Spire Verticool II SP601B3 tower heatsink

Cooling
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TESTING

The Verticool II is does not provide hardware for Socket 478, so the same test bench that was used to test the Socket 775-only Freezer 7 Pro was brought into service, using the parts outlined below. Aside from the Freezer 7 Pro, data from past reviews is not directly comparable with the results of this review. The Pentium 520 used in this test is cooler than most of Intel's desktop processors on the market today, but it is still 15-20W hotter than the P4-2.8 Northwood used in our socket 478 HS testing platform. On the other hand, it is also hotter than almost about every AMD processor on the market. This situation will change in the near future when Intel releases its Core 2 Duo chips for desktop use, but for now the Intel 520 processor represents a good median heat source.


On the test bench...

Test Platform

Measurement & Analysis Tools

Noise measurements were made with the fan powered from the lab DC power supply with everything else turned off to ensure minimal ambient noise. Airflow measurements for this heatsink were not made due to the difficulty of measuring the stock fan accurately.

Load testing was accomplished using CPUBurn to stress the processor, and the graph function in SpeedFan was used to make sure that the load temperature was stable for at least ten minutes.

The ambient conditions during testing were 19 dBA and 21°C.

TEST RESULTS

Spire Verticool II SP601B3 with Stock fan
Fan Voltage
Temp
°C Rise
°C/W MP
°C/W TDP
Noise
(dBA@1m)
12V
42°C
21
0.21
0.25
27
9V
45°C
24
0.24
0.29
24
7V
56°C
35
0.35
0.42
21
5V
69°C
48
0.48
0.57
~20
Load Temp: CPUBurn for ~20 mins.
°C Rise: Temperature rise above ambient at load.
°C/W MP / TDP: Temperature rise over ambient per Watt of CPU heat, based on CPU's Maximum Power (100W) or Thermal Design Power (84W) rating (lower is better)
Noise: SPL measured in dBA/1m distance with high accuracy B & K SLM

Fan @ 12V: The stock fan was surprisingly quiet at full speed, measuring just 27 dBA@1m. Most of the noise was in the form of a prominent whine. Even so, it was still better than much of its competition; it is not uncommon for heatsinks to be much, much louder at full speed. Nearly all fans require undervolting before we consider the noise level acceptable.

Cooling performance was solid but unspectacular. The 21°C rise from ambient should be good enough for most processors, even in a real system where the ambient temperature might be 10~15°C higher.

Fan @ 9V: Cooling performance changed only slightly at 9V, worsening by an acceptable 3°C.

The drop in noise was also quite small, although it was more significant than the measured 3 dBA@1m would suggest. Although the noise character changed only slightly, the volume of the noise was now low enough that it faded into the background when it wasn't specifically listened for.

Fan @ 7V: At this level, the Verticool II should be quiet enough for most users. Only a trace of the original whine remained, and it sounded more like a growl than a whine. Inside a case, it might well be inaudible, especially in a room with a high ambient noise level.

However, performance dropped off quite substantially; the 35°C rise from ambient provided marginal cooling for our processor. Cooling a warmer Intel processor is out of the question at this level, although a mid-range AMD chips is still a possibility.

Fan @ 5V: Only a trace of noise remained, and it was a strain to hear it. The whine/growl had disappeared completely, leaving only a thin papery hiss behind. It hardly mattered, however, as performance was completely unacceptable. Although the processor did not throttle, it did reach almost 70°C and would not have been adequately cooled in a real system.

Spire Verticool II SP601B3 with Reference Fan (80mm Nexus)
Fan Voltage
Temp
°C Rise
°C/W MP
°C/W TDP
Noise
(dBA@1m)
12V
49°C
28
0.28
0.33
23
9V
59°C
38
0.38
0.45
~20
7V
69°C
48
0.48
0.57
<17
Load Temp: CPUBurn for ~20 mins.
°C Rise: Temperature rise above ambient at load.
°C/W MP / TDP: Temperature rise over ambient per Watt of CPU heat, based on CPU's Maximum Power (100W) or Thermal Design Power (84W) rating (lower is better)
Noise: SPL measured in dBA/1m distance with high accuracy B & K SLM

Nexus @ 12V: Cooling performance with our reference low noise, low airflow Nexus fan was generally pretty poor. Performance was only really adequate when the fan was running at close to full speed.

The Nexus was about as good as the stock fan was at ~8V, and the noise level was about the same. The Nexus did have an advantage in terms of subjective quality, but the difference was not earth-shattering. For most users, the stock fan should be good enough if undervolted.

Nexus @ 9V & 7V: Below 12V, the performance dropped off too quickly to recommend using a fan with so little airflow. Silent it may have been, but the performance trade-off to make it silent was too great to be acceptable.



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