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Overclocking On Air: 10 LGA 1156-Compatible Performance Coolers

Lynnfield Can Take The Heat, But Should It?

The enemy of both stability and longevity, heat changes the characteristics of silicon in a way that eventually makes it unsuitable for use in a logic circuit. Heat damage can sneak up on overclockers quickly, such as the 59 degree Celsius stability limit we encountered when overclocking AMD’s Phenom II. Similarly, many of our Core 2 Duos responded unfavorably to temperatures over 65 degrees Celsius.

But hasn’t all that changed with the advent of Lynnfield, a core that can just withstand temperatures of up to 100 degrees Celsius? We have, after all, been flirting with 95 degrees Celsius regularly while testing the overclocking capabilities of motherboards, yet still reach stable clock speeds of over 4.3 GHz.

Although our Core i7-870 sample raised the temperature level at which we had to put on the brakes, its temperature limit coinciding with our cooling and voltage limits happened by mere coincidence. Surely a platform that operates so close to its thermal limit on an open test bench would be unsuitable for use in a closed case, since the higher ambient temperatures would cause thermal throttling (Intel’s automatic speed reduction) at anything close to full CPU load. Liquid cooling could help, but recent tests have shown that anything less than a dual-fan radiator version often provides unsatisfactory results. Most users don't want to bother with a high-end liquid configuration, and most cases don’t support those enormous radiators. For the sake of builders, it’s time for us to track down the best possible air-cooling solution.

  • kumaiti
    Not a single top down cooler?? That is disappointing, though I can already see the excuse: "they don't have as much performance as the tower coolers".
    Reply
  • mrgrey
    Argh - unbelievable! I literally just purchased my build on newegg, and they just posted this article. I bought the Arctic Cooling 7 over the Hyper 212+, not having seen the article yet.

    Hey Tom's - what temps are you getting at 3.2 GHz with the Arctic Cooling 7? Did you use arctic silver 5?
    Reply
  • barmaley
    Test settings page reads: CPU Intel Core i7-860, but CPU-Z screen shot under it reads Intel Core i7-870. Which one is it that you tested Tom?
    Reply
  • Is there an article testing thermal compounds?
    Reply
  • nzprogamer
    mrgreyArgh - unbelievable! I literally just purchased my build on newegg, and they just posted this article. I bought the Arctic Cooling 7 over the Hyper 212+, not having seen the article yet. Hey Tom's - what temps are you getting at 3.2 GHz with the Arctic Cooling 7? Did you use arctic silver 5?
    no worries there you will be fine
    Reply
  • nzprogamer
    i had the 212 and sunbermtech both were running really good and cool. but i would buy the sunbeamtech with the easy exchange fan kit.
    Reply
  • arkadi
    I just love to read toms old school articles like this one :)
    Reply
  • falchard
    What no Coolermaster V10 or Thermaltake SpinQ Vertical?
    Reply
  • Crashman
    kumaitiNot a single top down cooler?? That is disappointing, though I can already see the excuse: "they don't have as much performance as the tower coolers".falchardWhat no Coolermaster V10 or Thermaltake SpinQ Vertical?You would have to ask the manufacturers, since they picked the coolers.
    Reply
  • micky_lund
    prolimatech megahalems
    Reply