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TweakTown CPU Cooler Testing and Methodology

By: Chad Sebring | Editorials in Cases, Cooling & PSU | Posted: Oct 6, 2013 6:09 am

Stock Fan and Thermal Testing


Now that we have our profiles set and we are ready to get some testing done with this system, it is time to discuss how we achieve the results that we report. After applying thermal paste to the cooler in question, we plug the fan into the Adjust 108 and allow the fan or fans to run at full speed for an hour prior to any testing to allow the bearings a bit of time to break in to maybe allow better speeds, or possibly even silence the bearing a bit for better audio results.


To obtain the base sound level, we then take the slider on the Adjust down to 7.5V then record what is presented in the charts. Once that is completed, we move the fan power plug back to the motherboard as the "stock" profile for this system allowing the motherboards PWM settings to change the fan speed as needed. It is at this point that we let the system idle for 15 minutes and open all of the software and place it around the desktop.


The last thing opened is RealTemp, and even here there needs to be about 30 seconds of time to find the lowest numbers for idle results. We still will not report the idle temperatures in a chart, but it will be discussed in each review. This is also where we obtain the base RPM, or in the case of any water cooling including AIOs, the pump speed and noise level is also recorded.


At this point we take a screen shot for reference, and average the four core temperatures that are found in RealTemp for our final result at this level. It is at this time that we do record the audio levels for the "Sound Pressure Level - 7.5V" chart.




Since we tested the older system in the same fashion, even getting the trusty meter back out to verify, all audio results were very similar, if not the same as they were before, and we added the Intel stock cooler with a red bar for reference.


To obtain the "load" results for the stock settings, it is then time for AIDA64 to come into play. It used to be that we used Intel Burn Test, but with the new advanced instructions that are available in its code, the level of heat produced from this sort of testing is almost uncontrollable for any CPU cooling solution, even with water it is tough. This is why we chose AIDA64's System Stability Test. AIDA64 has these instruction sets as well, but you need to change things around to make them work the CPU like IBT would. In our testing, the test is opened and run in its default configuration. This means that Stress CPU, Stress FPU, Stress Cache and Stress System Memory are all checked. In this configuration, you will find something that is very close to what an intensive gaming session would show, and is why we decided this setting of the test is more appropriate.


After 30 minutes of testing with the D-Frame in the standard ATX configuration, we again take a screen shot for reference, average the individual maximum core temperatures, and report these findings in what is labeled the "Temps - Stock" temperature chart.




These are the stock results of the Intel stock cooler and a few others I have brought from the last system over to the new system to provide some relevance to my older charts that were tested on the 2600K based system. I have also set the stock cooler at the top with a red bar as reference to just how far away from those results the good coolers really are.

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