Review Index:

Duron vs. Thunderbird

Author: Ryan Shrout
Subject: Processors
Manufacturer: AMD

Cooling Considerations

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Cooling these processors was a major consideration before any of the testing was completed. Even at their default speed, the Duron and Thunderbird create an intense amount of heat and using an improper heatsink/fan combination will surely leave you with a dead hunk of silicon on your hands.

The Thunderbird 800 MHz was my second of this processor, the first of which is laying the stack of computer hardware labeled “I’m a dumbass.” While using my first Socket A motherboard, the AZ11 from FIC, I had a heatsink that was large and seemed competent for the job at hand: cooling a Socket A 800 MHz processor. I used it on Coppermines before, and the sockets and nearly identical in size, so I gave it a go. After about 15 seconds on the test bench, during initial posting and boot up, I noticed the air had a scent of “burn” in it. I quickly unplugged the power supply, and removed the heatsink from the motherboard. Taking the processor out showed to be more difficult, as nearly touching it singed my fingers. I ended up getting it out using a ball-point pen (also not a good idea) and was shocked to see the warranty sticker MCS had placed on the bottom of the CPU, once bright green color was now a charred-brown color.

So, I then called my sales rep at MCS and had them send me five of their heatsinks that were AMD approved, and I have never had problem since. Many of you may wonder whether or not the overclocking of the CPUs demands a better, larger fan or heatsink. While I haven’t done any intense testing on the subject, my opinion is this: if you are overclocking to over 1 GHz, you need better cooling. If you are staying under the 1000 level, and AMD approved heatsink will work well enough.

The heatsink/fan combination we used was the CoolerMaster DP5-5H-51. We also used some copper heat plates from 3DCOOL.COM that simply give the CPU more area with which to move heat to the heatsink with.
As mentioned earlier, testing a 700 MHz processor against an 800 MHz processor really isn’t fair in any aspect. So, I decided to overclock the CPUs to reach an equal speed. But instead of just bringing the 700 MHz Duron up to the 800 Mhz of the Thunderbird, I decided to go one step further and push both processors to 900 MHz. This way, the testing is showing the results of the higher end, newer processors instead of “out-dated” 800 MHz ones. :)