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CPU Cooler Charts 2008, Part 2

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Last response: in Components
February 26, 2008 9:44:21 AM

We're back again with six more cooling products, rating cooling performance, noise and ease of installation.

More about : cpu cooler charts 2008 part

February 26, 2008 11:27:54 AM

and what about Vapour Cooling?
February 26, 2008 12:02:21 PM

From cooler testing photos I see that all coolers were tested in motherboard on stand in vertical position. However at least some heatpipe coolers are designed to be put only in vertical position motherboards ("desktop" type cases, and not into "tower" type cases). That's because heatpipes are directional and processor must be at bottom of cooler, not at side. I've personally had in my hands Zalman CNPS8700, and it had clearly written that it doesn't suit for "tower" cases. Also I've read about heatpipe technology, and from what I read I can tell that most if not all tested heatpipe coolers should have such requirement, or at least should work better with motherboards standing in horizontal position. (I only once in one shop saw a heatpipe cooler with diagonal heatpipe direction, this one in theory could have worked well in both desktop and tower cases).
That's big limitation of heatpipe coolers which I hate (and that's the reason why I sold the same Zalman CNPS8700 cooler I had). And I mean that these testing results are of little use - heatpipe coolers should be tested in correct direction, or they will perform similar to cheap standard coolers.
Related resources
February 26, 2008 12:04:21 PM

why the hell do CNPS8700NT when they done the LED version???? it is not like they are different. shesh.

so far, they are missing the major players in the cpu cooler. so lets hope the last part will feature all the other ones that im waiting to c.
February 26, 2008 12:56:12 PM

What about Swiftech and Dangerden? I don't see any of their products and they are more of the leaders in this industry.

What about EK waterblocks?

Even the Koolance external cooler is much better (bang for buck) than these offereings.
February 26, 2008 1:05:08 PM

What about testing integrity?
February 26, 2008 1:19:58 PM

This article just keeps getting worse...
February 26, 2008 1:31:15 PM

Man I hope they continue the review..... Missing some good performers out there. Maybe they are only reviewing the products that they got for review instead of going out and getting them on their own??? From my point they are missing probably the best cooling solution out there, the coolit products. I've had water, air and air/TEC rigs. Won't go back from what I have now. Something I posted elsewhere:
February 26, 2008 1:45:45 PM

I guess they have to go on the way they started.

What gets me the most is the ease of installation. I wonder how much they curse, moan & groan when they have to change to the next HS on a MB that isn't even in a case.

I can almost hear it now:

. o O (Dang it... this is taking too long. My break is coming up in 5 mins. Who in the right mind would make this part this way. It doesn't even fit. Oh.. now I see, that parts for the other socket type. And and and.. who wrote these darn instructions!! Where are the pictures.)


O'well.. since this is based off a Q6600, and that will prolly be my next upgrade to tie me over for quite awhile, I may try doing some tests outside the case, even with the mb vertical and horizontal to see what results I get with my Tuniq. Also my stuff is not lapped. If I find my IHS on the Q6600 is really concaved, I might try to do some lapping and do additional test with that.
a b à CPUs
February 26, 2008 2:00:37 PM

I was round at a friend of a friend's the other day. He's just bought a phase change cooler.

...I think I might turn to a life of crime...
February 26, 2008 2:02:02 PM

Grimmy said:
I guess they have to go on the way they started.

Gotta stay the course. :pt1cable: 
February 26, 2008 2:21:16 PM

SpinachEater said:
Gotta stay the course. :pt1cable: 

That's right, stay the course.

But Captain, there's an iceberg ahead! :o 

Stay the Course, helmsman, stay the course. :pt1cable: 

But Captain! Blub, blub, blub.
February 26, 2008 2:37:36 PM

Still no Artic Freezer Pro? no Thermalright Ultra120? no Scythe Ninja?

or maybe are you guys going to put those in the third installation of the article, and give us a grand finale? :o 

EDIT: Even the most common ones, like Zalmen 9700 / 9500 is missing. Tom, this is really going nowhere. Are you guys still waiting for manufacturers to send you a sample of the cooler, so you can save the time and money in purchasing a new cooler? What kind of review site is this? I thought THG is a first rate site, not a "I just did these test in my backyard with donations from others" site.
February 26, 2008 3:56:41 PM

They'll prolly put it on wrong way. :oops: 
February 26, 2008 4:03:52 PM

Why does the Cooler Master Hyper TX2 get the same installation rating as the water coolers? If I pick some random high shcool student, hand him the two and a computer. Do you really think he'll have the same ease and install time for both?

When was the last time you had to add fluid to your air cooler? How about degas it? Or had to use a wire and short it, to power it on to circulate it? Or had it spill fluid? Mix fluid? Or had to run tubes and wires out of your case? Or had to find a spot to lay the thing on your desk? Do you yearly, have to repeat the fluid, degas, short, oops! spill, mix process on your air cooler? I've never checked my air cooler for leaks!

I went to the Zalman website ( )and read the manual for the Reserator XT. It's not an 8.

It takes longer to read the Reserator XT manual than to install the Cooler Master.... even if you read it's manual.


(p.s. sorry for the tone, I'm just annoyed)
February 26, 2008 4:27:30 PM

the cooler is mounted using pushpins. While this is a good choice in principle, their placement is unfavorable. Luckily, the fan and its hood can simply be removed from the cooler, enabling a very quick and simple installation.

Heh.. I believe that is why. But then they go on saying how its a very quick installation when the hood is taken off.

I dunno, I'm abit annoyed as well. But it's their review, and they are going to review allot more I suppose. I guess it just give them something to do. Hopefully after 80 installations, they may learn something... or not. :whistle: 
February 26, 2008 5:02:05 PM

Here are some inputs that may make the tests more useful than it is now.


1. Why are you using QX6850 as a testbed? Some coolers are never designed to cool a quad, even less so a top end one. The ones you've listed so far are only designed to cool dual cores.

2. Why oh why do coolers that require motherboard to be taken out of the case to mount back plating score so low on "ease of installation"? Push pin coolers have the tendency to pop off the motherboard. Especially modern coolers have fairly heavy weight, having a push pin mounting design will simply bend the motherboard over time, and slowly breaking them.

3. Why 1 min and half of stressing only? Why not 5 minutes? I understand if you guys are under time pressure here, but wouldn't it be far better for you to review more powerful, more enthusiast suggested cooler, and do a thorough review on them, than getting some less known heatsinks? I find doing a review for 80 heatsinks to be very redundant.

4. Why don't you guys mount the cooler inside the case for testing? Sure its a nuisance for installation and uninstallation, but wouldn't putting coolers in the case represent much more objective view? What about case airflows?

5. Some of the cooler have very weird, unconventional mounting direction. Why facing up? With the exception of few enthusiast cases, most cases do NOT feature top fans.

6. Why are you mixing water cooling with air cooling? Sure they all are CPU coolers, but mixing them will create confusion.

Heatsink Selection:

1. Where are the most recommended, most used coolers? Where is Artic Freezer Pro? Where is Thermaltake Big Typhoon? Where is Zalman 9500 / 9700? These are the most recommended coolers on almost every single enthusiast sites.

2. What about the newer ones that are capable of cooling up to 130W? Thermalright Ultra120? Scythe Ninja? Turniq Tower?
February 26, 2008 5:35:07 PM

First off, I agree with all the comments about the lack of pretty much all of the top 10 or so coolers out there. That being said, we should wait until the series has finished before complaining about this. Be patient.


The ratings for noise, performance and installation for the different types of coolers are to be taken compared to other coolers of the type, not air vs water.

From part 1:

"Points are awarded separately for each kind of cooling, e.g. water, air, compressor, passive, etc. Thus, a passive cooler may score 10 points where a water cooler may only be awarded 8, even though the water cooler is able to keep the core temperature lower."

So saying that a water cooler is harder to install than an air cooler really has no meaning here. Of course the question of why they are featuring water coolers in this article at all is valid. Although if they didn't, I'm sure that people in the forum would complain that there were no water coolers featured and that they are much better (just like the ones now that are complaining about no custom wc setups / vapor / peltier / etc).
February 26, 2008 6:38:00 PM

Why you ( test only rubbish coolers ?!
There are tons of good coolers and you just picked the worst ones !
I realy like mine: Zalman CNPS9700-NT nVidia Tritium CPU Cooler (Socket 754/939/940/AM2/LGA775)

AMD X2 6000+ OC @ 3.2 Ghz at 100% load with prime95 runs at 39 `C ! ambient : about 19-20 `C
...I'll provide screenshot later :) 
February 26, 2008 7:14:49 PM

Zorg said:
For everyone that wants to join in on the bytchfest, please read the original bytchfest first. Let's not make this a rehash thread, it's so tedious. Here is a link for your convenience.

CPU Cooler Charts 2008, Part I - Loosing Your Cool?

sorry, 2+ articles (2+ times advertising)... 2+ bytchfests, that's fair right? If we still have something to bytch about, then last weeks didn't work. :>
February 26, 2008 8:25:14 PM

Well, other reviews are showing similar results with the Cooler Master Hyper TX2. Guess it really is a good, cheap cooler. Wonder how it compares to AC7.
February 26, 2008 9:23:02 PM

Will there be a third part of this review?
I also have a 9700, and i'm perfectly happy with it....
February 26, 2008 9:44:53 PM

I appreciate the HSF review. Thanks.

I don't understand why people want the testing in a case though. Install the same HSF into 2 different cases with different air-flow and cable management, and you'll get 2 different readings... from the SAME hsf.

There has to be a baseline. All the HSF's have to be tested the same or the data is bunk. The variable is the hsf, the constant should be Ambient temp, TIM, and setup of system to give a baseline on performance, not temperature.

It seems as people want THEIR case setup tested with these coolers.

Read the data, measure them against the baseline, compare them with each other, and decide for yourself. The final temperature is just a number against that baseline. It doesn;t matter if the temperature is measured in C degrees, apples, gold stars, whatever. It's an arbitrary number because you may not get that same number in your setup. As long as the data is compared to to against each other using a standard basline. The number they are using is just that, a number. Hell, you don;t even have to use a program that detects the temperature as correct. As long as it's the same program, and the temperature offset is the same through out all the tests.

If you look at your case setup, that should determine whether or not the top performing cooler will work for you. Your setup is subjective, the raw data shouldn't be.

Most people will just look at the pictures of the article and say, wow.. this cooler got 60C under load, I should get the same. Wrong. You should be reading the data like, this cooler performed x-amount better than that cooler in the same particular setup. This gives me a baseline on how it would perform in general. Then look at your case setup and see if it's ideal.

Yes, some of these coolers will benefit from certain air-flows configurations, but to constantly CHANGE the testing parameters to INFLUENCE the data is not testing anything at all. It's basically becomes a "how-to" guide to install a particular HSF.

Also, there should be no after-market modding like lapping. That's ridiculous. You buy a product, you expect it to perform as intended. If the base is uneven, changing that base has just scewed the data horribly because you just brought in an outside factor to CHANGE the outcome.
February 26, 2008 10:03:18 PM

Schumann's at it again. Looks like he has it out for Zalman. Bashing the 8700 in the first article wasnt enough. He rehased the same review from pt1 again on what is essentially the same cooler. I can see him calling the mount annoying, it is. But it is NOT a fail. I wouldnt mind if he rated it somewhat low based on that, but not a fail. The mount is the only thing wrong with that cooler. And its not even a deal breaker, at that. I think the performance judgements are based on unfair comparisons to larger, noisier coolers.
February 26, 2008 10:26:51 PM

Did the guy who tests the coolers use any thermal paste? Those temps are really high! For a 130w cpu the temps should be lower. I have a AMD 6400, it runs at 125w, but under full load my temps only get to 55C. I have a Coolmaster geminII.

also so can you post a guide an how to make one of those mobo mounts that they use? It looks nice!
a c 211 à CPUs
February 26, 2008 11:29:20 PM

yonef said:
Why you ( test only rubbish coolers ?!
There are tons of good coolers and you just picked the worst ones !
I realy like mine: Zalman CNPS9700-NT nVidia Tritium CPU Cooler (Socket 754/939/940/AM2/LGA775)

AMD X2 6000+ OC @ 3.2 Ghz at 100% load with prime95 runs at 39 `C ! ambient : about 19-20 `C
...I'll provide screenshot later :) 

I will agree with you that your cooler is nice as I have the CPNS9700 LED so basically the same thing just copper color.

I feel as though they may not have the good coolers in this review and they should. They should basically bin them as 3 categorys:

1. Passive
2. Air
3 Watercool/TEC(both do near the same amount of cooling)

Then sub categorys based on price/performance. You can't pit a Intel base design cooler against a Zalman CPNS9700 or a Thermalright Ultra120(this one will be tricky as it can be passive or air)

I agree that cooling and noise should be factors along with ease of instalation but the intsalation method should be bigger. If its a push pin it should not get as much in the score department due to the fact that it can fall out or damage the board. What the Zalman 9700 series has is great. Even if you have to take the mobo out isn't that worth it if it will keep your CPU much cooler? Or does it still fail b/c you have to take out the mobo even though it will cool much better?

IDK. Call me crazy but for me it sounds like they are just doing it as fast as possible. Maybe I need to go to Munich and teach them how to do it right so that we can get THG back to what it should be.
February 27, 2008 12:05:44 AM

Actually, water and TEC do not dissipate similar amount of heat. Decently implemented TEC dissipates a lot more heat than a water can.

The key word here is sub-ambient temperature.
February 27, 2008 8:03:36 AM

Interesting results, I have to agree that left out some name brand coolers, but I imagine those will come in later. I was surprised to not see Aerocool anywhere, they have a good selection of thin fin air coolers. Pretty stylish I have to say, I use a GT-1000 with an old P4 2.8Ghz.

Also, with the advent of dual core and quad core processors I'm not sure the fan/heatsink design has to be improved that much. For example, how would a P4 era cooler perform on a new top end CPU? Most manufacturers made coolers compatible with all types of sockets as well (like 478 & LGA775 for Intel). The P4, while much slower, consumed more energy, and due to a less efficient architecture generated more heat than a core 2 duo generation cpu. That reminds me of the time I booted up a home system with a P4, and I neglected to use a heatsink or fan. The system froze in literally 2 seconds after starting POST.
February 27, 2008 9:39:28 AM

I'd be quite interested to see some more of the integrated water-coolking solutions. The Zalman one looked nice!
I'm tempted to go WC for novelty and noise value! :) 
The Zalman one looked quite classy and the ability (that wasn't mentioned) to add further pieces to it (VGA blocks for example) was a bit of an oversight.
Not a bad article though, just can't quite see the decision in using a QX6850, surely something along the line of a E6550/6750/6850/5000+/5600+/6000+ is a selection of a more enthusiast chosen CPU, instead of a £600/$1200 CPU that most people can't afford!
February 27, 2008 1:53:58 PM

The biggest comparison of all time - more than 80 CPU coolers in the Tom's Hardware Munich lab

11 coolers tested

6 days later we get 6 more coolers tested

just 63 more coolers to test and if Tom's keeps up the stunning pace of 1 cooler a day we will get part 3 by april 22

February 27, 2008 9:12:22 PM

Hay if you guys need some help send me a test system and a few coolers. Ill do it for free! (although I might forget to send back the system!) It would help this guide alot!
a b à CPUs
February 27, 2008 10:33:30 PM

I dont get the whole "ease of installation" rating.

I understand the people doing the review have lots of coolers to install, uninstall re-install.

But the average reader is going to get ONE cooler (ok mabye 2 if you have a dual cpu rig). And if it takes us 5min to install vs 1min to install. who the heck cares?
as long as the cooler works good and cools my cpu quietly, the investment in installation time is well worth it.
February 27, 2008 11:11:21 PM

dual cpu? I have a dual core, I have only one cooler, can you explane? how you get 2 coolers?
a b à CPUs
February 27, 2008 11:36:18 PM

arthur92710 said:
dual cpu? I have a dual core, I have only one cooler, can you explane? how you get 2 coolers?

a dual processor motherboard.
like so:

Which I bought back in 2005.

I can put 2x dual core cpus in there if I want for a total of 4 cores. You can also look at the recent article on intel skulltrail dual processor motherboard here:
February 28, 2008 2:05:52 PM

Zorg said:
For everyone that wants to join in on the bytchfest, please read the original bytchfest first. Let's not make this a rehash thread, it's so tedious. Here is a link for your convenience.

CPU Cooler Charts 2008, Part I - Loosing Your Cool?

THG should have learned from their mistakes and not allowed this second abomination to come out.

Apparently they don't care how retarded they look.
February 28, 2008 2:18:28 PM

sailer said:
That's right, stay the course.

But Captain, there's an iceberg ahead! :o 

Stay the Course, helmsman, stay the course. :pt1cable: 

But Captain! Blub, blub, blub.

This thread is just as painful as the article.
February 28, 2008 2:23:00 PM

arthur92710 said:
Hay if you guys need some help send me a test system and a few coolers. Ill do it for free! (although I might forget to send back the system!) It would help this guide alot!

WFT are you? Let me send you my bank account number too just in case you want to reimburse me for the system you don't return. :heink: 
February 28, 2008 2:49:27 PM

Zorg said:
For everyone that wants to join in on the bytchfest, please read the original bytchfest first. Let's not make this a rehash thread, it's so tedious. Here is a link for your convenience.

CPU Cooler Charts 2008, Part I - Loosing Your Cool?

Hey Hey All

I am very disapointed in the flaming of thread you linked and in this thread
Just poor flames

I myself am waiting to see the flames in part 3

I wanna see the flames that the enthueists like to use :) 

February 28, 2008 6:22:25 PM

ok but after the price drops!! :) 
February 28, 2008 6:28:16 PM

I can't wait to see if they ever do an article on... Lapping the HS and CPU. :sweat: . o O (I can see it now... How to ruin your new system)
February 28, 2008 9:53:07 PM

They STILL didn't test stock coolers.


Re tarted article and worthless.
February 28, 2008 11:33:45 PM

no flames, just a pov....

well, unless all of this was done over the last month (or several months) then the article is indeed null if they skipped the "burn in period" not to mention the fact that most of the coolers i have seen so far are not attractive to the mainstream (look on audience or have been proven or disproven already by other reviewers and the general consensus... i think finding good low price and well performing cooler should be the ultimate goal in this article... not to mention if there is an installation "fail" i still want to see it because believe it or not... SOME people are just mechanically declined... the zerotherm butterfly thing got a crappy review for POSSIBLE metal shavings... simple fix and foresight can be used here, pre-fit and install the screws, and if the shavings are magnetic, use a magnet to remove, if not, use a (no pc geek has this...) a CAN OF AIR. then install it (meaning PUT THE SCREWS IN AND REMOVE THEM BEFORE YOU iNSTALL!!! THIS IS A PATHETIC ELEMENTARY MISTAKE MADE BY THE CONSUMER NOT THE MANUFACTURER!) This is why used cars aren't worth a crap because people are mechanically declined and don't ever THINK before they do ANYTHING. I would expect gripes like this from a child, not a grown man. I want to see some better and more detailed results... the ENTIRE POINT OF A COOLER IS TO COOL! you don't expect a turbo charger for a car to be easy to install, right? this is why there are PC TECHS and PC USERS. Which one is this article aimed toward? Not to mention the fact that any given PC enthusiast on the face of this earth will likely use 90%+ alcohol, a FRESH quality razor blade, and their own selected thermal paste to do any of these installs, and if they are REALLY picky, a CERTAIN grit of high quality sand paper to get just the right finish (should the finish not be satisfactory)... for a stable and reliable methodology to actually be used it would take forever, not to mention a ridiculous amount of time and the fact that properties of electronic components change over time... eg: where's the ups, not ever have a seen a mention of a ups on toms, or any other review site for that matter... therefore I can only assume that the last time they tested any given component that it's slower than the first time they did so. (not to say that this will make a massive difference and not be close to any new component we buy) but there are too many variables, and none of them are really accounted for or mentioned. Having spewed all of that lets sum it up.....
I appreciate the effort and the general direction of the article and understand the need to cut down on the amount of time it takes to do individual reviews on a large scale, and this DOES HELP give a general direction for us and on occasion points out the complete turds... considering this is one of the ONLY PC components that is a) popular and b) doesn't run ANY kind of software, i still think it's mildly more reliable and deserves more scrutiny due to being inherently more consistent and measurable across ANY platform. I'll take it for what it's worth, i suggest you do the same. and to "comptia_rep" how are they going to get am2/legacy socket stock coolers to fit on this? especially since they're not made for it or advertised for it. yeah don't talk.
February 29, 2008 2:27:49 AM

CompTIA_Rep said:
They STILL didn't test stock coolers.


Re tarted article and worthless.

I wonder if any manufacturers are getting PO over the belligerent FAIL stamp. Does anyone else smell that burned bridge odor?

February 29, 2008 2:39:13 PM

haha. good possibility... I think they'll just start making "better" products or release new ones that look different if they see a sales drop. I still think some of these coolers that "don't perform well" will still sell relatively well for oem procs and ones without coolers. ANYWAY. anybody know anything about ARCTIC COOLING Freezer 64 Pro 92mm CPU Cooler?
I saw some reviews on it but they're mostly old, but the reviews are all on a higher tdp (125w and oc'd) I plan on stuffing it on a 65w proc oc'd by less than .1v. It is however hard to find decent documentation on cpu coolers and how they perform. :-p Also I would like to point out what no-one seems to have noticed.... a lot of the older processors run hot compared to today's processors in general... so a cooler for the mainstream now doesn't really need to perform as well as before, and they're testing these on a hot proc, none the less they should not be labeled for hot procs that use a lot of power... right?
i was a little annoyed in my last post as well because I've been looking for a decent cooler for over a month now and not really getting the good coverage and results I had expected to get here wasn't something I was prepared for... hopefully this will turn around. also heatpipe coolers are at a disadvantage in this setup, ufortunately most of them wouldn't fit in a microatx case that positions the motherboard on it's back... The entire layout of a pc needs to be generally rethought.
March 4, 2008 1:59:29 PM

I have Zalman's 8700 NT cooling a 2.4GHz quad-core and temperature has yet hit 90 degrees Fahrenheit. It may be difficult to remove but it's one helluva cooler. Tom's Hardware should not have failed it.
March 13, 2008 1:40:05 AM

what happened to a review of the Zalman CNPS9700 series of coolers.

as i recall, this was one the used on a test bench back in feb of 2007
March 13, 2008 1:59:41 AM

ahhhhh... errrr.... ummmmmm.

I'm guessing it's a failed cooler since its so big that you could break your toe if you dropped it on yer foot when your trying to get it out of the packaging. The mounting hardware is so difficult as opening a bottle of tylenol, plus you have to take the MB out, an who has the time to unmount the MB on oak wood? I mean your just going to mess up the finish on that wood. :cry: 

Your better off just mounting the 9700 to your head, using 12v battery to power the led fan so people can see you in the dark at parties...