Cooling

Archive: SPCR's Unique Heatsink Testing Methodology

Cooling | Reference|Recommended
After our two main test beds for heatsink testing developed intermittant defects, we've rebuilt our test bed for the fourth (or is it the fifth) time so we can continue to bring you quality heatsink reviews. At the same time, we've brought our article on testing heatsinks up to date — a long overdue update that brings it out of the era of Athlons and P-IIIs into the present day where Socket 775 now rules the roost. We've also tossed in some gems about VRMs and testing CPU power, as well as a quick re-test of some old favorites to kick things off.

Scythe pushes towards Infinity (renamed Mugen)

Cooling
The Scythe Infinity is a sequel to the wildly successful Ninja: It's gigantic, has widely spaced fins, and seems well suited to quiet computing. The question is, is it better, and, if so, how much better? Has Scythe produced a heatsink to surpass the Ninja? Scythe hopes so. Thermalright's Ultra-120 has already proven that the Ninja can be beaten.

Aerocase Condor: A Massive, Passive VGA Cooler

Cooling
Aerocase stands out: It's a Wyoming-based, silence-inspired heatsink company with an all-woman management. They're taking on the multinational tech industry with a lot of guts and a passive VGA heatsink that's bigger than anyone else's. The Condor does not have the power of mass marketing and worldwide distribution to spur it on, but it's worth considering if you're trying to cool a high end video card quietly.

Sytrin KuFormula VF1 Plus graphics card cooler

Cooling
A new VGA cooler with an unusual cross-flow fan prompted us to wonder whether this kind of fan might see wider use. Sytrin looks like they've done the right things to make it quiet: It's mounted with soft rubber. Even better, it generates a lot more airflow than the tiny fans that ordinarily fit between the expansion slots. Is this fan good enough to make the VF1 special?

Measuring Heatpipe Efficiency

Cooling
A new contributor reports on his efforts to determine the efficacy of the Borg 6mm HES (Heatpipe Extension Set) by mCubed, designed for use in their passive home theather PC cases. The author's aim is to design a secondary backup system to aid a 1U HSF in cooling the CPU in an extremely low profile media PC case. He created a testing rig that's worthy of the SPCR lab, one that allows the thermal loss factor of this heatpipe system to be easily seen. The results are applicable mostly to the mCube heatpipes and mounting system but also gives insight into the kind of results that can be expected from DIY heatpipe setups.

Thermalright Gets Back on Top with the Ultra-120

Cooling
Thermalright's Ultra-120 is designed to take on the biggest, coolest heatsinks on the market — and win. But, like most performance heatsinks, it has closely spaced fins that are designed to do well with lots of airflow. That doesn't always square well with SPCR's goals for low-airflow systems. We've put it head to head with the Scythe Ninja ... We have a new silent champ.

Apack ZeroTherm BTF80 & BTF90 CPU Heatsink/Fans

Cooling
They may look like motorized butterflies, but the ZeroTherm BTF80 & BTF90 from Apack are intended to be more than just ornaments for system builders with a feminine side. Chances are you've never heard of Apack, but this Korean company has been doing business with majors like Samsung and Intel for a few years, and now they're coming to the retail market. We hope they come quickly.

Zalman CNPS8000: A Worthy Successor?

Cooling
Zalman has broken with tradition and released a low profile heatsink that is not based on their's classic "flower" clamped-fins design. It's the same height as the venerable CNPS7000, but it has heatpipes and it weighs 100 grams less. How does it perform?

Arctic Cooling Alpine HSF: A New Budget King?

Cooling
Processors are getting cooler, and giant tower behemoths are not needed to cool 35W processors. While the overclocking market will always ensure a place for heatsink/fans that can deal with >100W of CPU heat, most of us don't need that kind of cooling any more. The Arctic Cooling Alpine 7 & 64 are reminiscent of heatsinks of yesteryear, when many processors were 35W parts. It's only $15; can Arctic Cooling, our favorite budget quiet HSF maker, do it again?

Scythe "Summit" Mine Heatsink/Fan

Cooling
Scythe has been the most prolific heatsink manufacturer recently, and we think we know why: They're cross-breeding their existing heatsinks to produce new ones. The Mine is the offsping of a Ninja and a Kamakiri, with genes from the Samurai Z mixed in. This heatsink has high aims; it has the Ninja in its sights, but has a smaller 100mm fan. Can it hit the target? Note: Postscript on results with a Nexus 120 fan added July 18, 2006

nMedia Icetank: More than a Cute Name?

Cooling
We like it when companies have a sense of humor about their products. That's a good thing for nMedia, since their Icetank heatsink is named almost as ridiculously as Scythe's Fishcake (Kamaboko). The joke extends farther than just the name too; the heatsink bears an unmistakable resemblance to a tanker truck. Is the heatsink as frivolous as its name, or has nMedia brought a serious contender to the market?

VGA Coolers: Thermalright V1 Ultra, Zalman 700 & 900, AC Silencer 5 v.3

Cooling
High-end VGA Cards are a major source of heat, so most silencers know to avoid them if they want quiet. But, what about people who need a high end video card? Gamers can't seem to do without them... and increasingly, they want quiet, too. That's where aftermarket VGA coolers come in. Like CPU coolers, VGA coolers can be bigger, cooler, and quieter. So here is our long-awaited, much-retooled review of the biggest, coolest, and quietest VGA heatsinks on the market in a 4-way battle for the SPCR crown: Zalman VF900CU & VF700CU, Thermalright V1 Ultra and Arctic Cooling NV5 Silencer.

Spire Verticool II SP601B3 tower heatsink

Cooling
The Spire Verticool II is a midrange retail CPU cooler offering. It won't be competing for the heavyweight championship, but at under US$30 it doesn't need to. Lightweights win prizes, too, from time to time, especially if they're quiet...

Scythe Samurai Z CPU heatsink / fan

Cooling
Scythe's sequel to its Samurai CPU heatsink / fan of 2004 is modestly priced, heatpipe-enhanced (virtually mandatory for aftermarket HSF these days, it would appear), and topped with a quiet 92mm fan of its own brand. A Zorro-like Z marks the new model, whose name is really the only similarity to the original. Samurai Z works well for the install & forget-about-it quiet seeker.

Microcool NorthPole XE Whisper heatsink/fan

Cooling
For an aftermarket HSF, it's downright tiny. But it's skived copper, has a thermally controlled fan, and it's mostly meant to be a northbridge HSF. Microcool's trick in the Northpole XE Whisper is that it can also replace the stock CPU HSF in desktop Pentium M boards like the AOpen 915s.
XML feed