Testing Methodology

If you've been keeping up with our case reviews, our testing methodology for the fans here is going to seem relatively similar in some ways. Our test system may seem a bit unusual in more than a few ways, but stick with me and I'll explain why I put it together and tested it the way I did.

Fan and Radiator Testing Configuration
CPU Intel Core i7-2700K overclocked to 4.4GHz @ 1.4V
Motherboard Zotac Z77-ITX WiFi
Graphics Intel HD 3000 IGP
Memory 2x4GB Corsair Value Select DDR3-1333
Drives Kingston SSDNow V+ 100 64GB SSD
Power Supply Corsair CX430
Enclosure BitFenix Shinobi XL Window

The processor, with its healthy voltage boost and overclock, throws a pretty substantial amount of heat at our cooling system. Testing with an i7-2700K at stock speeds would defeat the purpose; Intel's own stock cooler can handle that, we want to "separate the men from the boys" so to speak.

I needed a case that could produce adequate airflow, handle all of the different cooling systems without much trouble, and did not include any sound dampening features. You might be surprised at just how difficult that was to find, but BitFenix came to the rescue and sent over a Shinobi XL. BitFenix's enclosure didn't get the best review when I tested it, but it's actually ideal for this testbed. I removed every case fan but the front intake, which I ran at 5V to prevent it from affecting acoustics while still providing adequate airflow.

Since a dedicated GPU wasn't needed, one wasn't used. This prevents a graphics card from generating additional heat or noise or deflecting airflow.

Thermal and acoustic test cycles were done the same way as our case reviews. First, the system is left powered and idle for fifteen minutes. At this point the sound level is tested, room ambient temperature is recorded, and idle temperatures are recorded. Then eight threads of small FFTs in Prime95 are run for fifteen minutes, and load temperatures are recorded.

Each cooler was tested using its available presets; the PWM-controlled coolers were tested at 30% and 100% using motherboard control.

Thank You!

Before moving on, we'd like to thank the following vendors for providing us with the hardware used in our roundup.

  • Thank you to iBuyPower for providing us with the Intel Core i7-2700K.
  • Thank you to Zotac for providing us with the Z77-ITX WiFi motherboard.
  • Thank you to Kingston for providing us with the SSDNow V+ 100 SSD.
  • Thank you to Corsair for providing us with the CX430 power supply.
  • Thank you to BitFenix for providing us with the Shinobi XL Window enclosure.
Ease of Installation Performance Results
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  • glenster - Friday, February 1, 2013 - link

    The Thermaltake Water 2.0 Extreme is 27dB--how does it compare?
  • Beenthere - Friday, February 1, 2013 - link

    Before long they will be using auto sized radiators to try and surpass the excellent and reliable cooling provided by a highend HSF costing 1/2 the price of an inferior closed loop coolers that can and have leaked in the past causing hundreds of dollars in PC hardware damage, lost data, lack of use of the PC for weeks, RMAs, etc. Why people are so gullible as to buy an inferior CPU cooling system is beyond me. I guess when you're technically challenged, you equate water to better cooling even when it's not.
  • Stuka87 - Friday, February 1, 2013 - link

    "Meanwhile, the radiator itself has a larger reservoir than the competition, is user accessible and serviceable, and is produced from higher quality materials. Instead of just using aluminum, the H220 has copper fins and brass tubing, which theoretically will allow it to both dissipate heat more effectively and last longer. "

    In the quote above, it is stated that the H220 uses copper and brass instead of aluminum. While copper is great as its the best conductor of heat, brass is significantly worse than copper or aluminum. Kind of seams like a price cutting tactic over the use of aluminum and copper. Unless I am missing something?
  • Death666Angel - Friday, February 1, 2013 - link

    My guess would be corrosion.
  • Galcobar - Friday, February 1, 2013 - link

    Galvanic corrosion -- two dissimilar metals in contact are a problem, particularly with something reactive such as copper. It's why you can't use steel brackets to hold copper piping.

    Copper and brass (a copper-zinc alloy) are electrochemically similar so galvanic corrosion isn't an issue. Aluminum, however, is much more anodic than copper or brass.
  • Nickel020 - Monday, February 11, 2013 - link

    Brass is what's used in almost all high-end watercooling radiators, Swiftech isn't cutting any corners there. The fins themselves are actually copper, and that's what's most important. There's also different kinds of brass, and the one they're using for the tubing is almost certainly better than aluminum. Otherwise you'd find high-end watercooling radiators made with aluminum tubing, but they all use brass or (a few) copper.
  • Gc - Friday, February 1, 2013 - link

    The Cinica Eurora article says they claim increased power efficiency in part by running the processors at lower water-cooled temperatures. It could be interesting to see how much power each water-cooling system takes, both for comparing with air-cooled systems, and for comparing with potential processor power savings.
  • Gc - Friday, February 1, 2013 - link

    [Sorry, "air-cooled" is the wrong term for the contrast. These water-cooling systems carry the heat to an air cooled radiator also, just like the vapor cooled heat pipes in many CPU coolers carry heat to an air cooled radiator.]
  • RaistlinZ - Friday, February 1, 2013 - link

    Can fans be mounted on the Swiftech for push/pull config? If so, they've got my money.
  • Dustin Sklavos - Saturday, February 2, 2013 - link

    Why yes. YES THEY CAN! And in fact their fan control header supports up to seven fans!

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