Many people underestimate the value of a good cooler until it’s already too late and they’ve suffered some kind of a failure or problems. The importance of a high quality and high performance fan is most notable when users begin to try to overclock their systems which cause the system to generate even more heat. In other cases, there are situations in which a stock cooler [especially one on Intel Core processors] just isn't enough to cool down the processor in a badly thermally designed enclosure.
Once overheating or throttling occurs, there is a certain threshold that most CPUs are capable of withstanding until the processor becomes unstable. As such, the better the cooling the higher most people can OC on air without having to invest in more expensive water cooling or even more expensive chillers. The key here is to remember that there are now water cooling solutions out there that in their lowest price range can dip into high-end air cooler territory, but we’ll leave that for another review.
Today we will be helping to compare five different coolers from various companies, all implementing different designs at a broad array of price ranges that satisfy different consumers. Our goal is to inform our readers of what is the best cooler to buy for overclocking as well as keeping your computer quiet and cool this summer.
First, we’d like to talk a bit about our cooler testing methodology that we used for this roundup. Since
we wanted to focus on both regular users and overclocking we have a broad array of different tests to effectively show the different performance between these coolers during certain tasks. First, we determine the weight of the cooler with the fan attached and then we inspect the base of each cooler to determine if it is a mirror finish or not as well as whether the base is actually perfectly flat. After we inspect these two things we go ahead and determine the overall build quality of the cooler including the mounting mechanism.
Once we’ve looked over all those things we start to try to install the cooler evaluating the ease of installation as well as instructions. This was followed by running a series of six tests which included idle and load testing at stock, +0.1v and +0.2v which should show how each cooler can hold up to a specific heat load and how the cooler can hold up to overclocking. The load testing will be done using a Linpack test which will run continuously for 1 hour.
Once this is done, we will then proceed to run Cinebench 11.5 to simulate CPU based rendering. Following Cinebench we will then run a 32M instance of HyperPi on all 8 threads of the i7 870 that we are running. We've wrapped it up with a one hour gaming session of Battlefield: Bad Company 2 which is designed to show how the cooler perform in a gaming environment. All of these tests will be monitored using Realtemp CPU temperature monitoring and will be running in the exact same bench with the exact same cooling environment with only the CPU cooler changing.
The coolers we will be comparing are as follows:
Cogage TRUE Spirit – Provided by UltimatePcCooling.com
GELID Solutions Tranquillo – Provided by GELID Solutions
Thermalright Venomous X – Provided by UltimatePcCooling.com
Titan Fenrir – Provided by UltimatePcCooling.com
Zalman CNPS-10X Extreme – Provided by Zalman
For the full review with all of the images and testing please head on over here...