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One of the core values of Puget Systems is transparency

We detest hype in the midst of an industry that is full of it. Our mission is to provide the highest quality hardware and consultation services to our customers, and to back up our decisions by freely sharing what we've learned along the way. To earn a place in our product line, a computer component undergoes rigorous testing. We apply the results of our testing, along with our years of experience in learning reliability trends and manufacturer characteristics, to make prudent decisions about what we can put our name behind, whether that's an individual part or an entire computer. With the following articles, we are writing up the results of these internal processes and discussions, and taking them public. We feel we can take this on with a unique perspective as we evaluate each topic with the experience, resources, and objectivity of a system builder. If there is a topic you'd like us to write about, email us at !
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Samsung 960 Pro vs 950 Pro Performance & Thermal Throttling

Written on December 1, 2016 by Matt Bach

M.2 drives like the Samsung 960 and 950 Pro can give incredible performance, but under sustained loads they can get hot enough that the drive needs to throttle the performance to stay within safe temperature limits. In this article, we will not only compare the 960 Pro to the 950 Pro in terms of raw performance, but also in terms of how quickly each drive will throttle.


Read this article at https://www.pugetsystems.com/guides/795
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Samsung 950 Pro M.2 Additional Cooling Testing

Written on June 6, 2016 by Matt Bach

M.2 drives like the Samsung 950 Pro can give incredible performance, but they can sometimes run hot enough that the drive needs to throttle the performance to stay under safe temperatures. For those that need a M.2 drive to run at full speed for longer periods of time, we decided to run some quick tests to compare a number of different M.2 drive cooling methods.


Read this article at https://www.pugetsystems.com/guides/776
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Samsung 950 Pro M.2 Throttling Analysis

Written on June 6, 2016 by Matt Bach

M.2 drives like the Samsung 950 Pro can give incredible performance, but they can sometimes run hot enough that the drive needs to throttle the performance to stay under safe temperatures. To help you decide if it is something you need to worry about, we decided to benchmark a Samsung 950 Pro in a variety of M.2 slot locations with a range of system configurations to show how much a Samsung 950 Pro might throttle in your system.


Read this article at https://www.pugetsystems.com/guides/606
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Impact of Temperature on Intel CPU Performance

Written on October 28, 2014 by Matt Bach

While we all know that modern processors need active cooling, there is actually very little official information on how temperature affects a CPU's performance. Do you really need a high-end liquid cooled setup to get peak performance, or is the little stock cooler that comes with most CPUs enough? In this article we will examine exactly how temperature affects CPU performance.


Read this article at https://www.pugetsystems.com/guides/527
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NZXT Kraken G10 Review

Written on December 20, 2013 by Matt Bach

The Kraken G10 from NZXT tackles GPU cooling in a way that we at Puget Systems have always wanted to see, but have not had the time or expertise to make happen ourselves. Instead of providing a whole cooling solution, the Kraken G10 is simply a metal bracket and fan that allows you to mount various different closed-loop coolers. These coolers are traditionally used for CPUs and allow you to custom tailor your video card cooling much like you can for your CPU.


Read this article at https://www.pugetsystems.com/guides/511
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Gaming PC vs. Space Heater Efficiency

Written on October 21, 2013 by Matt Bach

Winter is coming, and with the power bills stacking up it may be hard to justify gaming on your ulta-powerful gaming rig. But what if we were to tell you that, watt for watt, your gaming PC produces exactly the same amount of heat as a space heater?


Read this article at https://www.pugetsystems.com/guides/171
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Review: Corsair Hydro H60 CPU Cooler (Rev.2)

Written on January 24, 2013 by Matt Bach

Closed-loop liquid cooling units are a great way to get exceptional cooling without the hassle and risk of a traditional liquid cooling systems. The Corsair Hydro H60 CPU Cooler is one such cooler that has recently had some improvements made. In this article, we will be taking a look at the changes to determine the effect on both the overall cooling performance and noise levels.


Read this article at https://www.pugetsystems.com/guides/172
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Thermal Paste Roundup

Written on November 30, 2012 by Matt Bach

While not quite as important as having a high quality heatsink, thermal paste plays a very important role in keeping your CPU (or video card) running cool. A few weeks ago, we looked into the proper techniques for applying thermal paste. In this article, we will be using what we learned to properly test a number of popular thermal pastes.


Read this article at https://www.pugetsystems.com/guides/170
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Thermal Paste Application Techniques

Written on November 12, 2012 by Matt Bach

The best technique to apply thermal paste is something that is often debated, and as a whole the internet has not decided on a standard technique. There are many varying techniques that are recommended, so in this article we will best test a variety of techniques to see which performs the best.


Read this article at https://www.pugetsystems.com/guides/160
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Ivy Bridge CPU TIM Paste Replacement

Written on September 6, 2012 by Matt Bach

Even before launch of the Intel Ivy Bridge CPUs in April 2012, it was discovered that the CPUs were running a bit hotter than expected. The TIM paste was proven to be the culprit by the Japanese site PC Watch when they reported that by replacing the TIM paste they saw a load temperature drop of 8-11 *C at stock clock speeds, and an amazing 15-20*C drop in load temperatures when overclocked to 4.6 GHz. We decided that it was time to do our own testing to see if anything has changed in recent months. The result was some very interesting data that caught us a bit by surprise.


Read this article at https://www.pugetsystems.com/guides/158
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How Ambient Temperatures Affect Your PC

Written on August 15, 2012 by Matt Bach

It stands to reason that the hotter the ambient air, the hotter a computer will run and the faster the system fans will spin to try to keep the individual components running cool. While this in itself is common sense, exactly how much hotter components run as the ambient temperature increases is not common knowledge. This information is very useful for us at Puget Systems to use when configuring a customer's computer, but is also useful to determine if reporting thermal testing results as "degrees above ambient" (as many hardware reviewers do) is actually accurate. To find out the exact ratio, we took a common system configuration and tested it across a range of ambient temperature levels.


Read this article at https://www.pugetsystems.com/guides/141

Product Review: Cooler Master Hyper TX3 CPU Cooler

Written on March 13, 2012 by Matt Bach

The Cooler Master Hyper TX3 CPU cooler is a medium-sized cooler designed for mid to low range CPUs. This cooler is very similar to the Scythe Kantana 3 CPU cooler currently in our product line, so the main question is: which CPU cooler is better?


Read this article at https://www.pugetsystems.com/guides/135

Review: Cooler Master SickleFlow 120mm Green LED Fan

Written on January 27, 2012 by Matt Bach

Puget Systems has used many variations of the Antec TriCool 120mm fan over the years - including the red, blue and green LED versions in our colored case fan kits - due to their excellent noise to airflow ratio. However, Antec has recently discontinued the green LED version of the Antec Tricool, so we needed to find a good replacement fan for our green LED kits. In our search for a replacement, we found that the Cooler Master SickleFlow fan fits all of our requirements as a replacement fan to the long-lived green Antec TriCool.


Read this article at https://www.pugetsystems.com/guides/109

Product Qualification: Intel DRX-B Liquid Cooling Solution

Written on November 14, 2011 by Matt Bach

Along with the standard air cooler, Intel has decided to partner with Asetek to launch a closed-loop liquid cooler - the RTS2011LC - for their new 2011 socket. With the rise in popularity of these closed-loop liquid cooling solutions, the real question is how this liquid cooler fares in relation to similar products already on the market.


Read this article at https://www.pugetsystems.com/guides/107

Effects of Grill Patterns on Fan Performance/Noise

Written on September 19, 2011 by Matt Bach

Fan grills are a component in a computer that is often underestimated in terms of their contribution to both system noise and airflow. Most often, grills are chosen based on aesthetics with only a small thought towards performance. In this article, we will be examining nine different grills to determine the effects of grill design on both noise and airflow.


Read this article at https://www.pugetsystems.com/guides/102

Side Panel Fans: Are They Worth It?

Written on September 2, 2011 by Matt Bach

Adequate cooling is always a concern when using high-end hardware. In this article we will examine the cooling advantages a side fan can give to an otherwise normal system.


Read this article at https://www.pugetsystems.com/guides/103

Product Review: Gelid GX-7 CPU Cooler

Written on August 29, 2011 by Matt Bach

The GX-7 is Gelid's latest addition to their heatsink line and is in their Gamer line of coolers. In this article we will be reviewing the performance and noise levels in comparison to to the Gelid Rev. 2 Tranquillo.


Read this article at https://www.pugetsystems.com/guides/100

Product Qualification: Antec 120/140mm TrueQuiet Fans

Written on August 16, 2011 by Matt Bach

The Antec TrueQuiet series of fans are designed for quiet operation and feature a low/high switch allowing the user to choose between silent or higher cooling modes. We are very familiar with Antec's Tri-Cool case fans and have been very happy with them, but they are not the best option for quiet operation. In this article, we will see if the TrueQuiet fans live up to their name.


Read this article at https://www.pugetsystems.com/guides/99

Product Qualification: Gelid Slim Silence I-Plus

Written on August 16, 2011 by Matt Bach

The Gelid Slim Silence I-Plus is a cooler designed to fit in places too small for even a stock CPU cooler. But given the small size of this cooler, will it have enough cooling to keep a CPU cool?


Read this article at https://www.pugetsystems.com/guides/89

Vertical vs. Horizontal Case Cooling

Written on August 9, 2011 by Matt Bach

Some manufactures begun rotating their cases so they have a up/down rather than front/back airflow, claiming that this vertical airflow is superior since it is working in cooperation with the forces of convection. Does vertical airflow really improve cooling?


Read this article at https://www.pugetsystems.com/guides/67

Product Review: Cooler Master V8 Cooler

Written on May 19, 2009 by Matt Bach

At Puget Systems, we test hundreds of different computer components a year, and through this testing we constantly shape and improve our product line. In the past, we have kept the testing data internal to our company, but recently we have realized that we're missing out on a large opportunity to help the public (and our customers) by publishing our findings. Why keep something internal if the data is useful to others? That being said, the Cooler Master V8 is the first of hopefully many product reviews by Puget Systems. We were looking for a CPU cooler to add to our line to provide a quieter cooler option for Core i7 CPUs. Does the Cooler Master V8 fit the bill?


Read this article at https://www.pugetsystems.com/guides/64

Cooling Solutions for Intel Core i7

Written on February 9, 2009 by

The latest powerhouse CPU offering from Intel is here. The Intel Core i7 -- a quad-core processor available in three different speed configurations that is really taking the computing world by storm. Several new features have been added to this processor, such as on-chip DDR3 memory controller, smart cache, and HD boost. Of course, with all the extra features and power comes the issue of how to keep it cool. The Core i7 may be powerful, but it is also very hot running. From the stock heat sinks and fans, to liquid cooled solutions, the cooling possibilities are many. Unfortunately we can't test them all, so in this article we'll take a look at 4 popular cooling solutions and how they fared.


Read this article at https://www.pugetsystems.com/guides/59

A Look at CoolIT CPU Cooling Performance

Written on June 13, 2008 by Matt Bach

Peltier cooling has been around for over a hundred years, but have only recently been available to the masses for use in computers. CoolIT is one of the few CPU cooler manufacturer to sell CPU cooling solutions featuring peltier technology. With all the theoretical benefits of using peltiers, we wanted to test CoolIT coolers against our two most popular CPU coolers. We ordered in three of CoolIT's closed-loop liquid coolers; Pure (does not feature peltiers), Eliminator (three peltiers), and Freezone (six peltiers) to determine if peltier cooling is useful in today's computers.


Read this article at https://www.pugetsystems.com/guides/22

Thermal Paste Comparison

Written on May 31, 2005 by Jon Bach

When it comes to building high end computers, there is no room for cutting corners, and even a component like thermal paste can make a significant difference. When we set out to investigate all the different thermal pastes out there, we were surprised to not find a comprehensive comparison of modern products...so we decided to run our own tests! In this article, we will compare the performance of the top rated thermal pastes, so that you can make informed decisions about what will go into your next computer system!