Installation and Testing
For this review, I will be using an AMD Athlon 64 CPU with the OEM retention frame. Prior to installation I cleaned both the CPU IHS and heatsink base with Isopropyl alcohol and applied a small amount of Arctic Silver 5 thermal compound. The 3D Rocket cooler was then carefully set into position and secured with the supplied clip.
The K8 clip was very similar to the original OEM heatsink clip and proved very easy to use.
The Gigabyte 3D Rocket Cooler-Pro was tested on an open frame K8 test rig consisting of the following components. The ambient room air temperature was maintained at 24Â°C Â±0.5Â°C. The CPU was loaded by running Folding@Home 24/7. Several dozen temperature reading were recorded and averaged over 24 to 48 hours for each test.
- Asus K8N-E Deluxe nForce3-250 motherboard
- AMD Athlon 64 3200+
- Seasonic SuperTornado 400 watt ATX power supply
- (2) Corsair CMX512-3200C2 DDR RAM
- ATI Radeon 9800 Pro
- WD800JB IDE HDD
- Sony 16X DVD, FDD
- Windows XP Pro with SP1
To facilitate taking accurate CPU temperature measurements I attached a very small Omega thermocouple to the side of the Athlon 64 IHS with Arctic Alumina thermal epoxy. The measurement equipment used during testing included:
- CPU/IHS — Barnant Model 115 digital thermometer (accuracy +/- 0.4Âº C)
- Ambient air — Barnant Model 115 digital thermometer (accuracy +/- 0.4Âº C)
- Extech Model 407736 digital sound level meter (accuracy +/- 1.5 dB)
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).
CPU — Temperature reported by Asus PC Probe utility (internal diode)
Tc — Temperature obtained with calibrated thermocouple attached to IHS
Delta T — Fully loaded Tc temperature rise above ambient
dBA — Sound pressure level recorded 3′ away (background ~30 dBA)
For comparison, here are the results from several other popular high-performance HSFs tested on the same CPU under the same conditions.
- Cooler Master Hyper 6 (CM variable speed, 80mm fan)
- Thermalright XP-120 (120mm Panaflo L1A fan)
- Zalman CNSP7000A-CU (Zalman variable speed, 80mm fan)
- Athlon 64 3200+ OEM aluminum HSF (70mm fan)
As you can see, the 3D Rocket Cooler-Pro did a good job cooling the stock Athlon 64 3200+ but was not silent, especially at higher speeds. It also did not perform as well as the top-rated Hyper 6 and XP-120 heat pipe coolers. However, the 3D Rocket Cooler-Pro is smaller in size and much easier to mount than either of the two larger coolers.