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Athlon XP HSF Mini-Roundup - Scythe vs. Vantec vs. Thermaltake

By: Mike Wright | CPU Air Coolers in Cases, Cooling & PSU | Posted: Mar 28, 2004 5:00 am



Testing of these heatsinks will be done in the same manner as we have previously used, but with an addition. While the database used for results are primarily done on an older Thoroughbred core processor, the Barton core with its overclockability has become too popular to ignore. So in addition to our normal testing, we'll also be running a 2500+ processor at 2.2GHz to see how it handles a more modern system.


Let's take a look at the test system:


Xoxide modified Lian-Li PC60 Case (supplied by Xoxide)


Soltek SL-75MRN-L Motherboard (supplied by Soltek)


AMD Athlon XP 1800+ Processor


AMD Athlon XP 2500+ Processor @ 2.2GHz


512MB OCZ PC3500 Platinum DDR Memory (supplied by OCZ)


Sapphire Radeon 9800 Pro "Ultimate Edition" (supplied by Sapphire)


Western Digital 80GB Hard Drive


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.


For the Barton processor the testing and settings will be identical to those listed above with one exception, the VCore will be set to 1.65v bringing the estimated heat output to just over 82 watts.


Temperatures - Idle



The Thermaltake unit takes a healthy lead from the start, but considering the mass and the size of the fan, that isn't much a surprise. But let's go ahead and add a little heat to the picture and see what happens.


Temperatures - 3DMark Demo



While the Scythe was able to do a better job handling idle temperatures over the Vantec cooler, that changed when we began allowing the processor to do its job. While the numbers aren't terrible, they are a bit higher than we're used to seeing with modern coolers. But even when overclocking the Thoroughbred processor, all coolers are able to stay under the 45 degree threshold I tend to use for quality cooling.


Temperatures - Barton Processor @ 2.2 GHz



When I introduced the Barton test above, you'll recall I mentioned the estimated thermal output of a little over 82 watts. The Thermaltake monster just keeps plugging along as expected. Even the Vantec cooler maintained at a level that was expected with the higher heat output. The Scythe cooler, on the other hand, reached its ceiling as far as performance was concerned. While testing I began to pick up a few glitches along the way that pointed to heat problems, so I threw all the power I could at the processor loading it to run at as close to 100% as I could manage and began getting heat related reboots and system lockups. This is something to keep in mind if you plan on using an enthusiast rig.


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