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Can't Touch This! A Comparison of 46 CPU Coolers

Can't Touch This! A Comparison of 46 CPU Coolers
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There's been a lot of water under the bridge since our last CPU cooler test. In this comparison, we've rounded up no fewer than 46 coolers (of which 23 are brand-new models), which all strive for an optimum in cooling performance and noise level.

There are basically two ways to maximize a cooler's performance - you can increase its dimensions, with the "more is more" approach; or you can turn to an entirely new design. The first method is comparable to increasing a car's performance by increasing its cubic capacity. The second method, on the other hand, requires using technical tricks to achieve better cooling results. We have numerous test candidates that have followed this path, offering some tasty construction and design tidbits. The material used in the heat sink is crucial, since an ideal material drastically improves cooling performance by offering the best thermal conductivity. Silver, copper and gold offer ideal properties, providing very high thermal conductivity. With aluminum, a compromise can be reached - it is very inexpensive to produce, but doesn't offer ideal thermal conductivity.

Although the Zalman coolers look really slick, their thermal performance is disappointing.
Summary
  1. Cooler Trends - Complex Design & Precious Materials
  2. Cooler Trends - Complex Design & Precious Materials, Continued
  3. Theory: Ideal Cooling
  4. Cooler Master EP5-6151: Plain Jane Cooler For Undemanding Tastes
  5. Cooler Master DP5-6H51: Small Heat Sink - Large Fan
  6. Cooler Master DP5-6G11: Flatliner
  7. Blizzard Thunderbird: Shooting Star
  8. TRIG T40-6EA: Powerful Fence-Straddler
  9. TRIG T40-6EAC: XXL And Case Fan
  10. Global Win WBK 38: Behind Bars
  11. Global Win WBK 68: Wacky Little Brother
  12. Global Win CAK 38: Top Model With High Cooling Performance
  13. Elan Vital FSCUG9C: Ribbed Structure Made Of Sheet Steel
  14. Elan Vital FSCUG9C-6FC: Unsuccessful Thermal Trigger
  15. SPRING SPCT381 BAF-1B: Black And Quiet
  16. SPRING SPCT801 AAF-1B: Son Of Flatliner
  17. SPACEWALKER: A Nobody In The Crowd
  18. AVC Mega-Cool: Compact And Powerful
  19. Taisol CGK 744092: Unergonomic
  20. Smart Cooler FSM 1168T: Buyer Beware!
  21. Molex 371650008: Avant-garde Design
  22. Molex 371660002 U. 371610002: Little Brother
  23. Zalman CCC Project: Much Ado About Nothing
  24. Zalman CNPS2005 (Aluminum): Below Expectations
  25. Zalman CNPS3000 (Copper): Better Than Aluminum
  26. Zalman CNPS3100G (Gold): The Crowning Glory In Gold
  27. Zalman CNPS3100 (Cu-Au Alloy): Visual Blarney
  28. Zalman Coolers: Poor Manufacturing Quality
  29. Laboratory Tests Up Close & Personal - CPUs Maxed At 100%
  30. Cooling Temperature: Range From 30°C To 56°C
  31. Noise Level - Is That A Construction Site Or An Office?
  32. A Real Heavyweight - Swiftech's 789 Grams!
  33. Specific Cooling Performance - Swiftech Duo Still In The Lead
  34. Fan Speed - 2850 RPM To 6700 RPM
  35. Summary - A Comparison Of All 46 Coolers
  36. Conclusion - Just Say "No" To Cheap Generics
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