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Date: , 2006
Article by: (Hardware Reviewer)
Edited by: Nathan Glentworth (Owner / Head Editor)
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PRODUCT INSTALLATION & TESTING



The Chill Factor paste came with no manufacturer recommended application instructions, but a relatively good guide is available on the Thermalright website.



For the testing mule, I've chosen the venerable Thermalright XP-90 cooler. One of their earlier heatpipe designs, it is also one of the most popular and efficient coolers out there. The fact that it's still available attests to its desirability. For the money, it's hard to beat. A Xinruilian model RDH9025BL4 fan was used for its high top speed and massive airflow. The blue LEDs don't do much for performance, but they sure look good. In front of the cooler are the three contenders, Chill Factor, the “generic paste” that came with the XP-90 and the old standby Arctic Silver 5.



I'll do all the testing 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.


All of the thermal materials were applied to a brand-new Thermalright XP-90 cooler according to manufacturer/distributor guidelines and the following parameters were used throughout testing:


•  Ambient temperature kept at a constant 21C.
•  Each application of TIM was 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.
•  The cooler fan was set to maximum speed (3000 RPM) in the motherboard BIOS.
•  Idle and load temperatures were recorded at stock CPU speed (2.2 Ghz.) and at an overclock approaching 25% (2.7 Ghz.). Vcore was raised by 0.1V (from 1.4V to 1.5V) during the overclocking runs.


The testbed we'll be using consists of the following:


- AMD Opteron 148 processor w/ Thermalright XP-90 cooler and Xinruilian model RDH9025BL4 fan
- DFI Lanparty UT nF4 SLI-DR motherboard
- eVGA 7900GS KO
- OCZ 5002048ELGE-K (1024mb X 2) memory
- OCZ GameXStream 850W PSU
- Western Digital WD800 SATA hard drive
- LG DVD-RW drive


After several hours of testing, these are the results.




To quote from Thermalright's website:


“Reminder: To achieve best result and maintain proper heat conduct, be sure to clean your heatsink often and clean aging thermal compound off CPU to re-apply Chill Factor every 12 month.”


So what did we learn from our little thermal paste cage-match? Well, the contenders were all pretty good at what they do. The Chill Factor squeaks out a win by the narrowest of margins, but it's a win, nonetheless. With only 2C separating 1 st and 3 rd place, any of these products will satisfy all but the most discriminating enthusiasts.

 

 


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