SocketA Coolers Roundup. Q1`2004
Recently, we tested all the most popular coolers for SocketA processors:
P4 Coolers: Q4`2003
Coolers for AMD: Q4`2003
Coolers for P4: Q3`2003
Coolers for AMD: Q3`2003
This platform is already moving towards its decline which will probably start no earlier than the year 2005. It means that for at least one year ahead AMD will be supplying processors for the socket, and other manufacturers will be shipping motherboards and coolers.
As regards the coolers, with all the variety of models the user has almost no choice. Developers so far have failed to create a cooler of balanced performance (efficiency, small mass, low noise level). The main criticism is just about the noise level which is still at an unacceptably high mark for most coolers. That is why we'll be treating this parameter as equal as the cooling efficiency. We'll be bringing in all the other parameters (mass, sizes, fastening scheme, processing quality etc.) only for estimation.
Today, we are reviewing three coolers made by Spire - a new line of Igloo 2510 coolers and a brand-new Titan CU9TB/SC cooler.
Titan is among the largest manufacturers of cooling devices. Its main activity is about producing cheap coolers. But in the sector of high-efficiency coolers, the company has nothing to offer. The only product which could have pretensions for the crown was CU5TB cooler.
However, despite its low price (under $13) and the full copper radiator with a smart aluminum fan, the cooler hasn't gained popularity among the users. Its main issue was the noise level of the fan. Therefore, you could only use such a cooler with a speed regulator only, which had to be purchased separately.
Quite recently, Titan has presented a new model for the public judgment: Titan CU9TB/SC in which, hopefully, all the predecessor's flaws will be fixed.
The cooler is packaged in a big box, and thoroughly wrapped in foam-rubber. Besides, in the box there is a tub with the famous "silvery paste" (highly non-recommended for use) and a speed regulator (highly recommended). The presence of a speed regulator is a big step forward as compared to CU5TB.
On the face of it, the cooler is very nice: the copper radiator is inside a gleaming metal housing, on top of which there is a fan made of transparent plastic. The fan's fins are colored blue, and on the fan itself there is a plastic protective grid.
Note that the fastening clip has a hook on all the six teeth of the processor socket. The cramp is resilient enough, so there aren't any issues during installation. But in so doing you have to use improvised means, a screwdriver.
When it comes to the processing of the base, Titan coolers have always been among the leaders at that criterion. So CU9TB proved no exception: the base is polished to the mirror gleam (10/10 mark).
To protect it against scratches and corrosion, there is a plastic film glued to the base.
Now let's take a closer look at the fan. Its maximum rotational speed is =4200 RPM (with the minimum 1800 RPM). The air flow is 42.08 CFM(18.03CFM), ad the noise level does not exceed 36dBa (~20dBa).
In practice, the fan demonstrated excellent acoustic performance: in the normal mode, the noise was quite acceptable. As the rotational speed dropped to the minimum, the noise from the fan disappeared completely!
And the favorable impression from the cooler disappeared completely right after the very first tests. The cooler showed very poor efficiency: by 6 C worse than its predecessor, CU5TB! After the thorough search I found out the cause: it turned out that engineers at Titan followed a vicious circle towards cost reductions. In particular, the radiator fins are not welded to the base like it is in CU5TB, but glued with some sort of thermal interface (which proved to be of rather poor quality, as the results showed).
This fact made the advantages of the cooler null and void. As a result, the cooler might be of interest to only the users of weak processors who are after noiseless operation of the CPU unit.
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