Socket-A Cooler Roundup: September 2001by Tillmann Steinbrecher on September 7, 2001 3:19 AM EST
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While CPU coolers have become a lot more efficient over the past months, they have usually also become louder. Last year, the terribly annoying Delta 7000rpm fans came only optionally, with selected heatsink models targeted at hardcore overclockers. By now, they have become pretty mainstream, and are the default equipment of many coolers. We think that this is a bad development. The permissible noise exposure scale for employees is 90db(A) for 8 hours a day - none of the coolers tested here exceed this limit, but even below 90db(A) noise negatively affects your health. It can be a source of stress, high blood pressure, and it can lead to lack of concentration. Especially people who spend long hours on their PCs should carefully consider whether a few extra MHz of overclocking speed are worth the nuisance and the possible long-term health risks - we think that in most cases a quieter (though less efficient) cooler is the better choice.
The good news: Some of the coolers reviewed in this roundup are quieter than any coolers we've reviewed before. However, don't forget to consider cooling performance as well, especially if you have an AMD CPU with over 1GHz. Below are the results of the noise measurement - the coolers are still ordered by cooling performance, so that you can judge about performance and noise at one glance.
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