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Saturday, November 07, 2009

Intel Core i5 CPU cooling

When I unboxed the Core i5 750 CPU I went like "huh? this tiny cooler is going to cool down this number cruncher?!" So at first I was very surprised, how quiet my Core i5 system would work. While dealing with everyday tasks such as writing protocols and reading online stuff, the boxed cooler will never turn faster than 1100 rpm, it's nearly inaudible. The main reason lies in low clock rates. The cpu would hardly ever run any of the four cores at more than 1,2 GHz - remeber: the nominal speed is 2.66 GHz with a designated possible max of 3,2 GHz for individual cores in certain situations (Intel calls it turbo frequency).

So what happens when you bring the cpu close to it's thermal limits by running more demanding tasks? The boxed cooler goes wooooOOOOOOO! The sound would annoy me to no end because suddenly the boxed cooler is rocketing to 2600 rpm. Time to look out for alternatives. Screenshot on the right shows values for Intel stock cooler / one of the cores at 3200 MHz



The Zalman product I had in mind is not available in Switzerland yet, so I bought the cheapest substitude: an Arctic Cooling Freezer Xtreme rev.2 for just CHF 44 / €28. What can such a cooler do for you? Isn't that obvious when you look at the following picture? The smaller cooler is the Intel cooler shipped with the Core i5 750.


To me it doesn't make much sense to write a lengthy review since I'm not into overclocking. Just let me tell you, that I'm totally happy with the performance of this cooler. While using firefox it runs @560 rpm (ASUS cpu cooling set to silent profile), at full load it still remains absolutely silent @1200 rpm. You really can't hear the thing at all. While I only care for the noise level - even at those low rotational speeds the cpu temperature is 10°C lower.



on the left: values for arctic cooling freezer xtreme rev.2 / one of the cores at 3200 MHz


I will soon publish a video, to let you hear the difference between the two coolers. >> Update nov 09 - done!




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