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CPU Cooler Charts 2008, Part 3 - Are Box Coolers any Good?

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March 3, 2008 10:25:44 AM

The higher the CPU frequency, the higher the heat dissipation. Cheap CPUs ship with simple coolers that aren't suited to overclocking.

http://www.tomshardware.com/2008/03/03/cpu_cooler_charts_2008/
March 3, 2008 11:30:39 AM

OMG. this is the final article of this series. n THEY DIDNT REVIEW ANY MAJOR CPU COOLER.


god, they wasted so many hours for NOTHING. damn
March 3, 2008 11:49:28 AM

Why did they bother?

They didnt review ANY of the ones that 75% of the people I know use.

I agree...waste of hours to say the least.
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March 3, 2008 11:49:48 AM

I must agree, they didn't review several of the brands listed in the initial "who's being reviewed" table. :( 
March 3, 2008 11:59:05 AM

Could have included the Zalman 9500/9700 series (which they seem to use in their reference system) in the review. It's an old series but probably one of the best on the market.
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March 3, 2008 12:16:26 PM

"In the first part of this series, CPU Cooler Charts 2008, Part I - Losing your Cool?, we found that nearly half of the aftermarket coolers we reviewed suffered from some serious flaws. The second part, CPU Cooler Charts 2008, Part II - Junk or Jewel?, ended with a better overall result.

In this installment, we will take a look at coolers that ship with CPUs in retail boxes - so-called box coolers."

Looks like there will be more articles than the three posted.
March 3, 2008 12:19:54 PM

I was a little disappointed in this one as well. I skimmed threw it. But it did give a good contrast between box and after market coolers. I think I will always get an after market even if I don't overclock.
March 3, 2008 12:20:43 PM

alert101 said:
Could have included the Zalman 9500/9700 series (which they seem to use in their reference system) in the review. It's an old series but probably one of the best on the market.


I totally agree. They are the old standby, solid, everyone knows they rock series. They are more of a reference then the freakin' stock coolers! :fou: 
March 3, 2008 12:34:40 PM

Yeah, who uses the Thermalright Ultima-90, Thermalright Ultra 120 Extreme, Tuniq Tower, Zalman CNPS-9500 or CNPS-9700 anyway? I mean those coolers are SOOOOOO overrated.

/sarcasm
Horrible article. Cover everything but the 5 most commonly used coolers.
March 3, 2008 12:59:48 PM

Worst hardware review ever: the box cooler is design to handle stand operation only. for example the E6300 series heatsink can handle up to 65 Watt, not 114w in the test. It is a simple fact, anyone with brain can figure out before test it. Get some heatsinks can handle 120 w and compare the test result make more sense.
They should test each cpu heatsink on different heat group base on their spec. and please keep test condition as same as possiable(the fan position)
March 3, 2008 1:01:17 PM

Assuming they will be covering all the coolers in the picture for part 1, there will be another part to this series. My GeminII is in the pic, but hasnt been covered so far either.
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March 3, 2008 1:23:48 PM

well that was a nice waste of everyones time...
one boxed intel cooler would have been nice in the series but 6! thats just freaking stupid
March 3, 2008 1:25:54 PM

The greatest omission that I see is the Arctic freezer Pro 7, they list Arctic, they show a picture of it in the article, but no info on it at all.

Interesting, why is this?

I have found the Arctic series of coolers to work well in many different computers and socket combinations. At an excellent cost to performance ratio.

My Arctic Freezer Pro 7 works very well at cooling my Q6600 Socket 775 CPU, yet not a word of it in any of the charts.
March 3, 2008 1:29:36 PM

alert101 said:
Could have included the Zalman 9500/9700 series (which they seem to use in their reference system) in the review. It's an old series but probably one of the best on the market.



"Here, let's take some Zalman coolers that are WAAAAY out of date and sub them in for the zalman coolers that people have been using for years. Then we can complain that zalman sucks!"

Might as well release an article where you tested all of the latest games on Windows 95 to show how bad Windows is.

This guy is a moron, and THG was stupid as hell for release not one but THREE horrid PoS articles by this 12 year old. THG is seriously "loosing" (way to misspell a word in the goddam title) a lot by releasing crap like this. I sent some feedback, but apparently they don't care how stupid they look.

Kari said:
well that was a nice waste of everyones time...
one boxed intel cooler would have been nice in the series but 6! thats just freaking stupid


They could include 6 box coolers because, in order to make the article more retarded, they had to cut the TOP 5 coolers. They had to fill that space somehow!!
March 3, 2008 1:30:22 PM



they should at least review some of the amd ones,

not sure of the model of cooler but i took a picture of it

can you please review some of the stock amd coolers and compare them to the some of the after market ones

with a .4V increase and a 727MHz overclock get up to 72-74C at full load on both cores


amd seems to have better coolers than intel
March 3, 2008 1:38:32 PM

To the authors:

It looks like you have taken some suggestions (stock HS testing and thermal compound attention). Thanks for doing so but it looks like you tried to play it off as if it was all part of your plan...which is shady if you ask me and makes the entire series more of a jumbled mess than what is was in the first place. Where is the organization? Come on, you are paid to do this and THG readers deserve better.

Intel isn't even listed in the companies table so it's obvious it was a last min thing. At least give us some credit, we aren't that stupid. Swallow your pride and mention that the readers have asked you do to this because otherwise, you weren’t going to.
March 3, 2008 1:44:20 PM

"Intel is producing new box coolers for its Penryn processors of the 8000 and 9000 line, which are much smaller than the previous models. We will be testing these versions in an upcoming installment of the Cooler Charts."

It would seem there is more to come...
March 3, 2008 1:46:10 PM

This feels like a to-be repeat of the 'Does memory matter article', in that Tom's won't respond of any of these valid concerns.

Ultimately producing a sup-par article and frustrated readers.
March 3, 2008 1:56:49 PM

Phrozt said:
"Here, let's take some Zalman coolers that are WAAAAY out of date and sub them in for the zalman coolers that people have been using for years. Then we can complain that zalman sucks!"

Might as well release an article where you tested all of the latest games on Windows 95 to show how bad Windows is.

This guy is a moron, and THG was stupid as hell for release not one but THREE horrid PoS articles by this 12 year old. THG is seriously "loosing" (way to misspell a word in the goddam title) a lot by releasing crap like this. I sent some feedback, but apparently they don't care how stupid they look.



They could include 6 box coolers because, in order to make the article more retarded, they had to cut the TOP 5 coolers. They had to fill that space somehow!!



what are you talking about windows 95 runs crysis just fine :) 

March 3, 2008 2:22:50 PM

I agree with razor512 that a review of a couple of the AMD boxed coolers might have been included. The one that came with my FX60, for instance, was pretty good. Replaced it when overclocking, but for stock use, its good. Right now, it resides on my 4400+. But all the coolers reviewed are for Intel CPUs, so continuity probably dictates that no AMD coolers will be seen.

As for the article, it was a total waste of electrons in the cyberspace world. Like we didn't already know that the stock coolers from Intel were bad, or worse than bad. :bounce:  :bounce: 
March 3, 2008 2:54:29 PM

I love Tom's to death, but I hope they weren't planning on capping off the cooling articles with this. Thirteen pages of the obvious seems a little on the weak side. Here's to hoping they have another article with the coolers we all want to see tested.

Perhaps they're only testing the free ones they got. If so, just tell us that so we quit hoping for the likes of the Ultra 120/90 or Freezer 7 to appear. Heck, I'm using an old thermalright HR-01, and it does the job.
March 3, 2008 2:56:50 PM

If this is all they are doing... my god is it bad. I understand that there are a lot of coolers to look at, but does anyone here care about stock coolers? Honestly, does anyone care? I want to see the god coolers. I want to see what can beat the thermalright ultra 120 extreme. I want to see THG compete with Anande Tech on their heatsink comparisons.

This has been a major letdown, so far.
March 3, 2008 3:11:13 PM

This series of articles is SO flawed it has become pointless...

Intel's boxed coolers, ok, where are the Sanyo Denkis? Those didn't exist at all?
Hell, some Q6600 B3 still have them.
March 3, 2008 3:25:08 PM

These articles are flawed. Their grading system sucks. I mean the actually subtract when they have to install a backplate? Backplates are a good thing.

Also, where is the beef? You are reviewing coolers that many will never even consider using.
March 3, 2008 3:31:52 PM

What gets me giddy is that they won't even respond, or address these concerns.
March 3, 2008 3:34:10 PM

I don't agree with reviewing AMD coolers. You couldn't compare the results to the Intel coolers because they use different processors, it wouldn't be apples to apples.

However, I will agree with others that article quality isn't as good as it was. They seem to have comitted to quantity and not quality with the recent addition of Charile "FUD" Demerjian.
March 3, 2008 3:43:08 PM

I didn't mean to compare AMD coolers with Intel coolers, except maybe at the box stock level so it could be seen which company provided the best coolers with its chips. But that's why for the continuity of the articles, only Intel coolers can really be compared so that the variable remains the same, that is, the cooler only.
March 3, 2008 3:55:09 PM

sailer said:
I didn't mean to compare AMD coolers with Intel coolers, except maybe at the box stock level so it could be seen which company provided the best coolers with its chips. But that's why for the continuity of the articles, only Intel coolers can really be compared so that the variable remains the same, that is, the cooler only.


I hear ya. You would have to provide comparison of AMD boxed coolers VS. AMD aftermarket coolers and Intel Boxed VS. Intel aftermarket and compare the differences between them.

I just wanted to make sure, because a cooler may have to dissapate more heat on chips with no headroom (cough, AMD, cough) which might make them look not as good as the Intel coolers, when in fact, that might not be the case(no pun intended, or in Tom's lab, there is no case).
March 3, 2008 4:24:24 PM

This did just give me an idea. Don't know if it will work or not, but my Zalman 9500 came with clips for both AMD and Intel chips. Since the stock cooler on my Intel machine is getting very noisy, I wonder if I could use the Zalman Intel clip to attach a stock AMD cooler to it, then compare before and after temps of stock Intel and AMD coolers on the same Intel chip. Going to try that now and see if it works. Nothing to loose except a bit of time trying it.
March 3, 2008 4:58:40 PM

for amd all they need to do is find a equivalent amd processor to intel then rate the stock coolers for each

or do the entire test using only amds so theres one for intel and one for amd

many of amd coolers are comparable with with many after market coolers

for example look at thermal takes cooler




now look at amd's stock cooler

(this is the one in my case)


(ps the amd stock one is a little larger than the thermal take one)
and i can get a really good overclock while using stock, try that with a stock intel cooler

intel coolers are cheaper to make since 1 mold can pretty much do 90% of the job of making the cooler

intel sees making coolers as a burden that they just have to offer, but care nothing for but their processors can handle more heat than AMD ones 80-90C would kill a amd cpu quickly and companies take a real hit from warranties since they have to replace the dead cpu
March 3, 2008 5:12:58 PM

Just through with my idea of trying an AMD cooler on an Intel chip. Looks like it would have worked easy enough, but the Intel I have has an upgraded cooler already, so I couldn't compare stock AMD with stock Intel.
March 3, 2008 5:58:05 PM

Next series on Tom's Hardware: AMD Athlon or Intel PIII, which is better for YOU?
March 3, 2008 6:08:41 PM

bobbknight said:
The greatest omission that I see is the Arctic freezer Pro 7, they list Arctic, they show a picture of it in the article, but no info on it at all.

Interesting, why is this?

I have found the Arctic series of coolers to work well in many different computers and socket combinations. At an excellent cost to performance ratio.

My Arctic Freezer Pro 7 works very well at cooling my Q6600 Socket 775 CPU, yet not a word of it in any of the charts.


Seconded - although I do run 2 Arctic Freezer 64s for my AMD systems.

Also, the stock AMD sinks for Phenom seems interesting, with the heatpipe and all. However, I'm afraid the dinky fan won't do well. However, they did use thermal paste, instead of thermal pad that fuses onto the CPU...
March 3, 2008 6:38:06 PM

Sorry, but did nobody read the last line of the article? Or any of it?

"We will be testing these versions in an upcoming installment of the Cooler Charts."

they are not done, there will be more. I dont much see why we have to discuss the same issue over (this being the third time) about how they are testing. They are being consistent, nothing has changed. If every single heatsink continues to be tested in this manner we may not know the reallistic temps of what it would be like in a case, or with additional fans, but we will see how they compare directly to each other -- which is really what matters.
March 3, 2008 7:23:04 PM

rockbyter said:
Sorry, but did nobody read the last line of the article? Or any of it?

"We will be testing these versions in an upcoming installment of the Cooler Charts."

they are not done, there will be more. I dont much see why we have to discuss the same issue over (this being the third time) about how they are testing. They are being consistent, nothing has changed. If every single heatsink continues to be tested in this manner we may not know the reallistic temps of what it would be like in a case, or with additional fans, but we will see how they compare directly to each other -- which is really what matters.


Until this article there was no baseline. Hell there still isn't really a baseline because things like room temp are missing. At least now we can compare aftermarket to stock. For being a technical article without technical specs they half-a$$ed it, again. (see poor 8 gig of ram vista by same author)

Installation points = joke

While I commend them for trying, articles like this give tom's a bad name. And it's not just recent either. This half-finished article junk has been happening over the past year+.
March 3, 2008 7:26:58 PM

My question is why did this article take so long to come state-side? Thanks to a glitch at work I'm often routed to tomshardware.co.uk . I read this series of articles weeks ago (Part I: Jan 29, Part II: Feb 6, and Part III: Feb 13). What gives THG?
March 3, 2008 7:44:30 PM

Naaah, they realy NOT gonna review some real good coolers :( 
all 3 parts reviewing only rubish coolers :( (((((
what'w wrong with you ? (tom's hardware)
March 3, 2008 7:50:04 PM

I'd say there will be more. Probably about half (I didn't count 'em) of the list hasn't even been reviewed yet
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March 3, 2008 7:52:40 PM

To address the absurdity of the test rig, I'd like to see a comparison of any cooler done in that rig vs. properly mounted in a closed case with decent airflow, and the fan pointed in the proper direction.
March 3, 2008 8:04:06 PM

I am also disappointed, all those popular heat sinks are not mentioned! Whats going on... THG is better than this.
March 3, 2008 8:16:12 PM

razor512 said:
for amd all they need to do is find a equivalent amd processor to intel



Easier said then done. :lol: 
March 3, 2008 8:23:59 PM

ocguy31 said:
Easier said then done. :lol: 


Funny thing about that, Intel seems to make a better processor while AMD makes a better cooler.
March 3, 2008 8:30:48 PM

They said the box coolers aren't for OCing. Funny, they did an article before that you can OC a E2160 to 3GHz with the stock cooler.
March 3, 2008 8:33:54 PM

Hey guys,
New to these forums, just looked at the review and found it excellent, i don't see what everyone is complaining about. Its not like they reviewed six identical coolers, the intel coolers over 775 were rather different, something i didn't no much about, all i knew was that the e2's had an aluminium base, and the e8's have a tiny heatsink lol, and what would be the point of putting each cpu onto each different chip that it was designed for? You would end up with no comparison, 'Each cooler was able to cool their specced chip to 70 degrees' yay, how informative, instead they took a new faster but still hot chip to test each one on individually giving us a direct comparison of each cooler, i mean i've now realised that in the new e2200 computer i'm building i should definitely use my E6300 cooler over the stock one that comes with it for the better ocing.
In terms of other coolers, as many have pointed out there will probably be another part.
I'm not saying the review was perfect, in the end every1 has opionions, for instance i've owned and installed a IFX-14 and a Zalman8700NT and personally found the zalman to be 100 times better to install then the ifx-14, the ifx 14 is definitely an insane performer but i disagree with the scores toms hardware has given, but obviously they found a good way of installing the ifx and couldn't figure out the 8700nt.
In terms of the Tuniq Tower and the Ultra 120-Extreme they may leave them given their performance is pretty on par with the IFX-14, and giveen the IFX-14 could be seen as the successor of the Ultra 120, why don't you stop bagging tom's and realise that they can't please everyone, i found a couple of coolers that i've had and so i found it great, seeing the IFX-14 beating 2 watercoolers after purchasing it is a very good thing :p 
In short they've done a more comprehensive review so far then most i've seen out there, and by the looks of it theres more to come.
Oh and i agree that they've probably put the intel things in after people requested but i mean if it was your article that you worked on wouldn't you want it too seem professional and planned rather then thrown together becuase people wanted it to?
And i do agree that some people are right in saying the article isn't as detailed as others but i don't think i've seen many articles where they have done such a comprehensive review, all the coolers on the identical system all compared to each other, so this one isn't about huge detail on one cooler its brief on many, so you look, you see something you like and go find more detail.
Anyways just thought i'd put my two cents in, i'm not saying anyone who complains is an idiot, as first impressions can be deceiving, but just give some thoughts and leave the attitude behind.
March 3, 2008 8:38:12 PM

rockbyter said:
Sorry, but did nobody read the last line of the article? Or any of it?

"We will be testing these versions in an upcoming installment of the Cooler Charts."

they are not done, there will be more. I dont much see why we have to discuss the same issue over (this being the third time) about how they are testing. They are being consistent, nothing has changed. If every single heatsink continues to be tested in this manner we may not know the reallistic temps of what it would be like in a case, or with additional fans, but we will see how they compare directly to each other -- which is really what matters.


I completely agree, if you want a realistic temp get the one you like and find out more on it from other who did an in depth review on that one particular cooler
March 3, 2008 8:55:11 PM

All I know is that the cooler that came with my E8400 is the biggest waste of aluminium that has ever been made.
March 3, 2008 9:05:18 PM

gLip said:
All I know is that the cooler that came with my E8400 is the biggest waste of aluminium that has ever been made.



Why, did your chip fry at stock speeds, with it properly installed? Probably not. It is only Intel's (or AMD's) job to supply you with a fan that works properly. Are you expecting them to give you a fan that allows you to OC easily?
March 3, 2008 9:12:09 PM

total 100% agreewith ocguy31
a c 126 à CPUs
March 3, 2008 10:04:36 PM

The stock coolers are fine for the CPU at stock speeds. OC'ing comes with a premium and thats called an aftermarket HSF. What THG did in this article is obvious.

I would never OC my Q6600 with the stock cooler. Hell I got my Zalman CPNS9700 with my CPU and still have the stock cooler sitting in the box. Never know when you may need one.

But I am sure they will review the better performers. But if they give the CPNS9700/9500 a bad grade I would be aggitated a bit as it is a great cooler even for quad cores. The Ultra120 is better but I like the looks of the CPNS9700 better and it keeps my Q6600 @ 3GHz nice and cool and all happy in its case.
March 3, 2008 11:39:47 PM

the strange thing is, why the thermal pad that comes with the stock heatsink perform better than thermal paste? Shouldnt they work more on this to find out the reason?
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