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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  • DougMcC - Friday, February 9, 2024 - link

    Yep, here's why: "Although the name "Eskimo" was commonly used in Alaska to refer to Inuit and Yupik people of the world, this usage is now considered unacceptable by many or even most Alaska Natives, largely since it is a colonial name imposed by non-Indigenous people."
    Basically, it's a slaver name not the name used by the people themselves.
  • charlesg - Friday, February 9, 2024 - link

    Okay. I'm pretty sure we're talking about a piece of computer hardware?

    To be offended by what someone chose to call a piece of computer hardware is just plain bizarre.
  • Threska - Friday, February 9, 2024 - link

    People in Alaska can just open a window if they need a cooler PC.
  • Slash3 - Sunday, February 11, 2024 - link

    Can confirm.
  • GeoffreyA - Saturday, February 10, 2024 - link

    I never knew the term was offensive, but learnt something new, thanks to the OP's comment. The fact that it's not offensive to me doesn't mean it's not offensive to the people whom it refers to, the people on the receiving end of whatever feelings it evokes. After all, the world doesn't revolve around me and my ideas of what are offensive or not.

    Sure, it may be a piece of hardware, but the choice reveals a lot. Even if the word wasn't derogatory, it still comes down to using a name of a people flippantly, from the outside, to market a product.
  • charlesg - Sunday, February 11, 2024 - link

    It's out of control.

    What I'm offended by you being offended?
  • GeoffreyA - Sunday, February 11, 2024 - link

    I agree there's a lot to consider, and I'm not supporting that people should be sensitive to everything that's said. But, on the other hand, English has historically been rife with terms that are derogatory to others.

    I don't understand. Can you explain?
  • TheinsanegamerN - Wednesday, February 14, 2024 - link

    You've contradicted yourself. The implication that English somehow has more derogatory words then other languages is unsupported. If all it takes for you to believe something is "deragatory" is a comment saying it is, then you cant really say you're against people being offended by anything that's said.
  • TheinsanegamerN - Wednesday, February 14, 2024 - link

    Or it's just a word and the naval gazing internet is constantly looking for new words to be triggered by.
  • GeoffreyA - Wednesday, February 14, 2024 - link

    TheinsanegamerN, I agree I could have been tighter in my thinking and phrasing; but what I'm calling for is balance, not for or against. I didn't take the comment as fact, but according to Wikipedia, found that it is viewed negatively by the people in question.

    Again, I do not support people being sensitive to everything said---that leads to censorship. We should be able to speak the truth boldly, no matter whom it upsets: president or clown. On the other hand, we ought to be considerate and not use terms that others, especially innocents, may be hurt by. The one on the receiving end is judge of that. I think it is a matter of discretion. Truth comes first; but freedom of speech has to be combined with respecting human dignity.

    Agreed that English having more derogatory words than others is unsupported.

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