Cooler Comparison Testing
Cooler Testing Methods
To best gage the quality of the system coolers under review, system CPU temperature and cooling system audio measurements were taken with the CPU idle and under load. To replicate CPU idle conditions, the system was rebooted and allowed to sit idle for 10 minutes. To replicate a stress system load, AIDA64 System Stability Test was used in conjunction with EVGA OC Scanner X for 30 minutes per run. After each run, the system was shut down and allowed to rest for 10 minutes to cool down. Then the CPU cooler was removed, cleaned, and remounted to the CPU with fresh thermal paste applied. This procedure was repeated a total of six times for each cooler – three times each for the stock and overclocking speed runs on the X99-based system.
Temperature measurements were taken directly from the CPU thermistors using CoreTemp v1.61. Because of the volatile nature of the Haswell-E thermistor readings, the system temperatures were measured as follows. For idle temperatures, the highest recorded value was used for the run. For load temperatures, a series of three values were notated: the average (high and low) across all cores, the average (high and low) across the single highest core, and the high temperature.
To adequately measure the performance of the Alphacool Eisblock XPX CPU water block, performance testing was done using two different configurations – in its default configuration with its ports in vertically oriented between the upper and lower the memory slots and in its alternate configuration with its ports horizontally oriented between the upper and lower memory slots (both orientations shown on the Test Configuration page).
Note that the temperature values are reported as deltas rather than absolute temperatures with the delta value reported calculated as CPU temperature – ambient temperature. For all tests, room ambient temperature was maintained between 23-27C.
Intel X99-based Haswell-E System Testing
CPU Stock Speed Testing
The CPU stock speed testing was conducted with the BIOS defaults set for the CPU and Turbo Mode disabled, equating to a 3.0GHz CPU speed, 2133MHz memory speed, 3.0GHz ring bus speed, and 100MHz base clock. The Intel Speedstep functionality remained enabled for the duration of the testing to get realistic CPU idle performance conditions.
With the Haswell-E processor at stock speeds, the Eisblock XPX water block maintained reputable performance with it seated in either configuration on the board. Its performance remained within a degree or two of the best performing blocks with little difference seen between the different seating configurations.
CPU Overclocked Speed Testing – Maximum water-cooled speed
The CPU overclocked speed testing was conducted with known stable settings from a previous board review with Turbo Mode disabled, equating to a 4.50GHz CPU speed, 2666MHz memory speed, 4.0GHz ring bus speed, and 100MHz base clock. The Intel Speedstep functionality remained enabled for the duration of the testing to get realistic CPU idle performance conditions.
Board voltage settings were configured as follows:
- CPU Core Voltage – 1.35
- DRAM Voltage – 1.23
- All other settings set to Auto or stock settings
The Eisblock XPX block's performance on the overclocked Haswell-E processor was more telling because of the increased thermal load placed on it. While it was not the top performer, it maintained a close distance to those, being the EK Supremacy MX and the XPSC Raystorm Pro blocks. The Eisblock XPX seemed to perform best in its default configuration and even managed to outperform its predecessor, the NexXxos XP3 Light block, by 5C.