Comparative testing

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According to a Cooler Master press release, the new XDream Special Edition “is our overclockers choice cooler that even over performs our famous HHC-001.” Does that mean the axial fan version will still outperform the new Aero 7 with a blower? Let’s see how the two compare and then put them up against a couple other favorite all copper coolers in the performance/value market.

Each heatsink will be tested on the same AMD Athlon XP-2400+ platform. The following table lists the heatsinks and fans that were tested.



Cooler Master XDream SE

Cooler Master 80 mm (min. speed)  25 CFM


Cooler Master 80 mm (50% speed) ~44 CFM


Cooler Master 80 mm (max. speed)  62 CFM


Panaflo 80 mm H1A, 40 CFM


Delta 80 mm SHE, 69 CFM



Cooler Master Aero 7

Cooler Master 70 mm blower (min. speed)  11 CFM


Cooler Master 70 mm blower (50% speed) ~19 CFM


Cooler Master 70 mm blower (max. speed)  27 CFM



Thermalright SK-7

Panaflo 80 mm H1A, 40 CFM


Delta 80 mm SHE, 69 CFM



Thermaltake Volcano 11

Thermaltake SF2 (min. speed)  21 CFM


Thermaltake SF2 (50% speed) ~49 CFM


Thermaltake SF2 (max. speed)  76 CFM



OEM Aluminum HSF

Cooler Master 60 mm x 10 mm



The computer used for testing is an open-chassis test rig running a stock AMD Athlon XP-2400+. Here is a list of the equipment used during testing.

Cooler Master: The XDream SE and Aero 7 - Cases and Cooling 15

Test computer components:

  • Epox 8RDA+ nForce2 motherboard with 3129 BIOS
  • AMD Thoroughbred XP-2400+ @ 2000 MHz and 1.65 Vcore
  • 256 MB Corsair XMS PC3500C2 DDR RAM (3-2-2-2.0) 2.77 Vdimm
  • Antec SmartPower 400 watt PSU
  • 80 GB Western Digital SE 7200 RPM HD, Plextor CD-R/W, FDD
  • Gainward Geforce4 MX 440 AGP
  • nForce2 onboard NIC and sound
  • Windows XP Pro SP-1 (with all critical updates)
  • nForce2 Universal drivers 2.03
Measuring equipment used:
  • Ambient air – Barnant Model 115 digital thermometer (accuracy +/- 0.4º C)
  • CPU core – Barnant Model 115 digital thermometer (accuracy +/- 0.4º C)
  • Calibration – ASTM-T mercury precision thermometer (accuracy +/- 0.1º C)
  • Extech Model 407736 digital sound level meter (accuracy +/- 1.5 dB)
Both digital thermometers were single point field calibrated to within +/- 0.2º C with the 3-point calibrated precision thermometer at 25.0º C.

The ambient air temperature was measured with a thermocouple mounted on the end of a laboratory thermometer located right over the center of each fan. This provides an accurate temperature of the air entering the HSF.

The CPU core temperature was measured with a 0.010” thermocouple (Omega 5TC-TT-K-30-36-SMP-M) attached to the side of the CPU die with Arctic Alumina epoxy. This provides much greater accuracy and repeatability than relying on either the in-socket thermistor or on-die thermistor temperatures reported in the BIOS or via MotherBoard Monitor 5. Because the actual CPU core temperature is being more accurately measured, this temperature may seem unusually high to some. The in-socket temperature as reported by MotherBoard Monitor 5 is also listed for comparison.

Cooler Master: The XDream SE and Aero 7 - Cases and Cooling 16

The CPU was fully loaded by running the distributed computing application Folding@Home 24/7. Idle temperatures were recorded 1 hour after a cold boot into Windows XP and load temperatures were recorded multiple times over a minimum 24 hour period and then averaged. The ambient air temperature remained constant at 23.0º C +/- 0.5º C.

Before mounting each heatsink, the CPU and heatsink base were cleaned with isopropyl alcohol. I rub a little AS3 into the base and apply a very thin coat of AS3 to the CPU core. Each heatsink was mounted at least 3 times to insure consistent results.

The following data is presented for comparative purposes only. Your actual results may be different depending on the variables unique to your system (CPU, overclock, ambient temperature, case air flow, temperature monitoring, etc).

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