Some interesting innovations we have here. But how better to see just how effective they are than to run this sink through the gauntlet? After all, we need to be able to see if it can actually cool a processor...don't we?
Here's what the test system looks like:
Antec SX1030 Tower Case w/ 170-CFM airflow
EPoX 8KHA+ Motherboard
AMD Thunderbird 1000MHz Processor @ 1400MHz (AVIA)
512MB Crucial PC2100 DDR Memory
Prolink XX-Player GeForce3
Western Digital 20GB Hard Drive
Arctic Silver II
The core voltage of the processor is set to 1.8v, and memory is set to 2.6v. Ambient air temperature was sitting at 21.6C (about 71F) and didn't fluctuate during testing. Processor speed was firmly at 1400MHz, which puts out about 76.8 watts of heat.
Testing will consist of measuring the temperatures at idle, after a Quake III Arena Deathmatch, and after a continuous looping of the 3dMark2001 Demo. These are the main types of stresses that today's systems face, so we'll concentrate on them.
Results (Degrees Celsius)
To say that I am surprised would be an understatement. While I had expected some reasonably good results from the Volcano unit, I wasn't prepared for the awesome results garnered here. It managed to set the record for idle temperatures, and ties the Demo Loop score of the OCZ Goliath, and at a considerable reduction in noise output. Even at the highest fan speed, the noise is very tolerable.
But wait...Remember that there are three choices for fan speed? I would hate to leave everyone in the dark about the total performance of this cooler, so let's see what the lower fan speeds have in store for us. The tests were simply the idle temperatures and the same Quake III Arena Deathmatch tests that I normally run. I used the Q3A benchmark because it produces the higher temperature of the tests I use. This will let us see how the heatsink is able to handle the stresses of a hot processor while the fan spins at a lower rate. Also included in the table will be the actual fan speed that was measured during testing.
To give you an idea as to the quietness of the reduced fan speeds, I couldn't hear the heatsink at all using medium and low speeds. Neither could produce enough noise to sound off over my standard case fans. While the low speed would really only be used for simple web surfing and such, the medium speed could be used at nearly all other times. Sure, use the higher speed for that weekend fragfest, but the medium still performed admirably.