The Test System and Thermal Results
Testing for the CPU coolers is done with the use of RealTemp to ascertain temperatures, Intel Burn Test to deliver the load to the CPU and CPU-Z to verify the CPU speed and the voltage being used in Windows. All of the testing is done with an ambient temperature of 24.5-25°C and humidity is maintained to 35% sometimes less.
For the "stock" runs, it's more of a plug and play setup where the PWM of the motherboard is in control of the fans speeds for both the idle and load results. Speed Step is active and the processor idles at 1600 MHz and loads at 3500 MHz for the stock settings. I also set the memory to run at 1600 MHz for stock. As for the overclocked runs, I load the CPU at 4.5 GHz and idle results are obtained with 7.5V to the fans while the load run is set to deliver 12V to the fans. This allows me to gauge the lowest and highest fan ratings for my charts.
You will also see that the charts have been slightly adjusted. From now on I will mention the idle temperatures if there is something worth noting other than an average of twenty-five to twenty-seven degrees as the PWM controls and SpeedStep allow for almost ambient results in most instances. What you are now getting is a stock speed loaded temperature chart and an overclocked loaded temperature chart. To clean up the audio results, I also removed all of the fans that aren't on the thermal charts. If you want to compare those results to new coolers, the old chart is still available in the older reviews.
I limited the fan speed with the VR controller, and chose 1300 RPM for this level of testing. Of course you could turn the dial and get better results than this, but I feel with that speed, it is very comparable to other offering with PWM control. While it may look average in this large list, keep in mind the NiC C5 is within five degrees of the best water cooling solution I have tested, and is only bested by two air coolers.
Once we let the fans spin at just over 2000 RPM, the NiC C5 again pulls into the top of the rankings. Again, only two air coolers can best this cooler, and considering their massive size, that should really say something about the power of the NiC C5. This cooler just works, and works well.