Testing Methodology

Although the testing of a cooler appears to be a simple task, that could not be much further from the truth. Proper thermal testing cannot be performed with a cooler mounted on a single chip, for multiple reasons. Some of these reasons include the instability of the thermal load and the inability to fully control and or monitor it, as well as the inaccuracy of the chip-integrated sensors. It is also impossible to compare results taken on different chips, let alone entirely different systems, which is a great problem when testing computer coolers, as the hardware changes every several months. Finally, testing a cooler on a typical system prevents the tester from assessing the most vital characteristic of a cooler, its absolute thermal resistance.

The absolute thermal resistance defines the absolute performance of a heatsink by indicating the temperature rise per unit of power, in our case in degrees Celsius per Watt (°C/W). In layman's terms, if the thermal resistance of a heatsink is known, the user can assess the highest possible temperature rise of a chip over ambient by simply multiplying the maximum thermal design power (TDP) rating of the chip with it. Extracting the absolute thermal resistance of a cooler however is no simple task, as the load has to be perfectly even, steady and variable, as the thermal resistance also varies depending on the magnitude of the thermal load. Therefore, even if it would be possible to assess the thermal resistance of a cooler while it is mounted on a working chip, it would not suffice, as a large change of the thermal load can yield much different results.

Appropriate thermal testing requires the creation of a proper testing station and the use of laboratory-grade equipment. Therefore, we created a thermal testing platform with a fully controllable thermal energy source that may be used to test any kind of cooler, regardless of its design and or compatibility. The thermal cartridge inside the core of our testing station can have its power adjusted between 60 W and 340 W, in 2 W increments (and it never throttles). Furthermore, monitoring and logging of the testing process via software minimizes the possibility of human errors during testing. A multifunction data acquisition module (DAQ) is responsible for the automatic or the manual control of the testing equipment, the acquisition of the ambient and the in-core temperatures via PT100 sensors, the logging of the test results and the mathematical extraction of performance figures.

Finally, as noise measurements are a bit tricky, their measurement is being performed manually. Fans can have significant variations in speed from their rated values, thus their actual speed during the thermal testing is being recorded via a laser tachometer. The fans (and pumps, when applicable) are being powered via an adjustable, fanless desktop DC power supply and noise measurements are being taken 1 meter away from the cooler, in a straight line ahead from its fan engine. At this point we should also note that the Decibel scale is logarithmic, which means that roughly every 3 dB(A) the sound pressure doubles. Therefore, the difference of sound pressure between 30 dB(A) and 60 dB(A) is not "twice as much" but nearly a thousand times greater. The table below should help you cross-reference our test results with real-life situations.

The noise floor of our recording equipment is 30.2-30.4 dB(A), which represents a medium-sized room without any active noise sources. All of our acoustic testing takes place during night hours, minimizing the possibility of external disruptions.

<35dB(A) Virtually inaudible
35-38dB(A) Very quiet (whisper-slight humming)
38-40dB(A) Quiet (relatively comfortable - humming)
40-44dB(A) Normal (humming noise, above comfortable for a large % of users)
44-47dB(A)* Loud* (strong aerodynamic noise)
47-50dB(A) Very loud (strong whining noise)
50-54dB(A) Extremely loud (painfully distracting for the vast majority of users)
>54dB(A) Intolerable for home/office use, special applications only.

*noise levels above this are not suggested for daily use

Introduction & the Cooler Testing Results
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  • PeachNCream - Tuesday, August 16, 2022 - link

    Interesting overreaction you're having there.
  • philehidiot - Wednesday, August 17, 2022 - link

    Overreaction? Who me or him? Tell me damnit! I NEED TO KNOW!

    /hysterical screeching
  • Silvas - Friday, August 19, 2022 - link

    Are you feeling better about yourself now that you've pontificated about how stupid and 'plant-like' the 'idiots' who 'prodigiously throw away' month on these 'bling toys'?
    Psst there are better ways to feel better about yourself than putting others down. Putting others down is a momentary boost; what you should be seeking is a long term solution to the root cause, which in your case I suspect would best come from seeking therapy.
  • PeachNCream - Friday, August 19, 2022 - link

    This is pretty much exactly what I mean about simply responding to external stimulus in a predictable, face-toward-light manner. Plant identified.
  • philehidiot - Monday, August 22, 2022 - link

    Nah, you're just getting the response you know you deserve because you spouted arrogant and invalid nonsense and you're twisting it to "you're all so predictable" so you can feel superior and deny reality.


    Whinging about the effect being so predictable does make you superior, it just means you knew the response you'd get and either were trying to provoke because you're bored and want attention, or you're just too unoriginal to accomplish anything more interesting / productive.

    Either way, it's a little sad when you're resorting to petty abuse rather than defending your "case".

    Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go and water myself.
  • PeachNCream - Monday, August 22, 2022 - link

    It's been a few days and you're still upset enough to text wall over a hobbyist computer component.
  • philehidiot - Wednesday, August 24, 2022 - link

    I've just had some tricky dumps. But you're still replying because you *need* the last word. It's that ego problem again, isn't it?
  • PeachNCream - Thursday, August 25, 2022 - link

    A shorter comment this time! Excellent!

    Sooooo...are you going to actually discuss why a pointless product like this is supposed to have a point at this stage or will you continue to live up to your self-assigned UID?
  • Stuka87 - Tuesday, August 16, 2022 - link

    Not a fan of how the cooler lines come out of the top. Its technically better for flow to not have an immediate 90 degree turn (like corsair and such have). But they are going to get bent anyway because the hoses are likely to hit the side panel depending on case depth.
  • Oxford Guy - Sunday, August 21, 2022 - link

    I should start a gaming supply company. I, too, could come up with boneheaded decisions like using fans that aren't designed for radiators. Apparently, failure is the path to success.

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