Testing and Results
Case: Fractal Design XL
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-MA785GMT-UD2H
Processor (CPU): AMD Phenom II X2 555 BE @ X4 B55 3.8GHz
Memory (RAM): GeIL Ultra Plus 2000MHz CL9 4GB
Graphics card (GPU): HIS AMD Radeon HD6950 1GB @ 6970
Hard drives (HDDs): 2x WD 250GB 16MB Caviar SE RAID-0, 1x WD 500GB Black, 1x Samsung SpinPoint F4EG 2TB
Power Supply Unit (PSU): Zalman ZM600-HP
To test CPU coolers we boot the PC up to Windows and measure temperatures under idle and load state, using AIDA64.
All different greases have been applied up to three times to ensure a fair comparison, to eliminate random variables like from a bad mount or too much / less thermal paste.
For idle testing, we simply let the rig sit doing absolutely nothing for 30 minutes and take the most representative temperature of the last 10 minutes. The same is used for the load testing, but instead of letting the PC do nothing; we load all cores to 100% using multiple instances of Prime95 and let the program(s) run for at least 10 minutes. The typical CPU frequency used is 3.80GHz on an AMD Phenom II X4.
For cooling purproses the system is equipped with the Larkooler KU3-241 watercooling loop. The whole system was setup for optimal air flow with multiple 140mm intake and exhaust fans, as is recommended for any system.
[easychart type="horizbar" title="Temperature Results" groupnames="Arctic Cooling MX-4, Arctic Silver 5, Prolimatech PK-1, TherCool ICE-35, TIM-Consultants Quantum, XigmaTek PTI-G3606" valuenames="Idle, Load" group1values="36,55" group2values="38,59" group3values="35,56" group4values="37,57" group5values="36,55" group6values="35,57" ]
[easychart type="horizbar" title="Pricing Comparisons" groupnames="Arctic Cooling MX-4, Arctic Silver 5, Prolimatech PK-1, TherCool ICE-35, TIM-Consultants Quantum, XigmaTek PTI-G3606" valuenames="Volume (g), Min. Price (€), Average (€), Availability, Average €/g" group1values="4,3.9,8.5,15,2.13" group2values="3.5,4.9,8.9,15,2.54" group3values="5,6.65,10.1,10,2.02" group4values="3.5,7.94,8.68,3,2.48" group5values="1.6,3,3,1,1.88" group6values="3,4.5,7.09,5,2.36" ]
The part we’ve all been waiting for: What grease is the most greasy?
For the idle state the PK-1 claims the crown with 35 C, whilst having the MX-4, Quantum and PTI right on its heels.
For best load performance, though, we have a tie. Both the MX-4 and Quantum are superb performers and easily leave most of the competition behind by not exceeding the 55 C, only the PK-1 following up close with 56 C.
Performance-wise, it’s best to avoid the good old AS-5 but the ICE-35 clearly isn’t a winner either.