Date: November 20th, 2006
Article by: Joe Anderson (Hardware Reviewer)
Edited by: Nathan Glentworth (Owner / Head Editor)
Product was submitted by: Thermaltake
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PRODUCT INSTALLATION AND TESTING
For testing purposes, I'll be using my test frame, but I want to show the various installation options that the Silent Water offers. The first, moving from left to right, is what I'd call the more conventional mounting option. Use this configuration if there is sufficient clearance on the back panel of the case (163 x 121 x 35 mm.) If you have interference issues you can choose one of the next two options. By moving the fan to the rear of the radiator, one can gain some clearance around the expansion slot area. If it won't fit on the back plate, the hook-and-loop tapes can be used to secure the Silent Water to the floor of the case in a suitable location.
Four long screws and the H-bracket pack can be inserted through the board from the back. From the board out, there should be a) the thick foam insulator, b) the thin Mylar insulator, and c) the metal H-bracket.
After flipping the board over, the red insulating washers can be added and the brass standoff nuts can be tightened down to secure the mounting screws. A thin layer of thermal paste (Arctic Silver 5, in this case) is then applied to the CPU.
After securing the H-bracket to the block with the included screws, the bracket can be slipped over the four screws and the brass nuts can be tightened down. Some judgment is needed here. If the block is installed without sufficient down force, cooling will suffer. Too tight, and one can deform and possibly damage the mobo, chip and/or waterblock.
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 may be higher; how much higher depends on the case and airflow. The testbed we'll be using consists of the following:
-Intel P4 D 805 processor
-Asus P5LD2 motherboard
-OCZ DDR2 PC5400 (512mb X 2) memory
-Thermaltake Toughpower 750W PSU
-Western Digital WD800 SATA hard drive
-Lite-On CDRW/DVD Combo drive
(When looking at the results, please keep in mind that this processor runs very, very hot.)
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, each core loaded with its own iteration of P95.
For the liquid cooling kits, temperatures were recorded at maximum and minimum radiator fan speeds. The fans of the other coolers in the comparison were set to their maximum.
Idle and load temperatures were recorded at stock CPU speed (2.66 Ghz.) and at a modest 10% overclock (3.0 Ghz.). Vcore was raised by 0.1V during the overclocking runs.
I'll have to admit that I was surprised at the results. The Silent Water put up some good numbers, much better than the stock cooler and approaching the performance the BigWater 735 kit. While this performance is nothing earth shattering, as liquid cooling goes, it preformed better than I expected considering its small footprint. As expected, the fan was very quiet at its minimum setting and fairly loud at maximum. This 805 processor probably pushed the Silent Water to its practical limit, but it managed to keep the chip's notoriously high temperatures in check. Better performance can be expected with more modern, cooler-running CPUs.