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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

Overclocked Testing




Once the stock testing is completed, we jump into BIOS, swap out to the overclocked profile, and boot the system. At this point the fan is again connected to the Adjust 108 to receive full power the entire time for this round of testing. To verify the fan RPMs, or even a pump for that matter, we simply add a wire to the third pin of the fan connection and run it to the motherboard's fan connections to allow AIDA64 to show us the RPM of the fans and pumps.


We then continue with the same 15 minute idle period to allow the system to cool down sufficiently from the last run. It is at this point that we look at the thermals to obtain the result we will discuss for idle when overclocked, but again, that metric will not show in any charts. We also pull out the meter and gauge the audio levels with the fans at their maximum RPM.




As a result of the testing, we now have this as our new Sound Pressure Level - 12V chart. Again we will always have the stock cooler marked in red.


We then run AIDA64 just like when we were testing for the stock levels, just that this time around the processor is much faster, and with the memory at 2666MHz, the IMC is also working hard. After 30 minutes of testing, we grab a screen shot for reference, but there is still a bit more to our methodology. Before taking the average of the results displayed in RealTemp, there is more to think about.




Since the chassis is positioned like this from the plug and play stock results that we record, the ATX orientation of the D-Frame when sitting on the PSU is only one way we test all coolers that hit our labs.




Since this chassis as well as many SilverStone choices out there have a 90 degree orientation of the motherboard, and they offer a bottom to top flow of air, so we also run a series of tests in this position.




Then there are open air systems like the one housing this system, as well as HTPCs, and others that use a flat layout for the motherboard. That means we also take this orientation into consideration in our many runs.




Once all three tests are run twice with a different application of thermal paste between each set of three passes, we not only take the average of each run, but we also then average all six testing sessions to come up with the thermal results that are listed in our Temperature - Overclocked Load chart that is shown here.

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