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 Thermalright TRUE Spirit 140 Direct CPU air cooler, performance testing was done using two different configurations – in its default configuration with a single fan mounted to the front of the radiator in a push configuration, and in a dual fan setup for a push-pull configuration (both configurations are 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 TRUE Spirit 140 Direct gives the Noctua NH-d15 a run for its money with its performance staying within an impressive 1-2C across the board.
CPU Overclocked Speed Testing – Maximum air-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 4.20GHz 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 – 1.275
- DRAM Voltage – 1.23
- All other settings set to Auto or stock settings
The performance picture changes a bit for the TRUE Spirit 140 Direct when paired with the overclocked Haswell-E processor. It still performs very well, keeping the processor relatively cool under the high stress loads with its delta compared to the NH-D15 increasing to 5-6C. However, don't let the numbers fool you, the TRUE Spirit 140 Direct's performance is nothing short of amazing given its single slim tower radiator design compared with the Noctua's massive dual tower.
Even with two fans, the TRUE Spirit 140 Direct cooler was whisper quiet with the fans going full speed. Thermalright did their homework on this design, optimizing the air flow path to best utilize a lower power 140mm fan without compromizing performance.