AMD Wraith: Upgraded Stock Cooler

Cooling
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MP3 SOUND RECORDINGS

These recordings were made with a high resolution, lab quality, digital recording system inside SPCR's own 11 dBA ambient anechoic chamber, then converted to LAME 128kbps encoded MP3s. We've listened long and hard to ensure there is no audible degradation from the original WAV files to these MP3s. They represent a quick snapshot of what we heard during the review.

These recordings are intended to give you an idea of how the product sounds in actual use — one meter is a reasonable typical distance between a computer or computer component and your ear. The recording contains stretches of ambient noise that you can use to judge the relative loudness of the subject. Be aware that very quiet subjects may not be audible — if we couldn't hear it from one meter, chances are we couldn't record it either!

The recording starts with 5 second segments of room ambiance, then the fan at various levels. For the most realistic results, set the volume so that the starting ambient level is just barely audible, then don't change the volume setting again.

  • AMD Wraith stock fan at 1m
    — at 20% PWM / 1170 PWM (17 dBA)
    — at 30% PWM / 1370 RPM (19~20 dBA)
    — at 40% PWM / 1590 RPM (23~24 dBA)
    — at 50% PWM / 1800 RPM (27~28 dBA)
    — at 70% PWM / 2270 RPM (33~34 dBA)
    — at 100% PWM / 2930 RPM (42~43 dBA)
  • AMD Wraith stock fan without shroud at 1m
    — at 20% PWM / 1170 PWM (15 dBA)
    — at 30% PWM / 1370 RPM (17 dBA)
    — at 40% PWM / 1590 RPM (21 dBA)
    — at 50% PWM / 1800 RPM (24~25 dBA)
    — at 70% PWM / 2270 RPM (31 dBA)
    — at 100% PWM / 2930 RPM (39 dBA)

FINAL THOUGHTS

The Wraith is considerably more effective than past AMD stock coolers, performing on the same level as small towers and modest-sized downblowing models. Standing 82 mm high, it's considerably taller than its predecessors which makes it incompatible with many small cases. That's one area it can't compete with shorter solutions like the Noctua NH-L12 and Scythe Big Shuriken 2, which were designed with more compact enclosures in mind.

With the shroud removed, it manages to hit its 39 dB claim right on the money at full speed, though it's not exactly an accomplishment. It's very loud by any standards and the two AMD heatpipe coolers we reviewed six years ago were actually quieter. The shroud is poorly designed as the illuminated AMD logo is difficult to see from most angles and it makes the cooler louder. The stock fan doesn't sound great; It's tolerable but the shroud amplifies all its negative characteristics. The fan is easily replaced but the stock fan absolutely destroyed our Nexus 92 mm reference fan performance-wise, so swapping it out may result in a substantially higher temperatures.

The Wraith makes the price difference between the FX-8370 and FX-8350 less of an issue but its significance is more pertinent to AMD's future than their current aging line of FX processors. Offering it only with the 125W FX-8370 is an amuse bouche, to whet our appetite for the release of their highly anticipated new CPU microarchitecture. Zen is scheduled to drop in Q4, reportedly, with a maximum TDP of just 95W. Conceivably this means both the noise-conscious and overclocking enthusiasts, or at least a portion of them, will think twice before considering aftermarket cooling.

Our thanks to AMD for the Wraith CPU cooler sample.

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SPCR Articles of Related Interest:

Phanteks PH-TC14S & Cryorig C1 CPU Coolers
New 92mm-fan Tower Coolers from Noctua
Cryorig R1 Ultimate & Universal CPU Coolers
Sub-$20 CPU Coolers: A Reader's Roundup
SilverStone Argon AR02 CPU Cooler
AMD Phenom II Stock Coolers

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Discuss this article in the SPCR forums.



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