Date: May 7th, 2007
Article by: Joe Anderson (Hardware Reviewer)
Edited by: Nathan Glentworth (Owner / Head Editor)
Product was submitted by: Zerotherm
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PRODUCT INSTALLATION AND TESTING
We'll be installing the GX815 on an eVGA 7800GT KO, which came from the factory with a mild overclock and enhanced cooling.
The first step is to remove the OEM cooling solution and clean the GPU and RAM chips with alcohol. The ZEROtherm cooler is actually a good bit lighter than the stocker (177G vs. 256G.)
With the OEM cooling solution removed, the chips cleaned with alcohol and the installation guide and new components at hand, we can begin.
The ramsinks are a simple peel-and-stick operation. With a thin layer of thermal compound applied to the GPU, the card prep is finished.
Choosing the tool-free option, I next placed the screws into the proper mounting holes on the GX815.
After placing the screws through the holes, the thumbnuts, with their integral springs and insulators, can be tightened down until they bottom. Like the other ZEROtherm products I've used, the GX810 is dead simple to install.
The GX815 has a very low profile and the green ramsinks look very good on the green board. We're now ready to do some testing.
The following components were installed in my open test frame:
AMD Opteron 148 processor
DFI Lanparty UT nF4 SLI-DR motherboard
OCZ 5002048ELGE-K (1024mb X 2) memory
Thermaltake Toughpower 1000W PSU
Western Digital WD800 SATA hard drive
LG DVD-RW Combo drive
I've tested all the coolers in the comparison 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.
Idle temperature was recorded after reboot and the system at desktop for one hour.
Load temperatures were recorded after three iterations each of AquaMark3 and 3Dmark05. Arctic Silver 5 thermal compound was used on the coolers and a constant ambient temperature of 21C was maintained in the testing environment. The results are as follows:
When looking at these results, keep the following in mind.
The stock cooler's fan speed is controlled by the card
The Zalman offerings were controlled using the FanMate 2 controller
The ZEROtherm coolers have thermally controlled fans
The ZEROtherm GX815 performed very well, and did it almost silently. At load, the fan only reached 2/3 of its rated maximum speed and was whisper quiet. The 815 compared favorably to the high-performance Zalman offerings and was a bit quieter, too. While the 810 and the 815 look very similar, the 815 has only 120 fins (vs. 140 for the 810) attached to the heatpipe and a higher speed fan. They both perform well, but the 815 will likely perform much better at higher temperatures owing to its greater fan speed and more open fin design.