Smallish LGA775 Heatsink Roundup - Part 2

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Smallish LGA775 Heatsink Round-up Part 2

September 21, 2009 by Lawrence Lee

Our low profile LGA775 CPU cooler roundup from two months ago revealed only one clear-cut recommendation: the Scythe Big Shuriken, a short but capable cooler with an excellent fan at a reasonable price. However, it is far from the ideal compact cooler — its low clearance over the pushpin mounting system makes it excruciating to install, and taller motherboard components like Northbridge heatsinks can impinge on its use. As small form factor systems become more popular, the demand for better low profile coolers grows.

Today we have a new set of contenders, a varied group, most of which may be too big to be considered "low profile" by many. However, they are smaller than the typical tower giants that dominate best-of cooler ranks and there are many cases with just enough room to accommodate them. As they wouldn't fare well against the behemoths we test on a regular basis, we threw them together in this gladiatorial romp.

Heatsinks Tested: Physical Dimensions (measured)
Fan Diameter
Fin Thickness
Fin Spacing
Silverstone NT06-E
(Nexus fan)
107 mm
111 mm
0.34 mm
1.4 mm
550 g
Cooler Master
Geminii S
86 mm
112 mm
0.28 mm
1.6 mm
500 g
Arctic Cooling
Alpine 7 Pro
86 mm
85 mm
0.93 mm
1.8 mm
450 g
Nexus LOW-7000
70 mm
111 mm
0.33 mm
2.0 mm
480 g
Intel Q6600 HSF
(Nexus fan)
67 mm
111 mm
540 g
Arctic Cooling
Alpine 7 GT
64 mm
74 mm
0.44 mm
2.6 mm
280 g
Intel Aluminum HSF
63 mm
77 mm
330 g
Intel Q6600 HSF
62 mm
82 mm
440 g
Thermolab Micro
58 mm
85 mm
0.43 mm
1.4 mm
270 g
Scythe Big
57 mm
113 mm
0.32 mm
1.3 mm
420 g
Intel Q9550 HSF
45 mm
79 mm
260 g
Thermolab Nano
39 mm
76 mm
0.38 mm
1.5 mm
210 g
36 mm
80 mm
300 g
Coolers tested in our last roundup in green.


Testing was done according to our unique heatsink testing methodology, A quick summary of the components, tools, and procedures follows below.

Key Components in Heatsink Test Platform

  • Intel Pentium D 950 Presler core, C1 stepping. TDP of 95W; under our test load, it measures 78W including losses in the VRMs.
  • Asus P5Q-EM motherboard. A microATX board with integrated graphics and short solid-state capacitors around the CPU socket, and a diminutive northbridge heatsink for maximum compatibility.
  • Intel X25-M 80GB 2.5" solid-state drive.
  • 1GB of Corsair XMS2 DDR2 memory. 2 x 512MB PC2-8500.
  • FSP Zen 300W fanless power supply.
  • Arctic Silver Lumière: Special fast-curing thermal interface material, designed specifically for test labs.

Measurement and Analysis Tools

  • Seasonic Power Angel for measuring AC power at the wall to ensure that the heat output remains consistent.
  • Custom-built, four-channel variable DC power supply, used to regulate the fan speed during the test.
  • PC-based spectrum analyzer: SpectraPlus with ACO Pacific mic and M-Audio digital audio interfaces.
  • Anechoic chamber with ambient level of 11 dBA or lower
  • Various other tools for testing fans, as documented in our standard fan testing methodology.
  • SpeedFan, used to monitor the on-chip thermal sensor. This sensor is not calibrated, so results are not universally applicable.
  • CPUBurn P6, used to stress the CPU heavily, generating more heat than most real applications. Two instances are used to ensure that both cores are stressed.
  • Throttlewatch 2.01, used to monitor the throttling feature of the CPU to determine when overheating occurs.

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 stock fan was tested at various voltages to represent a good cross-section of its airflow and noise performance.

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