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 three times for each cooler – three times each for the stock speed runs on the AMD X370-based systems.

Temperature measurements were taken directly from the CPU thermistors using CoreTemp v1.11 and HWiNFO64 for the test runs. For idle temperatures, the lowest recorded repeatable value was used for the run. For load temperatures, the highest reported repeatable core value awas used for the run..

To adequately measure the performances of both coolers, performance testing was done for all scenarios under single fan mode using vendor provided fans. Fans were directly connected to the PSU and run at full speed for all tests performed.

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. Sound measurements of the system cooler where taken with the sound meter placed 3 feet away from the system with all other devices in the room silenced. The Sound Meter Pro applet on a Samsung Galaxy S5 mobile phone was used to measure decibel level.

AMD X370-based Ryzen System Testing

Editor’s Note: Performance numbers are reported for stock performance only using the NH-L9a-AMD cooler because of the cooler’s design and targeted use audience.

CPU Stock Speed Testing

The CPU stock speed testing was conducted with the BIOS defaults set for the CPU (including enabling of the CPU-integrated graphics processor), equating to a 3.4GHz CPU speed, 2400MHz memory speed, and 100MHz base clock.

Even though it came in at the back of the pack, the Noctua NH-L9a-AMD cooler performed at stock speeds when its size its taken into account. The cooler is a modest 120mm copper and aluminum cube, ensuring its compatibility with also any system build. However, it modest size does limit its cooling potential to the stock speed realm.

Sound Testing

The NH-L9a-AMD cooler is whisper quiet operating at full speed mode, inaudible over the system or graphics card fans.

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