iXBT Labs - Computer Hardware in Detail






Five Premium CPU Coolers In Tests

From ASUS, Noctua, Scythe, Thermalright and Thermaltake.

June 26, 2009

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

Diagram 6. Thermal resistance (ergonomic domain)

ASUS Royal Knight. Situation here is smoother -- the cooler falls out of its major pace, reaching thermal saturation, if we may say so. Nevertheless, this is the nominal mode for the Royal Knight (1300rpm). This is a correct solution, even wise -- further intensification of heatsink ventilation (accompanied by growing noise) makes no sense.

Noctua NH-C12P. As in case of ASUS Royal Knight, the cooler goes into the efficient mode. That is, we notice practically the same costs of adaptation for low-noise operation.

Scythe Mugen 2. The second place again, shared with Thermalright Ultra-120 eXtreme. Well, Mugen 2 should have had its contacts between fins and pipes soldered, not just pressed (even if very tight). Thermal discounts with this approach are more than real.

Thermalright IFX-14. The real McCoy. It has only two serious rivals: Ultra-120 eXtreme and Scythe Mugen 2.

Thermaltake BigTyp 14Pro. Another dash, and BigTyp 14Pro finally reaches the goal -- it registers truly hi-end results, seemly of its status, and rehabilitates itself in our eyes. However, there is still some bitter 'aftertaste'. With a proper attention to thermal details, this cooler could have performed well not only in the ergonomic domain, but also in low-noise modes. Thermaltake programmers still have some issues to improve.

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

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

Diagram 8. Thermal resistance (nominal/reference modes)

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