I first install the cooler into a hemi-anechoic chamber, and with the help of a highly sophisticated sound analyzer, I take all necessary noise measurements required for the testing. Afterward, I install the system inside a giant climate chamber, where the ambient temperature remains steady at 25 degrees Celsius; this way, I don’t have to take the delta difference into account since I can evaluate all coolers under the same ambient temperature. I used to believe that taking the delta difference between the measured temperature of the CPU and the ambient temperature provided accurate results. Still, after testing with the climate chamber, I soon realized this was not the case.
Besides the Giant Force climate chamber, I also use the following equipment.
To evaluate the coolers, I use a super power-hungry Intel i9-13900K. This beast reaches 360W of sustained load, which I measure accurately using a Powenetics v2 system. Below are all the parts of the CPU cooling station test system. The thermal paste I use is the Arctic Cooling MX-4. I run at least two test sessions and take the average results.
|Test System Specs|
|Mainboard||Asus Prime Z690-A|
|CPU||Intel 13900K Package Power Limit (PL1, PL2) set to 250W|
|GPU||NVIDIA 1070 Ti|
|NVMe||XPG GAMMIX S50 Lite 1TB|
|RAM||XPG Lancer DDR5 (2 x 16GB) 6000MHz|
|Power Supply||Seasonic Vertex 1200W
|CPU Cooler||What is under test!|
|Ambient Temperature||25°C ±0.5°C|
The load application is no other but Prime95 (small FFTs), which applies a tremendous load to the processor. I run each test for 20 minutes, allowing for a 10-minute cool period between each test. The whole procedure is fully automated thanks to a particular application that I made for this purpose.
The critical point in my methodology for coolers is that I consider the CPU’s average frequency during testing because it doesn’t remain steady throughout the tests. It constantly changes according to the load and the operating temperatures. Moreover, I have the Powenetics system to continually measure the CPU’s power consumption, which is way more accurate and faster than using a software solution like HWinfo.