CPU Cooler Charts 2008, Part 3 - Are Box Coolers any Good?

Off The Cheap End - Aluminum For Low-end CPUs

While the smaller Core 2 models receive box coolers with slower fans, Intel really cuts costs on the models it considers the low end. These would be the processors belonging to the Pentium DualCore E2100 series, although they, too, are based on the Conroe core. These models only come with an aluminum cooler.

At a glance you couldn't tell the box cooler of the Pentium DualCore series from that of its siblings.

Since aluminum is far cheaper than copper, there is a lot of potential to save cost here. Additionally, they can skip a very expensive production step, since they do not have to mill the aluminum frame to embed the copper core used in higher-end models for thermal reasons. Also, using aluminum has a positive effect on the cooler's weight: at only 330 grams, it is the lightest air cooler in the test field, and a full 106 grams lighter than the copper version.

The entire heatsink is made of aluminum.

Thanks to the low thermal power dissipation of the CPUs belonging to the Pentium DualCore line, even the aluminum versions of the cooler only need one of the slower fan models. Thus, the noise level is on par with that of the (slower) copper core version.

A core comparison - the copper core is countersunk into the aluminum heatsink to improve the cooler's thermal characteristics. The aluminum version does without such elaborate measures.

The cooling performance of the aluminum version is pretty much what you would expect from a designated low-end solution. Under full load the CPU gets so hot that it is forced to throttle its clock speed: we measured a processor temperature of nearly 98°C. The CPU's idle temperature lay at 54°C.

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Technical Data
CPU100% loadidle
Temperature PWM98°C54°C
Noise40.2 dB(A)39.2 dB(A)
Fan speed1740 RPM820 RPM
Weight330 gramsRow 4 - Cell 2
Intel socket775Row 5 - Cell 2

  • Hugger
    I have read the 3 part article on cpu coolers a few times.
    In each part, the author shows the names of all the coolers that are included in the tests.
    Xigmatech is one of those names.
    However, I can't find test results for that cooler.
    I'm ordering parts and have read good things about the Xigmatech but wanted to read the review here too.
    Am I missing it or has it been left out?
  • bbies1973
    In other forums I have seen the dispute about the best air cooler being between three models that were not tested in here. Dissapointing because two of the manufacturer's submitted coolers for this test. The three are:
    Zalman 9700 (8700 was tested here)
    ThermalTake CL-P0401 V1 (Thermaltake was listed but I didn't see any of their products in the article)
    Third, Tuniq Tower 120. (Tuniq is a subsidiary of Sunbeam, and neither are listed as represented companies for the test.

    I would love to see a part 4 coming with these three pieces represented.
  • Sigh. I looked at this list and then looked at the lists on frostytech, and none of the products coincide... how convenient.
  • ripusheet01
    how a fanless cpu cooler be noisy? how can be sound of a fanless heatsink be measured?
  • dragunover
    This article is Bull,it doesn't list the common coolers,and he obviously used crap thermal grease.Arctic Silver 5 and a Xigmatek/Scythe/Tuniq anyone?
  • gto127
    It's strange that thermalright isn't mentioned here. They've been consistantly at the top of the cooling game for years and are included in most site cool off tests and come up on top quite frequently. Please include in future tests.
  • Twist86
    Seems like none of the best coolers are mentioned here. Just ones that are over priced/out performed by cheaper coolers.

    Zalman 9700
    Xigmatek S1283
    Tuniq Tower 120

    This review fails.