IntroductionOverclocking, a procedure, which started out with the introduction of the Celeron 300A processors, has come a long way today. Extreme overclocking projects fail mainly due to poor cooling. AMD processors can be regarded as the forerunner in the overclocking arena today. However the only drawback of these CPU's is the extreme heat they produce. If you take two similar speed CPU's from Intel and AMD, the AMD ones produce a significant amount of more heat than the latter. The only solution to this is installing a powerful cooler+fan combo, which will keep the die-temperature at low levels.When you venture into the Socket A market today, the choices are simply limitless. New radically improved versions of heatsinks keep popping up in the market almost every fortnight. The only problem this limitless options bring is confusion when you really decide to go out and buy one. There are so many out there and deciding on the best option is simply close to impossible if you try to do it on your own. Fact is competition is so intense among heat sink manufactures, any cooler they put out has to be able to compete with its fellow competitors if it's to receive any recognition at all.Well fear not folks :), we have got some of the most sort after coolers here at Technoyard, sent to us courtesy of CoolerGuys, Powercooler, and ThermalTake. We have put these coolers on a head to head battle with each other to see which ones stand out of the crowed. It's going to be hard to choose a winner as most of these coolers seem to perform so well. 1. GlobalWin CAK38 2. Thermaltake Mini Copper Orb 3. Swiftech MC370-OA 4. ThermoEngine "Super-Charged" 5. PCH 075 by Powercooler.comAlright folks, time to check out the coolers. But before that a short note on Thermal Paste. Enjoy!
This is the latest thermal compound to hit the market. Based on a mixture of silver, the results of this grease are simply astounding. Arctic Silver LLC. a few months back introduced the Arctic Silver, and soon after some improvements, introduced Arctic Silver II. We mentioned what an improvement is achieved with the use of this compound in our Celeron Cooler guide, however now we take a look at an AMD processor, the most heat producing CPU's in the market. We take our AMD Duron 700 to 1000Mhz and take a look at the comparisons between Silicone Compound and Arctic Silver II.
Remember even an improvement of 3°C can make a huge difference in overclocking.
The cooler used in the above tests were a low end sollution by Cybercooler. I guess it goes unsaid how important it is to get Arctic Silver if you really plan on turning at CPU into a working horse. However it doesn't come cheap. A 3g tube of Arctic Silver costs around $9 at Coolerguys. This'll be adequate for many applications, so it's well worth the investment. If you plan on investing for one of these heavy-duty coolers we're about to look at, remember to buy one of these tubes as well.
The 60mm Delta fan comes with a chrome fan guard and produces 38CFM, which is more than sufficient to keep the CPU cool under extreme overclocking conditions. The double ball bearing delta fan produces around 42dBa of sound, which is quite tolerable. The fan is placed on 4 metal risers and it rests around 6 inches above the heatsink. The CAK38 Coolerguys sent us included a tad of thermal grease attached to the cooler. As we stated before if you could afford to cash in another $9, go for Arctic Silver II.
Some of you might wonder what's so great about the CAK38. If you look around you'll find many coolers out there with copper base plates. Eg: Swiftech MC462-A Well the fact is non of these coolers offered are built from one solid block of copper, like the CAK38. This is what makes this cooler so special.InstallationInstallation wasn't much trouble really, however the use of a spring clip requires you to use a screwdriver to get the clips in place. Sometimes the spring clip might be bent too far apart. As a result when installing the cooler there will be a great degree of force on the CPU. You could bend the clip a little bit by way of a screw driver manually before you actually attach it to the CPU. Or better yet, get yourself a non-conductive shim (Cool Shim). Getting a shim is the best bet since the cooler is also quite heavy thus creating much pressure on the CPU. Now we don't need another cracked processor now do we.
TestingFor testing purposes we are using a DFI AK75-EC mainboard and a Duron 700 overclocked to 1000MHz. For optimal heat dissipation we used Arctic Silver II as our thermal compound. Temperature readings are taken from a CompuNurse thermal probe + mainboard hardware monitor. In order to stress the CPU we used 3D Mark 2001 at 640 x 480, in order to keep the Graphics card usage at a minimum. We ran the test for 30 minutes each before getting a temperature reading.
ConclusionWell folks the results certainly are very impressive indeed. After all this is an AMD processor and keeping it under 45°C at 1000MHz is no easy task at all. GlobalWin most definitely have a winner here. It sure beats their previous coolers by far. Being made of solid copper the CAK38 certainly does perform. Provided you use a Peltier based cooling system, the CAK38 will do wonders. Before installing the cooler however make sure you bend the retainer clip to a certain degree, so that it won't need much pressure to be installed. Sometimes a Shim can also give way if the pressure is above a normal degree.All in all the CAK38 is a good performer. It may not be as good as OCZ's Gladiator and Swiftech's MC 462-A, however the 100% copper material certainly makes this very attractive. Some of you might consider the 60mm Delta fan to be quite loud, however remember performance always comes with certain compromises. If you're not willing to compromise well it's too bad, since the CAK38 is a force to recon with. At a price of $39.95, the CAK38 does not come cheap, but it sure is worth every penny.
The cooler is quite large, which boasts a 2.5" x 2.5" aluminum base plate, with 196 13/16" high thermal conductivity long needles. A 6850RPM fan sits on top of the cooler and pumps in a total of 33CFM. The fan produces a noise level of around 43 dba, which is in par with the CAK38. This may sound like a load of noise to some of you people, however believe me, it's really not as bad as they claim it to be. The fan comes with a 4 pin Molex connector, which goes into the main power supply. Swiftech does not include a chrome guard for the fan as in the CAK38, so take caution when handling the cooler while in operation. One of the most eye-catching features of the MC370-OA is its near perfect finish.
The Aluminium base plate is so smooth and the overall craftsmanship is simply exquisite. Not even the CAK38 have a smooth finish as this one has. Due to the 100% aluminium finish the cooler is considerably lighter than the CAK38.
InstallationThis was by far one of the most easiest cooler installations I have ever performed. The MC370-OA uses two clips attached to compression springs to attach itself to the CPU socket. Simply loosen the retaining screws until the grooves clip into the socket. This is one cooler, which puts the least amount of pressure to the CPU during installation. You don't need to care about a Shim either.
TestingHere too we used the DFI AK75-EC mainboard and the Duron 700 overclocked to 1000MHz. Arctic Silver II was used as our thermal compound. Temperature readings are taken from a CompuNurse thermal probe + mainboard hardware monitor. In order to stress the CPU we used 3D Mark 2001 at 640 x 480. The tests were run for 30 minutes and temperature readings were taken at the end.
ConclusionAmazing isn't it. The MC370-OA performs better than the mighty solid cooper based CAK38. This was way too strange so we performed the tests a few more times, and the results never changed. These splendid results have to be attributed to the 9mm aluminium base plate and the aluminium pins. I guess the Swiftech MC370 is second only to the MC462-A right now. If you don't agree just drop me a line :). The price tag of $49.95 may be a bit too high for some of you folk, if so take a look at the other coolers we have in offer. However it sure beats the price of the MC462-A, which goes for around $62.95
Thermaltake popular for their ORB's recently unveiled their latest innovation, the mini Copper Orb. A solid copper bases core sits in the centre covered by a circular aluminium shell. Thermaltakes early releases like the Super Orb were the centre of much discussion, as they didn't fit into many mainboards out there. This time round Tt has reduced the diameter of the Mini Copper Orb to make sure it fits into most boards. We couldn't fit the cooler into the ECS K7VZM due to the placement of resistors around the CPU socket. It fit in fine with our DFI board.
What was common with past Orb's by Thermaltake was that they were only good for CPU's running at their default speed. Any kind of overclocking and they were, well simply putting it, Pathetic. I think one of the main reasons for these coolers fail is due to the fact that Tt does not include powerful coolers into them. A 60x60 Delta can turn most ordinary coolers into high-performing ones with ease.
Initial impressions of the cooler looked very nice indeed. (As always). The copper base plate was smooth and flat. A 50x50 fan spinning at 5000RPM produces a total of 23CFM. Not bad, but certainly could be better. Once again Tt seems to have made the mistake of not installing a powerful fan in their Orbs. Early editions of the Mini Copper Orb came with frag tape on the bottom (Very bad idea). So now they ship it with a small sachet of Silicone compound. However as stated before if you plan on extreme overclocking use Arctic Silver II.
InstallationTt uses the same type of clip they have used in the past. It's not as easy as the compression clips of the MC370-A, nevertheless you can get it in with no problems.
TestingSame tests were carried out as in the other coolers. Duron 700 was Overclocked to 1000MHz.
ConclusionNow that's hot folks. It's sad to see even a solid cooper base couldn't do much to keep the heat down. I'm pretty sure this is mainly attributed to the poor power of the cooling fan. The cooler might do better if you modify the heatsink by installing a Delta or Sanyo Denki cooling fan. It's quite strange to see Tt rating this cooler for CPU's up to 1.5Ghz. If at 1000Mhz the temperature ranges at 48°C, at 1.5GHz the temperature is bound to reach dangerous levels. It's sad but we certainly cannot recommend the Mini Copper Orb for extreme overclocking. It'll be fine for normal usage, however it's a poor performer under Overclocked conditions. We hope Thermaltake look into these drawbacks soon and produce something that could compete with the high-end cooler market.
Yet another radically different looking cooler from Thermosonic Technologies. Rated for 1.5GHz AMD CPU's and 1.13GHz Pentium III's the ThermoEngine is built of pure Aluminium Alloy. The original ThermoEngine cooler comes with a 60x60-cooling fan producing a measly 16CFM. It really makes me wonder how this could be rated for 1.5GHz AMD's with such a poor cooling fan. Thankfully Coolerguys have identified this and they ship the ThermoEngine with a 6500RPM Delta fan producing an incredible 42CFM. Coolerguys label this the ThermoEngine "Super-Charged", and supercharged it is folks :).
The ThermoEngine is quite different to the other coolers we have looked at so far; a cylindrical core in the middle and heat dissipating fins protruding out of the core. It's made out of one whole block of Aluminium Alloy and this too is very well built indeed. With a dimension of 63x63 it weighs around 260g. The Delta cooling fan comes with a 3 pin Molex connector, which fits onto the main board. It's strange why they didn't think of sending a 4 pin Molex connector so that the fan could be powered by the PSU in case it draws too much power off the mainboard. To be on the safe side, if you plan on buying this cooler, get a 4 pin Molex connector as well. The ThermoEngine comes with a dap of thermal compound pasted onto the base of the cooler. As with any cooler it doesn't look as appealing as Arctic Silver. Without much hesitation we got rid of the compound and used Arctic Silver II.
InstallationThe cooler comes with the usual metal clip. Thankfully the clip wasn't too rigid and didn't produce much pressure on the processor. To be on the safe side include a shim before the installation.
TestingSame procedure as before was followed. Here are the results.
ConclusionCould you ask for anything better people. The ThermoEngine performs as well as the MC370-OA. The best part is this is $10 cheaper than the MC370-OA. I'm sure these results will not be achieved if used with its default 16CFM cooler, therefore make sure you go only for the "Supercharged" version. Overall a job well done by Thermosonic tech. On designing this quite innovative cooler, and of course Coolerguys for shipping this with a high powered Delta fan. This is the first time we had ever come across a cooler made of Aluminium Alloy, and thankfully first impressions were very good.
So what's so different about the PCH075? Its looks and its design of course. The PCH075 includes 3 layers; the inner core has a copper layer at the base surrounded by a larger aluminium core. The copper base will be the key to the effectiveness of this cooler. Thereafter two more aluminium layers overlaps one after the other. Keeping the diameter of the lower part of the cooler as narrow as possible the PCH075 has no problem is fitting into any mainboard. (it's narrower than the Mini Orb by far). The cooler itself is fairly large spanning at 62x62.
What catches your eye the most of this cooler is the oversized cooling fan. Measuring at 70mm this is by far the largest cooling fan out of all the above coolers. Sadly however its size does not correlate to the fan's performance. Spinning at 5000RPM and producing a total of only 27CFM this isn't the ideal cooling fan for extreme overclocking. The fan doesn't look like the everyday cooling fans you come across. The fan blades are spanned in two rows giving the impression to two fans; only if it performed equally as well. Since its slow spinning speed the noise produced by the fan is quite low, in fact in contrast to those mighty Delta fans this could be considered a whisper.
InstallationIn addition to the normal clip we see in most coolers the PCH075 also uses a special locking mechanism to lock the CPU in place. This makes installing the PCH075 an effortless procedure. Simply place the cooler over the CPU and turn the locking lever. There's absolutely no pressure on the CPU at all. It's in fact much better than the compression clips of the MC370-OA. Full marks to Powercooler for this special mechanism.
ConclusionWell the results aren't too bad considering the cooling fan pumps in only 27CFM. You could install a Delta fan if you wish, and I'm sure the results would be much better. Why should you go for the PCH075? Well for one it looks darn cool, and its performance isn't that bad either. In comparison to most of the coolers looked here the PCH075 could be considered only as a mediocre performer. Nevertheless taking all aspects of the cooler into consideration I'm quite satisfied with it. Lets hope Powercooler revises the PCH075 with a better cooling fan, which will no doubt give this cooler a force to recon with.
Well folks to rap off this guide, we decided to give you a final comparison chart of each of the coolers we looked at here. Finally it boils down to your choice, so make it wisely!!!The Chart shows temperature figures with the Duron 700 overclocked to 1000MHz.