POST A COMMENT

39 Comments

Back to Article

  • Zoomer - Thursday, March 01, 2007 - link

    Could you try adding more than two fans, or perhaps blocking the sides of the heatsink so that air can't escape and see if it helps?

    I'm very interested. It appears that this unit requires a high(er) static pressure to work well.
    Reply
  • yyrkoon - Monday, February 26, 2007 - link

    These coolers, are all fine and dandy, but what about low profile coolers, that dont weight as much as the Golden Gate bridge ?

    Me, my personal case, is an Lian Li PC-G50 (silver, if you must know . . .), and the PSU sits right_above about half of the CPU. Silent is great, higher overclocking potential, is better still, but the bigger question is, why arent these companies working on anything that doesnt require special cases, or at the very least, cases that are so huge, you can not put them any place without having large amounts of room.

    My case: 15" tall, looks great, is very functional, its just a terrible shame, that no one seems to be making low profile coolers, that would help me eek out a 310mhz + CPU on my ABIT NF-M2 nView + AM2 Opteron 1210 (which I have actually achieved, just wouldnt do much other than BSoD within windows).
    Reply
  • Lem - Wednesday, February 28, 2007 - link

    Have you checked the Thermalright "SI-type" coolers? I have been happy with a Thermalright SI-120 + 120mm 1200rpm fan (PAPST 4412F/2GLL). I am not much into overclocking though. I only raised the frequency of my X2 3800+ to 2.4GHz because it was a nice round number that my RAM could handle.

    The newer SI-128 seems to support AM2-socket as well. I prefer that design over these for obvious reasons.

    My Lian Li PC-61 is somewhat bigger than your case but I do not think that there would be any problems with PC-G50 either.
    Reply
  • BigLan - Tuesday, February 27, 2007 - link

    "why arent these companies working on anything that doesnt require special cases"

    Erm, your case is the special one. These coolers generally fit in standard atx cases, with the regular atx-approved layout (height might be an issue in mid-atx cases.) I think that having the psu above the cpu is ok for micro-atx, but that is still pretty specialized - you might want to look into server coolers (specifically 1-u coolers.) m-atx-style normally requires smaller fans, which have to spin much faster to move the same amount of air, and are very, very noisy (does anyone remember the old 60mm delta screamers?) You're also limited to fin area, which also hurts performance. There are some reasonably good btx coolers which overcome these problems though, but they're often proprietary (built into dell cases etc.)
    Reply
  • cujo - Tuesday, February 27, 2007 - link

    i love big cases. lots more room to work inside and lots more room for quiet 120mm fans. Reply
  • yyrkoon - Tuesday, February 27, 2007 - link

    Good for you. My case also has silent 120mm fans, the system is so quiet in fact, I have to turn something else on, so I can sleep ( I require white noise to sleep ). Reply
  • arswihart - Monday, February 26, 2007 - link

    I disagree with using overclocking as a measure of a heatsink's performance. You should focus on noise and temps, it's that simple. I don't know why anyone would even pay attention to that data you are presenting. Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Monday, February 26, 2007 - link

    Temperatures at stock speeds are reported on p. 4. However, contrary to your assumption, coolers that perform best at cooling at a stock 2.93GHz are not always the same coolers that enable the highest overclock. Temperature rises as a CPU is overclocked, and coolers that perform well at stock speeds do not always remove heat as well at higher temperatures.

    Since the OC that can be achieved does not matter to you, the data on p.4 - temperature at stock speed - should give you what you are looking for.

    Reply
  • arswihart - Monday, February 26, 2007 - link

    Idle and Load temps for stock / OC. No need to look at 50Mhz differences to rank the heatsinks is my point. Reply
  • arswihart - Tuesday, February 27, 2007 - link

    To further make my point, you see a 7 C difference between the single and dual fan configs on the Infinity, and only a 70Mhz difference in OC. To me, the 70Mhz difference is negligible, while the 7 C difference is quite striking.

    Relatively speaking, the difference in temps is much more drastic (12%), and much mnore relevant, than the difference you are seeing in OC (2%).

    Do you still want to argue about it?

    Sure it makes for interesting reading, so I guess I can't blame you too much, and the audience at Anandtech surely eats it up. I would just tell you I'd rather not have reviews cluttered up with this rather petty data.
    Reply
  • SmokeRngs - Wednesday, February 28, 2007 - link

    quote:

    Sure it makes for interesting reading, so I guess I can't blame you too much, and the audience at Anandtech surely eats it up. I would just tell you I'd rather not have reviews cluttered up with this rather petty data.


    The information you wanted is there. Why are you complaining? There are plenty of people that don't care about the information you want but do want the information you deride. Both are there in a clear and concise manner for those that want to see one or both.
    Reply
  • shabby - Monday, February 26, 2007 - link

    People who buy $50 heatsinks dont buy them because they're quiet, they buy them so they can overclock their cpu's. Plus they probably stick higher cfm fans, so they're not quiet anymore. Reply
  • Zambien - Monday, February 26, 2007 - link

    I disagree. When I bought my Zalman 7700cu for my current PC, the main reason was that it would provide similar cooling to my current HSF, with less noise. I didn't like the fact that my computer sounded like a jet engnine. I'm sure some people fall into the category, but others do not. Reply
  • cujo - Monday, February 26, 2007 - link

    why wouldn't you test with overclocks? Reply
  • arswihart - Monday, February 26, 2007 - link

    Not to mention they are talking about 50Mhz differences in OC to separate better and lesser performing heatsinks. Come on, that isn't even a significant difference. Did they repeat the result on multiple systems, or just the one. Does it matter? Of course not. Reply
  • arswihart - Monday, February 26, 2007 - link

    A heatsink doesn't do anything magic to give you higher OC's, it gives you lower temps, which will then let you OC higher.

    Measuring a CPU's OC is looking at data that is a step removed from what you should be looking at, which is simply the temperature. I could care less what they get to OC to, it will be almost certainly different for anyone who buys the heatsink.

    The only thing that I think is worth taking away from any heatsink review is: installation caveats, temps, and noise.
    Reply
  • shabby - Monday, February 26, 2007 - link

    I find it funny that the infinity cant beat the tt120, does it have thicker heatpipes or what. What part of the tt120's construction make it better then other beefier/bigger coolers? Reply
  • Superdoopercooper - Monday, February 26, 2007 - link

    The first rule in A-B testing is to hold EVERYTHING constant except for the items being examined/tested.

    Therefore, in ALL of your heatsink reviews, the system down to the THERMAL COMPOUND should remain fixed, even if the heatsink ships with some "higher end" stuff.

    I think it would be wise to pick ONE thermal compound and use it on EVERY heatsink test. Then you are testing the performance of the heatsink (i.e. Heatsink #1 is better than Heatsink #2, with no exceptions), and not the thermal grease + heatsink.

    I would hate to think that heatsink #1 was the best, but only because it shipped with better compound than another. I think many people ponying up for these higher-$$ heatsinks will pony up $6 for some good thermal grease.

    Then, if you want to do an additional test that comments on the performance of the included thermal grease, that would/could be helpful to potential buyers.
    Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Monday, February 26, 2007 - link

    I can easily link you to a review from a respected source that proves toothpaste and Kraft Vegemite are superior in cooling to Arctic Silver 5 :-) I have tested many thermal compounds and found little differnece among the quality products. That conclusion was a rude awakening for me. I have found much more variation in perfromance in how the thermal grease was applied than I have ever found in the thermal compounds themselves.

    Thus far, all of the tests have used our standard silver-colored (but no real silver content) tube thermal compound except the Thermalright MST 6775 and the Zalman pair. These came with top thermal grease, and yet none of the three beat our Tuniq or this Infinity. If the cooler company cares enought to supply a premium thermal compound we test with that compound.
    Reply
  • Superdoopercooper - Monday, February 26, 2007 - link

    If it is true that all thermal compounds are nearly equal, then I guess that's fine. I would like to see the link, actually.

    That still doesn't change the fact that the best A-B testing holds EVERYTHING constant except the single item being tested.

    Since AT is the site I hold in the highest regard in terms of info on computer components, I thought I'd just throw up my $0.02 on ways to maybe make these tests "better" and/or more scientific.

    Could just be my test engineering background talking. :-P
    Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Monday, February 26, 2007 - link

    The famous thermal compound review is at http://www.dansdata.com/goop.htm">http://www.dansdata.com/goop.htm. While it is written tongue-in-cheek the test methods are well conceived and there is a terrific discussion of what is significant and what is trivial in testing computer components. After I read the review a while ago I tested every thermal compound I had spent big bucks on and got very similar results.

    I will concede that the more fluid compounds do work a little better when you have tiny contact areas as in the older Socket A AMD - at least initially. But with heatspreaders on all the CPUs these days the thermal grease used makes very little difference as long as it holds up, isn't particualrly conductive, and doesn't dry out. Applying it properly can make a big difference in performance, however.

    Those not from Oz may recall the Men At Work song "Down Under" that makes reference to a "vegemite sandwich". Now you'll understand Vegemite is that brown vegatable spread about the texture of mayonnaise that is uniquely popular in Austalia.
    Reply
  • DrMrLordX - Tuesday, February 27, 2007 - link

    While I'll generally agree with you, there is at least one TIM that is positively insane that may outperform the usual gunk, and that's Coollaboratory's Liquid Pro (their Metal Pads don't seem to work as well). That stuff will literally dissolve aluminum and otherwise make a terrible mess. It's mostly gallium, indium, and tin I'm told. Strange stuff.

    Others swear by Shin-Etsu X23-7783D as being clearly superior to AS5 and AS Ceramique. I've only seen one benchmark featuring the X23, but it even beat the crazy Liquid Pro in that benchmark.

    Really, it would be more interesting to see benchmarks of the TIMs themselves than anything else. Your current TIM strategy in your heatsink tests is fine by me.
    Reply
  • BigLan - Monday, February 26, 2007 - link

    I think the toothpaste and vegemite article is on dansdata. (Dan used to do HSF reviews back in the Socket A days and had literally dozens of them all compared.) While toothpaste might work for testing, it does dry out very quickly and so would need to be replaced after a short period of time (probably days.) You could use it in a pinch, but I wouldn't want to try for 3117 overclocks with it! Reply
  • Binkt - Monday, February 26, 2007 - link

    "We have the Thermalright 120 in for review, and we will also be testing the Scythe Ninja Rev. B. Noctua, an Austrian manufacturer of cooling solutions"

    Could you be specific on the model of thermalright 120 that you have in for upcoming tests? I assume that you mean the Ultra-120, since it is the current heavy-hitter from my personal favorite manufacturer.

    Thanks, and keep up the great work!

    PS. Any hope for a look at virtualization performance of current CPU's and platforms? hint: Asrock 775Dual-VSTA vs. more expensive i965 boards vs. AMD VT-enabled platforms ?
    Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Monday, February 26, 2007 - link

    The cooler is the Thermalright Ultra 120. Reply
  • lopri - Monday, February 26, 2007 - link

    It's got to be Ultra-120. I'd personally rate Tuniq 120, Scythe Infinity, and Ultra-120 as top 3 air coolers today. BTW, what does this article have to do with virtualization??

    To Wesley: Thanks for the article. And I totally agree with your assessment on Infinity's mounting mechanism. It flexes motherboard and makes me uncomfortable to have it in my tower. Also it might not block DIMM slots on the tested motherboard, but I had some difficulties on other boards. (especially if I wanted to make use of any RAM cooling)

    quote:

    However, it is also clear than the current stock Infinity is not quite as good as the original models in reaching very high overclocks.

    Did Infinity go through revisions? If so, what are the differences from original model and the current one?
    Reply
  • thestain - Monday, February 26, 2007 - link

    Making comparisons based upon 38 dba is not a real test of quietness, try to get your rig a little quieter, maybe shoot for 33-34 so we can see these products spread themselves out more. Have you made any effort to test your test rig to see if the Power supply is making too much racket, in qhixh case replace it with a comparable performing Corsair or Seasonic, and can you turn down the fan slightly on your graphics card??



    Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Monday, February 26, 2007 - link

    With all computers, monitors, printers, lamps, etc. turned off in our testing romm the ambient noise is 36.4db. Reaching 33 to 34db as a base is therefore not likely. The OCZ 520 is one of the quietest power supplies we have tested. We have also tested with a small basic video card just to see if noise can be lowered further. The result was we had reached the floor of the PS. We also have to unplug the nVidia northbridge fan during noise measurements because it is much louder than the PS, video card fan or most coolers that we have tested.

    There is a place for fanless power supplies, fanless video cards, and coolers that are silent, but for the great bulk of readers we really see little point in testing below the noise floor of the power supply.

    We could do like some other sites and isolate the test board in a sound chamber away from the power supply, but I seriously doubt this is how our readers run their silent PCs. We definitely hear what you are saying, but our noise testing is looking at real-world noise levels. There are other sites that specialize in silence at levels you would more likely find in a noise testing lab.
    Reply
  • cujo - Monday, February 26, 2007 - link

    you're forgetting a very popular cooler. i'd love to see the results of that vs. these other coolers.

    i would also suggest looking at motherboard/chipset temperatures as most of these tower coolers do nothing for those.
    Reply
  • DrMrLordX - Tuesday, February 27, 2007 - link

    I'm sure they'll get around to it eventually . . . that or the Big Typhoon VX.

    The article is well-done though, and I'm very glad that you did the dual-fan setup guys. If you look at other tests of the Infinity with dual fans, you'll find that using anything faster than 1200rpm in a push-pull config is really unnecessary. Once you have the second fan going you're getting the best you can get out of the Infinity.
    Reply
  • dtanner - Monday, February 26, 2007 - link

    By keeping the tower short, you are keeping the mass of the tower closer to the mobo and thus reducing the stress on the push pins. As another poster has stated, with this much mass I would definitely spend the extra $10 and get the UNIVERSAL RETENTION KIT "SCURK1". Reply
  • chienpourri - Monday, February 26, 2007 - link

    Juste a suggestion, Scyte sells a UNIVERSAL RETENTION KIT "SCURK1" that anyone can find for around 10$, it comes with a backplate and everything. As the reviewer said, I would feel very uncomfy sitting the Infinity with only brackets... However using this kit it would fix the problem. The only downside I can find is the increased cost, but 10$ for security sounds good to me! Reply
  • orion23 - Monday, February 26, 2007 - link

    Yeah...That! Reply
  • orion23 - Monday, February 26, 2007 - link

    Hi!

    Great test guys!

    I love how Anandtech started testing and reviewing other PC components.

    You guys are doing great so far! Keep them coming...

    And don't forget Power Supply Units!
    Reply
  • Calin - Monday, February 26, 2007 - link

    I find it somewhat to be understood - as the air would flow worse inside the cooler, part of it will flow out of it using the lateral spaces - as such, contributing very little or not at all to cooling.
    I wonder how much would single fan cooling improve if the air flow would be restricted in escaping by the sides. If so, what the performance would be with a push-pull configuration and lateral restrictions on air movement (escape)?
    Reply
  • Jjoshua2 - Monday, February 26, 2007 - link

    What I want to see is a more head to head test, with either the Tuniq using fans at the Infinity noise level, or the Infinity getting two higher powered fans, to see which wins.

    What I am interested in is the best performing silent/near silent fan & heatsink combo.

    But overall, I liked the article thanks!
    Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Monday, February 26, 2007 - link

    We appreciate your suggestion, but we make every effort to test CPU coolers as they are packaged if at all possible. It would be a massive effort to try to go through an assortment of fans, find those singles and pairs that noise match and then replace fans supplied with the coolers with these matched singles and pairs. HSFs like Zalman have embedded fans which can't be swapped, and many top coolers use fan sizes with more limited selections than the 92mm or 120mm fan sizes.

    You have an interesting idea for an article on silent cooling, but it does go beyond the bounds of benchmarking and comparing performance of CPU coolers.
    Reply
  • crimson117 - Monday, February 26, 2007 - link

    What is the ambient temperature in the room during testing?

    Does the room get hotter after a few hours of testing, perhaps skewing temperatures higher for models tested at the end of the day?
    Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Monday, February 26, 2007 - link

    The ambient temperature of the room is 69F (21C) and is reasonably consistent. When running many computers in benchmarking the temperature may rise to 75F, but we check the temperature and turn off other systems during cooler testing. Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now