Sorry ... have I missed something ?
Those 2 articles :
give a completely opposite view of how the top contenders (Ninja and Ultra 120) fare against one another !
How is that possible ?
Yes, those results changed, and the Ninja's results were better than the Ultra120's this time around. It does not change our opinion of these HS, however: They are both excellent for low airflow, quiet cooling, they are at the top of this niche category. (Of course, neither of the versions we refer to are actually "current" anymore...
Do consider these many factors:
1) completely different HS test platform with a different CPU and a different way of assessing CPU heat. Note that all the result temperatures went up with this platform.
2) There are differences in where the CPU thermal diode is, in the secondary heat paths for the CPU, in the proximity of other heat sources on the motherboard, etc. The thermal linearity of the CPU/MB could also be different from the first test platform, which would magnify thermal differences at the extremes (read: low airflow).
3) the resolution of the thermal measurement tools really can't be trusted <2C or so. Even with the same heatsink on the same platform, removing and reinstalling it for a second test often gives different results. The differences are usually small (<2C) but they come up over and over again.
4) Another test on the same platform could lead to yet another flip of the results.
IS there a way to eliminate the vagaries and create a 100% accurate high resolution HS test instrument? Probably.
Will we do it? Maybe, maybe not.
It would have to be a custom made "heater" based device like the kind used by http://www.frostytech.com/testmethod_mk2.cfm
-- the challenge with such devices is in duplicating the HS retention systems on motherboards. It would not be cheap.
Having said that, I have to admit Frostytech may have found a solution. It looks like they use two difference heater elements and top panels for Intel vs AMD processors. Perhaps they would be willing to share their knowledge with us...