Asus X-Mars Athlon 64 Heatsink Review

Cooling/CPU Cooling by jmke @ 2006-01-05

Asus send us their latest retail Athlon 64 cooler, it?s aimed at the budget minded people and comes with an autosensing fan and promises plug and play installation. Let?s take it for a test-drive.

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Results & Conclusion

Test Results

Since the fan on the X-Mars is temperature controlled, we decided to include 2 results for each test setup; One where we let the “fan” decide which speed it’ll be spinning, and one where we set the fan to 100% “manually”.

You can permanently set the fan to full speed by removing the temperature sensor. So unless you’ve got some good soldering skills, this modification will turn the fan into a normal, none-temp-controlled, one.

Madshrimps (c)

  • Test Setup 1: Overclocked & Silent

    Since we are using the exact same setup as in our last roundup we’ve included results from previous heatsink stressing tests.

    On auto setting the X-Mars let the fan spin at 4200rpm which was enough to keep the CPU running below 70°C, however at 45dBA it comes close to the noise generated by the Stock A64 cooling. At full speed the fan rpm was near 5200rpm and extremely noisy (56dBA), temperature did not drop too much (-2°C), so running this fan at full speed will not give you the best performance/noise ratio… by far!

    Our first chart has the heatsinks sorted by CPU+(PWM/2)+dBA . The entrees near the bottom provide the best noise/performance ratio.

    Madshrimps (c)

    On “auto” fan setting the X-Mars makes a good showing compared to the stock heatsink, although the CPU temperature was kept low, the X-Mars does not score “better” due to the noise generated by the small 70mm fan.

    Nonetheless it must be said that the “auto” fan speed adjustment worked fast and effectively, when the CPU was running idle the fan dropped towards a 2300rpm “low” and became totally silent. So if you are playing games with sound ON, you won’t notice the increased fan noise. And when you are chatting on MSN, or watching a DVD movie, you won’t notice the FAN either.

    Most motherboards feature an auto fan speed option, but not all users “dare” or “know how” to do this. The Asus X-Mars offers a fail-safe solution for those people.

    Our 2nd chart is sorted by CPU temperature.

    Madshrimps (c)

    The X-Mars is one of the top performers with its fan at high speed generating quite a bit of noise.

  • Test Setup 2: Stock speeds & Silent

    This system setup we have not tested before (in our last roundup we tested stock speeds with 2 case fans and an actively cooled PSU), so only comparison with the Stock A64 you will see in the charts.

    The “auto” fan setting in this test resulted in a fan speed of 3666rpm.

    The first one is sorted by CPU+(PWM/2)+dBA

    Madshrimps (c)

    Second one sorted by CPU temperature

    Madshrimps (c)

    The X-Mars manages to drop the CPU temperature by almost 10°C compared to the A64 stock cooling, and does this ~6dBA more silently.

    The Verdict:

    Asus has produced a high quality product with high versatility; the X-Mars keeps it promise by taming our overclocked Athlon 64 and at the same time not sounding like a tornado. The included fan features a nifty temperature control which works as it should.

    While it might not cater to the needs of more demanding enthusiasts due to a not so impressive performance/noise ratio when the unit is placed under stress; it’s its easiness of installation, competitive price and most of all, the auto-speed-adjusting fan, which will make it a product to consider for the novice users out there.

    Good performance
    Easy Clip-On Installation
    Smart Temperature controlled fan
    Competitively priced

    Quite noisy when the fan speed surpasses ~3000rpm
    Not the best noise/performance ratio

  • Where to buy/Product Page?

    Questions/Comments: forum thread
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