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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  • 0razor1 - Thursday, February 8, 2024 - link

    The AC freezer has its number despite being a 240 unit. Check the 240 and 350W load charts!
    BTW, first?
  • ballsystemlord - Thursday, February 8, 2024 - link

    Spelling/grammar mistake:

    "The company’s performance specifications for the fans appear a little overconfident, especially the extremely low dB(A) rating, which would suggest that the pump is actually louder than the fan(s) and,as we will also see in the following pages, that is most definitely is not the case."

    "that is most definitely is not the case." is incorrect. You need to subtract an "is" or otherwise change the sentence.
  • Ryan Smith - Friday, February 9, 2024 - link

  • Great_Scott - Thursday, February 8, 2024 - link

    Well, it supports ARGB so it fails the attempts at clean minimalism right out the gate.
  • kn00tcn - Thursday, February 8, 2024 - link

    then turn it off you ass, a single solid color lit line absolutely is clean minimalism especially if it's the only lit part
  • PeachNCream - Saturday, February 10, 2024 - link

    This exchange amuses me greatly. Someone so protective of their own thoughts about computing that they'd resort to a profane insult of someone else's opinion says a lot about the target audience of computer gaming parts and the maturity of their buyers. I would be happy to point out that has changed over the years, but the reality is that as new people cycle in and others mature and depart, only the screen names have changed. The template remains disappointingly the same.
  • osv - Friday, March 15, 2024 - link

    i guess that you missed the part where the initial claim by scott was ridiculous, or more like it you probably agree with it, which explains a lot.
  • GhostOfAnand - Thursday, February 8, 2024 - link

    The term E----o is offensive.
  • Foeketijn - Friday, February 9, 2024 - link

    This product can only be made and named by a company/country that doesn't mind racial slurs.
    I am waiting for the first ebook series call "Concentration camps".
  • charlesg - Friday, February 9, 2024 - link


    What a bizarre world some people live in.

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