When it comes to cooling, it always comes down to numbers, doesn't it? But then, that is what the enthusiast is really after; effective cooling that will allow the best overclock possible. While water and phase change coolers will always give better results, there is still a large group that stick to air cooling methods. While the results aren't as promising as alternative methods, they are a good deal safer to use and have a much lower failure rating where processors are concerned.
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.
But before we start looking at the results, it might be a good idea to see what the test bed system consists of...
Xoxide modified Lian-Li PC60 Case
EPoX 8K9A2 Motherboard
AMD Athlon XP 1800+ Processor
512MB Crucial PC2700 DDR Memory
nVidia Reference Ti4200
Seagate Barracuda 40GB Hard Drive
Arctic Silver III
A final note: Each set of test results below will have two graphs shown. The top graph will be the default speed results and the bottom graph will show overclocked results. I just want to make sure that there isn't any confusion here, though the numbers should speak for themselves.
Results - Idle
Between the all copper design, the increased amount of fins and the Skiving Fin Technology, the X-Dream SE is setting a high standard. Beating out the older brother bodes well for its inheritance of the namesake. But what happens when we add a little stress to the picture?
Results - Quake III Arena Deathmatch
All right, so a little stress didn't make any difference. The SE model is still knocking out the competition with a slow methodical sureness. We'll give it a final go with the 3DMark Demo Loop to see if it can win across the board.
Results - 3DMark2001 Demo Loop
It certainly looks as if we have a clean sweep here. With the final results tallied, the new X-Dream SE cooler makes it a certainty that the name it took on was well earned. It should also be noted that while I didn't include the results of the Swiftech cooler (it does tend to be in a class by itself in terms of air cooling), the results of the SE model tested today were either tied with the MCX-462+ or within a single degree. This says a lot about the cooling prowess of the Cooler Master X-Dream SE.