Intel Core 2 Extreme CPU Cooler Review

Cooling/CPU Cooling by jmke @ 2008-07-02

Intel Core 2 Extreme CPU got a special treatment from the Intel thermal management department; a fancy large CPU cooler with 110cm LED fan and copper heat column. How does it compare to the other Intel reference coolers? Is it an alternative for 3rd party heatsinks, let us find out!

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Test Setup and Test Methodology

Test Setup and Competition

We build a S775 system with parts from, the CPU is one hot running Pentium 4 524, 3.06Ghz. It is mounted on a Swiss-army knife equivalent of motherboards: an Asrock 775Dual-VSTA.

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

The mounting system on S775 is quite straight forward and well thought out, 4 holes around the socket serve as mounting points for the push pins on the standard Intel cooler. Installation is a snap, and removal is very easy too.

Madshrimps (c)

With the stock cooling and at stock voltage the 3Ghz P4 was running stable at 3.68Ghz, quite a nice improvement from default speeds.

A Watt Meter recorded peak power consumption under heavy CPU load at 138W, which is less than our previous Athlon 64 setup which consumed up to 165W. The Asrock bios lacks CPU voltage manipulation, so at default voltage is seems this Prescott setup is more power friendly then the over-volted AMD system.

We’re using a compact Antec Sonata II mid tower case, swapped out the PSU for a passive model from FSP rated at 400W, the outside of the PSU case never went past 40°C during our stress tests,

Intel S775 Setup
CPU Pentium 4 524 @ 3628Mhz - 1.36v vcore
Mainboard Asrock 775Dual-VSTA
Memory 1 * 512Mb Mushkin PC3200 LVLII V2
  • Antec Sonata II with AcoustiFan DustPROOF 120mm @ 5v in the rear as outtake (mounted with soft-mounts)
  • ATI R9000 Passive Cooling
  • FSP ZEN 400W Passive Cooled PSU
  • Seagate 7200.8 200Gb HDD in Scythe Quiet Drive

  • in-take temperature was measured at 22°C for all tests, but temp fluctuations, different mounting and user error can account up to 1-3°C of inaccuracy in the obtained results. Please keep this in mind when looking at the results. Each heatsink was tested repeatedly; if we got questionable results the test was restarted.

    Madshrimps (c)
    example: dBA meter is placed right at the edge of the case - with side panel removed

  • Noise level of each HSF combo was recorded with SmartSensor SL4001A, the sensor was placed ~5cm away from the side of the case with panel removed. The lowest dBA reading in the test room was 36dBA! with system running without HSF fan.

  • System was stressed by running K7 CPU Burn for 30min (after Thermal Compound's burn-in); this application pushes the temperature higher than any other application or game we've yet encountered. Speedfan was used to log maximum obtained temperatures.
  • Arctic Silver kindly send us their “Lumière” thermal testing compound which has the same colour as Ceramique, but only a break in time of 30min!
  • Arctic Silver's ArctiClean was used to clean off thermal paste of the CPU and heatsink between tests

    Fans used for comparison

    Delta FFB1212VHE 120x38mm Very High Speed provided by Sidewinder Computers
    Madshrimps (c)
    151CFM – 3200RPM – 12V fan

    To eliminate as much variables in the tests we test each heatsink with a "reference" fan if it can be mounted.

  • GlobalWin NCB 120x120x25mm fan with 41.7CFM rating.
  • Delta NFB0912L 92x92x25mm fan with 42CFM rating.
  • Delta FFB1212VHE 120x120x38mm with 151CFM rating.

    The Competition

    These are the heatsinks we have tested so far on this platform and will compare the NH-U12P to:

  • Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro
  • Auras CTC-868
  • Auras GTO-990
  • Auras LPT-709
  • Coolermaster Vortex 752
  • Coolermaster Sphere
  • Coolermaster Hyper 212
  • Coolink Silentator
  • Coolermaster Eclipse
  • Coolermaster Hyper TX
  • Coolermaster Hyper Z600
  • Coolermaster GeminII
  • Coolermaster Mars
  • Evercool Buffalo
  • Noctua NH-U12
  • Noctua NH-U12P
  • OCZ Vendetta
  • Rosewill RCX-Z5-Ultra
  • Rosewill RCX-Z775-EX
  • Scythe ANDY Samurai Master
  • Scythe Kama Cross
  • Scythe Katana 2
  • Scythe Ninja
  • Scythe Ninja Copper
  • Thermalright IFX-14
  • Thermalright SI-128
  • Thermalright Ultra-120 A
  • Thermalright Ultra-120 Extreme
  • Titan Amanda TEC
  • TTIC NPH-1000
  • Tuniq Tower 120
  • Ultra ChillTec Thermo Electric CPU Cooler
  • Xigmatek HDT-S1283
  • Xigmatek HDT-S1283 “Red Scorpion”
  • ZEROTherm BTF90
  • Zalman CNPS9700LED
  • Zalman CNPS8700

    and three Intel stock heatsinks:

  • Intel Reference Alu (included with older Pentium 4 S775 and Intel E2xxx)
  • Intel Reference Alu/Cu (included with Core 2 Duo models)
  • Intel Reference Alu/Cu Big (included with Core 2 Quad models)

    Onto the results ->
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    Comment from Sidney @ 2008/07/02
    I want one.
    Make that two.
    Comment from thorgal @ 2008/07/02
    Originally Posted by Sidney View Post
    I want one.
    Make that two.
    You serious ? Or do you just want the cpu that comes with it

    Anyway, just food for thought : would the heatsink do better when combined with a 45nm quad core (for which it is intended) ? Heat load would be spread more evenly over the HS with 4 cores... Any thoughts ?
    Comment from jmke @ 2008/07/02
    most apps are single threaded, which would mean the cores would be loaded differently most of the time, causing uneven heat creation over the HSF base
    Comment from Sidney @ 2008/07/02
    Just the cooler. I'll be frank that I really find not much of use the way I compute in using quad core.