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Noise And Acoustic Efficiency

Nine Big Air Coolers For Intel's Haswell CPUs, Reviewed

We saw a fairly wide range of fan speeds, and some coolers even had two fans. Yet, the difference in noise between the quietest and noisiest model is far less than the 10 dB(A) that would indicate doubled volume in the (logarithmic) decibel scale.

The Gamer Storm Assassin and Argon AR01 are roughly 50% noisier than Prolimatech’s as-delivered PRO-GNSS-BK. Since Prolimatech's heat sink requires additional fans though (fans aren't included with the heat sink), the noise we're reporting only represents this specific $125 combined configuration.

The relative scale for cooling-to-noise calculations refers to how each cooler relates to the average of all coolers in today’s test. Dividing the group average by each cooler’s result gives a higher percent score for lower temperatures. Dividing each cooler’s actual noise level by the group average produces a higher percent score for higher noise. Noise, however, is the divisor, and higher divisors produce lower dividends.

The results use a 100% baseline. Since nothing can be more than 100% efficient, we zero out the chart scale by subtracting 100%.

Besides being the quietest product, Prolimatech’s PRO-GNSS-BK configuration is also the third-coolest. That combination gives the firm a significant lead in our cooling-to-noise calculations. Hitting the middle of our cooling scale, a second-place finish in noise measurements gives the Noctua a second-place acoustic efficiency finish. Phanteks and Thermalright are the only two remaining companies to beat the class average.

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