LGA775 Low Profile Heatsink Roundup

Cooling
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TEST RESULTS (Continued)

No Competition: Scythe Big Shuriken vs. Zalman 9300AT
Scythe Big Shuriken
Zalman 9300AT
Fan Voltage
SPL@1m
Thermal Rise
Fan Voltage
SPL@1m
Thermal Rise
 
9V
30 dBA
17°C
12V
23 dBA
21°C
7V
25 dBA
18°C
10V
18 dBA
22°C
5V
21 dBA
23°C
9V
13~14 dBA
27°C
 
8V
11 dBA
34°C

The Scythe Big Shuriken is a mismatch against any of the other coolers in the roundup. We compared it to a much larger, but underperforming cooler, the Zalman 9300AT. Despite its considerable height advantage, the Zalman unit at 5V and 21 dBA only just matches the Big Shuriken's thermal performance at 10V and 18 dBA. Not only is the Big Shuriken's measured noise level lower at this comparison point, its fan sounds a lot smoother as well. This comparison makes it clear that the Big Shuriken is capable of taking on some of the "standard-size" midrange heatsinks.

Comparison Tables

Performance Comparison at 20 dBA (+/- 2 dB)
Cooler
SPL
Thermal Rise
Height
Weight
Scythe Big Shuriken
18 dBA
22°C
57 mm
420 g
Intel Q6600
21 dBA
34°C
62 mm
440 g
Thermolab Micro Silencer
20 dBA
36°C
58 mm
270 g
Intel Aluminum
19 dBA
37°C
63 mm
330 g
Nano Silencer (9V)
22 dBA
37°C
39 mm
210 g
Alpine 7 GT
20~21 dBA
39°C
64 mm
280 g
Intel Q9550
18 dBA
40°C
45 mm
260 g
Thermolab Nano Silencer (8V)
18 dBA
42°C
39 mm
210 g

At the 20 dBA level, none of the other coolers comes close to the Big Shuriken's level of performance. The performance is 12°C poorer than the very best tower heatsink we've tested, which is not bad considering its low profile.

There is a large gap before we get to the next best performers: the full-sized Intel heatsinks and the Thermolab Micro Silencer. These three deliver more or less the same level of cooling at around 20 dBA. The full-sized Q6600 copper core cooler is really only more effective with higher airflow.

In last place are the Nano Silencer, Alpine 7 GT, and Q9550 stock cooler. The Q9550 heatsink performs slightly better than the Nano at 18 dBA, and the Alpine 7 GT subjectively sounds better than the other two, so we give them the edge over the Nano Silencer. The Nano, with its small heatsink mass and slim fan, has a hard time keeping up with the competition.

Performance Comparison at 15 dBA (+/- 2 dB)
Cooler
SPL
Thermal Rise
Height
Weight
Scythe Big Shuriken
13~14 dBA
27°C
57 mm
420 g
Intel Q6600
16 dBA
42°C
62 mm
440 g
Intel Aluminum
14~15 dBA
46°C
63 mm
330 g
Alpine 7 GT
15 dBA
46°C
64 mm
280 g
Thermolab Micro Silencer
15 dBA
48°C
58 mm
270 g
Thermolab Nano Silencer
15 dBA
49°C
39 mm
210 g
Intel Q9550
15 dBA
51°C
45 mm
260 g

At the 15 dBA level, we can't recommend using most of the coolers we tested today, at least not with a 95W TDP processor. They should be okay with the fans cranked this low if used with one of Intel's 65W TDP chips. The Shuriken scores an easy victory, a full 15°C better than the Q6600 cooler.

With low airflow, the Alpine 7 GT shows marked improvement against the rest of the field. It matches the Intel aluminum stock cooler in performance and beats the Micro Silencer. Its fin spacing is likely responsible — it is almost twice as wide as the competition. Its fan also sounds a lot smoother.

The Thermolab Silencers are a step behind the Alpine 7 GT, with the Micro only performing 1°C better than the Nano. The Q9550 heatsink comes in dead last.



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