Wednesday, June 10, 2009

New cooler

As previously mentioned, my fan had come off in transit, and I just hooked it back in. Which was probably causing some problems.
So, I went and bought a some thermal paste and put it on. I'd let it bed for a few days but it was still showing the results from the previous post.

Last night, I spent a couple of hours reading up on coolers. There are LOADS of great reviews and benchmarks for coolers out there, and far more variety than I had realised. Which naturally means that there are a few companies looking to cash in - there's a lot of crap out there.

So, I went and grabbed a Noctua NH-U12P from Yoyotech on my way home from work. They're not as cheap as online, but coolers can be heavy (this one clocks in at ~800G with the fan attached), so postage from £10 to £15 meant it was cheapest there. I also looked at the Cooler Master V8, OCZ Vendetta 2, OCZ Gladiator Max.
First, I was going to go with the V8. I was checking out the Hyper TX2, but because I'm easily deceived by shiny things, I ended up focused on that. Oh, and the sphere; but the sphere is just for show, not for overclocking. Shame.
Anyway, the V8. Yeah. A few places really rate it, but most find it mid-range. Better than stock, certainly, but still largely for show. It's £50 at, but they're out of stock, and I'm impatient. The next cheapest place was about £75. That's £60 + £15 postage - it seems only do free delivery on it, so it's hardly surprising it's out of stock. If I was going to spend that much, I might as well spend it on something really good.
So, I went back to budget. I thought long and hard about the Gladiator Max. There are very few reviews of coolers running on AM3 boards, and they're big chips. The Gladiator has a massive contact area, which may have worked in its favour. The Vendetta was out stock everywhere I looked. Again with the impatience. I saw the V10 (v8's big brother) but it's stupidly expensive, and massive, and just, well, not for me. Too shiny.
Finally, I checked out the CoolIt Domino ALC, which reports really well from a few reviews. However, one mentioned that it doesn't send a lot of cooling to the motherboard, and can cause instability that way.
I should really have looked at a Thermalright Ultra-120 Extreme, but that requires extra fans, and the whole researching fans thing looked to be much effort. Sadly, I had to ditch Xigmatek for the same reason. Which is a shame, because they create things called Thor's Hammer, and Achilles, which *must* be awesome. In fact, Thor's Hammer is one of the best air coolers around.

Ok, back to the Noctua. If the Noctua really doesn't let me push over 4.2GHz (my goal), then I'll look at the problem again, and maybe invest in a top end cooler.
The installation process is either fun or terrifying depending on your point of view. I found it great fun, but it took about an hour, from the first moment I went hunting for a screwdriver, to the moment I realised I hadn't plugged in my graphics card power, because the thing wouldn't POST.
Anyway, it seems to be running fine, but they say the thermal paste can take a while to bed in, so I'll be doing some tests over the weekend, to see what's up.

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