POST A COMMENT

36 Comments

Back to Article

  • Lord Evermore - Saturday, April 14, 2007 - link

    How is the Ninja and Infinity "not particularly great for overclocking", when even with their stock fans, when they can hit 3.83GHz? 3.9GHz is only 66MHz higher, a whopping 1.7% higher. Individual CPU differences could easily make that up for other users, and the "better" coolers might not get an equal increase in their maximum speed in those cases. At those levels to me things seem for all intents and purposes essentially equal.

    With the stock fan that's a 31% overclock at 3.83G. 33% at 3.9G. Only in comparison to the very best you've tested do these come out near the lower end of the scale. Right at the end you group it together with the top tier of other coolers. And even if it was at the lower end of the "good" coolers, stock or overclocked, the actual numerical differences are so tiny as to be statistically insignificant.

    I suppose 66MHz difference is a HUGE deal to rabid overclockers who are willing to spend money for it, but the majority of even enthusiasts I'd think wouldn't consider it particularly impressive given how large the stock fan overclock is. (Note I'm only addressing the frequency obtained since that seems to be the focus of what makes a cooler "good" here. Temperatures obtained at those speeds could change the lineup.)
    Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Monday, April 16, 2007 - link

    We use the exact same CPU and test bed for testing all coolers - to remove the "individual CPU" variable. But you are right to put the performance results into perspective. In the grand scheme of performance the difference in 3.83GHz and 3.90GHz is very small as you point out. There are other advantages to the very top performing coolers, however. If you check the cooling at various temps those that do 3.90GHz easily also generally provide the lowest CPU temperaturesa at any given speed.

    Had we devised our overclocking test a little differently and tested say, every 266 MHz - 2.93GHz, 3.2GHz, 3.466GHz, 3.633GHz, 3.80GHz, 3.966GHz - the true differences might be put in better perspective. However, we started the test with the assumption that if a cooler couldn't outperform the Intel Retail there was no point in buying it. Perhaps if the Intel Retail HSF were poorer we could show more, but the fact is the Intel Retail HSF is really very good and it takes a decent cooler to beat the one that comes at no additional cost with the Intel processor.

    Your comments are fair, but we also believe our cooler test methods do identify the very top performers in the marketplace. One notch down is still pretty remarkable performance as you point out.
    Reply
  • strikeback03 - Thursday, April 12, 2007 - link

    It is kind of hard to tell in the photos, does one set of 3 heat pipes run above the other set, or are they somehow woven together so they are all approximately the same distance from the CPU? Assuming they are mounted with one set above the other, did you do any testing to see whether cooling is better with the fan mounted on one side or the other (i.e. blowing directly on the upper set of heatpipes or the lower set). Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Friday, April 13, 2007 - link

    one group of 3 heatpipes passes through an upper plate and the other three pass through the mounting plate below. As you guessed they do cross over the lower set of heatpipes in the center of the base. We did not test with different orientations relative to the heatpipe level, but it is an interesting question. Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Thursday, April 12, 2007 - link

    We have received the following statement from Scythe regarding the similarity of their Ninja Plus B Cooler to the OCZ Vindicator:

    "Scythe is a stock holder of the factory where we produce our coolers,
    and also the factory is a stock holder of the Scythe Taiwan office where
    we have a very tight relationship almost as close as a group company.
    Within this relationship we are acknowledged and aware of all shipments
    done from the factory. But OCZ is not one of them.

    With the above said, we are definitely sure that OCZ coolers are manufactured
    in another factory. The only components that are common between the two are the
    hex caps on the heat pipes, which are supplied outside of our cooler factory.

    We also have not approved OCZ's design in any form or shape, nor did we receive
    any OEM request. Their products are just a simple copy of Ninja and we are
    currently being troubled by this untrue rumor. "
    Reply
  • Lord Evermore - Saturday, April 14, 2007 - link

    My thought is maybe they use a different working fluid. They're just too similar in design for the hardware to have any performance difference, even if OCZ did just copy the design (if they had though, you'd think Scythe would be suing). I suppose the exact alloy composition for the base plate or other parts could be different, if they actually are made somewhere else, and then the parts just end up looking the same and being assembled in the same shape.

    Then again, Scythe doesn't say NOBODY gets this design but them...
    Reply
  • ceefka - Thursday, April 12, 2007 - link

    On the packaging of the Ninja it says: "supports fanless model". Now that of course will be dead silent, but it will require adequate airflow in the form of case fans. What are the temperatures and dBs in that situation? Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Thursday, April 12, 2007 - link

    Fanless cooling seems to perform best with a PS with a downward facing exhaust fan and excellent case entry and exhaust cooling. Our test case does not really have these features, but we will definitely be paying more attention to airflow and the PS fans in choosing components for our new test bed. With the current configuration in mind, it seemed unfair to test fanless mode temps with a poor configuration for fanless cooling.

    We did run a quick 5-minute gaming loop at the X6800 stock speed with a fanless Ninja Plus B and it ran fine. Temps were much higher than fan configurations just as you would expect. We will be doing more in testing fanless claims in the future - once the fans are selected from testing and the new test bed is launched.

    We do confess concerns over fanless given the current crop of excellent perfroming tower coolers. It appears fanless just moves the fans from the cooler to the case, but fans are still required. There are many large quiet case fans, but there are also many quiet 120mm fans for coolers these days. Fanless seemed to make more difference when ccoolers used buzzy loud 60mm and 70mm fans. These days the best coolers use heatpipes and 120mm fans and the noise levels are MUCH lower with these coolers than the screaming wonders of the past.
    Reply
  • fic2 - Thursday, April 12, 2007 - link

    I am curious about the Noise Limit heatsinks: http://www.noiselimit.com/index2.asp?id=16">http://www.noiselimit.com/index2.asp?id=16. Any chance this will be included in a review? Reply
  • Stele - Wednesday, April 11, 2007 - link

    I'm not sure if this question has been dealt with before - my apologies if it has.

    I've always wondered how is it that a certain cooler can produce lower CPU temperatures but yet fail to make it at a higher CPU frequency? The Zalman CNPS9700 is a good example - at 3.83GHz the CPU runs at 40°C, which is lower than many of the others, yet does not make it to the last two CPU frequencies. A Scythe Infinity dual, however, registers 44 at the same frequency and yet makes it at least into 3.90GHz. The anomaly is even more pronounced in the stress test. In all cases the coolers seem to scale similarly, so it's not as if one of them had reached its design limit (compared to, for example, the stock Intel HSF). Has an explanation for this been given or proposed before?

    I'm guessing that one factor is the mounting method. It's remarkable that some Socket-775 coolers, despite weighing some 1.5-2x that of the official 450g limit with fan, still use the stock plastic push-pin method. Without a backplate. Makes one wonder sometimes whether the cooler is indeed in good contact with the CPU, and whether after some time the cooler would fall out - or the motherboard flex and crack.
    Reply
  • Pirks - Wednesday, April 11, 2007 - link

    I'm going to get myself a monster of a heatsink called Cooler Master GeminII. It has two 120mm fans on top that blow right down on the mobo. On the other hand I keep reading all these news here coming from Gary, Wesley, Jarred and the gang, that tower coolers like Infinity or Thermalright kick ass and yield only to waterblocks. Now, the question is - are you guys really missing this important part of cooling mosfets, power circuitry, some northbridge, memory etc? Or is it really unimportant?

    I mean, what's the point in having such an imbalanced cooling solution where the CPU is cool but evetything else is almost melting? I recall my experience with Athlon XP in a tight poorly ventilated case - I put Zalman on it instead of a little tower HSF and you you know what? The power circuitry temperature went down 16 degrees right there, and I stopped getting Windows freezing on me. Stability became just like on those pesky Macs (j/k) :)

    So what is it? A vertical tower? Or a horizontal cooler that blows on mosfets? Or a mix of both with tower and additional coolers around it to cool mosfets?

    At least a link to some systematic research won't hurt, I can only see opinionated forums where half of the population says towers suck because they don't cool mosfets and the other half says towers rock precisely because they don't cool mosfets :) Wesley? Gary? Any other AT overclocking guru? What's your opinion and arguments for it (or against it)?
    Reply
  • LaGUNaMAN - Thursday, April 12, 2007 - link

    Speaking of the Cooler Master GeminII, requesting to have that reviewed as well. Great job on the article BTW Bozz Wesley. Can't wait for the 120mm fan roundup. (^^,) Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Friday, April 13, 2007 - link

    The CoolerMaster Gemini II is in the lab for review. I agree it looks really promising with a pair of low-noise high-output fans. We hope to get to it within the next couple of weeks. Reply
  • Kaleid - Saturday, April 14, 2007 - link

    Could you try placing one fan in the middle of that cooler? Does it really perform better with two fans or would one silent fan do the trick? Reply
  • Stele - Wednesday, April 11, 2007 - link

    quote:

    I mean, what's the point in having such an imbalanced cooling solution where the CPU is cool but evetything else is almost melting?

    That's a very good question, one which I've often asked myself when looking for coolers. Granted, a straight-through airflow right out the back of the casing helps prevent a build-up of warm air inside it, but that would leave a weak level of airflow around the other hotspots on the motherboard... especially with the likes of a 680i SLI overclocked.

    It would be terrific if Anandtech could deploy a few thermocouple probes or even an IR thermometer and measure the temperatures of those hotspots - PWM heatsink (or PWM MOSFET if no heatsink present), northbridge, and if time allows, perhaps even the side of a RAM DIMM and graphics card nearest the CPU socket area. That would certainly help differentiate the coolers good at just cooling the CPU from those that can do better overall. :)
    Reply
  • noobzter - Wednesday, April 11, 2007 - link

    1. How does the CPU temp as reported in NTune compare to TAT's?
    2. What was the ambient temp during the test?
    Reply
  • noobzter - Thursday, April 12, 2007 - link

    Sweet, thanks! Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Thursday, April 12, 2007 - link

    TAT workload testing with the stock Scythe fan on the Ninja Plus B show test results virtually the same at TAT 80% CPU load as our 30 minute gaming tests. Since you are likely familiar with TAT results that info may be useful. TAT does stress both cores in testing, which our current game tests do not do. Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Thursday, April 12, 2007 - link

    1. TAT (Thermal Analysis Tool) is an Intel program, so it did not occur to us to use it for verification on an nVidia chipset. However, it is CPU centric, and we found it DOES work on the 680i chipset. Comparing Idle temps to nVidia Monitor results at 3.73GHz overclocked showed reported Monitor and TAT temps within 0-2C of each other. We will test more with TAT using internal load tests in the future.

    2. Ambient room temperature during tests is 70F (21C).
    Reply
  • iluvdeal - Wednesday, April 11, 2007 - link

    I am looking for a quiet HSF which allows good OCing for a Core2Duo and the Ninja fits that bill, however the one thing that's constantly repeated about it is it's difficult to securely mount with a S775. That's what scared me away from it. Reply
  • crimson117 - Wednesday, April 11, 2007 - link

    quote:

    Most of the important questions are answered on the package. Included on the typical jam-packed Scythe package are specifications, pictures and a list of compatible sockets, warranty info, and details on of the included 120mm low-noise fan.

    Also included are pictures of compatible ninjas.
    Reply
  • bigpow - Wednesday, April 11, 2007 - link

    I bought the Ninja a while ago (I think AT article helped make that decision for me)
    I'm glad to know that AT cares about its readers
    Eventhough the Ninja is old (and probably doesn't make sense for new system build), a lot of us still have them and it's nice to know that the old Ninja still has what it takes.

    The suggestion to replace the S-Flex fan is also very nice.

    Thank you
    Reply
  • Talcite - Wednesday, April 11, 2007 - link

    You guys mentioned that you were looking for a quiet PSU for the testing rig...

    At SPCR, everyone uses the Seasonics S12s and M12s for silence. I personally have a S12-430W and it is very quiet. I sleep less than 2 feet away from my system and can barely hear it. I haven't heard the M12 personally, but it should be near silent anyways. Maybe you guys should look into the Seasonics?
    Reply
  • Gary Key - Wednesday, April 11, 2007 - link

    We will be testing several power supplies over the next couple of weeks but at this point the Seasonic based Corsair 620HX is the leading candidate for this test scenario based on the units we have on-hand. Reply
  • fic2 - Wednesday, April 11, 2007 - link

    Hopefully you will test the SilenX PS, too. If their PSs perform anything like their fans they should be good. Website: http://www.silenx.com/ixtremapropsus.asp">http://www.silenx.com/ixtremapropsus.asp. Reply
  • jay401 - Wednesday, April 11, 2007 - link

    Good review and definitely appreciate this recent spurt of HSF reviews. Looks like the Ultra 120 Extreme is the way to go... if indeed they've revised their mounting bracket for S775. Do you have any confirmation of that?


    Btw two quick typos: Page5 - first graph "iis", Page7 - paragraph ending with word "solution" has no period after it. =)
    Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Wednesday, April 11, 2007 - link

    You have exceptional editing skills. Thanks for pointing out the typos. Corrected.

    No word yet on a modified S775 bracket for the Ultra 120 Extreme, but we will ask Thermalright again.
    Reply
  • jay401 - Wednesday, April 11, 2007 - link

    Journalism degree/geek :D

    Thanks for planning to follow up with Thermalright; I doubt I'm the only potential buyer of their performance-topping design who would like to know if the product can now be installed without bending tensioning brackets. ;)
    Reply
  • dm0r - Wednesday, April 11, 2007 - link

    and also ask thermalright the new cpu cooler they made....IFX-14. It really looks promising. Thanks for the review! Reply
  • Brunnis - Wednesday, April 11, 2007 - link

    So, how are we going to compare the effectiveness of these coolers when you seem to have used different fans? I can see the point of testing with stock fans (if applicable), but the thing most people want to know is which heatsink that performs the best. Your heatsink reviews also seem to be geared towards heavy overclockers, in which case testing with the stock fan makes even less sense. You don't even provide RPM figures for the fans used on the different coolers.

    I'm sorry, but I just find these reviews pretty much pointless. The testing methodology is flawed, considering the group of users that you're targeting.
    Reply
  • Frumious1 - Wednesday, April 11, 2007 - link

    RTFA! The stock fans are different, and there's no reason to compare the OCZ with the Ninja fan or the Ninja with the Vindicator fan. If someone is going to but a heatsink and use a different fan, they're a lot more likely to go with... I dunno, maybe something like a SilenX? They used the same aftermarket fan for both non-stock configurations, and the Ninja performed slightly better in the termperature tests. Isn't that the informaiton you wanted???

    I'm sorry (not), but your post is pretty much pointless. Your reading comprehension is flawed, considering the content of the article.
    Reply
  • Brunnis - Wednesday, April 11, 2007 - link

    Way to be on the offensive... I was talking about ALL the heatsinks not just the Ninja vs Vindicator. I've re-checked the article and I've still not found any info on what fans that were used on the other heatsinks. So, apparently I'd have to dig back through all the old tests to find that info. Is it too much to ask for a table that lists the fans (including the RPM) used on each cooler? It still wouldn't enable us to see what heatsink that actually performs the best (with the fan out of the equation), but it's better than nothing. Reply
  • Frumious1 - Wednesday, April 11, 2007 - link

    Ah, I see... you want them to do something like maybe a fan roundup, right? Maybe if you ask nicely instead of using words like useless and pointless they might do a http://www.anandtech.com/casecooling/showdoc.aspx?...">120mm fan roundup? Outside of the Thermalright coolers however, I'd expect just about everyone to go with the stock fan anyway.

    On a different note, I think a nice list of current street prices for the various coolers would be very useful. Most of the cooler reviews have mentioned price, but a table somewhre in the article would make the situation a lot more clear.
    Reply
  • DrMrLordX - Wednesday, April 11, 2007 - link

    Good to see the ol' Ninja alive and kicking. That ought to put any comparisons between it and the OCZ Vindicator to rest. Reply
  • Spoelie - Wednesday, April 11, 2007 - link

    Kinda hard when the label of the table on the second page still says ocz vindicator ;) Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Wednesday, April 11, 2007 - link

    Editing oversight corrected. Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now