Since we are trying to normalize the entire testing processes we are not going to let something like thermal paste derail us. I have learned that the thermal paste included from heat sink manufacturers can affect the results by as much as 3C. To eliminate this, all CPU coolers will be tested with the enthusiast standard; Arctic Silver 5, this regardless of what brand or type TIM is provided with the sample.
The Enthusiast Standard, Arctic Silver 5
The same amount of AS5 will be applied for all of the cooling reviews. A "dot" will be made in the center of the IHS that will then be spread by the pressure applied from the heat sink. Many enthusiasts use this method and I enjoy it myself.
In this shot you can see a retail Intel CPU Heatsink is in perfect contact with the simulated CPU. Since the height is the same as a retail motherboard with an actual processor installed the PCB has a little curve from the pressure exerted by the heatsink, just like a motherboard.
Creating a Baseline for all Others to Follow: It is important to check for a nice balance to ensure that your methodology is working the way it was designed. For this first series of performance results the tests were conducted over several days at different times and with different room ambient temperatures. I am very excited to say that the results of all tests were within .1C of each other!
The first two heatsinks we are going to test in our new system come from AMD and Intel. Both of these companies ship several different heatsinks that are produced by OEM companies. None of these heatsinks have a "retail" name outside of the company so we used two that were on hand.
Our test Intel (Left) and AMD (right) OEM heatsinks. In this side view you can see the way the base of the AMD heatsink is constructed and the Intel fins.
A view from the top shows the difference between the fan types used on the coolers.
The side view shows the way the fans are mounted to the heat sink.
Our last image here shows the copper and aluminum bases used for the two OEM coolers.
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