AMD Athlon XP Heatsink roundup Q4 2004

Cooling/CPU Cooling by jmke @ 2004-12-28

The Thermalright SI-97, Scythe Kamakiri and Spire VertiCool compared using a variety of fans and reference heatsinks. Does the new generation Athlon XP coolers deliver good value for money? Read on to find out.

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Introduction & System Setup


The Athlon XP lives on, and heatsink manufactures continue to improve their heatsink & fan products to offer better performance at interesting price points. Today we take a closer look at 3 Athlon XP coolers from Thermalright, Spire and Scythe.

All heatsinks make use of heat pipes in their design as this technology allows for easy removal of heat from one point to another; The contestants today:

  • Thermalright SI-97
  • Spire Verticool
  • Scythe Kamakiri

    Reference heatsinks

    Besides comparing each heatsink’s performance against the others, I also include 2 reference heatsinks which have proven popular in the past.

    Madshrimps (c)

    The Thermalright SP-97 is an all copper heat pipe equipped heavy heatsink which requires motherboard removal and uses 4 mounting holes around the socket for installation. The SP-97 comes with fan clips for 80 and 92mm fans which gives you the choice of fan and performance/noise ratio.

    Madshrimps (c)

    The Zalman CNPS7000Cu is very popular due to its excellent balance of performance and noise; for Socket A installation this heatsink requires motherboard removal as it also uses the 4 mounting holes around the socket. The heatsink comes with a mini rheobus which allows you to change the speed of the included 92mm fan; the rheobus alters the fan’s voltage between 11.9v and 5v.

    Test Setup and Test Methodology

    Madshrimps (c)

    JMke's Test Setup
    CPU Athlon XP-M “Barton” 2500+ @ 1900Mhz -1.86v (~90W)
    Mainboard Asus A7N8X-E Deluxe
    Memory 1 * 256Mb OCZ PC3700
    Video ATI R9000 Passive Cooling

  • Arctic Silver kindly send us their “Lumière” thermal testing compound which has the same color and characteristics as Ceramique, but it only needs a burn in period of 30min (compared to several days with convential thermal paste)
  • The CPU stressed with K7 Burn, this application will raise temperature higher then any other stress program I know, 4-5°C difference with Prime95 or 3DMark2001SE loops.
  • Noise level of each fan was recorded with SmartSensor SL4001A, the sensor was placed ~35cm away from the fan. The lowest dBA reading in the test room was 33 dBA, if a fan noise reading is 33 dBA then it means that it is really, really silent :)

    Fans used

    Each heatsink was tested with the supplied fan (if applicable) and also with a selection of high and low output fans. Some fans were tested at 12v/7v setting, defined with High/Low in the performance charts. The Zalman was used with its own rheobus which puts the “Low” setting at 5v.

    Madshrimps (c)
    Vantec Tornado fans provided by Vantec Taiwan

    With all the details explained it is time to meet our first contestant ->
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