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

Thermal Compound - The Right Stuff

In order to level the playing field among the coolers in this roundup, we tested each of them with the same thermal compound, namely Amasan T12. In the past we have already witnessed that the choice of thermal compounds can have a great impact on cooling performance. For example, the Pentium 660 could not be cooled sufficiently when we used a different brand of thermal grease, which resulted in the CPU throttling its clock speed.

We used the industrial thermal compound Amasan T12 for the tests.

One of the specialties of Intel's box coolers is the thermal compound used. However, it usually cannot be used anymore once you upgrade your CPU. To see how it fares against the Amasan T12, we tested both the aluminum and the copper core cooler (slower fan version) with Intel's own thermal grease as well.

Intel's box coolers already have thermal paste applied to them.

The results were quite unexpected. Using Intel's thermal compound, even the aluminum version is able to cool the quad-core CPU to 88°C, which is below its throttling temperature. The copper version also improves on its results by a few degrees reaching 83°C. At lower CPU loads, the temperature difference between the Amasan T12 and Intel's thermal paste is about 3°C.

  • 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.