For testing today we are using an Antec Dark Fleet DF 85 Full Tower Chassis
Giving good real world test results of fans is not something thats particularly easy to do – quoting CFM is not much use to the general public and its boring, so for this review are attempting something slightly unusual.
Lets list the system first then I will explain our logic.
KitGuru AMD reference gaming system:
Processor: AMD Phenom 1055T (overclocked to 4.3 ghz at 1.52 volts)
Cooler: Thermaltake Contac 29
Motherboard: MSI 890 GXM-G65
Graphics: PowerColor HD5870 PCS+
PSU: Coolermaster 700w
Hard Drive: Crucial 256GB SSD
Memory: Kingston 8GB DDR3 1800mhz
Operating System: Windows 7 Ultimate Edition 64bit
Our 1055T is a fantastic overclocker and we want to thank AMD for sending this hand selected chip to us. We have opted for a low price Thermaltake Contac 29 cooler with a single fan and as a reference point we are using 4 really cheap poor quality 120mm and 140mm chassis fans (30-45cfm and 48Dba rated) directly in the vicinity of the CPU.
Why are we using a low end cooler with such a huge overclock? We know the Thermaltake Contac 29 is going to really struggle to cool this processor with a single fan at such a high voltage. The Contact 29 is not designed to handle a six core cpu with massive increases in clock speed and core voltage.
We want to see what happens if we swap out those bog standard fans with 2x120mm Enermax TB Silence fans (rear left) and 2x140mm Apollish Vegas fans (top). The image above shows our chassis of choice for this review – The excellent Antec Dark Fleet DF 85.
The green highlighted areas are the positions of the 120mm fans (rear) and 140mm fans (top). We have switched the fan positions from exhaust to intake, which means we will have 4 fans blowing directly over the area of the CPU cooler. We also switched the front 3 x 120mm chassis fans from intake to exhaust, therefore basically reversing the airflow of the case. We don't recommend you do this real world as heat rises and this is not ideal … but for the purposes of this review we wanted to ascertain thermal differences between a handful of cheap everyday fans and the high quality Enermax units on review today. Can they help an £18 cooler maintain stable performance on a 6 core CPU at 4.3ghz with 1.52 volts?
Raytek Laser Temp Gun 3i LSRC/MT4 Mini Temp
Digital Sound Level Noise Decibel Meter Style 2
CineBench R11.5 64 bit
First lets take a reference reading with the 4 ‘no name', cheap 120mm and 140mm fans. Room ambient temperatures were kept at a steady 25c throughout our testing via air conditioning. We use diodes to read core temperatures as AMD core temperature reading is still inaccurate via software methods.
The system was not stable and thermal throttling was also occuring, the machine BSOD'ed multiple times. We felt sorry for the Thermaltake Contac 29 but it got its revenge as we burnt our fingers changing over the fans to the Enermax units.
We switched the two rear fans to TB Silence 120 mm units and the top two to Apollish Vegas 140mm fans and set them to full speed which means they deliver a staggering 154 cfm per fan.
Changing the fans to the Enermax units made a significant difference with our CPU temperatures, but the noise levels also dropped. The 1055T was completing our benchmarks and although the diode read temperatures were still much higher than we would have liked, we were quite pleased to see a stable system (with a 1.5ghz overclock) on air with an £18 cooler (remember the voltage is a toasty 1.52v on a 6 core CPU)!