iXBT Labs - Computer Hardware in Detail






NorthQ Siberian Tiger Liquid Cooling System

The basic LCLC (Low Cost Liquid Cooling) solution in tests.

June 2, 2008

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Test results

First of all, let's see how Siberian Tiger NQ-3580 performs in the quietest mode (conditionally noiseless domain) in comparison with several High-End competitors.

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

Chart 2. Thermal resistance (conditionally noiseless domain)

Note that the pump is not noiseless in the nominal mode (12 V, 1300 rpm) - its noise level reaches 25 dBA (that is, it fails to fit in the conditionally noiseless domain). However, you can use a simple adapter to reduce its voltage to 7 V (900 rpm), and thus significantly reduce the basic noise level (it's about 18 dBA in this mode), making it subjectively noiseless.

As we can see, voltage tricks with the pump justify themselves -Siberian Tiger NQ-3580 is an absolute leader, outperforming the strongest competitors, Noctua NH-U12P and Thermalright Ultra-120 eXtreme. In this configuration the cooler demonstrates the best efficiency-noise ratio. So this kit belongs to the champion league of ergonomic cooling. A praiseworthy result.

Now let's analyze the layout of forces in the low-noise domain. The pump will be operating at 7 V. We'll add a couple of new competitors from the group of ergonomic air coolers.

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

Chart 4. Thermal resistance (low-noise domain)

Well, the situation repeats - the Siberian Tiger NQ-3580 is still a leader. Only Noctua NH-U12P and Thermalright Ultra-120 eXtreme can boast of similar results, as well as Zerotherm Nirvana NV120 (by the way, it's optimized for weak air streams). However, differences between them are not significant, more like a parity.

Now 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 overall situation is different here: Siberian Tiger NQ-3580 is outperformed by Thermalright Ultra-120 eXtreme. In other words, it's too early to dismiss leading air coolers. Another interesting fact: slowing the pump down does not make this system less efficient, so it's a justified step not only from the point of view of noise reduction, but also in terms of thermal priorities.

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).

Chart 7. Temperature readings (CPU core temperature, nominal/reference modes)

Chart 8. Thermal resistance (nominal/reference modes)

Chart 9. Temperature readings (temperature of near-socket components)

Chart 10. Efficiency/noise ratio

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Article navigation:

Page 1: Introduction, bundle

Page 2: Design, usability

Page 3: Test results (single-fan rigs)

Page 4: Test results (dual-fan rigs)

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