Scaling of Cooling Performance

The Big Typhoon VX was outstanding at stock idle and above average among top coolers at stock load. However, as overclocks were raised, the VX was not particularly outstanding in the ability to cool the CPU under stress conditions. To be as fair as possible all overclocking tests were run with the Big Typhoon VX fan at the highest speed.


At 2.93GHz the retail HSF is running at 41C, compared to 27C with the VX. This is a delta of 14C. The delta becomes greater as the overclock increases. At 3.73GHz the idle with the retail fan is 56C compared to the VX at 38C - a delta of 18C. The cooling performance of the Big Typhoon VX is much better than the Intel retail cooler at idle, but the VX does not reach the same cooling levels measured with the Thermalright coolers (with a Scythe S-Flex SFF21F fan) or the stock Tuniq 120. The top Thermalright Ultra-120 eXtreme, for example, is at 33C at the same 3.73GHz, and it is still cooler than the VX at any speed measuring just 36C at the much higher overclock of 3.94GHz.

Cooling efficiency of the Thermalright Big Typhoon VX was also compared under load conditions to the retail HSF and other recently tested CPU coolers. Load testing can be very revealing of a cooler's efficiency. A basically flat line, particularly form 3.73GHz upward, indicates the cooler is still in its best cooling range. A line that is increasing rapidly indicates a cooler nearing the end of its ability to cool efficiently. Lines which parallel the best coolers over a range of values are showing similar efficiency slopes.


The VX is very efficient in cooling in the 2.93 GHz to 3.73 GHz overclock range. As you can see in the chart the slope of the line is similar to that of other top coolers in this range. The VX continues on to a highest overclock of 3.85GHz, which is well short of the 3.90GHz to 3.94GHz most of the top coolers in our testing have achieved. Compared with the top coolers, which have flat lines in this range, the slope of the VX in this range is steeper, indicating it is nearing the end of its area of efficient cooling.

The 3.85 GHz with the VX tied the Cooler Master GeminII for best performance by a down-facing fan cooler. At 3.85 GHz the cooling temperature with the Big Typhoon VX was 62C. This compares to the Thermalright Ultra-120 eXtreme at the higher 3.94 GHz at 47C, 45C at 3.90GHz, and 43C at 3.83 GHz. The Tuniq 120 is 51C at 3.90 GHz.

Clearly the Big Typhoon VX is not in the same cooling category as the best heatpipe towers we have tested. It is a decent cooler in a more limited range, but the cooling efficiency is not the equal of the best heatpipe towers.

As stated many times, the overclocking abilities of the CPU will vary at the top, depending on the CPU. This particular CPU does higher FSB speeds than any X6800 we have tested, but the 3.9GHz top speed with the Tuniq is pretty average among the X6800 processors we have tested with Tuniq cooling. A few of the other processors tested with the best air coolers reach just over 4 GHz, but the range has been 3.8 to 4.0GHz. Stock cooling generally tops out 200 to 400 MHz lower, depending on the CPU, on the processors tested in our lab.

Cooling at Stock Speed Overclocking
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  • Xajel - Thursday, June 7, 2007 - link

    AnandTech never reviewed the BT VX before, and when it did, it had concluded that this cooler is bad, why just coz another type of coolers are better !!

    the problem with this review is that the Cooler is very good, but the conclution did not give it what it deserve. it just said that a 90 degree mounted fans coolers are better.. ok I agree and thanks for AT for this, infact I just knows that thanks to Anand, but the problem is where the conclution for the VX as a cooler not as heatpipes tower vs. downfacing fans coolers comparision..
    Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Thursday, June 7, 2007 - link

    We did NOT say the BT was a bad cooler. We talked about the performance being the best for this type of cooler and the good things about installation and design. Don't you think It would be unfair to say the VX topped our perfromance list when it didn't?

    In our conclusion we also said "There is no doubt the Big Typhoon VX is, along with the Cooler Master GeminII, the best of the down-facing cooler designs." and "While performance does not top our charts, there are still many things to like about the Thermaltake Big Typhoon VX. It is one of the easiest to mount coolers we have ever tested. While we do have concerns about two pounds being supported by Intel-style push clips, the installation itself is easy and does not require you to remove your motherboard. It is equally easy if you are mounting the VX on an AMD processor.
    The attached fan speed control is also very useful on the Big Typhoon VX, particularly since it is attached to a very high-output fan capable of 86.5CFM at high speed."

    I don't think this is saying the cooler is bad.
    Reply
  • DrMrLordX - Thursday, June 7, 2007 - link

    It isn't a bad cooler at all. However, there are some ways to make it perform well under its potential.

    First off, it needs a side air duct or side case fan blowing down onto it so it can breathe efficiently. Give it that, and it will be far less likely to cycle hot air through its fins at high operating temperatures.

    Secondly, it does need a fairly strong exhaust fan.

    The Big Typhoon (standard and VX) has put in impressive showings on open-air testbeds that showcase its potential strengths. In restricted air environments, you wind up with a cooler that can not efficiently pull cool air into the case or move hot air out of the case (the latter of which is a nice feature of a properly-positioned L-shaped cooler).

    I managed to get good operation out of mine using a Centurion 5. All I did was pull the side air duct off (the VX is too big to be mounted with that thing still screwed on to the side of the case) and use the VX's included fan as an exhaust. Then I put a Silverstone FM-121 on the VX itself. It serves as the intake fan for the case, cooling everything but the HDDs, plus the HSF fan as well. The exhaust fan more or less takes care of everything else. It's a simple and cheap solution that cools very well. In contrast, an L-shaped cooler in a similar setup would have problems due to there being no strong or direct intake . . . it would essentially be pulling air from inside the case which would, ideally, pull cool air from outside the case through various vents, but for the most part, it would also be pulling in air heated by other system components.

    All this might account for why the VX did so well at idle but so poorly at load.
    Reply
  • strikeback03 - Friday, June 8, 2007 - link

    My Tuniq on an E6600 in a Centurion 5 idles at 27-28*C and goes to 33-34 at load with ambient around 75*F and just the stock case fans (80mm at front blowing in over hard drives, 120mm at back blowing out). The Tuniq is set to ~1350RPM. Reply

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