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Test Setup And Methodology

Thermalright's New Graphics Card Coolers
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System Hardware
Processor Intel Core Duo e4300, 1.8 GHz, 1400 FSB, 2 MB Cache
Motherboard ASUS P5B, BIOS: 1604
RAM Wintec Ampo PC2-6400, 2x 1024 MB, CAS 5.0-5-5-16
Hard Drive Western Digital Caviar WD2500JS
250 GB, 7200 RPM, 8 MB Cache, SATA 300
Networking Realtec onboard RTL8168/8111 Gigabit Ethernet NIC
Graphics Cards EVGA GeForce 8800 GTX, 768 MB RAM
SPARKLE GeForce 7900 GS, 256 MB RAM
Power Supply Thermaltake Toughpower 1200w
System Software & Drivers
OS Microsoft Windows XP Pro 5.1.2600
DirectX Version 9.0c (4.09.0000.0904)
Platform Driver Intel INF 8.0.1.1002
Graphics Driver Nvidia ForceWare 162.18

A few notes about the test system and our benchmarking methodology:

The ambient temperature in the lab was 23.5 degrees Celsius in our tests.

All coolers were applied with the included Thermalright thermal paste.

The coolers were tested in a closed Gigabyte Aurora case with a silent 120 mm fan below the power supply, and one in the front bottom of the case for air intake. The CPU was cooled with the CoolIT Eliminator, which also provides a 120 mm exhaust fan by the CPU.

Temperatures were recorded as reported from the video card's temperature sensor; this was the only way to achieve a "control." I would have preferred to use an IR thermometer, but the coolers were so vastly different in their configurations that there was no place from which to get a consistent reading across all the products. The on-die sensor results were consistent and repeatable.

Load temperatures were recorded after 10 minutes of stress-testing using the freeware ATITool utility, version 0.26. Few benchmarks will raise graphics processor temperatures more than ATITool's "scan for artifacts" option, so real-world temperatures experienced when gaming will likely never hit the load levels we see in these tests.

Sound levels were not tested as neither Thermalright VGA cooler included a fan. Any sound tests would have indicated the noise levels of the fans instead of the coolers.

Now onto the benchmarks.

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