Intel LGA1366 Stock Cooler: Good Enough?

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Before thermal testing, we took some basic physical measurements.

Approximate Physical Measurements
Heatsink Intel Core i7-920 stock cooler Intel Core i7-980X stock cooler
400 g
510 g with fan
560 g
670 g with fan
Fin count 3 x 42 57
Fin thickness
0.58 mm 0.30 mm
Fin spacing
varies 1.14 mm
Vertical Clearance*
N/A 35 mm
Horizontal Overhang**
-32 mm -32 mm
* measured from the motherboard PCB to the bottom fin of the heatsink.
** measured from the far edge of the heatsink to the top edge of the motherboard PCB.

Comparison: Approximate Fin Thickness & Spacing
Fin Thickness
Fin Spacing
Scythe Ninja 2
0.39 mm
3.68 mm
Scythe Ninja Mini
0.42 mm
3.46 mm
Thermalright HR-01 Plus
0.45 mm
3.15 mm
Noctua NH-U12P
0.44 mm
2.63 mm
Noctua NH-C12P
0.47 mm
2.54 mm
Noctua NH-D14
0.43 mm
2.33 mm
Prolimatech Armageddon
0.51 mm
2.08 mm
Prolimatech Megahalems
0.50 mm
2.00 mm
Zalman CNPS10X Quiet
0.40 mm
2.00 mm
Scythe Kabuto & Zipang 2
0.34 mm
1.94 mm
Scythe Mugen-2
0.31 mm
1.89 mm
Cooler Master V8
0.30 mm
1.90 mm /
1.80 mm
Titan Fenrir
0.36 mm
1.78 mm
Scythe Samurai ZZ
0.33 mm
1.74 mm
Cogage TRUE Spirit 1366
0.40 mm
1.70 mm
Scythe Grand Kama Cross
0.38 mm
1.66 mm
Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus
0.43 mm
1.54 mm
Zalman CNPS10X Extreme
0.42 mm
1.50 mm
Thermalright Ultra-120
0.45 mm
1.42 mm
Core i7-980X stock cooler
0.30 mm
1.14 mm
Core i7-920 stock cooler
0.58 mm

Testing was done on our new i7-1366 heatsink testing platform. A summary of the test system and procedure follows.

Key Components in Heatsink Test Platform:

  • Intel Core i7-965 Extreme Nehalem core, LGA1366, 3.2GHz, 45nm, 130W TDP.
  • Asus P6X58D Premium ATX motherboard. X58 chipset.
  • Asus EAH3450 Silent graphics card.
  • Intel X25-M 80GB 2.5" solid-state drive. Chosen for silence.
  • 3GB QiMonda DDR3 memory. 3 x 1GB DDR3-1066 in triple channel..
  • Seasonic X-650 SS-650KM 650W ATX power supply. This PSU is semi-passively cooled. At the power levels of our test platform, its fan does not spin.
  • Arctic Silver Lumière: Special fast-curing thermal interface material, designed specifically for test labs.
  • Nexus 120 fan (used when possible with heatsinks that fit 120x25mm fans)
  • Nexus 92 fan (used when possible with heatsinks that fit 92x25mm fans)

The system is silent under the test conditions, except for the CPU cooling fan(s).

Normally, our reference fans are used whenever possible, the measured details of which are shown below.

Reference Nexus 120mm fan
Anechoic chamber measurements
16 dBA
1100 RPM
13 dBA
890 RPM
12 dBA
720 RPM

Reference Nexus 92 mm fan
Anechoic chamber measurements
16 dBA
1470 RPM
12 dBA
1150 RPM

Measurement and Analysis Tools

  • Extech 380803 AC power analyzer / data logger for measuring AC system power.
  • Custom-built, four-channel variable DC power supply, used to regulate the fan speed during the test.
  • PC-based spectrum analyzer: SpectraPlus with ACO Pacific mic and M-Audio digital audio interfaces.
  • Anechoic chamber with ambient level of 11 dBA or lower
  • Various other tools for testing fans, as documented in our standard fan testing methodology.
  • SpeedFan, used to monitor the on-chip thermal sensors. The sensors are not calibrated, so results are not universally applicable. The hottest core reading is used.
  • Prime95, used to stress the CPU heavily, generating more heat than most real applications. 8 instances are used to ensure that all 4 cores (with Hyper-threading) are stressed.
  • CPU-Z, used to monitor the CPU speed to determine when overheating occurs.
  • Thermometers to measure the air temperature around the test platform and near the intake of the heatsink fan.

Noise measurements are made with the fans powered from the lab's variable DC power supply while the rest of the system was off to ensure that system noise did not skew the measurements.

Load testing was accomplished using Prime95 to stress the processor, and the graph function in SpeedFan was used to ensure that the load temperature is stable for at least ten minutes. The temperature recorded is the highest single core reading. The stock fans were tested at various voltages to represent a good cross-section of airflow and noise performance.

The ambient conditions during testing were 10~11 dBA and 21~23°C.

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