Introduction and System Setup

Updated Copper Heatsink Comparison

This content was originally featured on and has been converted to PC Perspective’s website. Some color changes and flaws may appear.

Recently the performance minded computer user has been deluged with an ever increasing number of high performance HSF’s, to cool the ever increasing heat generated by today’s faster and faster CPU’s. In the world we live in, that generally translates to HSF’s that use copper as the base metal, either entirely, plated over or with an insert/ copper bottom.

We were recently asked by Vantec USA and Zalman Tech USA to examine their new offerings and to compare them against other top performing HSF’s. Vantec who have not been identified with high performance in the past, but better known for their good solid dependable products priced within the reach of most computer enthusiasts, have definitely entered the fray of high performance HSF’s with this new product. Likewise this was quite a switch for Zalman, who have made a name for themselves producing quiet but innovative HSF’s, with their new product they hope to appeal to the broadest range of computer user’s.

In this study we will present you with a somewhat more detailed view of the two new contenders and a refresher on the other seven. For more details of the seven, please see REVIEWS at; we’ll be looking at a total of nine different Copper/ Copper Content HSF’s.

The test system is a high performance, well cooled Athlon 1.2 GHZ 266 FSB AXIA CPU on an Abit KT7A-Raid motherboard housed in a Lian-Li PC-10 Aluminum Case with all the amenities including Silver Series Rounded IDE Cables and three Panasonic Panaflo 80mm fans producing 47 cfm’s each.

Our tests are conducted under real world conditions in a closed case using a mix of software that best reflects the usage patterns of the great majority of computers used day in and day out.

To take the temperature readings, Award Bios and Via Hardware Monitor are used, a long with employing a heat sensor applied next to the CPU’s core from the DigitalDoc5. The room temperature of 74 degrees Fahrenheit or 23 degrees Celsius is maintained +/- four tenths of a degree.

The mix of software used in our study consisted of business and accounting applications, a varied combination of utilities, AutoCAD Lite, graphic intensive packages, 3D games, surfing the net and burning our favorite CD’s.

Fifty readings per day are taken, in this case, a total of 200 separate readings, with the high and low readings for each day removed. This method is referred to as a Weighted Average.

It is important to note that our interests lay in high performance and that noise generated is not an issue. The exact same 60mm Delta 37 cfm fan that produces 46.5 dBA’s has been used in every one of our tests of heatsinks using a 60mm fan.

So, with all that said, we’ll just add, that what we are able to achieve depends a great deal on having excellent system cooling in place and an Aluminum case doesn’t hurt either. Another major factor is the “Ambient Room Temperature” and the ability we have to control it. You may not be able to achieve what we have because of differences in equipment and environment. Our studies are meant as a guide, to help you make an educated decision based on information provided under the exact same circumstances.

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