CPU Heatsink Roundup May 2006

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

Eight new heatsinks are compared to 21 other air cooling solutions from different manufactures. We have some promising entries from Spire, Aerocool, Scythe, Thermaltake and Tuniq for you today!

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Arctic Cooling Alpine 64

Arctic Cooling Alpine 64:
Supplied by: Arctic Cooling

Arctic Cooling is well known for their video card coolers and excellent Freezer series of CPU coolers, their latest addition is the Alpine 64, a CPU cooler priced at ~€6 (I kid you not!). What can you expect from a heatsink which costs almost less than a Maxi Menu in your local McDonalds? It’s definitely not meant to beat their own Freezer series, so let’s see how it does compared to the stock AMD cooling solutions.

Madshrimps (c)

Specifications :

  • AMD: Athlon64/64+ Socket754/940/939

    Fan included: Custom size (113x100x47mm)
    (2000rpm / 0.17amp / 36CFM)

    Heatsink Dimensions: L78xW198xH56mm
    Weight: 486gr

    In the Box :

    Madshrimps (c)Madshrimps (c)

  • Instruction manual
  • Tube of thermal paste

    The base of the heatsink comes pre-applied with thermal paste, the included tube is for when you decide to reinstall the cooler. I tested the Alpine 64 with it the pre-applied thermal paste and let it settle for 2 days, stressing the CPU 100% and allowing the paste to "cure". However I could not find any difference when compared to the Arctic Silver Lumiere I used, the CPU temperature results were too close to call one compound "the winner".

    Construction :

    The Alpine 64 has been engineered to be a cost effective unit, the whole heatsink is made from aluminum and looking at it “naked” without fan seems like we’ve traveled back in time to the Athlon Thunderbird era. The base of the Alpine 64 is rough, a good lapping sessions will improve performance a bit. What makes the Alpine stand out is the included fan which features its own anti-vibration mounting system (much like the Freezer series) and it simply clips on the heatsink.

    Madshrimps (c)Madshrimps (c)Madshrimps (c)

    Installation :

    The installation is very simple, but does require a screwdriver; two clips need to be tightened from the top, so the installation does not require motherboard removal. Using the default AMD bracket it fits nicely and sits secure.

    Madshrimps (c)Madshrimps (c)

    Performance and Noise :

    The Coolermaster Susurro is pretty much aimed at the same market so it’s included in the comparison:

    Madshrimps (c)

    With the fan at full speed the Alpine 64 only falls 2°C short of the performance leader, the AMD stock heatpipe HSF, but even at full speed it’s noticeable quieter than the rest. At 50% fan speed the CPU temperature rises 7°C which is still acceptable and noise levels drop to a whisper quiet 35dBA!

    Madshrimps (c)

    Aluminum can only remove that much heat and at overclocked CPU speeds the Alpine 64 is overwhelmed, as Arctic Cooling told me also, this unit is not meant for overclocking and here you can see why.

    The Verdict:

    The Alpine 64 might not be for everybody out there, but those who want to swap out their stock AMD cooler with the aim to drop overall noise and don’t seek to lower CPU temperatures extremely this heatsink is extremely interesting at its very low price point.

    If you are not into overclocking/overvolting your CPU the Alpine 64 will be good enough for even the highest rated Athlon X2 / FX series of processors; but there won’t be much headroom left in the cooling department.

    Solid performance at lower CPU speeds.
    Excellent price, very cheap.
    Silent fan at 50%.
    Easy installation

    Only compatible with Athlon 64/FX/X2 platforms.
    Not for overclockers

  • Where to buy?

    Next up is the Spire DiamondCool II ->
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