A quiet serene desktop workstation or a performance pixel churning cooling mammoth? Two extremes of the PC cooling world I know, my point being, can a balance be maintained between them?
My current computer has a huge Thermalright XP-90 heatsink and 92mm fan cooling the CPU with an additional 3 80mm case fans. Which as you can imagine isn’t the quietest. But because I always use headphones on and can sleep through the noise when left on overnight I don’t see a need for change. But for some people sound is everything the slightest hum is an assault on their ears.
So for most people I believe they wish to maintain stability and have moderate to high end components while still keeping a reasonable level of noise. This is where my article comes in. In this review I am going to look over Arctic’s Alpine 64. I believe this to be cooling with enough performance to handle all CPUs of the current time while maintaining a reasonable amount of noise. I will be testing its cooling performance against the huge performance monster of Thermalright’s XP-90 and the stock AMD cooler.
A little about Arctic Cooling
ARCTIC COOLING is a private owned company founded in 2001 with headquarters in Switzerland, offices in Hong Kong and with production facilities in Asia. The team of ARCTIC COOLING insists on international young highly educated people with business, technical and communicational skills. The attitude to work is based on the Swiss innovative spirit and adheres to the high Swiss standard recognized internationally. This striving for excellence is integrated in all processes and is a matter of course. ARCTIC COOLING’s core competencies are multifarious such as systematic noise reduction, copper and aluminum heatsinks, customizing of thermal solutions, “Just-in-time” fan manufacturing, Ceramic Bearing, Multiple Signal Output / BIOS interface and low noise Fan Blade Design.
- Extremely Quiet
- Patented Fan casing
- Integrated cooling of voltage converters
- Patented Vibration Absorption
- Easy Installation
- Long Lifetime
All AMD Sempron, Athlon 64 and Athlon 64 FX CPUs
AMD Athlon X2 up to 3800+
Heatsink dimension: 78 (L) x 98 (W) x 56 (H) mm
Fan dimension: 113 (L) x 101 (W) x 47.2 (H) mm
Cooler dimension: 113 (L) x 101 (W) x 91.7 (H) mm
Fan Speed: 2000 RPM
Air Flow: 36 CFM
Bearing: Fluid Dynamic Bearing
Weight: 486 g
Well here’s the box with most of the information stated above (box mashed during transport). There is also a good diagram of how the “integrated cooling of voltage converters” works and a diagram showing the fluid dynamic bearings used in this cooler.
Upon ripping away the blurb we are left with the cooler itself. It’s quite different to normal CPU coolers because of the cage like structure actually holding the fan above the heatsink sink rather that the fan sitting on the heatsink itself. Upon further inspection I see why this would help.
The fan cage itself is attached to the heatsink by a sort of rubber suspension mechanism that would halt any vibrations from the spinning fan resonating to the heatsink. Clever idea Arctic, I have seen many sort of rubber dampening strips but never a whole structure to suspend the fan.
The cooler is a common air pushed through fins type heatsink with no fancy extras such as heatpipes. The 92mm fan blows air downwards through the fins creating a gradient of cool air for the warmth from the CPU to move up the fins and move into the passing air.
Here is my AMD 3000 Winchester all cleaned up and ready to have the arctic cooler fitted.
Installation involves hooking 2 arms onto 2 edges on the stock AMD retention bracket then tightening the screws holding them to achieve good contact between the heatsink base and the CPU. This was done with ease, nothing like the power battle when installing the XP-90 for example.
Firstly a point noted while installing. When installing the cooler I noticed how close the cooler is to the memory slots on my board. I had to take out the memory to be able to get the cooler into the right place to hook the arms onto the bracket. This may be a problem to people. Also once installed the heatsink comes quite close to the modules. This way be worrying or may even be beneficial as it might generate air flow past the memory modules helping with their cooling.
AMD 3000 Winchester
1Gig Geil Value PC3200
Arctic Alpine 64 / ThermalRight XP-90 and 92mm YS-Tech fan / Stock AMD heatsink
I will be testing the Arctic Cooler for cooling performance and noise generated. It will be tested against a performance based heatsink and fan; the Thermalright XP-90 and the stock AMD heatsink.
I predict that the Arctic Cooler should cool considerably better than the stock AMD heatsink but fall behind in cooling versus the XP-90. The point being the XP-90 should be louder than the sound conscious design of the Arctic Alpine 64.
The heatsinks will be tested under idle which involves booting up the PC, leaving for 30 minutes then a measurement took. And also be tested under load where a loop of mathematical calculations will be presented to the CPU to solve using the stress test of Prime95.
As you can see my prediction was correct. The XP-90 easily takes the lead in both idle and load but generated a lot of noise compared to the near silent but not so bad cooling of the Arctic Alpine 64.
All in all the Arctic Alpine 64 has achieved what Arctic has aimed for. The heatsink has good cooling performance while maintaining a low level of sound generated.
I would mainly suggest this heatsink for anyone wanted a good cooling upgrade from their stock AMD heatsink or for that matter anyone wishing to aim for a quieter computer from a performance heatsink and fan such as the XP-90.
|Good cooling performance||May be too wide for some motherboards|
|Easy to install|