System Setup, Anaylsis and Conclusion

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We will present you with our findings based on the performance of the Thermalright AX-7 using four different 80 mm fans and we’ll share, not only the temperatures of each fan with you, but will include the CFM’s and dBA’s of each.

Our test system is comprised of the Athlon XP-1800 CPU which at stock settings equals 1.53 MHz at 66 watts, 512 Mbytes of Crucial PC2100 DDR memory on a Soyo Dragon Plus motherboard housed in a Cooler Master ATC-201 Aluminum Case which we believe is the most cooling friendly case available. Also included are all the amenities you would expect to find in a high end computer, including Silver Series Rounded IDE Cables, CDROM, CDRW, a Floppy Drive, Iomega Zip 250 and a Seagate 60 Gig ATA100 hard drive running Windows ME.

Our tests are conducted under real world conditions in a closed aluminum case using a mix of software that best reflects the usage patterns of the majority of computers used day in and day out. The tests run for a consecutive four day period. To record temperatures, we employ Award Bios and a heat sensor applied next to the CPU’s core from the DigitalDoc5. The room temperature of 74 degrees Fahrenheit or 23.3 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 for a total of 200 separate readings, with the high and low readings for each day removed leaving a total 192 readings which are then averaged out to obtain our “Average Attained Temperature”.

What we are able to achieve depends a great deal on having excellent system cooling in place, in an Aluminum case. A tremendous factor often not paid attention to, but critical 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. It is also important to note, that the test system is NOT overclocked in any way and our results were achieved running at stock settings.

The Thermalright AX-7 was tested with all four fans and put through the exact same testing procedure; nothing was changed except the fans used.

Luckily for me, I decided to run the first test with the notorious Delta FFB0812EHE fan; my wife threatened divorce, unless I changed the fan, so when I changed to the Delta FFB0812SHE she thought it was an improvement, she was finally happy with the Panaflo FBA08A12U, that was a close call 🙂

First, we’ll check out how well our AX-7 performed against the three HSF’s in its class, using the same equipment and test methodology!!! The same Delta FFB0812SHE 80 mm fan producing 68.5 CFM at a noise level of 48.5 dBA’s was used on all four HSF’s

Ave. Attained Temps.
Swiftech MCX-462
85F – 29.4C
Thermalright AX-7
86F – 30.0C
Swiftech MC-462A Rev1*
89F – 31.7C
Alpha Pal-8045T
90F – 32.2C

* No longer manufactured.

Here is another piece of interesting information!!

Swiftech MCX-462
$49.95 USD
Thermalright AX-7
$29.95 USD
Alpha Pal-8045T
$39.50 USD

Now we’ll take a look at how well the Thermalright AX-7 performed using different 80 mm fans that get progressively quieter.

Ave. Attained Temps.
Delta FFB0812EHE
84F – 28.9C
Delta FFB0812SHE
86F – 30.0C
Panaflo FBA08A12U
90F – 32.2C
ThermalTake TT-8025
97F – 37.1C

I was to chicken to go with a lower, thus quieter, CFM fan; I get nervous when my CPU hits the century mark, especially with what I’ve invested (time and money) in my system, aluminum case and all!!


The engineer in me just loves radical design and innovation and when it’s coupled with practical application and performance, I get goose bumps all over. 🙂 The AX-7 offers all of these and more, as can be seen in our tests.

Points of special interest include the use of the three pronged clip and the universal compatibility with most modern motherboards. In some cases it may require bending a capacitor or two a hair (very carefully) out of the way, but that’s about it.

A theory I have that seems to have some validity, is that with large heatsinks; the more the heatsinks base/heat spreader extends beyond the motherboards socket without a proportioned increase in total mass, hot air seems to get trapped between the motherboard and base of the heatsink thus negating some of the expected gain in cooling performance. I believe, if you look at our photos again you can see, how this potential problem was dealt with and why I believe the Thermalright AX-7 performs so well!!!

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