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Benchmark Results: Core Temperature

Is It Worth Upgrading Your Stock CPU Cooler?
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Noise levels were similar for both coolers when the Core i7 processor was idle, but there was a significant temperature difference. Intel’s retail cooler never reaches less than 48°C at its stock idle speed (133 MHz x 12 = 1,600 MHz) or less than 58°C at its overclocked idle speed (185 MHz x 12 = 2,220 MHz). In contrast, the Zalman CNPS 10X keeps the core at 39°C when idle at stock speed and at 42°C overclocked.

Let’s look at the processor peak load temperatures. Intel’s cooler results in a constant 68°C when the 2.66 GHz Core i7-920 runs at full load on all four cores. The same scenario results in a 62°C CPU temperature using the Zalman CNPS 10X.

But it’s the overclocked temperatures that demonstrate most impressively how well the Zalman cooler performs (or how poorly the retail cooler copes with extra heat). The temperature level ranges between 75-79°C for the CNPS 10X, depending on the fan speed, while the Intel cooler is incapable of addressing the additional heat, and the CPU runs at 94°C.

Needless to say, the Zalman cooler we used enables additional overclocking margins by cooling down the 3.7 GHz Core i7 by roughly 20°C.

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Top Comments
  • 32 Hide
    pirateboy , September 3, 2009 8:27 AM
    at least include numbers in degrees Celsius in your tables if you are serious about your article...I doubt more than half of your readers use Fahrenheit...maybe only the US and some other backward countries use it still?
Other Comments
  • 4 Hide
    Korok , September 3, 2009 6:23 AM
    answers the question fully
    nice article
  • 2 Hide
    Twoboxer , September 3, 2009 7:12 AM
    What was the ambient temperature during this test?
  • 0 Hide
    drealar , September 3, 2009 7:35 AM
    Short simple article.
    This surely gives me the answer to a question I had in mine.
    'Never buy bulky aftermarket cooler if I Never OC'.
    Cool, now my choices are down to lighter low-profile Zalman performance coolers which will still beat stock ones :D 
  • 4 Hide
    leafblower29 , September 3, 2009 7:50 AM
    I was able to overclock to 3.6ghz on my Phenom II 940's stock cooler.
  • 2 Hide
    dingumf , September 3, 2009 7:51 AM
    leafblower29I was able to overclock to 3.6ghz on my Phenom II 940's stock cooler.


    Enjoys your slightly higher temps
  • 1 Hide
    yellosnowman , September 3, 2009 7:55 AM
    good article on the zalman cpns10x but I would like to see a Thermalright 120 TRUE black with 2x NF-p12 :)  2 best fans with best heatsink
  • 0 Hide
    leafblower29 , September 3, 2009 7:56 AM
    dingumfEnjoys your slightly higher temps

    they aren't that much higher.
  • 2 Hide
    gti88 , September 3, 2009 7:58 AM
    I think, Hyper 212 is far better choice. Zalman's too noisy and twice more expensive.
  • 6 Hide
    Anonymous , September 3, 2009 8:08 AM
    some aftermarket coolers are geared toward superior cooling, others are geared toward silent or near silent operation.
    it's not clear how this test with one cooler can make such a point. you would have to test at least two coolers against the stock cooler. one with superior cooling, and another that is super quiet, at say a certain (entry level?) price range.
    this zalman cooler may be a good cooler, but is not an ace either in cooling or in silence.
  • 6 Hide
    ravenware , September 3, 2009 8:14 AM
    K

    A round of coolers would be more beneficial. Most of the readers on TH would immediately know the answer to the elementary question raised in the article...seems a little strange to propose the question and then only bench one aftermarket cooler.
  • -2 Hide
    tomvertommen , September 3, 2009 8:19 AM
    It would be nice to see a noise level comparison between the stock cooler and the CNPS10X Quiet.
  • 32 Hide
    pirateboy , September 3, 2009 8:27 AM
    at least include numbers in degrees Celsius in your tables if you are serious about your article...I doubt more than half of your readers use Fahrenheit...maybe only the US and some other backward countries use it still?
  • -3 Hide
    Anonymous , September 3, 2009 8:38 AM
    I still use an Intel stock cooler with really good results. But I added a metal X-bar to the bottom of it and screwed the stock cooler to this X-bar instead of using the springs. To my experience this makes a big difference.

    The motherboard bends too easily under the weight of the cooler and the springs. This reduces the pressure from the CPU to the cooler and gives poor heat conduction. Also the cooling elements of other components in the neighbourhood of the CPU on the Asus board had bad contact because of the sever bending of the motherboard.
  • 0 Hide
    anonymous x , September 3, 2009 8:39 AM
    pirateboyat least include numbers in degrees Celsius in your tables if you are serious about your article...I doubt more than half of your readers use Fahrenheit...maybe only the US and some other backward countries use it still?

    when you first go to tom's hardware you select your languages, and there are 2 english options i think. I wonder if it changes to celsius for other countries besides the US. Doesn't matter for me, I know both systems and can convert between them.
  • 4 Hide
    amnotanoobie , September 3, 2009 9:02 AM
    forestersome aftermarket coolers are geared toward superior cooling, others are geared toward silent or near silent operation.it's not clear how this test with one cooler can make such a point. you would have to test at least two coolers against the stock cooler. one with superior cooling, and another that is super quiet, at say a certain (entry level?) price range.this zalman cooler may be a good cooler, but is not an ace either in cooling or in silence.

    As much as I don't want to endorse another site, frostytech already has a list going (top 10 for performance, and a top 10 for silence):
    http://www.frostytech.com/top5heatsinks.cfm




  • -5 Hide
    Anonymous , September 3, 2009 9:33 AM
    Would like a vote on how many TH readers know aftermarket coolers are better for overclocking and how many dont!
  • 0 Hide
    anamaniac , September 3, 2009 10:08 AM
    How about comparing a TRUE and a CM V8 also?

    *Wishing I bought a TRUE instead of a V8*
  • 0 Hide
    Pei-chen , September 3, 2009 11:18 AM
    Wow, this is a Tom's classic article. You guys haven't reviewed heatsinks for so long.
  • 0 Hide
    verrul , September 3, 2009 11:23 AM
    wait zalman makes their money off their mid end silent cooling solutions not their high end ones. Always better to use aftermarket imo. I have wifey's comp running same x2 6000 be i am hers isn't overclocked but still we had to put an aftermarket zalman 7500 in this case cooler on it to help with the poor case airflow. She absolutely has to have the side on.
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