Apack ZeroTherm BTF80 & BTF90 CPU Heatsink/Fans

Cooling
Viewing page 4 of 5 pages. Previous 1 2 3 4 5 Next

TESTING

Our socket 775 test bench was used to test the ZeroTherm heatsinks. Details of the system are outlined below. So far, only six heatsinks have been tested on this system: The Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro, the Spire Verticool II, the Arctic Cooling Alpine 7, the Scythe Ninja, the Thermalright XP-120, and, most recently, the Zalman CNPS8000. No other SPCR heatsink test results are directly comparable with the results of this review. The Pentium 520 used in this test is cooler than most of Intel's soon-to-be-forgotten Prescott and Presler chips, 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, not to mention Intel's new Core 2 Duo chips, many of which draw much less power than the Intel 520.


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 16 dBA and 24°C. This is warmer than the usual lab conditions, and reflect a recent spate of hot weather. Please keep this in mind when comparing results.

TEST RESULTS

APack ZeroTherm BTF80 (Aluminum) with Stock fan
Fan Voltage
Temp
°C Rise
°C/W MP
°C/W TDP
Noise
(dBA@1m)
12V
40°C
16
0.16
0.19
36
9V
42°C
18
0.18
0.21
27
7V
46°C
22
0.22
0.26
21
5V
52°C
28
0.28
0.33
19
APack ZeroTherm BTF90 (Copper) with Stock fan
12V
38°C
14
0.14
0.17
36
9V
40°C
16
0.16
0.19
27
7V
46°C
22
0.22
0.26
21
5V
50°C
26
0.26
0.31
19
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

The two heatsink models produced results that are similar enough that they can be described together. Both come with identical fans, so comments about noise apply to both unless otherwise noted. As a general rule, the copper version outperformed the aluminum version by about 2°C.

Fan @ 12V: At full speed, the fan was too noisy for use in a quiet system. However, even users who don't care about noise are unlikely to run the fan at full speed very often as long as they use the four-pin header to control fan speed. Almost all newer Intel-chip motherboards and many AMD AM2 boards feature some kind of built-in 4-pin PWM fan speed control. The performance at full tilt is good enough that it is hard to imagine many people needing the cooling performance of these heatsink/fans at the full 12V.

The quality of noise left quite a bit to be desired. The sound consisted mostly of a noisy whine, although this was far from the only component in the noise. Several other pitches could also be heard in the noise, most of which sounded higher than the primary tone. The multiple tones seemed to come from the fins, which tended to amplify vibrations from the fan. The poor noise character was more marked on the aluminum version, although both versions showed signs of resonance. Both models also exhibited a rapid metallic clicking, as well as a small amount of turbulence noise.

Fan @ 9V: The noise dropped to an acceptable background hum, and performance suffered by only 2°C — a barely noteworthy drop. Unfortunately, the noise character continued to disappoint, with the metallic clicking growing more prominent as the whine receded into a low hum. The noise also exhibited an odd throbbing that is clearly audible in the near-field (one foot) recording at this level. The effect was even more irritating in person, and continued to irritate even from a greater distance away.

Fan @ 7V: 21 dBA@1m is normally very quiet, but our perception was that the noise from these fans is still more noticeable than we are used to when we measure so low. Although the primary motor noise had faded away to almost nothing, a veritable orchestra of noises remained. The mechanical clicking now dominated the noise character and it seemed to be clicking in time with the throbbing from before. A low, clattery growl could also be heard. Cupping a hand around the fins did a good job of making this noise smoother and more muted, so it seems that much of the noise came from the fins, not just directly from the fan. There is obviously some condution of vibration from the fan to the fins which is causing some of the noise.

Performance continued to be excellent. The aluminum model managed to equal the copper at this level and no other. At a comparable level of measured noise, the only heatsink we've tested that can beat either butterfly is the Scythe Ninja.

Fan @ 5V: The excellent performance continued even at 5V. We would have no objection to leaving the fan at this level permanently, even with our burning hot Prescott processor; the heatsink could handle it, even inside a system. What this means is that only overclockers — and those unfortunate enough to own a Pentium D or a Prescott-based P4 — should ever have any need to run the fan above 5V.

At 5V, the fan is very quiet, if not inaudible. The noise character was similar to the noise at 7V, but muted and with a slower rhythm in comparison. The throbbing was still present, but it finally dropped to a level that it would probably be hidden by other sources of noise. It still sounded louder than the measured SPL of 19 dBA@1m, but it was quiet enough that it would likely be masked by whatever other sources of noise there are in the system. It was not quite good enough for a silent system, but those are few and far between.



Previous 1 2 3 4 5 Next

Cooling - Article Index
Help support this site, buy from one of our affiliate retailers!
Search: