Noise Results And Acoustic Efficiency
Cooler Master’s Nepton 280L has the noisiest fans of the four coolers being evaluated today, though the dubious honor of chart-topper goes to the previously-reviewed Corsair H100i at its maximum fan speed. The Seidon 240M was even noisier outside the case, which is one of the reasons we put most of our PCs into cases.
Back in the original AMD Athlon days, some companies sold inferior heat sinks with super-fast fans simply to win cooling comparisons. It was then that I decided cooling-to-noise was the true measure of a cooler’s performance. Noctua’s old air cooler is the one to beat, so it’s the basis of comparison.
Only Thermaltake’s previously-tested Water2.0 Extreme is able to beat the air cooler when we chart cooling-to-noise, and only when it's set to automatic mode. Higher-speed fans give many of the other configurations superior cooling, but only with a disproportionate increase in noise. Most of us prefer to let the motherboard control our cooling systems, but that also adds another layer of variability to a test that we’re trying to keep fair.