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Among the enthusiast crowd, it is more or less a matter of course to equip a computer with a powerful CPU cooler. After all, thanks to their better design and construction, most aftermarket air cooling solutions offer superior cooling performance, while running at lower noise levels than their boxed brethren. Depending on the performance class, the CPUs come with more or less massive coolers. We were interested in finding out how the box cooler compared to aftermarket solutions, and especially, in what respects the coolers differ. After all, the higher-end coolers found in stores can cost upwards of €50. That's a fair bit of money, especially considering that some people try to save as much money as they can when shopping for a CPU. (Compare Prices on CPU Coolers)
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. In the process, we will meet a few familiar faces, namely Intel's selection of bundled coolers, which represent something of a reference point for each CPU class. The question we will attempt to answer is this: are box coolers sufficient, or are you better off opting for an aftermarket cooler upgrade?
To make this comparison more interesting, we compiled a test field consisting of various coolers for the Socket 775 platform. This includes such exotic models as the first engineering samples that accompanied the Prescott launch, and the legendary Performance FMB that Intel released upon launching the first dual-core Extreme models. They will square off against three conventional box coolers included with Intel's current Conroe-based Core 2 line of processors.
Previous installments of this series:
|Companies represented in this test|
|3R System||Antazone||Arctic Cooling|
If you are interested in our test methodology and how we rate the products, feel free to read up on these points here: