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Matching CPU to Heatsink Cooler

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Matching CPU to Heatsink Cooler: Does It Matter?

By Tom Jaskulka

Back when I was given an opportunity to review SilverStone’s new Argon series of coolers, the system I was using at the time for testing CPU coolers was based on an AM3+ processor. The AR03 was recommended out of the two for my platform, due to it’s larger physical size than a Socket 1155 CPU – for which the smaller AR01 would be more appropriate.

This generated some questions for me – exactly how much of a difference does this make? How important is it to pick an appropriate cooler for your platform, and what exactly does that even mean? Ultimately they’re all just a chunk of metal that transfers some heat, right? I took the opportunity to compare the AR01 and AR03 Argon coolers from SilverStone on two different platforms to see some data. I had a theory, now it’s time to put it to the test!

AR01_Items

AR03_Items

I don’t foresee any fundamental scientific discoveries here (a lot of the following information will fall under the “common sense” category), but I was curious what the difference between these two coolers would be on different-sized CPUs. What follows is a short summary of what I found!

Features & Specifications

Model No. SST-AR01
Material Copper heat pipes with aluminum fins
Application Intel Socket LGA775/115X/1366/2011 AMD Socket AM2/AM3/FM1/FM2
Heat Pipe Type Ø8mm heat-pipe x 3
Cooling System 120mm x 120mm x 25mm fan
Noise 16.4-33.5 dBA
Bearing Sleeve Bearing
Net Weight 420g (without fan)
Voltage Rating (V) 12V
Start Voltage (V) ≤7V
Air Flow (CFM) 37.2~81.4CFM
Speed (R.P.M.) 1000~2200RPM
Life Expectance (hrs) 40,000 hours
Dimension 120mm (W) x 50mm (D) x 159mm (H) (without Fan)

 

Model No. SST-AR03
Material Copper heat pipes with aluminum fins
Application Intel Socket LGA775/115X/1366/2011
AMD Socket AM2/AM3/FM1/FM2
Heat Pipe Type Ø6mm heat-pipe x 6
Cooling System 120mm x 120mm x 25mm fan
Noise 16.4-33.5 dBA
Bearing Sleeve Bearing
Net Weight 560g (without fan)
Voltage Rating (V) 12V
Start Voltage (V) ≤7V
Air Flow (CFM) 37.2~81.4CFM
Speed (R.P.M.) 1000~2200RPM
Life Expectance (hrs) 40,000 hours
Dimension 140mm (W) x 50mm (D) x 159mm (H) (without Fan)


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3 comments

  1. Chris

    At the moment, the current generation of top crop of heatsinks are the Cryorig R1 Ultimate and the Noctua D15. They are both large dual towers with moderate fin densities and weigh 900g-1kg without fans and perhaps ~1.3 kg with fans.

    There are other issues of course other than contact. The heatsink you showed did not solder the heatpipes to the fins. Newer coolers generally do that. The thickness of the heatpipe itself is another matter. Then of course, the fin density and surface area of air.

    Will these truths become irrelevant? Nope. LGA 2011 CPUs still put out a massive amount of heat. HIghly overclocked Haswell >4.5 GHz use a lot of power too when overclocked.

    1. Tom Jaskulka

      I was about to reply that I’ve had my eye on Cryorig’s gear since they released their R1, but unfortunately haven’t had a chance to test their lineup since they weren’t available in the US…

      …and just discovered that they added Newegg.com to their distributor list. Hopefully we’ll get a chance to test some of their coolers sometime in the next few months! You’re right though, there are definitely a lot of variables between different heatsinks that can affect their performance – the AR01/AR03 were just similar enough that I could try and identify the difference that the contact surface/heatpipes would make.

      AM3+ CPUs and the Sandy/Ivy Bridge-E processors still benefit from these higher-tier coolers as you’ve mentioned, but Haswell still makes me suspect the barrier is more of an internal factor. Looks like I’ll need to get around to updating the testbed sometime to find out… Thanks for reading!

  2. Chris

    Ideally, try to get the R1 Ultimate. The R1 Universal is a few degrees warmer, but allows for 4 DIMM slots.

    At the moment:

    – The D15 seems to win on LGA 1150 sockets and AM3 sockets
    – The R1 Ultimate seems to win on LGA 2011 sockets, so probably 2011-3 as well

    The annoying thing is right now there are no R1s in Canada.

    Oh and the R1 seems to have the best mounting system of any cooler around. You’ll see it if you get it.

    The newer heatsinks generally have:
    – Denser fin density (the R1 is interesting because it is fan-low density-high density)
    – The heatpipes are now soldered
    – Everyone is using higher speed fans

    Haswell (4 core) actually runs pretty hot. You’d have to delid to get best cooling performance. Same with Ivy. The E series though use the indium solder, so it’s not an issue.

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