AMD Phenom II Stock Coolers

Cooling
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COOLING RESULTS

AMD Phenom II AM2+ Stock Cooler w/ stock fan
Fan Voltage
SPL@1m
Temp
°C Rise
12V
36 dBA
40°C
20
9V
26 dBA
49°C
29
8V
20 dBA
56°C
36
7V
14 dBA
62°C
42
6V
12 dBA
73°C
53
°C Rise: Temperature rise above ambient (20°C) at load.

The AM2+ stock cooler has a very wide range of performance depending on how fast the fan is spinning. It delivered excellent results at 9V and above, but at quieter levels, its cooling proficiency fell almost linearly with dBA. At 8V, the noise level was 6 dBA lower with a performance penalty of 7°C. At 7V it dropped another 6 dBA at the cost of 6°C. In this sense, its performance scales consistanly, at least until 6V when the lack of airflow really degrades its efficiency.

AMD Phenom II AM3 Stock Cooler w/ stock fan
Fan Voltage
SPL@1m
Temp
°C Rise
12V
30 dBA
49°C
28
9V
21~22 dBA
55°C
34
7V (8.4V)
19~20 dBA
64°C
43
6V (7.5V)
17 dBA
67°C
46
5V (6.7V)
15 dBA
74°C
53
°C Rise: Temperature rise above ambient (21°C) at load.
Dark gray boxes indicate failure CPU throttling, failure.

Due to the thermally-controlled fan, the AM3 stock cooler simply isn't capable of functionally as quietly as we would like. It performed well at 9V and above but the noise level wasn't great. When manually fed 7V and lower, the fan sped up to the equivalent of 1.4V~1.7V higher. The temperatures generated at 6V & 7V were average, while 5V caused the CPU to throttle.

It should be noted that our test CPU has a TDP of only 95W, while the AM3 heatpipe cooler ships with processors rated for 125W.

Comparison Chart

°C rise Comparison
SPL (dBA@1m)
20
19
18
17
16
15
14
13
12
11
Ninja Mini (ref. fan)
-
-
-
-
23
-
-
-
27
-
HDT-SD964
-
-
-
-
-
22
-
27
34
Samurai ZZ
-
-
29
-
-
30
-
-
-
32
Big Shuriken
26
-
-
-
30
-
-
37
-
37
Silent Spirit
25
-
-
-
35
-
43
53
Alpine 64
-
-
-
34
-
43
-
-
46
-
Phenom II AM2+
36
-
-
-
-
-
42
-
53
Phenom II AM3
43
-
46
-
53
-
-
-
-
Dark gray boxes indicate failure CPU throttling, failure.

Compared to some reasonably sized third party heatsinks, the larger AM2+ cooler performs about as well as the Arctic Cooling Alpine 64 at the 14~15 dBA level, but is beaten by 7°C at 12 dBA. The smaller AM3 model trails the AM2+ cooler by 7°C at 19~20 dBA, and falls 8°C behind the Alpine 64 at 17 dBA. Its failure at the 15 dBA level is a bit odd as the Silent Spirit and AM2+ cooler managed to remain stable at the same thermal rise. It may be that the lack of airflow caused the VRMs to overheat.

Perhaps the easiest way to judge their relative performance is to see how noisy each cooler is when the thermal rise above ambient reaches 42~43°C (results bolded), not a particularly lofty goal. The AM3 cooler hits it at 20 dBA, the Alpine 64 at 15 dBA, the AM2+ cooler at 13~14 dBA, and the Gelid Silent Spirit at 13 dBA. The rest of the field can accomplish this result while being effectively inaudible.



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