Can't Touch This! A Comparison of 46 CPU Coolers

Noise Level - Is That A Construction Site Or An Office?

The Smart Cooler's score of 37 dB (A) is by no means positive - it is the cooler with the worst cooling performance of all 46 coolers tested.

While the Silverado from Noise Control was the quietest cooler in the last group tested, the newcomers have changed the rankings somewhat, even if the change is of no practical consequence. Although the Smart Cooler can serve up an operating noise level of a mere 37 dB (A), it still scores last in cooling performance among a total of 46 coolers. This allows the Silverado from Noise Control to hang onto the lead, since it offers very high cooling performance in addition to low noise. The Silverado's design with its encapsulated construction remains in a class by itself. Among all the Johnnys-come-lately, there's not a comparable cooler that's even close to the Silverado. Although the Molex cooler's design is relatively innovative and it can serve up a low noise level, its scores in the more crucial area of cooling performance are rather disappointing.

In general, a background noise rating between 35 dB(A) and 38 dB (A) is a great result, considering that the majority of the coolers tested produces 50 dB(A) of sound.

There is a scattering of new additions to the group of the noisiest coolers - the TRIG T40-6EA and the Global Win WBK 38 generate a noise level of 60dB(A), which puts them in direct violation of official guidelines governing health and safety in the workplace. This high noise level can be slightly reduced by using an appropriate case. According to readings we took of a standard PC case, however, the level doesn't drop below 55 dB(A). This makes the coolers too loud to install in a PC at the office. In general, one thing can be said about the noise level - each person's perception of noise level is subjective and hence different from the next person's. Be that as it may, noise levels above the 50 dB(A) limit are always disruptive, no matter what range of frequencies create them. Noise levels below 45 dB(A) are generally acceptable (depending on the frequency) and are perceived as less disruptive by the majority of people.

  1. Cooler Trends - Complex Design & Precious Materials
  2. Cooler Trends - Complex Design & Precious Materials, Continued
  3. Theory: Ideal Cooling
  4. Cooler Master EP5-6151: Plain Jane Cooler For Undemanding Tastes
  5. Cooler Master DP5-6H51: Small Heat Sink - Large Fan
  6. Cooler Master DP5-6G11: Flatliner
  7. Blizzard Thunderbird: Shooting Star
  8. TRIG T40-6EA: Powerful Fence-Straddler
  9. TRIG T40-6EAC: XXL And Case Fan
  10. Global Win WBK 38: Behind Bars
  11. Global Win WBK 68: Wacky Little Brother
  12. Global Win CAK 38: Top Model With High Cooling Performance
  13. Elan Vital FSCUG9C: Ribbed Structure Made Of Sheet Steel
  14. Elan Vital FSCUG9C-6FC: Unsuccessful Thermal Trigger
  15. SPRING SPCT381 BAF-1B: Black And Quiet
  16. SPRING SPCT801 AAF-1B: Son Of Flatliner
  17. SPACEWALKER: A Nobody In The Crowd
  18. AVC Mega-Cool: Compact And Powerful
  19. Taisol CGK 744092: Unergonomic
  20. Smart Cooler FSM 1168T: Buyer Beware!
  21. Molex 371650008: Avant-garde Design
  22. Molex 371660002 U. 371610002: Little Brother
  23. Zalman CCC Project: Much Ado About Nothing
  24. Zalman CNPS2005 (Aluminum): Below Expectations
  25. Zalman CNPS3000 (Copper): Better Than Aluminum
  26. Zalman CNPS3100G (Gold): The Crowning Glory In Gold
  27. Zalman CNPS3100 (Cu-Au Alloy): Visual Blarney
  28. Zalman Coolers: Poor Manufacturing Quality
  29. Laboratory Tests Up Close & Personal - CPUs Maxed At 100%
  30. Cooling Temperature: Range From 30°C To 56°C
  31. Noise Level - Is That A Construction Site Or An Office?
  32. A Real Heavyweight - Swiftech's 789 Grams!
  33. Specific Cooling Performance - Swiftech Duo Still In The Lead
  34. Fan Speed - 2850 RPM To 6700 RPM
  35. Summary - A Comparison Of All 46 Coolers
  36. Conclusion - Just Say "No" To Cheap Generics
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