Alphacool NexXxos BOLD vs Prescott, Intel's Black Sheep

Cooling/Water Cooling by KeithSuppe @ 2005-03-10

Can Alphacool?s Xtreme Pro Set mated with their NexXxos BOLD water block dowse the Prescott fire? Intel?s offspring have all been well behaved until Prescott, the Black Sheep came along. Sadly the little (90nm) CPU has had to endure so many epithets, such as claims it can double as a space-heater, and it converts standard H20 systems into phase-change, etc... How cruel the industry can be, and in keeping with mixed metaphors today?s test will determine if one of Alphacool?s best can extinguish the 115W flame within?

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Test Setup:

Test System
CPU Intel P4 550 Retail-3.4GHz LGA 775
Mainboard Abit AA8 Duramax
Memory Kingston Hyper-XPC2-5400 1024MB kit
Video ATI Radeon X800 XT
Power Supply TTGI USA TT-600K04 Modular
Operating System Windows XP SP2
H20 System NexXxos BOLD S-775 CPU-kuhler, Alphacool 1500 (@ 800LPH) pump, Black Ice X-double radiator, 2x120mm/57CFM Papst, Cooplex 25 reservoir, 6mm-ID


Temps were measured using the TTGI USA Fan-Master SF-609 rheostat, I placed one external thermistor between water block and CPU (remounting several times for the best average). I placed another thermistor within the case; the side-panel was removed due to the radiator size. Finally the third thermistor was placed outside the case to measure ambient (room) temperature.

Additionally I drew data from Abit's µGuru which monitors the Intel P4 550's internal thermal diode, among other devices. Also employed was the Panopsys utility Throttle Watch. This utility measures CPU activity as well as thermal-throttling TM1, and TM2. To reproduce a full-load environment on the CPU I used the fairly new stress tester S&M.

I've included a photo (below) of the test set-up to give an idea of the environment.
Madshrimps (c)

Below we see a close-up of the NexXxos BOLD installed on the Abit AA8 Duramax.
Madshrimps (c)

The wire entering the top of the block is the thermistor from the TTGI Fan Master. Contact between the block base, and Prescott's IHS was very snug, and to avoid air-gaps I could only get the first few millimeters of the thermistor between these surfaces. The Thermal Paste used was Arctic Silver Ceramique which I simply placed a rice-sized grain of in the center of the IHS, and then installed the water block holding the thermistor in place. I prefer this method over spreading which can incorporate air into the paste. Allowing the pressure of installation tightening to compress the paste not only disperses it naturally, it can actually force out any air pockets.

Testing consisted of running S&M, Throttle Watch, CPUID, µGuru and taking a screenshot of the resulting temps. Since S&M (as most other utilities) recognizes the Pentium-4's Hyper Threading feature as two distinct processors labeled "1" and "0", the program then split's the LOAD. While Throttle Watch indicates the processor running at 100% LOAD, S&M will often read processor version "0" as 47% and processor "1" as 54%. S&M also sees the LOAD fluctuate between versions as some screenshots captured either "1" or "0" at 100% or 99%. I've provided two thumbnails below, clicking on the left thumbnail shows Throttle Watch reading a 100% CPU-load, while S&M indicates processor "0" running at 49%. Choosing the right thumbnail will also show 100% CPU-load read-out on the Throttle Watch GUI, while S&M indicates processor "0" running at 99%.

Madshrimps (c) Madshrimps (c)

Now onto our reslting test data, I decided to run the CPU at 201FSB, 240FSB, and finally 250FSB, employing S&M I pushed the processor until the temperature reached and maintained a peak temp. My room temp was/is very low at 18°C/64F. Below we have our graph which is an extrapolation of all the data.

Madshrimps (c)


Alphacool continues to release one successful design after the next.

Their grasp on PC-thermodynamics and water cooling encapsulates more then simple CPU-water coolers. In so far as this reviewer is concerned, Alphacool embraces cooling, and water cooling from the standpoint of the overall system, let's call it thermal management.

So long as they continue to view water cooling from the system perspective they will avoid the tunnel vision that comes with focusing on just CPU water blocks.

I'd like to thank Taner and the staff at Alphacool for their assistance.

My next Alphacool review will feature their NexXxos XP, NexXxos BOLD, and CAPE42-XC on the DFI LANPARTY with an Athlon 3500 Winchester against Cool-Cases CF-1 Rev.2, CC-Magic Silver, and the venerable LICS M-II in a small 6mm system round-up. Look out for my Polar Flow TT review next which will be a preclude to the 1/2" ID round-up.

Questions/Comments: forum thread
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