Improving system cooling has been a basic part of improving system performance since overclocking began. To squeeze more performance out of computer components users found ways to run them faster than specified. When they hit walls that prevented going even faster they found ways to better cool the components. The better cooling allowed for running the system even faster until another wall was encountered.

The quest for better cooling has been very creative, with solutions as simple as added fans, progressing to larger fans and heatsinks, peltier (thermoelectric cooling), water cooling, and finally the king of cooling - phase change. There are also the truly "benchmark only" cooling solutions like liquid nitrogen cooling. This is certainly not usable in a normal computing environment, but it is a favorite with competitive benchmarkers - who seem to live for the top of the ORB or the highest benchmark scores. This type of cooling is mainly built by the benchmarker and exists for that fleeting benchmark record that will be broken tomorrow by another benchmarker.

As cooling complexity goes up, so does the associated cost. At the extreme end you will find some top phase change units selling for $2,000 or more. You have to be a very serious overclocker or benchmarking enthusiast to invest that kind of money in cooling. Fortunately, you can achieve significant improvements in system cooling and overclocking for a lot less money. The sophistication of cheaper air and water cooling solutions has improved in recent years, and there have also been genuine efforts by the cooling industry to deliver better cooling performance at a lower price point.


The Tuniq Tower 120 is one example of this. As imposing as the multi-finned, heat-piped Tuniq looks it is worth keeping in mind that the total cost of the Tuniq kit is only about $50. The question we will try to answer in this review is whether the Tuniq is effective at improving CPU cooling? If so, does the improved cooling allow higher overclocks than a stock cooling solution? Finally, the impact on system noise will be measured.

Does Cooling Matter With Core 2 and AM2?
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  • EWAXMAN - Sunday, January 06, 2008 - link



    TO WHOM THIS MAY CONCERN,

    I WOULD LIKE TO SEE A TEST RUN ON THE "ASUS TRITON 77 CPU COOLING FAN" COMPARED TO: THE TUNIQ TOWER 120, THE ZALMAN 9500 LED, AND THE ZALMAN 9700 LED - FOR OVERCLOCKING PURPOSES.

    TESTED ON AN INTEL DUAL CORE CPU's 1.86 GHZ 65nm's AND UP, FOR COOLING, EASE OF INSTALLATION, PLUS NOISE FACTOR AS WELL.

    THANK YOU IN ADVANCE, FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION, TIME, AND HELP.

    RESPECTFULLY SUBMITTED,
    EWAXMAN
    Reply
  • EWAXMAN - Sunday, January 06, 2008 - link

    I WOULD LIKE TO SEE A TEST RUN ON THE "ASUS TRITON 77 CPU COOLING FAN" COMPARED TO: THE TUNIQ TOWER 120, THE ZALMAN 9500 LED, AND THE ZALMAN 9700 LED - FOR OVERCLOCKING PURPOSES.

    TESTED ON AN INTEL DUAL CORE CPU's 1.86 GHZ 65nm's AND UP, FOR COOLING, EASE OF INSTALLATION, PLUS NOISE FACTOR AS WELL.

    THANK YOU IN ADVANCE, FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION, TIME, AND HELP.

    RESPECTFULLY SUBMITTED,
    EWAXMAN
    Reply
  • LoneWolf15 - Wednesday, January 17, 2007 - link

    Maybe I missed it...were the temperature results for the Tuniq tower obtained with the fan on minimum or maximum RPM? Reply
  • orion23 - Tuesday, January 16, 2007 - link

    So Anandtech, I mean, Anandtech reviews this great cooler and the test that was run compares it to Intel's stock cooler?

    And the load temperatures are taken from a game and not Orthos, or the well know Prime95?

    And what happened, You guys couldn't get a Zalman or Thermalright Cooler to test the tuniq against?

    What is wrong with Anandtech?
    Reply
  • Jodiuh - Tuesday, January 16, 2007 - link

    Most folks use Core Temp to monitor temps since it works the same across all boards. As it stands, only 680i users can compare.

    And why not use Orthos, the OCer's fav testing tool? It gets temps up pretty high and lets us know how stable a system is.
    Reply
  • PrinceGaz - Tuesday, January 16, 2007 - link

    You reported the temperatures at stock (2.93GHz) and at 3.73GHz for the standard cooler and the Tuniq Tower 120, and also at 3.83 and 3.9GHz for the TT120, but was the CPU running at the same core-voltage for all these different speeds? Presumably it was running at stock voltage for the stock speed run, so was 3.73GHz and 3.9GHz the maximum it could reach at stock voltage with the two heatsinks, or was the voltage increased (and by how much) to reach those speeds?

    For pure temperature comparisons between HSFs, keeping the voltage the same is obviously a must. However if the voltage was kept at stock (or at the same raised voltage) for determining the maximum overclock then you are probably missing out on a major advantage of a better cooler which is that you can crank the voltage up somewhat higher and still have a safe temperature.

    Overclocking a CPU generally consists of seeing how fast it is stable at, then add a bit more voltage and see how much further it goes (while watching the temps), then a bit more voltage, and so on until the temperature reaches the highest you are happy with. The better HSF will allow a higher voltage to be used and that will usually translate to a higher overclock. Okay, so the overclocked temperature may be just as high with the better HSF when you use that approach, but it should provide a better indication of how much higher you can overclock the CPU with it.
    Reply
  • Jiggz - Monday, January 15, 2007 - link

    With it's monstrous size and weight, you would think they will design something for a vertically oriented mobo; which by the way most of us have. Reply
  • monsoon - Monday, January 15, 2007 - link

    Does anyone know about a good / slick / cheap ( any of those criteria is welcome ) CASE where to install HORIZONTALLY a regular ATX MoBo so that I don't have to worry about the weight of the cooler ?

    THANKS !=)
    Reply
  • Axbattler - Monday, January 15, 2007 - link

    Though it is a little redundant (given that I don't see people mounting AMD fans on Intel chips and vice-versa), I am a little curious how well the AMD Stock fan compares to the Tuniq tower, and by association, how well it compares to the Intel.

    I remember that AMD's heatpipe cooler, used in the Dual-Core Opteron (and probably some other chips) have been very well regarded in various reviews. At the time, it was often thought that AMD's stock cooling solution was a good few steps ahead of Intels. Of course, it is hard to tell if part of the reason may not have been with the sheer amount of heat generated by those P4s, which is why I am curious how the two compares today.
    Reply
  • Araemo - Monday, January 15, 2007 - link

    I'd guess that that "good" dual core opteron heatpipe heatsink is a good unit. I purchased one in the FT/FS forums after I got my Opteron 148 (Single core, standard A64 heatsink), and with nothing but a little AS5, it was able to get my Opteron stable at 2.4 Ghz(over 1.8) with almost no extra voltage (I was only able to add 0.05V over the stock on my motherboard).

    That all said.. good luck getting a fair comparison with the Core 2 duo heatsinks.. You can't mount them on AMD and you can't mount the AMD(Socket 939) cooler on Intel(LGA775), as far as I can recall. I seem to recall that a few years back Anandtech(I think it was AT anyways.. I could be mistaken) built a 'cpu simulator' that had little metal ingots with heaters and temperature probes embedded to do apples-to-apples heatsink testing... I wonder if that's a realistic option for this roundup?
    Reply

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