When it comes to testing out a cooling setup, the primary concern is all about processor temperature. With this thought in mind, I have found that the simplest way to see the effectiveness of a cooling solution is to run the processor through a burn-in that uses 100% of the processing power while monitoring the temperatures. Before we dig any deeper into performance, though, lets take a quick look at the test system.
AMD Athlon FX-53 Processor @ 2.4GHz (Supplied by Newegg.com)
EPoX 9NDA3+ Motherboard (Supplied by EPoX)
2x512MB Mushkin "Redline" PC3200 Memory (Supplied by Mushkin)
GeCube X1900XTX Graphics Board (Supplied by GeCube)
Thermaltake PurePower 600w PSU (Supplied by Thermaltake)
Testing will consist of monitoring temperatures at both idle and at load. The processor is running at default speeds but still manages to put out a good deal of heat. Voltage of the CPU is 1.55v and testing ambient temperature was a consistent 22C.
I'll be using a Thermaltake POLO 735 and the asetek VapoChill Micro with both the High End and Low Noise fans as comparison models since both have done a very good job to date of producing excellent results during all kinds of testing.
You may have noticed that I used some rather high-end coolers in our example. The main reason for this is that a majority of our readers tend to fall toward the enthusiast category. Besides, why would we want to compare a cooling a solution against some low performance rig that most of us wouldn't use anyway?
So we planted a couple of decent air coolers in the system and also the Corsair Nautilus 500. When everything was finished up we see that while the numbers show a good deal higher than solid air cooling models, they aren't out of range. When considering this product, you'll want to make sure that you know how your system will be used. If you're into hardcore overclocking, then you might want to go ahead and work yourself into a full blown water system and not an external model. If, on the other hand, you're looking at a first time water solution to get the hang of things, AND you don't have any plans on heavily overclocking the system, then this model would work just fine. After all, even at high fan speeds the noise was hardly more than a high speed VGA card cooler at low RPM.
So in the end, we have a mixed bag of thoughts regarding the performance of this unit. The results exceed stock cooling by roughly 8-10 degrees, but it isn't going to set any records either.
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