Date: February 27th, 2006
Article by: Joe Anderson (Hardware Reviewer)
Edited by: Nathan Glentworth (Owner / Head Editor)
Product was submitted by: Thermaltake
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PRODUCT PICTORIAL AND WALKTHROUGH (cont'd)
The fantail is sleeved with a black mesh material and terminates in a three-pin connector. Three conductors let the user monitor fan speed when connected to an appropriate motherboard pin header.
One of my favorite features of this cooler is the retention clip. In the past, when installing an AMD cooler, I was always afraid that, with a slip of the screwdriver, I would ruin the motherboard. This retention clip is much easier and safer to install.
The all-copper base, while dead flat, has a less than impressive finish. There are noticeable ridges when applying the old thumbnail test. Granted, this is a budget cooler, but a bit nicer finish here would inspire a little more confidence if nothing else.
While heatpipes seem to be de rigueur for CPU coolers lately, Thermaltake has opted for the more conventional direct-contact design for the RX K8. Let's get this baby installed and see how it performs, shall we?
PRODUCT INSTALLATION AND TESTING
Installation really couldn't be any easier. While the stock AMD cooler attaches using only the center lug on the retention bracket, the Thermaltake offering uses all three lugs for a very secure and stable install. Just line up the clip, flip the lever, plug in the fan and you're good to go.
We're going to test the RX K8 in a cage match against the stock cooler from AMD. Refereeing this contest will be the slightly conceited (but scrupulously honest) Mr. Bones.
The following parameters were used throughout testing:
1) Arctic Silver 5 TIM used on both coolers.
2) Ambient temperature kept at a constant 21C.
3) Both coolers 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.
4) Idle temperatures were recorded after one hour of zero load after booting to the desktop.
5) Load temperatures were recorded after two hours of maximum heat torture testing using Prime95.
6) Fan speed was set to maximum for all testing.
7) Idle and load temperatures were recorded at stock CPU speed (2.2 Ghz.) and at a modest 10% overclock (2.4 Ghz.).
The testbed we'll be using consists of the following:
AMD Opteron 148 processor
DFI Lanparty UT nF4 SLI-DR motherboard
OCZ DDR 500 EL (1GB X 2) memory
Thermaltake Purepower 600W PSU
Western Digital WD2000 SATA hard drive
Lite-On CDRW/DVD Combo drive
Windows XP Professional (SP2)
To be frank, I was a bit disappointed in the performance of the RX K8. Although Thermaltake hasn't marketed it as a maximum effort cooling solution, I was surprised that, given its copper construction and large fan, it managed to record only slightly lower temperatures than the stock cooler. Here are the testing results:
On the brighter side, the RX K8 managed to do its job very quietly. It was, in fact, virtually silent at maximum speed. The stock cooler is much louder.