Our Lapped CPU Heatsink Test Platform

Cooling | Reference|Recommended
Lapping the CPU in a heatsink test platform is probably a controversial move that's bound to provoke reactions. Funny thing is, it was done a year ago, and photos of the CPU showing the copper top exposed by the lapping have been featured in many of our reviews. Yet, not a single comment. This article goes through the problems, investigations and explorations that led us to lap our Core i7-965 Extreme test CPU, and analyzes the results and implications.

Recommended Fans

Fans|Controls | Reference|Recommended
The Recommended Fans article is finally updated. It is a concise practical summary about the technologies, techniques and art of using quiet fans in computers, along with a list of the best candidates.

Updated VGA Card/Cooler Test Platform

Cooling | Graphics Cards | Reference|Recommended
The PC system used as our test platform for VGA cards and coolers was recently overhauled. The improved hardware and test procedures have made for a quieter, cooler system that should give us more consistent test results with a bit more ease.

A New Way of Testing Fan Airflow

Fans|Controls | Reference|Recommended
In spite of our best efforts, some SPCR readers found fault with a few of the airflow measurements in our recent fan roundups. We revisited the airflow metrology. After much experimentation and some test methods that were rejected, we settled on a new way of assessing fan airflow under some load (impedance) that seems more consistent and reliable.

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.

SPCR's Fan Testing Methodology [2006]

Fans|Controls | Reference|Recommended
This article describes the goals, techniques, and procedures we've established to test and rate fans for acoustics. No other fan testing methodology covers noise as extensively or as realistically. SPCR's fan roundups are coming, finally!

Audio Recording Methods Revised

Reference|Recommended | The Silent Front
We listen to our visitors and forum members. We really do. We can't always give you what you want (we get enough requests to triple our workload), but sometimes it takes an outside view to show us how we can improve. And improve we have. We're unveiling a new methodology for making audio recordings and new equipment to make them with. The end result will be recordings that do a better job of capturing what we hear during our reviews so that you can hear them better, too.

Archive: SPCR's PSU Test Platform V.3

Power | Reference|Recommended
PSU reviews have become bread-and-butter articles at SPCR. There are very few serious PSU reviews on the web; in this context, ours have stood out. However, in the last 18 months, PC power supplies have undergone tremendous changes. As a result, weaknesses in our testing setup have become evident: * The accuracy of our AC/DC conversion efficiency results; and * The adequacy of the test system to provide high enough load on the 12V line. This article documents the many changes we've made to address these issues in an improved, updated power suppy testing system. It's our PSU Test Platform, Version 3.0. ;D

Archive: SPCR's Test / Sound Lab: A Short Tour

Reference|Recommended | The Silent Front
Sometimes it is still a rat's nest of equipment, computers, components, wires and other assorted geeky things that my home office was before the launch of SPCR. But 30 months later, the SPCR lab has taken over the downstairs kitchen and half of the adjoining TV/den. A lot of equipment, instrumentation and plain old stuff has been acquired. The most recent additions to the lab include various audio equipment acquired for the purpose of making sound recordings of computers and components. Here's a short tour through the SPCR lab.

Archive: CPUs Ranked by Noise / Heat

NOTE: Consider this article an archive; not updated since March 2004. Check for more recent articles in the CPU & motherboards section. A long-overdue update (the first in a year!) to CPUs Ranked by Noise / Heat, SPCR's listing of processors and how easy or hard it is to cool them quietly. Now includes info on Pentium-M, AMD XP-mobile, AMD's 64-bitters, and Intel's hottest EEs.

Archive: A Primer on Noise in Computing

Reference|Recommended | The Silent Front
A primer on noise and sound was one of the many items on my list for core articles when SPCR was first launched. There is so much misinformation about sound that I felt it mandatory to provide some kind of baseline, an introduction to this complex subject. It is, in fact, a subject that seems simple only if you never scratch below the surface. Hopefully, this article serves well enough for its purpose: To provide guidelines by which you can interpret noise specifications, commentary by others, and what your own ears tell you.
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