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CPU Cooler Testing and Methodology (October 2016)

CPU Cooler Testing and Methodology (October 2016)
TweakTown gets a new CPU cooler test system as well as a revised testing methodology. Find out how and why we test the way we do.
By: Chad Sebring | Editorials in Cases, Cooling & PSU | Posted: Oct 28, 2016 4:42 pm

Introduction

 

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The time has come for yet another system upgrade in which we will bench CPU coolers for the next couple of years. With Intel Kaby Lake just around the corner, we would have loved to wait it out and get the latest and greatest of processors to run with this system, but due to degradation to our older system, we are no longer able to keep the system stable with the voltages we had used in the past. The ASUS Z97 Sabertooth and the Intel Core i7 4770K have been troopers for us.

 

They allowed us to bring you over ninety coolers and rate them according to thermal characteristics as well as delivering audio results. This way consumers are well informed in purchasing one of the multitudes of options out there to cool your CPU of choice.

 

 

You will soon see that not only has our system changed but so has our methodology. Where we feel we have failed the customers in the past was in our control of the fan voltage. Where most users buy a cooler, plug it into the fan header, and tend to use the PWM fan curve of the fan included with the cooler, we feel we were taking the effort of the cooler manufacturers out of the equation. This has led us to not only change our testing methodology, but it also means we will be delivering six charts now rather than four, to compare all CPU coolers as they are intended to run.

 

The concept of this article is to offer our readers a comprehensive version of all factors that went into our CPU cooler test rig, the software we choose to use, and a step-by-step of how to repeat our results, should you have access to the same components. With minimal help from vendors, and a ton of support from TweakTown's owner, we can not only update our test system into more appropriate gear, but at the same time, we feel that we are covering all the angles now.

 

We can now deliver more accurate results, in a real-world fashion, not mucking about imposing our settings on them.

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