Detailed descriptions of cooling systems, thorough examinations of their technological features and operating abilities, multiple results of various tests are undoubtedly useful. But even after covering hundreds of reviews and looking through heaps of pictures users are often unable to choose a right cooler.
Well, the common disadvantage of most reviews of PC coolers is lack of a general assessment of coolers' functionality and quality. Such assessment can come in handy in grouping all technical parameters and making an informative and comprehensive coolers characteristics table. Some sites do offer charts and ratings, but how such ratings are formed and what objective (subjective) parameters are accounted for is unclear. When poor-quality devices win and worthy ones lose, it is clear that the given approach is inapplicable.
We decided not to give up and elaborated our own technique of integrated assessment of coolers consumer qualities. We do not consider it ideal but it reflects cooler's actual performance to a certain objectivity degree.
So, here is the idea of the test technique.
Any cooling system has 6 main characteristics to be estimated:
There are two bonus categories in addition to the above characteristics:
Fines can be imposed on a cooler in case of poor quality of any of its components, unsatisfactory serviceability or inadequate ergonomics.
Each of the characteristics, except the professional aptitude degree, gets its own index calculated according to the established procedure.
Eth = (WC*RFth)/TR (scores),
Eth - thermal effectiveness index, WC - weighting coefficient, RFth - thermal reference factor (reference thermal resistance θja), TR - thermal resistance θja of a given cooler.
Reference thermal resistance is 0.30°C/W for Socket 478 systems, 0.25°C/W for Socket A systems (the best values regarding the modern technological capabilities of mass production). The weighting coefficient equals 60.
N = (WC*RFn)/NL (scores),
N - noise index, WC - weighting coefficient, RFn - noise reference factor (reference noise level), NL - noise level of a given cooling system.
Reference noise level is 25 dBA (typical background noise level indoors at night). Weighting coefficient is 60.
Active components technical quality (ACTQ) and mount technical quality (MTQ)
"Unsatisfactory" - 0 scores
Any intermediate marks are also possible. For example, 14 scores can be interpreted as "the fan quality is excellent, but the power cables have too dull colors (the fastener is wonderful but its mirror surface doesn't properly reflect my face :)"; and score 1 can mean that "the fan quality is awful but it's still able to work a couple of works making a lot of noise".
Passive components technical quality (PCTQ)
"Unsatisfactory" - 0 scores
Any intermediate marks are also possible.
Professional aptitude degree
Professional aptitude is determined by the professional aptitude group (PAG) which includes certain processors according to their thermal power.
PAGs for Socket A processors:
The following condition determines a professional aptitude group for a cooler:
Td =< 80°C, where Td = 40+(Ph*θja), Td - processor core temperature, Ph - processor's maximum thermal power, θja - cooler's thermal resistance.
This condition results from the empirical capability of a processor to work at a technically acceptable core temperature (not over 80°C) in the rigid thermal internal mode (PC temperature 40°C and lower).
Ep = (WC*RFp)/P (scores),
Ep - price effectiveness index, WC - weighting coefficient, RFp - price reference factor (reference cost), P - average retail price of a given cooling system.
The reference cost is 6 euros for forced air cooling systems (most coolers), 12 euros for improved coolers (equipped with hi-tech heatsinks), 35 euros for liquid cooling systems. The weighting coefficient is 60. The reference cost is fixed at 8 euros for the coolers of PAG "C" and "D".
Professional aptitude group "E" - 10 scores
Professional aptitude group "A" - 10% off IAF
All indices and bonuses are summed up after examination of each cooling system and brought into its "technical economical map". The sum of all indices and bonuses (with the deduction of fines) gives the desired integrated assessment of cooler consumer qualities (IA CCQ). If price attractiveness is not taken into account (for example, for estimation of pure cooler's functionality), a cooler is given an integrated assessment of cooler's functionality (IA CS). In the end, all obtained IA CCQ and IA CS form our Table of Ranks covering the economical and performance ratings.
Well, I hope that the practical application of this new technique will
help you in choosing the right cooling system which will meet the toughest
requirements of quality and functionality. Comments and suggestions are
Vitaly Krinitsin (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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