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Test System & Benchmarks

VGA Heat-Pipe Cooler Roundup 2006
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System Hardware
Processor(s) AMD Athlon 64 3400+ (Venice)
2.4 GHz (overclocked to 2.55 GHz), 512 kB L2 Cache
Platform ASrock 9393dual-SATA2 (socket 939)
ULI 1695 chipset, BIOS v1.6
RAM Patriot EP
1x 1024 MB PC3500 (CL2.0-3-2-5)
Hard Drive Western Digital WD1200JB
120 GB, 7,200 RPM, 8 MB cache, UltraATA/100
Networking On-board 100 Mbit Ethernet
Graphics Card ATI Radeon X1900 XTX (PCI Express)
512 MB GDDR3
Power Supply Ultra X-Connect , ATX, 550 W
System Software & Drivers
OS Microsoft Windows XP Professional 5.10.2600, Service Pack 2
DirectX Version 9.0c (4.09.0000.0904)
Platform Driver AMD Athlon 64 Processor Driver 1.2.2.0
Graphics Driver ATI Catalyst 6.5

A few notes about the test system and benchmarking methodology.

First of all, note that all coolers were benchmarked using Arctic Silver 3 instead of the various thermal pastes or tapes they came with. This was to ensure that all results were obtained from tests conducted on a level playing field.

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, other than the on-die sensor.

Load temperatures were recorded after 10 minutes of stress testing using the free AtiTool utility version 0.25 beta 14. I have not yet found a game that will raise temperatures more than AtiTool's "scan for artifacts" test, so actual in-game temperatures will likely never hit the levels we see in these tests.

As for sound tests, a microphone was used to record the sound level of the system with no active cooler, and then with the different coolers at their different power levels.

And now, without further delay, let's view the temperature results.

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