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Big Air: 14 LGA 2011-Compatible Coolers For Core i7-3000, Reviewed

Benchmark Results: Noise And Acoustic Efficiency

Single-fan coolers have the lowest noise at any given speed, since each doubling of identical sound sources adds an extra 3 db to the reading (in audio theory). That same theory explains why Arctic Cooling and SilenX’s mid-speed individual fans take second and third place in silence, ahead of Zalman’s three low-speed fans.

We’d consider anything below 30 db in open air to be quiet, mostly because we use quiet cases to cut back on ambient noise even more. True seekers of silence might settle for nothing less than Thermalright’s Archon, however, even though it doesn’t fit our motherboard properly.

The Archon SB-E is so quiet, in fact, that it tops our Acoustic Efficiency charts, in spite of its mid-pack thermal performance. At the other end of the chart, the SilenX EFZ-120HA5’s cooling performance can't compensate for its second-place noise level.

Thomas Soderstrom
Thomas Soderstrom is a Senior Staff Editor at Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews cases, cooling, memory and motherboards.