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How To: Properly Plan And Pick Parts For An Air-Cooled PC, Part 1

Basic Idea and Test Setup

To compare results as comprehensively as possible, and on an equal basis, we resurrected an older test platform that admirably simulates CPU power dissipation between 90 and 140 W.

Test System:

CPUAMD Athlon 64 FX-62 (Windsor)
2.8 GHz, Dual-Core, 2 x 1 MB L2 Cache, Socket AM2, 125 W TDP
@ 2.2 GHz, 89 W TDP
@ 2.8 GHz, 125 W TDP
@ 3.0 GHz, 140 W TDP
MotherboardMSI K9A2 Platinum, 790FX Chipset, Socket AM2/AM2+
RAM2 x 2 GB DDR2-800
Cooler 1
Original AMD Boxed Cooler for Athlon 64 FX-62
Cooler 2
Xigmatek Aegir High-Performance Tower Cooler with 12 cm Fan

Using Xigmatek's Aegir, we tested the various power levels and cooling results for each installation option. The cooler is large enough to cool even the 140 W of an old overloaded FX processor. Although installation proves more challenging that the smaller, louder boxed cooler provided by AMD, most folks only need to do this once, making the effort invested worthwhile. We took our measurements in an environment kept at a constant 22°C via climate control.

Xigmatek Aegir

Measurements (total) 130 x 95 x 159 mm (L x H x W)
Weight670 g without fan
Heat PipesSix total (2 x 8 mm, 4 x 6 mm)
Dual-Layer Heatpipe-Direct-Touch (D.L.H.D.T.), Four heat pipes with direct contact to CPU
Fan120 x 120 x 25 mm
BearingLong-Life Bearing
Speed Range
1100-2200 RPM
max. 89.45 CFM (150 m³/h)
Noise Level
max. 20 dB(A)
ColorTransparent black, 4 x white LED
Connection4-pin PWM
Socket Compatibility   Socket 764/939/940/AM2/AM3,  LGA 775/1156/1366     

We conducted most of the tests with this high-performance cooler because tower-coolers are currently the most popular built-in coolers. There’s an extra chapter on so-called down blowers.

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