Date: September 6th, 2006
Article by: Joe Anderson (Hardware Reviewer)
Edited by: Nathan Glentworth (Owner / Head Editor)
Product was submitted by: APACK
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PRODUCT INSTALLATION AND TESTING
With the manual and mounting accessories at hand, all you'll need to supply is a screwdriver and installation can proceed. Choose the appropriate bracket for your application (AMD 939 in this case), determine optimal orientation, and secure the bracket with the four screws. With the protective plastic out of the way, the thermal compound can be applied and the cooler installed onto the retention bracket. The manual also suggests what to do if a “CPU fan error” is encountered due to the low speed fan. I didn't encounter this error.
I'm impressed with how easily and securely the BTF-80 is installed. Anyone that has installed an OEM AMD cooler will find this cooler a snap to use. The fins are very close to the top of the nearest memory stick. While this will not affect performance, removing the memory will necessitate removal of the BFT-80.
For Intel 775 applications, the installation procedure is more involved and can be seen in the BFT-90 review HERE . (insert hyperlink to BFT-90 review)
I test all coolers in the bare frame pictured above. This eliminates any effects that a case might introduce. Keep in mind that temps inside your case will be higher; how much higher depends on the case and airflow.
The testbed we'll be using consists of the following:
-AMD Opteron 148 processor
-DFI Lanparty UT nF4 SLI-DR motherboard
-GSkill F1-4400DSU2-1GBFC (512mb X 2) memory
-Thermaltake Purepower 600W PSU
-Western Digital WD800 SATA hard drive
-Lite-On CDRW/DVD Combo drive
The following parameters were used throughout testing:
Arctic Silver 5 TIM used on all coolers.
Ambient temperature kept at a constant 21C.
Cooler allowed to burn-in at maximum heat setting with Prime95 for two hours to partially set the thermal paste. The computer was then shut down for one hour.
Idle temperatures were recorded after one hour of zero load after booting to the desktop.
Load temperatures were recorded after two hours of maximum heat torture testing using Prime95.
Fan speed was set to maximum for all testing.
Idle and load temperatures were recorded at stock CPU speed (2.2 Ghz.) and at a modest 10% overclock (2.4 Ghz.). Vcore was raised by 0.1V during the overclocking runs.
With all that out of the way, let's get busy!
Once the system is fired up, the most noticeable attribute of a cooler is fan noise, or lack thereof. The BTF-80, while not silent, is quiet even at maximum speed. It's much quieter than the stock unit and rivals some of the quieter solutions we've run through our testbed. It should satisfy all but the most sensitive users. Given the fin spacing of the BTF-80, I would expect the cooler to perform well at lower fan speeds, but as no controller was included, we will confine our testing to 12V and 2500 RPM. As you can see, the LEDs give the spinning fan blades a noticeable red glow and add a bit of visual interest.
OK, you probably want to know how the BTF-80 performed. Well, it did pretty well, as you can see below.
The results are interesting. At stock speeds, the lightweight aluminum BTF-80 demonstrated almost identical performance to its much heavier copper brother, the BTF-90. Things changed when overclocking, but not as much as might be expected. At stock speeds, it performs as well as some of the better coolers we've had on the testbed.