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Passive vs. Active CPU cooling with Thermalright Coolers

Manufacturer: Thermalright
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Comparative Testing

Four sets of tests where conducted to find out how the Thermalright HR-01, which is designed for passive cooling, compares to the XP-120 and Ultra-120, which rely on active cooling with a fan.  Each test was performed with the case closed and both stock SilverStone case fans running.  Arctic Silver Lumiere thermal compound (specifically formulated for testing) was used during each test.  The ambient room air temperature was held constant at 23° ±0.5°C.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />


 



  • HR-01 Passive Cooling Mode (no fan, no fan duct)

  • HR-01 Pseudo-Passive Cooling Mode (fan duct to rear 120mm case fan)

  • XP-120 with Antec TriCool 3-speed fan

  • Ultra-120 with Antec TriCool 3-speed fan

The following data is presented for comparative purposes only.  Your actual results may be different depending on the variables unique to your system (CPU, overclock, ambient temperature, case air flow, temperature monitoring, etc). 


 



 


Amb — Ambient room air temperature


Int — Internal case air temperature


Tc — Temperature obtained with calibrated thermocouple attached to 955 IHS


∆T — Fully loaded Tc temperature rise above internal case temperature


CPU — Temperature reported by Asus PC Probe II utility


 


The following graph shows the full load CPU temperature (measured with a thermocouple attached to the side of the 955's IHS) for each heatsink configuration.


 



(click to enlarge)


 


In passive mode, the red-hot dual core Pressler CPU is running a little on the warm side but still stable.  Adding only the Thermalright fan duct dropped the CPU temperature a full 20°C — and without a dedicated heatsink fan and the potential increase in noise that comes with it.  In the pseudo-passive, ducted cooling mode, the HR-01 actually outperforms the XP-120.  And for maximum cooling performance, the Ultra-120 with a relatively quiet, medium speed fan is a hard combination to beat!

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