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  • Scorpion - Wednesday, February 21, 2007 - link

    Page 5 states:
    quote:

    The highest temperature during the stress test is then reported.


    So for 30 minutes, you capture 450 data points. It's expected that the data will ramp up over the 30 minute interval and reach an approximately linear stability region towards the end.

    I have a problem with your measurement evaluation and findings. I do not think this is a very conclusive or accurate measurement and evaluation criteria. This information could be useful, yes, but only as an additional evaluation criteria.

    All tests need a good, quantifiable evaluation metric. The "goodness" of a test is only as good as that metric. And I conclude that what you've chosen is a poor metric. Your posterior evaluation is highly influenced by noise. The maximum could be the result of a large noise addition to the measurement.

    A better choice would have been to analyze the data results from all the tests to determine a stability region in the latter part of the data measurements, for all tests. Treat the data in that region as a random variable and take the expectation over that region. That would give you a much better evaluation criteria. You could also compute the variance of the data in this region to determine how stable the performance is for each cooler. This could also be a useful metric, although I know that this may not mean much to your typical audience. Another interesting metric would be to evaluate the other region in the data, in order to measure how quickly temperature ramps up. Or put into other words, how quickly each fan responds to temperature changes.

    I'm saddened to see a good and useful article brought down by it's poor evaluation criteria. It effectively reduces the confidence in your conclusions.
    Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Friday, February 23, 2007 - link

    We try to answer two questions in our cooling tests. First, most users beef up cooling to improve overclocking. We determine the highests stable overclock using a standard CPU/test bed by finding the overclock the cooler can maintain for 30 minutes of looping a demanding game. The highest OC is a very good measure of the effectivenes of the cooler and is compared to other coolers. We also measue and report the highest temperature in this load condition - and yes it does spike up and level off as you suggest. We haven't seen the huge spikes you might fear are there in our test data. Temps rise quickly and stabilize at the temp we report. This is a good indication of cooler efficiency.

    Second, some users beef up cooling to reduce noise. We also report the lowest noise measurements for the cooler we are testing.

    Your suggestions would provide much useful information, and we may add additional testing in the future. However, for now, we are trying to cut through all the hype surrounding cooler testing and provide as much useful info to our readers as possible in a timely manner. We are comfortable that we answer the two questions above in our cooler reviews, and those are the main questions our readers are always asking us about cooler performance.
    Reply
  • cyberkost - Tuesday, February 20, 2007 - link

    I did not quite get the methodology of the noise level comparisons...
    Were the coolers required to provide "same cooling performance" (e.g., same CPU temperature some long time into running some stress test)? It does not seem that they were. I'm worried about Anandtech intending to adapt the noise-comparison technique described in this article. The proper technique (IMHO) would be:
    1) install cooler
    2) run a stress test
    3) dial cooler RPM till a (judiciously) chosen (same for all coolers) CPU temperature is achieved (say 40C) in a stable manner
    4) record the noice level and put it on the comparison chart
    Reply
  • strikeback03 - Tuesday, February 20, 2007 - link

    Reading the respective reviews, it would appear that at stock speeds (and possibly some others) that the Katana, for example, does not get as cool as the Tuniq even when the Katana is at max RPM and the Tuniq at minimum. Reply
  • rjm55 - Tuesday, February 20, 2007 - link

    Can you please review the Austrian Noctua NH-U12. I've seen good and bad reviews and I want to see what you find. Reply
  • gloutch - Tuesday, February 20, 2007 - link

    The performance of those headpipes coolers is reduced if not properly oriented.

    SO: What was the position of the Zalmann coolers during the test ????????????????????
    Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Tuesday, February 20, 2007 - link

    From page 4 - CPU Cooling Test Configuration:

    "All cooling tests are run with the components mounted in a standard mid-tower case. The idle and stress temperature tests are run with the case closed and standing as it would in most home setups. We do not use auxiliary fans in the test cooling case, except for the north bridge fan attached to the 680i for overclocking."

    As an aside we have found the impact of heatpipe cooler orientation to be pretty small - we just don't leave that test criteria to chance. An article on the impact of heatpipe cooler orientation on performance could be interesting.
    Reply
  • orion23 - Monday, February 19, 2007 - link

    Hi!

    Thanks for this awesome review. Only 2 top coolers left to review:

    Thermalright Ultra 120

    Scythe Infinity!

    It is great to see Anandtech starting to review other PC components such as CPU Coolers and RAM. Things can be very quiet around here unless a new CPU, GPU or MotherBoard comes along......
    Hopefully this is only the beginning of a new Anandtech that will review other important PC components such as the PSU, CPU Coolers, (AIR / Water), Fan Controllers...
    It wouldn't hurt to have more stuff to read around here!
    Reply
  • DrMrLordX - Tuesday, February 20, 2007 - link

    Actually, the SI-128 and Noctua NH-U12F probably deserve a review at some point as well. Maybe even the Scythe Mine? The Mine can supposedly outperform the Ninja when using high-cfm fans, but your guess is as good as mine when it comes to actually mounting a 120mm fan on the Mine that normally takes a 100mm fan. Reply
  • DrMrLordX - Tuesday, February 20, 2007 - link

    Woops, I forgot the Big Typhoon and Big Typhoon VX. Reply
  • Avalon - Monday, February 19, 2007 - link

    Keep up the good work. I'm enjoying watching the list of coolers you guys review grow and grow, and I think it's great that you'll be doing the Scythe Infinity and Ninja soon. I know I've mentioned this before, but I still want to see the Coolermaster Hyper TX if you guys can get your hands on one. Reason being is it looks as though it provides excellent PWM area cooling...which brings me to my next question...

    Have you guys considered throwing in PWM area temperatures? Some coolers are great at cooling the CPU, but awful at providing air anywhere else...and PWM cooling can help with stability.
    Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Monday, February 19, 2007 - link

    We agree that PWM is an important consideration, and it is something we will likely visit in a future article. Most of the top motherboards these days use passive sinks on the power transisitors and northbridges, but they also come with cooling fans for use with water cooling and HSFs that do not provide good cooling for board components. The 680i has such a fan and we use it in our testing to try to remove the variable PWM air flow and temps as a performance factor. Of course, that avoids the question by removing the variable, rather than answering it. We will try to address this in some future article, but for now we have a lot more coolers waiting for tests on our standard test bed.

    Reply
  • acivick - Monday, February 19, 2007 - link

    I didn't see it listed anywhere in the review, but I'm assuming that the included thermal compound was used, at least for the 9500/9700. If the same compound was not used for all coolers, they should be retested, as it's not a valid test. Using the same compound on each would make it more of an even playing field and would thus be testing the performance of the cooler only.

    For instance, MX-1 is supposed to be much better than the stuff Zalman provided, giving a 3-5C decrease in overall temperatures.
    Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Monday, February 19, 2007 - link

    We use the thermal compound that comes with the cooler in most cases. If it is just a little packet of cheap thermal compound we use our standard, which is a silver colored tube thermal compound of pretty decent performance - not something exotic like MX-1.

    In the case of the Zalman 9500 and 9700 we used the Zalman Thermal Grease. Before replying to this question I tested the Tuniq Tower 120 with the Zalman Thermal Grease. Results were all but identical to the tests we ran using our bulk silver colored compound.

    Over the years I've used many thermal compounds, and if you use a quality product and apply it properly the results have been similar. I hear what you are saying about a 3-5C difference with MX-1, but I certainly have not seen those kinds of gains with any thermal grease. I can also point you to a serious review that shows toothpaste and Vegemite with superior performance to Arctic Silver 5. At some point in the future we might take a closer look at the impact of thermal compounds on performance, but for now I am confident our current test methods are not introducing new variables with sloppy choices of thermal compound. We are prudent in our choices, but not maniacal.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, February 19, 2007 - link

    Except a lot of people use whatever comes with the HSF. Wes would have to explain what thermal compound he's using, but I would assume he's sticking with the included stuff for each HSF where possible. If nothing is included... well, I don't know what he does there. :) Basically, though, I don't think retesting is in order unless he's using high-grade stuff on HSFs that omit the inclusion of a compound. Reply
  • VooDooAddict - Monday, February 19, 2007 - link

    I agree that he should make it clear though what he's using.

    Using the shipped compound with these units would be preferable from complete product a review standpoint. As it stands there's no mention of his cleaning and reapplying new compound either. From a simplicity standpoint of reviewing and a better comparison of coolers, it would be easier to just use one compound for all the coolers to reduce cleaning time and variables.
    Reply
  • ozzimark - Monday, February 19, 2007 - link

    umm, my 9500 looks NOTHING like that base :-X

    http://www.eclipseoc.com/image/cooling/zalman%20cn...">click for pic!
    Reply
  • dev0lution - Monday, February 19, 2007 - link

    Good info. I was leaning towards getting the 9500 since I don't think my 7700-alCu will fit on the eVga 680i board I haven't got around to installing. I might consider getting one of the alternatives now, seeing as how it doesn't look like the zalman's are worth the price premium. Reply
  • Fishie - Monday, February 19, 2007 - link

    quote:

    Neither Zalman was particularly quiet, and the 9700 was one of the noisiest coolers we have tested in the lab at 2800 RPM - twice the noise of the Tuniq Tower 120 at high speed and almost as loud as the Monsoon II Lite which is plagued by buzzing and clicks from fan switching.


    The Tuniq is 54dBs while the 9700 is 57dBs. Twice as loud? Wouldn't twice as loud be 108dBs? Not to mention the 9700 is quieter than the Tuniq at 24" away.
    Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Monday, February 19, 2007 - link

    3db is twice the sound energy, since the db scale is logarithmic. At one time twice the energy was considered twice as loud, but recent research shows 6db to 10db increase to be perceived by the human ear as twice as loud - depending on whose study you read. I have stated this in past reviews. To be more precise I changed the wording in the review to twice the sound energy. Reply
  • Operandi - Monday, February 19, 2007 - link

    Yes 10dBA (not 3) is generally perceived as twice as loud.

    3dBA is double the sound energy but because the scale is logarithmic doubling the energy is not heard to the human ear as twice as loud. For example two 9700s would be 3dBA louder then one but would not be considered twice as loud.
    Reply
  • jcarle - Monday, February 19, 2007 - link

    The person who wrote the article is an idiot... why? Because the CNPS9700 has been available for purchase for MONTHS. It is NOT a new product... Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Monday, February 19, 2007 - link

    The 9500 has been available for quite a while. We first saw the 9700 announced in late October/early Novermber. It was shown by Zalman at CES in early January and we reported the 9700 in our CES coverage and provided pictures. Reply
  • wolf68k - Monday, February 19, 2007 - link

    ...from that review. They showed how effective the Zalman, and others, are at cooling for both idle and stress. They also showed coolers noise levels at high and slow speeds. But they didn't show how effective they are at cooling for those various speeds.
    I use to have a Thermaltake Volcano 12+. At high speed it was very good at cooling, but loud as hell. At the lowest speed it was very quiet but the cooling sucked, I got better cooling with the stock cooler. And there's my point. The Tuniq Tower 120 showed to be a better cooler than the Zalman, but that's at high speed and where it's loud as hell. So how good is it compared to the Zalman, and the other coolers, at each of their lowest speeds?
    Reply
  • Operandi - Monday, February 19, 2007 - link

    The 9700 and 9500 both do very well with their fans running at reduced speed, you can take a look in this http://www.frostytech.com/articleview.cfm?articlei...">FrostyTech review. You'll see that there is a relatively small penalty in performance with the fan at at it's lowest setting and relatively little gain in performance at highest.

    These heatsinks are not designed for the overclocker they designed for low noise/performance cooling.
    Reply
  • strikeback03 - Monday, February 19, 2007 - link

    Any idea why the Tuniq seems to be out-of-stock pretty much everywhere? I have purchased all my other components except a cooler.

    For an E6600 running near stock X6800 speeds at most, am I correct in assuming one of the Zalmans would provide cooling reasonably close to the Tuniq, as they are actually available?
    Reply
  • LoneWolf15 - Monday, February 19, 2007 - link

    When your cooler is considered the best, and for reasonable prices (at least in the realm of air cooling), your product remains in demand.

    Best bet --put a watch on the product at NewEgg, when it comes in stock, they'll e-mail you. That's what I did, fortunately it was in within 24-48 hours. Otherwise, FrozenCPU might have it.

    If you're running stock speeds with a Core2 Duo/Quad, there is little reason to buy a fancy cooler, you might as well stick with stock. I'd advise looking into ways to keep the ambient temperature of your case down through better fans instead; if that's not an issue, then why spend the $50-60?
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, February 19, 2007 - link

    Try http://www.xpcgear.com/tuniqtower120.html">these guys Or just look at http://froogle.google.com/froogle?hl=en&q=%22t...">Froogle. Reply
  • strikeback03 - Monday, February 19, 2007 - link

    I did end up buying one from one of the Froogle companies I had never heard of. Kinda odd though that most of the links from Froogle are OOS though, and following the "Find the lowest prices" link in the Tuniq review eventually states that the item is no longer available.

    The room the computer will be used in will likely see temperatures over 30C, which is why I want a cooler which keeps the CPU as close to ambient as possible for a reasonable price.
    Reply
  • yyrkoon - Monday, February 19, 2007 - link

    Final page, conclusion. Paragraph 2, and 4 both have 'that', that should be 'than'. I will assume this is DNS acting a 'fool' again :) Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Monday, February 19, 2007 - link

    Very odd, but corrected. Reply
  • $pade - Monday, February 19, 2007 - link

    This is another cooler that should be in the same league as the Tuniq Tower, but I have never seen a comparison review between the two units. I have seen the infinity used in several test configurations here, so I don't understand why it hasn't been included here yet. Anyways, the Infinity received editor's choice award here (http://www.firingsquad.com/hardware/core_2_cpu_coo...">http://www.firingsquad.com/hardware/core_2_cpu_coo... because it featured the lowest noise level and best cooling performance. I'd like to see another review for a second opinion and to see how it compares against the Tower. Reply
  • Vigile - Monday, February 19, 2007 - link

    http://www.pcper.com/article.php?aid=298">http://www.pcper.com/article.php?aid=298 Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Monday, February 19, 2007 - link

    We have just received the latest versions of the Scythe Ninja and the Scythe Infinity. They will be covered in an upcoming review. Reply
  • Sh0ckwave - Wednesday, February 21, 2007 - link

    Awesome. my Infinity kicks ass with a papst fan Reply
  • VooDooAddict - Monday, February 19, 2007 - link

    Excellent! Reply
  • mostlyprudent - Monday, February 19, 2007 - link

    Sweet! Reply
  • Operandi - Monday, February 19, 2007 - link

    It looks like the Zalmans are operating below your noise floor when they are run at low so it's hard to compare noise results within your results. Your prices are also a bit off; on Newegg the 9500 has been in the mid $40 range for awhile now which makes it more competitive.

    Also I don't believe Zalman makes a passive PSU aside from the unit integrated into some of their passive cases.
    Reply
  • PseudoKnight - Monday, February 19, 2007 - link

    I hope they can do better on their next iteration or at least drop the prices on these ones. I had a great experience with their product support. The heatsinks also look fantastic. heh. Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Monday, February 19, 2007 - link

    We agree that Zalman product support is excellent. They also have put a lot of thought into the engineering of the installtion, and into describing that installation very well - which we mentioned in the review.

    We have tremendous respect for Zalman as a company, but we also know our readers depend on us for objective testing, and not reviews that are just ads for products. There are plenty of sites where you can get those kinds of reviews. We strongly believe that a "review" of a single product is an advertisement - reviews require comparing two or more products objectively.

    Zalman missed the value mark this time, but we're certain they will be back with other great products in the future.
    Reply
  • Operandi - Friday, February 23, 2007 - link

    I think it's your review that missed the mark....

    Zalman heatsinks have always been designed with low CFM (hence low noise) in mind. Since it appears that you only tested the heatsinks for temperature performance at 12v and nothing else we'll never know how the Zalmans fair against the competition (at least from your tests) with lower fan speeds.

    You penalized the Zalmans for being louder then their competitors but everything comes up at 47 dBA anyway indicating your testing environment is louder the heatsinks your testing. If you can't effectively measure the noise level why bother publishing the results?
    Reply
  • DrMrLordX - Monday, February 19, 2007 - link

    . . . would you be willing to show the test bed a bit more in these articles? It'd be nice to know what kind of airflow environment exists for these coolers during testing. Also, are you planning on doing a roundup with various add-on fans (like the Silverstone FM-121, the 150, 190, and 220 cfm Delta fans, the 102 cfm Sanyo Denki fan, etc)? Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Monday, February 19, 2007 - link

    We will try to show more pictures of the test bed in future reviews. The fan roundup is an interesting idea and we will certainly consider doing one. Reply
  • DrMrLordX - Tuesday, February 20, 2007 - link

    thanks . . . a fan roundup would help a lot with certain coolers like the Big Typhoon and Ultra-120 that seem to respond well to aftermarket fans. I've heard rumors that the Scythe Infinity can also mount two fans and performs fairly well in such a configuration, though I've only seen one benchmark with a config like that, and the fans were both low-rpm fans. Reply
  • tuteja1986 - Monday, February 19, 2007 - link

    Someone beat the Tuniq Tower 120. Need a better aircooler. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, February 19, 2007 - link

    Uh... did you even read the article? Because neither of these beats the Tuniq Tower 120... not even close. More expensive, noisier, and lower performance means they lose in all the important areas. The only minor advantage is that they weigh slightly less, but the plastic mounting bracket counteracts that. Reply
  • mostlyprudent - Monday, February 19, 2007 - link

    I read his post as an inparative. That is, Anandtech needs to find a better cooler to beet the Tuniq. Reply
  • Sh0ckwave - Wednesday, February 21, 2007 - link

    Try the Thermalright Ultra-120 and Scythe Infinity, they might have a chance. Reply
  • fpsdean - Saturday, August 16, 2008 - link

    The Thermalright 120 and the Ultra model spanked the Tuniq Tower, as did the Zerotherm NV120. Reply
  • DrMrLordX - Monday, February 19, 2007 - link

    He might have been referring to the Monsoon II Lite, but that was reviewed some time ago. Great review though, thanks! Reply

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