Arctic Cooling Alpine 7 Pro: The Alpine 7 Revisited

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NOISE RECORDINGS IN MP3 FORMAT

  • Arctic Cooling Alpine 7 Pro: 5V-7V-9V-12V, 5s leading ambient: One Meter (Note: The 30cm recording is unnecessary; the noise is perfectly audible at 1m.)
  • Reference 92mm fan (not tested): 5V-7V-9V-12V, 5s Ambient between levels: One Meter, One Foot

Comparatives:

  • Scythe Ninja Mini: 5V-7V-9V-12V, 5s Ambient between levels: One Meter, One Foot
  • Zalman CNPS8700 LED: 5V-7V-9V-12V, 5s Ambient between levels: One Meter
  • Scythe Mine w/ stock fan: 5V-7V-9V-12V, 5s Ambient between levels: One Meter, One Foot
HOW TO LISTEN & COMPARE

These recordings were made with a high resolution, studio quality, digital recording system and are intended to represent a quick snapshot of what we heard during the review. Two recordings of each noise level were made, one from a distance of one meter, and another from one foot away.

The one meter recording is intended to give you an idea of how the subject of this review sound 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. For best results, set your volume control so that the ambient noise is just barely audible. 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 one foot recording is designed to bring out the fine details of the noise. Use this recording with caution! Although more detailed, it may not represent how the subject sounds in actual use. It is best to listen to this recording after you have listened to the one meter recording.

More details about how we make these recordings can be found in our short article: Audio Recording Methods Revised.

FINAL CONCLUSIONS

The Alpine 7 Pro's mediocre thermal performance is difficult to ignore — but so is its ~$16 price. The only other heatsinks at this price level are its predecessors from Arctic Cooling, and our verdict is much the same: It's a bargain for a low-to-midrange system.

What it lacks in performance it makes up in low noise. We were pleased to note that this sample sounded smoother than previous Arctic Cooling fans we've heard, and it certainly had no difficulty disappearing under the ambient noise when turned all the way down.

As an upgrade from the Alpine 7, the pushpin mounting system is an improvement, but little else has changed. Because our test bed has changed since the original was tested, a direct comparison for performance is not possible. In theory, the smaller surface area of the fins should actually degrade performance a bit.

Ultimately, the utility of the Alpine 7 Pro comes down to the system it is used in. With a cool processor it has great potential, but that still leaves the question: "How cool?" That is not a simple question — far too complex to be addressed here. Luckily, its price comes in handy — US$16 is not too much to put down for a little guess-and-test.

Pros

* Very quiet when slowed down
* Inexpensive
* A good choice for idle internet PC's
* Uses stock mounting system
* Easy installation
Cons

* Moderate thermal performance
* Socket LGA775 only

Much thanks to Arctic Cooling for the Alpine 7 Pro sample.

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Articles of Related Interest

Recommended Heatsinks
SPCR's Unique Heatsink Testing Methodology
SPCR's Standard Fan Testing Methodology
Arctic Cooling Alpine HSF: A New Budget King?
Zalman CNPS8700 LED CPU Cooler: Update of a Classic
Scythe Ninja Mini CPU heatsink

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