Gelid Silent Spirit & Scythe Samurai ZZ CPU Coolers

Cooling
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COOLING RESULTS

Note that these heatsinks were tested on our new AM3 test platform. An Athlon II X4 630 with 95W TDP is the processor. The CPU/VRMs on our new platform draw between 85W and 91W DC (depending on temperature) at the AUX12V connector, slightly more than the problematic LGA775/Pentium D950 set up we had been using in the past. For full details, please see Postscript 2 of SPCR's 2010 CPU Heatsink Test Platform on the new AM3 heatsink testing platform for small and low-profile heatsinks

Gelid Silent Spirit w/ stock fan
Fan Voltage
SPL@1m
Temp
°C Rise
12V
32 dBA
44°C
21
9V
26 dBA
45°C
22
7V
20 dBA
48°C
25
6V
15~16 dBA
58°C
35
5V
12 dBA
76°C
53
Gelid Silent Spirit w/ ref. 92 mm fan
12V
16 dBA
53°C
30
9V
12 dBA
59°C
36
°C Rise: Temperature rise above ambient (23°C) at load.

The Silent Spirit with its padded and frameless stock fan delivered very good performance at 9V and 12V with a thermal rise over ambient of just above 20°C. The CPU heated up by 3°C at 7V and at 6V there was an additional 10°C jump. It's effectiveness weakened dramatically as the fan speed was reduced to quiet levels. At 5V, the temperature climbed 18°C higher than at 6V.

Our reference Nexus fan performed 5°C better at 12V/16 dBA compared to the stock fan at 6V/15~16 dBA. At the 12 dBA level, the Nexus crushed the stock fan by an unbelievable 17°C. Note that the Nexus was placed flat on the heatsink without any support. Swapping the fan in this manner in a real-life scenario would require an alternate method to secure the fan, such as twist-ties.

Scythe Samurai ZZ w/ stock 92 mm fan
Fan Voltage
SPL@1m
Temp
°C Rise
12V
34-35 dBA
44°C
21
10V
29~30 dBA
46°C
23
9V
25 dBA
48°C
25
8V
18 dBA
52°C
29
7.7V
15 dBA
53°C
30
7.5V
<11 dBA
55°C
32
Scythe Samurai ZZ w/ ref. 92 mm fan
12V
16 dBA
48°C
25
9V
12 dBA
54°C
31
°C Rise: Temperature rise above ambient (23°C) at load.

At higher fan speeds, the Samurai ZZ was comparable in performance to the Silent Spirit, but generated a lot more noise, but at lower fan speeds, the Samurai ZZ was far superior. At 8V/18 dBA, the thermal rise above ambient was 25°C. This barely increased at 7.7V/15 dBA, and there was only a 3°C rise at 7.5V even though the fan had become inaudible. The Samurai ZZ performs superbly with very limited airflow.

Our reference Nexus fan attained the same thermal rise at 12V/16 dBA as the stock fan at 9V/25 dBA. At 9V it was slightly louder than the stock fan at 7.5V, but 1°C better, making it wash at that level.

Comparison Tables

°C rise Comparison (stock fan)
SPL@1m
HDT-SD964
Samurai ZZ
Big Shuriken
Arctic Alpine 64
Silent Spirit
18 dBA
-
29
-
-
-
17 dBA
-
-
-
34
-
16 dBA
-
-
30
-
35
15 dBA
22
30
-
43
14 dBA
-
-
-
-
-
13 dBA
27
-
-
-
-
12 dBA
34
-
-
46
53
11 dBA
-
37
-
-
<11 dBA
-
32
-
-
-

Paired with its stock fan, the Samurai ZZ's greatest asset is its amazing performance at lower fan speeds. When operating at fan speeds that generate 18 dBA@1m or less, its cooling proficiency barely changed. So while it may be a poorer heatsink than a 92 mm tower cooler like the Xigmatek HDT-SD964 at higher fan speeds, for ultra quiet operation, the Samurai ZZ is the better choice.

The Silent Spirit is a few degrees behind the Samurai ZZ and Big Shuriken at the 15~16 dBA level, but at 12 dBA, its performance drops to the point where it is beaten handily by the Arctic Alpine 64, which incidentally, can be purchased online for as little as US$10.

°C rise Comparison (reference fan)
Heatsink
Nexus 92 mm fan voltage / SPL@1m
12V
9V
16 dBA
12 dBA
Scythe Ninja Mini
23
27
Xigmatek HDT-SD964
24
30
Scythe Samurai ZZ
25
31
Scythe Big Shuriken
(Nexus 120 mm fan)
24
(12V)
33
(7V)
Gelid Silent Spirit
30
36

Using our reference Nexus fan seems to make things a little more even, but the Samurai ZZ still holds a substantial lead over the Silent Spirit, and is only 1°C off the performance of the HDT-SD964.



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