iXBT Labs - Computer Hardware in Detail






Cooler Master V4, Scythe Shuriken, Zalman CNPS8700 NT CPU Coolers

HTPC solutions in tests.

November 20, 2008

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Test results

First of all, let's see how our contenders perform in the silence mode (conditionally noiseless domain, reference noise 23 dBA).

Chart 1. Temperature readings (CPU core temperature, conditionally noiseless domain)

Chart 2. Thermal resistance (conditionally noiseless domain)

Just a few coolers can work in this mode -- this group traditionally includes only High-End products, which allow to adjust fan speed in a wide range, including low rotational speed. So the fact alone that our contenders can work with minimum fan speed speaks volumes -- noise characteristics are quite important in their functionality. Fortunately, performance of Cooler Master V4 and Zalman CNPS8700 NT is not disappointing -- they cannot compete with Noctua NH-U12P and Thermalright Ultra-120 eXtreme, of course (they are in totally different weight categories), but they fare well against Thermaltake Big Typhoon. At the same time, Scythe Shuriken falls out of the ranks and works practically at its limit -- operating temperature of our processor crosses the dangerous mark of 100°C, which is close to critical overheating.

Now let's have a look at the situation in the low-noise domain, where we selected not only High-End products, but also several Mid-End products -- Cooler Master Hyper TX2, GlacialTech Igloo 5750 PWM, and Scythe Mine Rev. B.

Chart 3. Temperature readings (CPU core temperature, low-noise domain)

Chart 4. Thermal resistance (low-noise domain)

As we can see, the situation remains the same in many respects -- our contenders improve their thermal efficiency, but they still cannot catch up with coolers designed for standard enclosures. Besides, Scythe Shuriken is lagging way behind here: its results seem to be affected not only by its weak fan, but also by careless design of the heat sink.

Let's have a look at the results demonstrated in the ergonomic domain (noise reference mark -- 31-32 dBA).

Chart 5. Temperature readings (CPU core temperature, ergonomic domain)

Chart 6. Thermal resistance (ergonomic domain)

The situation is more smoothed-out here -- Cooler Master V4 catches up with Hyper TX2 (it's a very good result, taking into account a significant difference in their designs), and Zalman CNPS8700 NT gets close to the High-End CNPS9500 LED from the same manufacturer. What concerns Scythe Shuriken, there are no reasons to be optimistic again -- it demonstrates the worst efficiency among our contenders and confirms its problems in thermal configuration of its working medium.

In conclusion of this section we publish comparative charts of temperature readings and thermal resistance for nominal/reference configurations of today's contenders (maximum fan speed), a chart with temperature readings of near-socket inductive elements (low-noise domain), as well as efficiency-noise ratings (low-noise and ergonomic domains).

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