Performance and Conclusion
I tested the Wraith cooler with the supplied AMD FX-8370 processor, running it through both simulated load and stress benchmarks. With the motherboard fan control settings at their default levels, the Wraith fan spun at 1700 RPM at idle, ramping up to 3000 RPM under full load.
I created this 2-minute video to provide an example of the sound characteristics one can expect from the Wraith cooler, from idle to full load:
The video begins with the CPU at idle, with the fan spinning at 1700 RPM. The fan speed increases with the CPU load, eventually reaching 3000 RPM by the end of the video. There were some higher frequencies present at various times, but even the full 3000 RPM speed doesn't really present what I would call a "whine".
Actual noise measurements are provided below, and the video depicts a worst-case scenario as the Wraith sits on an open testbench, with the mic about 12 inches away. Even from close proximity like this the sound at idle is a soft, "white noise" which should be inaudible inside most enclosures. Load is noticeably louder, but it has a fairly low-pitched sound; mostly air noise.
Temperatures and Noise
|Processor||AMD FX 8370|
|Motherboard||ASRock 970M Pro3|
|Memory||Samsung OEM 4 GB (2x2GB) 1600 MHz|
|Graphics Card||XFX AMD Radeon 5450 (Fanless)|
|Storage||Corsair Force LE 240GB SSD|
|Power Supply||Corsair TX 650W PSU|
|OS||Windows 8.1 64-bit|
First we will look at the thermal performance of the three tested coolers:
Very impressive! Not only does the Wraith soundly beat the previous thermal solution, but edges out the Hyper 212 EVO in load temps! The EVO offered slightly better idle temps, but they were effectively tied once the +/- 1 degree margin of error is taken into account.
Now the noise results, taken with a digital SPL meter positioned 18" from the coolers:
The Wraith offers fairly quiet noise levels at idle, though it does rise quite a bit under load. The Wraith was 3.7 dB lower than the older stock cooler, though the tested Hyper 212 EVO was quieter still, with load noise 1.8 dB lower than the Wraith under load.
The Wraith's fan shroud features an LED-illuminated logo
The Wraith is a significant upgrade over AMD's outgoing thermal solution, offering lower noise and improved thermal performance. It isn't the quietest cooler I've tested, but inside of a case the noise output should be pretty minimal. AMD claims 39 dBA output from the fan, which is about midway between the idle and load numbers from my testing. I could push it to over 44 dBA, but fan speed/noise will depend on the user's motherboard fan profile, too.
Impressively, the Wraith managed to go toe-to-toe with the ever-popular Hyper 212 EVO cooler in thermal performance, though the Wraith couldn't quite equal the EVO's noise levels (the Hyper 212 EVO has a larger 120 mm fan which spins under 900 RPM at idle, and only 1950 RPM under load).
AMD currently offers the Wraith with a few processors, including (with current Amazon pricing):
This list is likely to grow (it was updated with AMD's announcement back in April), and other products are available with a similar thermal solution that omits the lighted fan shroud.
Bottom line, AMD has improved their stock cooler design to the extent that an aftermarket cooler won't be needed for most users. It kept the FX 8370 processor cool even under demanding multi-threaded loads from the x264 video encoding benchmark, and offers much quieter operation that the previous thermal solution - just as promised. (And it looks great, too!)
If you're thinking about a new CPU, and have AMD in mind, I'd look for the box with the Wraith cooler.