Test System & Test Results
TweakTown uses a different method for testing CPU heatsinks which allows for an even playing field across all product tests. We feel that by using the same ambient temperature and strict lab-like testing procedures we are able to accurately compare one product to another. More information on our testing procedure can be found in the T.E.C.C. article here.
With the compact nature of the Samuel 17, I didn't feel it was actually fair to put it up against a powerhouse like the Noctuas, Megahalems, or even the Xigmateks with 120mm fans, as they don't fit where this cooler can. With that said, I tested it against the listing of coolers with fans under 120mm. If any of the coolers are in contention of fitting half of the places the Samuel 17 can, it would be these and not the coolers I usually see with 120mm fans.
At idle the low noise solution really took a beating coming in at 61.7 degrees. Even at the lower settings, you can see how important fan choice is to the actual numbers you are going to get. Just a few CFM more gained a five and a half degree difference in temperatures.
Under full load, that 60CFM fan just doesn't cut it in my opinion. Coming in at 67 degrees, dropped it right into stock cooling range. As in the idle testing, with 30 more CFM I got a similar five degree difference. By no means are these fans the best in their groups; they were what I had on hand. I strongly suggest you make a wise choice on the fan and really look for something with the best CFM and the lowest sound rating your ears can take from across the room in a HTPC. If this is going into a SFF type of LAN rig, the noise levels won't matter as much and even more performance can be had from this cooler.
My sound testing is solely based on my choices of fans for testing, but I did still want you to get an idea of where a couple of average fans would place the Samuel 17. At idle the Lian Li fan left it dead silent, but at an expense to performance. These five degrees of temperature gained were at quite the expense to your ears.
Again even at load you can see how broad the spectrum can be, and there are tons of choices in between. Either way, silent or loud, the simple and first laughable David has come and conquered our Goliath.