a slice of the pie roughly 1/2-degree wide.

Other coolers are worth mentioning here, even though they weren't tested/charted for this article. The SilenX Effizio is a clone of the 3R-System IceAge Prima Boss-II, so it could be argued that they might perform the same as well. Likewise for the massive Tuniq Tower-120 Extreme, which has tested to produce similar performance despite the $65 price tag.

Taking two stock fans off and replacing them with one Yate Loon fan caused the Cooler Master V6 GT to lose its edge and produce 44.4°C; two degrees more than stock. The $44.99 Zaward Vapor-120 heatsink, with it's very similar design to the Xigmatek HDT-S1283 and $25 Kingwin RVT-12025 clone, produced a respectable 44.5°C. Titan's FINRIR cooler produced 45.6°C, and matches the Coolink Corator-DS, Noctua NH-U12P, and Thermaltake Contac-29.



# 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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