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  • GlassHouse69 - Friday, June 29, 2007 - link

    This screams for a simple fan swap. Either a Nexus fan, a Yate loon, or a Papst 120. That with a front fan controller would make this a very decent cooler without the noise.
  • mpelle4456 - Thursday, June 28, 2007 - link

    I think it’s great that Anandtech is doing reviews on heat sinks, but I can’t get behind some of your methodology – i.e., the “highest stable overclocking” tests for heat sinks.

    There are so many, many variables at play when overclocking a computer, that unless every test was done with exactly the same components – the exact same CPU, the exact same motherboard, the exact same RAM, and so on – all the exact same hardware, with the exact same BIOS settings and software – then the test is not in any way valid.

    Tests using the same model/brand CPU’s or RAM just don’t it – there are way too many variations between different CPU’s and steppings. An Opteron 170 CCB1E 0550VPMW might perform totally different to an Operton 170 CCBWE 0609FPAW. The same is true with RAM and other similar components.

    The rest of the tests are more valuable – assuming that each of the 20 or so heat sinks were tested with the same model processors.

    The best, most useful methodology I have seen was used by Joe Citarella over at --">

    In their tests, they used a die simulator which put out a specific, precise amount of heat.
    Their results are expressed as xx C/W (x degrees centigrade cooling per CPU watt – e.g., “To calculate what to expect for other CPUs, for every watt the CPU radiates, the heatsink will cool the core by the (C/W x watts) plus ambient temp. For example, at a fan inlet temp of 25 C, a C/W of 0.25 with a CPU radiating 50 watts means that the CPU temp will be 50 x 0.25 = 12.5 C over ambient temp, or 37.5 C.”
    Unfortunately, it appears they discontinued their air cooling reviews some time ago.

  • Wesley Fink - Friday, June 29, 2007 - link

    You are correct in stating highest overclock tests need all variables to remain the same. We DO use the excat same CPU, motherboard, RAM, BIOS settings. Hard Drive, and Software/OS image for all cooler overclocking tests.

    That is why we will retest a few representative coolers and start a new database when we make to the change to a new test bed. Ot os also why we are slow to change our test beds once they are established.
  • BigMacKing - Friday, June 29, 2007 - link

    even in the same case?
    If it is, most of your cooler reviews will be worthless, unless users use the same case as you.
  • punko - Friday, June 29, 2007 - link

    I'm not the sharpest stick in the umbrella stand, but I assume the case is standing normally, so the MB is vertical and the cooler is standing "sideways".

    With the down coolers, the heat pipes may disturbe the exhaust airflow. There are two possible arrangements at 90 degrees to each other. Would this affect things?

    Note, also would apply to towers, which way do you point the fan? toward the exhaust vent?

    For this cooler, there are 4 possible configurations, as the heatpipes are only on one side.

    Is there any reason to suspect that the orientation of the cooler would have any difference?

    Making sure the heated air is exhausted from the case is key, as is making sure you have a clear passage of cool air. any chance of recirculating the warm air will reduce cooling. the Towers have the advantage as the exhaust air would be moving the air not at the MB but directly at the exaust vent.

    Just a thought
  • Tuffrabbit - Thursday, June 28, 2007 - link

    Looks like the Thermalright Ultra 120 Extreme is going to be the winner for quite some time... But please keep bringing on all contenders ! Another great bout ! Reply
  • magreen1 - Thursday, June 28, 2007 - link

    I laughed out loud Reply
  • jebo - Thursday, June 28, 2007 - link

    I wonder if the extra "bend" in heatpipes inherent in top-down coolers is preventing them from keeping up with the side-blowing coolers?

    Either way, each review solidifies my plan to pick up an Ultra 120 extreme once I make my quad-core upgrade :)
  • strikeback03 - Friday, June 29, 2007 - link

    I'm wondering if it might be the extra length of the heatpipes before they get to the cooling fins. More heat would build up in the processor if it can't be moved away as efficiently. Reply
  • joetron2030 - Thursday, June 28, 2007 - link

    First, I've really been enjoying these cooler tests. Very informative and I've been keeping track for my next build.

    One thing I would like to see, that I haven't seen so far, is a chart/graph that lists all of the tested coolers by weight. Considering one of the things mentioned in these tests is the weights of some of these coolers, it would be nice to be able to add that in as another point of comparison between these coolers. Unless, of course, their weights are all relatively close to one another.

    Thanks for the consideration!
  • Spanki - Thursday, June 28, 2007 - link

    Since I've been pushing to see this sink reviewed at AT, I'd like to be sure to thank you for doing it - thanks!

    I guess I still have on-going concerns about your test setup and conclusions drawn based on that setup - ie. if you had a side-vent/fan, and also used exhaust fans, your conclusions might be wildly different (as the results we're all seeing in other reviews). Maybe it's the Tower coolers that suffer in those conditions (? I dunno... but your results just don't jibe with other results, where a side-vent might be in use).

    I'm not suggesting that everyone should go buy a case with a side vent, only that those who DO own a case with a side-vent/fan might be getting the wrong impression from your general conclusions about top-blowers.

    My only other quibble is your comments on price, but I guess if the place who loaned the HSF sells it for X then that must be the "lowest price" you found (~$63)... I've listed at least 4 sites in the forums that sell it for under $60 (ok, $59.99 :) ).

    Anyway, nice job as usual - thanks.
  • Wesley Fink - Thursday, June 28, 2007 - link

    The side vent or hole is to bring air IN, not to exhaust air. The fan on these coolers blows down onto the heatpipe cantilever and CPU block. Readers have been suggesting that an added case exhaust fan at the rear would correct the down-facing cooler performance. As stated in the review we tried an added 120mm rear exhaust fan to our setup and it did improve cooling, but did not improve overclocking.

    We also ran tests with the side cover off the case above the cooler. Certainly an entire open side will allow as much cooling air to enter the case as a side vent (the test case also has low front vents for air entry, as most cases do). The results with the open side were no different than we show in the review.
  • Spanki - Thursday, June 28, 2007 - link

    Yes, obviously I was referring to the side vent/fan bringing air IN :). Consider the following though (bare with me)...

    For purposes of example, let's say that user A uses an">Antec 900 case (with a 120mm fan attached to the side vent) and user B uses an">Antec P182 case. And both users are trying to decide between getting the TR Ultra 120 Extreme or Enzo Ultra-X (again, just for example purposes).

    TR Ultra 120:
    Height = 160.5mm
    Weight = 790g +">164g for Scythe S-FLEX SFF21F fan = 954g
    Price =">$64.95 +">$14.99 = $79.84 (I won't include the price of the lapping kit, since many people won't bother)

    Enzo Ultra-X:
    Height = 118mm + 25mm for fan = 143mm
    Weight = 835g
    Price =">$62.99 (no lapping needed)

    ...I don't have an Antec 900 case to know for sure, but again for the purpose of example, let's assume that the extra height of the Ultra 120 Extreme means that user A has to remove the fan from his side vent, but not with the Enzo Ultra-X.

    From your testing, it seems relatively apparent that user B (no side vent) will get the best cooling performance with the TR Ultra 120 Extreme.

    But is it 'concievable' to you that user A could possibly get better cooling performance with an Enzo Ultra-X (side vent, with fan, blowing down into the top of it)?

    Personally, I don't know the answer and I'm not trying to champion top-blower design heatsinks either - what I'm trying to do is reconcile the fact that your reviews are not consistent with many other reviews (both from sites and end-users), in the case of top-blower heatsinks.

    Obviously there are many many factors that come into play from one review/user configuration to the next (cpu used, "load" app, fan speed, mounting pressure, TIM application, etc), but that's not accounting for the relative differences between heatsinks tested on the same configuration.

    Doesn't that bother you? Or are you pretty comfortable with the idea that all the other reviews are just getting it wrong?
  • magreen1 - Thursday, June 28, 2007 - link

    Yes, and what if my mother likes the Enzo Ultra-X cooler but has a grudge against the TR Ultra Extreme cooler. So if I buy the TR cooler she'll take away my allowance for three weeks. Then I'll have to get a cheaper CPU to save money... maybe an E4300 instead of an E6600, with 2MB less cache. So maybe we should compare performance of the Enzo Ultra-X with an e6600 overclocked to the TR Ultra Extreme with an e4300 overclocked... just to be fair. Reply
  • Spanki - Thursday, June 28, 2007 - link

    Heh. So you're suggesting that I'm nit-picking? Or have some bias towards the Enzo or away from the TR?

    Let me re-state my motives, just to be clear...

    - I don't own an Ezno and have no stake what-so-ever in whether it rox or sux.
    - Same is true with TR products.
    - I have zero love/brand-loyalty or even hate/beef with any particular company's product.
    - I actually have a CM Hyper Tx cooler on my personal system, because it serves my particular needs perfectly.
    - I'd like for other readers/users to have the most complete information available to them, so they can figure out the best cooler for thier particular needs. short, the issue to me is acedemic at this point. And if there weren't many conflicting reports out there, I might even drink the Kool-Aid and take the "side-blowers out-perform top-blowers" opinion at face value.

    The problem (as I see it) is that there are conflicting results out there and so there is some reason for those differences. I am interested to know what those reasons are. I'm assuming that Wesley (and his readers) is likely at least curious as well. Seems like you would be too... are do you just choose to believe one internet stranger over another?

    (The above is no slam on Wesley btw... I happen to think he's a smart, skilled, professional reviewer - which is what leads me to believe that he'd be curious about this apparent discrepency).
  • strikeback03 - Friday, June 29, 2007 - link

    I'd guess that to really solve the question of this variation, the same reviewer would have to test the same group of coolers in different ways. an AMD system, a C2D system, an old P4 system, etc. IIRC some sites don't test on a processor at all, but a heated block. Cases and airflow have a role to play, and some coolers might respond better than others to those changes. so for a site that keeps a consistent method, results are probably correct for that setup, but tests witht he same coolers across a range would be needed to isolate why some places give better reports than others.

    As far as user opinions, they are at best only somewhat useful. I can tell you that according to the Foxconn software that came with my board, my Tuniq holds my E6600 at 1-2 degrees over ambient at idle. Whight I might not mention is that before a BIOS update the Foxconn software was reporting that the processor was cooler than ambient, and also disagreed with the temp reading in the BIOS. So no guarantees the current figure is correct either.
  • Spanki - Thursday, June 28, 2007 - link

    Whoops.. I started out doing the comparison with the Ultra 120 (non-extreme) but then decided to use the Extreme (so there's a typo in the labeling, above). Anyway, since this is hypothetical anyway, I'd be just as comfortable with posing the same question comparing the non-extreme version, but you'd have to use the non-extreme weight and price figures, bringing the two sinks much closer together in those aspects. Reply
  • DrMrLordX - Thursday, June 28, 2007 - link

    Actually, I think he specifically meant side vents or side fans for intake . . . which is what I was asking about above.

    Does your test bed have a side intake vent/duct/etc?
  • DrMrLordX - Thursday, June 28, 2007 - link

    woops, missed the part in your comment where you said you tested with the side of the case off. Disregard please. Reply
  • jmke - Thursday, June 28, 2007 - link

    It's Thermaltake who makes Big Typhoon VX, not Coolermaster (last paragraph 1st page;)) Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Thursday, June 28, 2007 - link

    Corrected Reply
  • Barkuti - Wednesday, June 27, 2007 - link

    Too much fuss with all of these new massive coolers. Back in 1995 I purchased a Thermaltake Sonic Tower, which proved to be an incredible performer, best passive cooler IMO. The one being currently available is "rev2", guess it's just a mounting accesories update.

    The cooler comes with a mounting plate for a 12 cm fan, which can be installed on either side. I myself drilled new screwholes on a inner side to be able to install the fan in the center, saving a bit of space. A bit cumbersome to install the fan this way tough. Achieves top performance in this configuration, even with an ultra-low noise fan.
    An Anand's review of this cooler is still missing and I think it's really worth the pain, like a gem lost inside and old chest.

    And with a bit of skill, a little mod and a lot of space you may be able to install three fans on it... Drools about the kind of performance and perf/noise you could get this way, even with just 2 fans...

  • DrMrLordX - Wednesday, June 27, 2007 - link

    Is there a side intake duct or vent that can feed top-down HSFs in your test bed? I'm pretty sure top-downs just don't work well if they can't pull cool air directly in from outside the case (which is why they've done so well in open-air testbeds). Reply
  • vhx - Wednesday, June 27, 2007 - link

    Definitely nice, but there are a lot better alternatives according to the results. Anyways, does anyone know whats up with Anandtech's forums? They've been down for like a week. Reply
  • theprodigalrebel - Wednesday, June 27, 2007 - link

    The forums have been a little iffy of late but they most certainly haven't been down all week. They just had an update of the forum software and there were a few minor outages here and there - Opera users had some problems, so did IE users. Did you try deleting all cookies? It should work. Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Wednesday, June 27, 2007 - link

    The LATEST NEWS at the top of our AT Forums Log-In page:

    "Clear your cookies... - 06/24/2007 01:17 PM
    We recently updated our forum software to fix a number of issues. As a result, some users are having problems using FireFox on the forums.

    The fix for this is to delete your cookies.

    We recommend that all members delete their forum cookies, though we haven't run into any technical issues with this in other browsers.

    Thanks for your patience while we continue to improve the forums."
  • Pirks - Wednesday, June 27, 2007 - link

    I've got myself A cooler master geminII and run it in passive (fanless) mode, and no fan on my passive mobo chipset heatsink as well. finally I've got a silent PC! my wife thinks my computer stopped working now, hehe :) no overclocking of course but who needs it for games anyway. I'm getting high framerates with S.T.A.L.K.E.R. around 30-40 fps and I'm happy. who says you need a mac to get a silent computer? who says gaming PCs are noisy? just ignore those noobs, they know nothing Reply
  • deadseasquirrel - Wednesday, June 27, 2007 - link

    but it seems, at least according to this review, that it is not worth the price for the performance you get. Can anyone else see a better price/performance cooler than the Scythe Mine Rev B? For $38, with fan, and pretty quiet, it seems like a good choice. Oh, and are the forums down or am I having browser problems? Reply
  • kmmatney - Thursday, June 28, 2007 - link

    I have a Scythe mine and am happy with. It's a good combination of price, low noise (its nearly silent) and good cooling. I don't know if I'd recommend it for extreme overclocking, but for stabdard overclocks it is great. Reply
  • Goty - Wednesday, June 27, 2007 - link

    Based on the little knowledge I have about the inner workings of heatpipes, wouldn't the lower heatsink on the X-Ultra lower the efficiency of the heatpipes (where heat transfer to the main heatsink is concerned) and thus the whole cooler? Reply
  • homonaut - Wednesday, June 27, 2007 - link

    I was contemplating getting one of these after stumbling onto this 'review':"> but now I don't know. How can the results be so different!? Reply
  • SilthDraeth - Wednesday, June 27, 2007 - link

    Since I don't speak Chinese or Korean, etc, all I could do was look at the pictures. It is unclear what temps are load or not.

    Also, they use different processors. Anand uses a 6800 vs a 6600.
    They both post a 43 degree celcius temp, on Anand thats a load temp at stock speed, so that might be load on the coolaler site. and the lower temps might be idel temps for the 6600.
    idle temp might have been taken at a different time frame for how long the processor was running before the temperature was taken, etc.

    The temps do not look to be a huge disparity though imo.
  • Wesley Fink - Wednesday, June 27, 2007 - link

    The Enzotech could boot as high as 3.90 GHz, which is as good as any of the best coolers tested except the Ultra-120 eXtrme which reaches a stable 3.94GHz. All was fine at idle at 3.9GHz, but as soon as we began our stress testing with the game that is about 80% CPU load the system would fail with the Enzothec. This was with the fan on high, near 90 cfm at a pretty loud noise level. We could not even make it through one loop of the game demo, and our stress test procedure runs the game loop for 30 minutes to test load stability.

    We also tried adding a high output case can as some readers have suggested. This DID lower the CPU temperature, particularly at stock speed strangely enough, however it did not extend overclocking ability at all.

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