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Mini HSF Roundup - Spire vs Thermal Integration vs OCZ - Benchmarks

We recently got a new batch of coolers in for testing, so what better way to bring you what's hot than to let them all go head to head? So come join Mike "Darthtanion" Wright as he pits some of the market's newest coolers against one another. Some of the results may just surprise you a little!

By: | Cables & Accessories in Cases, Cooling & PSU | Posted: Mar 16, 2003 5:00 am



Well, with five coolers from three different manufacturers to play with, it is time for some test results. But before we start that, we'll take a peek at the test system and the conditions.


The tests performed on this cooler will follow my standard guidelines for determining cooling performance on a heatsink. This will consist of measuring the temperature at idle, after a grueling Quake III Deathmatch, and finally after a looping run of the 3DMark2001 Demo. Once these results have been tallied, I'll boost the FSB to 145MHz and run the tests again. While not an aggressive overclock, it will serve to show how well this cooler does under both normal and overclocked conditions. Ambient air temperature is a stable 21C throughout tests and voltages are set at 1.8v for the processor and 2.6v for the memory.


The test system will consist of:


Xoxide modified Lian-Li PC60 Case


EPoX 8K9A2 Motherboard


AMD Athlon XP 1800+ Processor (Palomino core)


512MB Crucial PC2700 DDR Memory


nVidia Reference Ti4200


Seagate Barracuda 40GB Hard Drive


Arctic Silver III


The graphics for our tests will have two results shown. In all cases, the top result in a given category will be the default speed test scores and the second will be the overclocked results.


Results - Idle




So far the Gladiator is taking a commanding lead. While not an actual competition, we always want to see the best results. It should be noted that the Thermal Integration unit was not run in the overclocked tests. You'll see on the next set of results that we were nearing the dreaded 50 degree mark when in a default speed, so I wasn't going to give it the chance to possibly damage a processor. I have never endorsed a cooler that results in temperatures above 50 degrees, so I won't start now.


Well, that was entertaining, but lets see what happens when we add a little stress to the system.


Results - Quake III Arena Deathmatch




This makes things a bit more interesting. There are a couple items of note, though.


Take note of the new Dominator cooler. Though not winning the results wars, it is producing some remarkable results for a small fan. Even overclocked on the hotter Palomino processor, the sink is producing some very workable temperatures and at a near total lack of noise!


Also of note is the Spire FridgeRock cooler. During load tests, I was barely able to break past 4,000RPM on the fan. The unit as a whole should be able to do better, so hopefully in the future Spire will give control of the fan speeds to the user instead of automating it. While not producing poor results, they could be so much better.


Results - 3DMark2001 Demo Loop




While the Gladiator came out on top again, the FridgeRock cooler made an impressive effort in this run. I still think that we would be seeing different results if only the speed was able to be manipulated by the user.


Taking another look at the Dominator, we have seen that the textured fin technology seems to have paid off. With a small fan and minimal noise, we have managed to attain temperatures that others can only dream about. Granted, the case I use has exceptional airflow, but the results are still far better than some other models that have gone through the same series of tests.


Further Reading: Read and find more Cases, Cooling & PSU content at our Cases, Cooling & PSU reviews, guides and articles index page.

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