Detailed descriptions of cooling systems, thorough examinations of their technological peculiarities and operating abilities, multiple results of various tests are undoubtedly useful. But it happens quite often that a user can't choose a cooler even after he has read hundreds of reviews and looked through a heap of pictures.
Well, the common disadvantage of most reviews of cooling systems for computers is lack of a single integrated assessment of functionality and quality of such systems which would allow grouping all technical parameters and making an informative and comprehensive comparison characteristic of coolers. Of course, there are some sites over the Net offering charts and ratings, but it is vague how such ratings are formed and what objective (subjective) parameters are accounted for. When devices of doubtful quality win and worthy ones lag behind it is clear that the given approach is inapplicable.
We decided not to give up and elaborated our own technique of integrated assessment of consumer qualities of cooling systems. We do not consider it ideal but it reflects an actual performance of a certain cooler to some degree of objectivity.
So, here is the idea of the technique.
Any cooling system has 6 main estimated characteristics:
Eth = (WC*RFth)/TR (scores),
Eth - thermal efficiency index, WC - weighting coefficient, RFth - thermal reference factor (reference thermal resistance θja), TR - thermal resistance θja of a cooling system in question.
The reference thermal resistance is 0.30°Ñ/W for Socket 478 systems, 0.25°Ñ/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 produced by a cooling system.
Technical quality of active components (TQ AC) and technical quality of a mounting mechanism (TQ MM)
"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 reflect my face correctly :)", and 1 score can mean that "the fan quality is awful but it is still able to work a couple of works making a lot of noise".
Technical quality of passive components (TQ PC)
"Unsatisfactory" - 0 scores
Ep = (WC*RFp)/P (scores),
Ep - price effectiveness index, WC - weighting coefficient, RFp - price reference factor (reference cost), P - average retail price of a cooling system.
The reference cost is 7 euros for systems of forced air cooling (most coolers), 12 euros for improved coolers (equipped with hi-tech heatsinks), 35 euros for liquid cooling systems. The weighting coefficient is 60.
Correctly working thermocontrol - 15 scores
All indices and bonuses are calculated after examination of each cooling system and brought into its "consumer map". The sum of all indices and bonuses gives "an integrated assessment of consumer qualities of a cooling system" (IACQ CS). If a price attractiveness is not taken into account (for example, for estimation of pure functionality of a cooler), "an integrated assessment of functionality of a cooling system" is calculated (IAF CS). In the end all obtained IACQ CS and IAF CS are taken to make the Table of Ranks - consumer and technical ratings of cooling systems.
Well, I hope that the practical application of this new technique (the touchstone
is the review Coolers for
Socket 478, Spring/Summer 2002) will help you to solve this complicated problem
of choosing a decent cooling system and a solution which would meet the toughest
requirements of quality and functionality. Comments and suggestions are welcome!
Vitaly Krinitsin (email@example.com)
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