Cinebench Test Results
Running Cinebench without power limits is the most thermally demanding load in my testing, and most coolers don't pass this specific test. While the Cougar Forza 85 does well in other metrics, it wasn’t able to handle the heat of this test without throttling. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s just a sign of how hard the i9-12900K can be to properly cool in some scenarios. Other CPUs, such as AMD’s Ryzen 5900K or Intel’s i5-12600K won’t be nearly as difficult to cool in these scenarios.
When power limits are restricted to a more reasonable 200W, the Forza 85 runs warmer than the AIOs it’s tested against (which is to be expected), but on par with DeepCool’s AK620 air cooler.
OCCT Test Results
I usually like to run OCCT's small set stress testing for stability when overclocking, but on Alder Lake I haven't found a cooler that's capable of handling OCCT without throttling unless power limits are enforced.
I test OCCT at 200W to demonstrate a thermally demanding load, but also with a 140W power limit enforced to show how these coolers might perform with a CPU that's easier to cool, like Intel's i5-12600K or AMD's Ryzen 5800X.
OCCT’s cooling results are a little different from Cinebench for Cougar’s Forza 85. The Cougar’s cooling performance is a few degrees warmer than DeepCool’s AK620 at both 200w and 140w power limits.
Low Wattage Results
I’ve also tested the Forza 85 in OCCT while limiting CPU power consumption at 95w to emulate lower TDP CPUs like AMD’s Ryzen 5600K, but also to collect better comparison data for coolers which don’t pass high TDP testing. I have limited results for this testing, as this wasn’t something I tested until this review, but I will have more of these tests in future reviews.
In this test the Cougar Forza 85 performed on par with DeepCool’s AK620 when limited to 50% fan speeds, while running the default fan curve it performed 1 degree Celsius better than DeepCool’s AK620.
Noise Levels and Acoustics
To test noise levels, I use the SLM25TK Sound Level Meter positioned 18 inches behind the rear of the Be Quiet Silent Base 802 PC case, and recorded early in the morning to achieve the lowest noise floor possible. The chart below shows averaged results, measured over the course of five minutes, to account for sudden spikes in measurements.
Even with hotter workloads, Cougar’s Forza 85 will run rather quietly. At both 50% and full fan speeds, the Cougar Forza 85 is slightly louder than BeQuiet’s Pure Loop 2 FX and is roughly equal to Cooler Master’s PL360 Flux, but quieter than DeepCool’s LS520 and Cougar’s own Poseidon GT360.
The Forza 85 runs cool and quiet, with noise levels comparable to BeQuiet and Cooler Master Liquid Coolers. With Alder Lake’s increased cooling difficulty, many air coolers can’t handle the heat. While the Forza 85 won’t be able to run Intel’s 12900K without power limits, this air cooler is able to adequately cool the i9 if limited to up to 200w of power - and that’s more than powerful enough for the vast majority of users.
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The Thermalright Peerless Assassin 120 SE is 35$ and comes within 1c of the big noctua
I use it with the 3900x , really amazing temps. included fans are really good.
One of the charts here they have it at 165w 38db noise and NH-D15 is only 1c better
At the 165w chart, it does 1C better while being almost 2 times louder(at minimum), and most users don't run their fans at 100% anyway. So while there's extra performance to be had, not many are going to utilize it.
That price is definitely hard to beat... though Thermalright's support and availability is a bit lacking in the US, which stops me from diving in on their products.
If I wanted to get replacement fans, or use some as case fans, I'm screwed.
My curiosity has been disappointed by the Thermalright Noctua Killer claims before: I did a Vs using the Silver Arrow IB-E Extreme Rev. B and True Spirit 140 Power against the NH-D15S on the 7820X, and they didn't really 'kill' it, from what I remember.
Swapped fans between the 3, tried different case fan configs... D15S came out on top almost every time. The almost comes from the IB-E just barely beating out the D15S in single fan mode while being much louder to do it.
Add a second fan to D15S, and it lost in cooling too - though just as slightly.
The TS140P was far behind both by almost 10 degrees(C)... At least it was quieter than the other 2? Until I tried the 2 TY-143, IPPC 3000 140mm on it...
Some of these older reviews out there were testing with quad core i5s and whatnot, in which some of the Thermalright coolers are more efficient than Noctua's at lower heat loads.
When testing a cooler, one should at least be using a hot and heavy cpu, or a dummy heater...
If this test is done, it should include x-ray analysis of the motherboard before and after 2 drops on each axis.
** This sort of test was something we actually did on systems I designed in the past. If I recall correctly, we did a 4 inch drop of the product itself and a 36 inch drop of the product in it's shipping container.
NewEgg's price is higher than it should be - you can get it from other reputable retailers like B&H or Amazon for the price mentioned in the article.
Just a heads-up: You're missing the AK620 from several of the graphs, and you're also missing it from the test setup table.
Thanks for the review!