To keep with the conformity of previous tests, I went ahead and used an older model AMD Palomino processor. While a bit dated, it will allow an accurate comparison of past coolers. After this series of tests had been completed, I reinstalled a newer Barton core Athlon and overclocked it to give a more realistic result to our tests.
Before I get too much further, let's take a look at the base test system.
Test System Setup
Case: Xoxide modified Lian-Li PC60 (supplied by Xoxide)
Motherboard: Soltek SL-75MRN-L Motherboard (supplied by Soltek)
Processor: AMD Athlon XP 1800+ Processor
Memory: 512MB OCZ PC3500 Platinum DDR Memory (supplied by OCZ)
Video Card: Sapphire Radeon 9800 Pro "Ultimate Edition" (supplied by Sapphire)
HDD: Western Digital 80GB Hard Drive
Thermal Paste: Arctic Silver III
Testing conditions will follow my standard guidelines concerning coolers. Ambient temperature is kept at a regulated 21C and the cooling system will be tested in a closed case. The processor voltage was set to 1.8v and memory was set to 2.8v. Temperatures are measured at idle after 15 minutes of no activity, measured again after a rugged Quake III Arena Deathmatch, and a final time after a continuous demo looping of 3DMark2001. After these temperatures have been recorded, we'll boost the FSB to 145MHz and run it through the same series of tests. The moderate overclock of only the FSB will allow the processor to do the work and not share the load across the entire system.
A final note: Each category will have two screenshots of the temperature results. The top set of results will be at default speeds (1533MHz and 69.8 watts) and the bottom results will be at the overclocked speeds (1668MHz and 73.8 watts). The results should speak for themselves, but I wanted to make sure there wasn't any confusion here.
Results - Idle
So far the newest iteration of the Volcano line is earning the name, but then we haven't put any real stress on the cooling capabilities yet. So let's crank up the heat just a bit and see how it handles the added stress.
Results - Quake III Arena Deathmatch
Even at nearly 74 watts of heat output, there is very little change between the idle temperatures and the stress temperatures. This says a lot regarding the abilities of the cooler. With just a small amount of temperature gain, we can see that the cooler is handling the chores with ease.
Results - 3DMark2001 Demo Loop
Again we see the trend of effective cooling. But considering we're not doing an aggressive overclock, can we really say the cooler is an above average choice? Let's try something a bit different.
Results - Barton Core
With the base system being the same, I have changed out just the processor to an Athlon XP 2500+ variety using the Barton core. Voltage will be set to 1.65v and the speed is sitting at a moderate 2205MHz. While the processor will go higher, this will act as a good indicator regarding the cooling capabilities of the newest Volcano. The heat output will be roughly 82.3 watts, so it will take a bit more cooling prowess to keep the processor running at workable temperatures.
Even at more than 82 watts, we see the Volcano 12 handles the load with ease. Keeping the temperatures well under 40C at this level shows the true capabilities of this heatsink.
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