Sometimes it can be hard to sit back and let five coolers thrash away for long periods of time. Add in the burn-in time required for the Arctic Silver to work at its best and you see a large input of time and effort. But the end results always make me enjoy the fact that modern cooling is always improving.
It wasn't all that long ago when the purchase of a HSF was just another added cost to the system you wanted to build. Quality was not that good and the idea of spending any real money on something as unimportant as cooling was to be laughed at. But since those days, we have seen just how important cooling can be to the overall performance levels of the enthusiast system. With more modernistic approaches to quality cooling, we have seen some real innovations. The prices have risen as well, but so far they don't seem to have gotten out of control.
So after taking a look at the coolers we had for this roundup, we can see that there is promise for those who want to build quality at nearly every level of the performance ladder. And the surprising finishes of the two coolers with the small fans is something that just didn't happen even a year ago. The small fans were an immediate reason to disregard a cooler, but that seems to be changing as well. This certainly bodes well for the overclocker who is also interested in a quiet machine. Times certainly do change, don't they?
So to wrap things up with these units, lets break them down by model:
Spire CopperKing II
This cooler will work for those with a generic rig that won't be overclocked much, if at all. While the numbers it turned for load tests was still rather impressive, it lacks the cooling power for any serious overclocking efforts.
This unit was so close to being great. While I'm not really thrilled with the 70mm fan size, the performance was decent for a self-controlled cooler. But having the ability to take control of the speeds myself would have been much better. It started bringing back flashbacks of the old Volcano 7 from yesteryear. If you'll recall, Thermaltake didn't take long to make improvements and send out one of the best selling heatsinks ever. Hopefully the folks at Spire will take this to heart.
Thermal Integration TI-H748EN
I'm not sure where the problem lies with this one, but the results of our tests were not promising. I double checked the installation and made sure everything was correct but still the results were a bit dismal. It goes without saying that I cannot recommend this cooler to anyone, especially if you have plans of overclocking. With the efficiency of the older line of Dr. Thermal products, it seems that it might be a good idea to go back to a proven performer and work from there.
OCZ Dominator II CU
When I first saw the 10mm thick fan on this unit, I laughed. OCZ has worked with me in the past and they know that I always test sinks on a rig at both default and overclocked speeds (if the results are favorable enough to warrant both sets of tests). Needless to say, I'm not laughing anymore. This one was the surprise among the group. Not only did it produce reasonable results in the default environment, it also kept temperatures well under my 45 degree personal limit. Not too shabby at all for a cooler with such a small presence.
OCZ Gladiator II
Though it wouldn't earn the perfect 10 that its father garnered a while back, the new Gladiator is certainly worthy of consideration when looking into cooling devices for your personal rig. The main drawback is the 60mm fan used. They are simply louder than their 80mm counterparts, but there are still a lot of users working with motherboards that are seriously cramped around the socket area. With the 60mm footprint all around, this heatsink will fit in just about any motherboard imaginable. It also puts out very respectable numbers for a 60mm cooling solution. The Gladiator has kept up the family tradition, it seems.
Thanks go out to all the manufacturers who participated in this roundup. Here are their links again in case you didn't get them from the front page: