Table of Contents
- Antec P182 (3x120mm tri-speed case fans)
- Asus P6T Deluxe Mainboard
- Intel Core i7 Quad Core 920 2.66 Ghz
- 3 x Kingston DDR3-1333 2GB
- Corsair 650watt PSU
- Western Digital 640GB Hard Drive
- Asus GeForce 9600GT Video Card
- Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit
- Asus 20x SATA DVD-RW Lightscribe (x2)
- Tuniq TX-2 Thermal Compound
The ambient temperature was climate controlled, always within one degree of 19 degrees Celsius. After installing the cooler, the system was allowed to warm up before our temperature logging was started. To put the system under as much load as possible, we ran Prime 95 Torture Test, along with FurMark 1.6.5. After the stress test was complete, the system was given two minutes to cool down before the temperature logging was stopped.
This is the standard fan that comes with the Core i7 CPU. Designed for quiet operation and enough cooling to get you by at stock speeds. Surprisingly, in our test this cooler didn’t fare the best, but it wasn’t the worst!
The Nexus LOW-7000 cooler combines some of the most advanced technologies in the market used for CPU coolers. Heat pipes, SkiveTek and ultra-thin fins combined with a real silent PWM controlled fan delivers ultimate performance which has never been this quiet before. The 120mm fan is PWM controlled and the speed can vary between 500 and 2000 RPM creating a noise-output of an inaudible 15 dB(A) up till a still truly quiet 24 dB(A)
We were interested in this cooler for our low profile HTPC setups. I was fairly surprised at the result we saw on this one. At an average of about 90* Celsius, it was the lowest performing solution we tested.
Gelid Silent Spirit
The top-flow cooler “Silent Spirit” follows an open frame structure concept whereby both design and dimensions have been improved to eliminate humming and buzzing noises while maintaining a compact overall size. The 92mm fan has been chosen for silent operation and high airflow and comes with an intelligent PWM control to allow users to set the fan speed in their BIOS accordingly. In addition the anti-vibration fan mounts are made of high quality rubber thus guaranteeing a long life span even during high temperatures.
This one was the second best in our testing, it didn’t quite beat the Hydro, but at only 2* C higher than the hydro and almost 20* C lower than the Nexus, and at a retail cost of around $35, it certainly is a very nicely priced cooling solution.
Puget Hydro CL1
The Puget Hydro CL1 is a self-contained CPU liquid cooling solution. It has a lot of the benefits of liquid-cooling: better temperatures (which allows for overclocking) and fairly quiet operation, but also has the benefits of air-cooling: the ease of installation and maintenance. The radiator screws in place over the rear 120mm fan in your case. By default, the rear fan is usually left as an exhaust. Through our testing, we have found that in cases like the Antec P182 (which has a top exhaust fan), the cooler performs much better by reversing the rear fan and turning it into an intake. Since the case has a top exhaust fan, the impact on system temperatures is acceptable.
Ah, the almighty Hydro. It performed better than all the others and kept the CPU an average of 12* C cooler than all the other ones tested. The Gelid wasn’t far behind but the Hyrdo still proved to be one of the best cooling solutions.
|Note: the Nexus temperatures top off at 100C because that’s the point at which the CPU throttles its speed. Not good!|
These graphs represent the idle and load CPU temperatures over the course of testing. It’s easy to see the winners and losers here — the Nexus ran much hotter than the others while the Puget Hydro CL1 was the best. The comparison between the Intel Stock heatsink and the Gelid Silent Spirit is interesting. Though the Gelid only cooled a few degrees better, it was significantly quieter. While the Puget Hydro CL1 is the clear pick for cooling performance, the Gelid Silent Spirit could also be a good choice in lower power situations when noise level is a concern.