Our test system today has been built with the primary focus on maximum value for money, which is exactly the target audience of the Thermaltake Contac 29. Special thanks as always to the manufacturers for donating the hardware.
ThermalTake Contac 29 Cooler
Noctua NH D14 (review here)
Xigmatek HDT S1284EE
Coolit Domino ALC
Zalman CNPS10X Flex
Coolermaster Hyper Z600
Vantec VAF-1225 AeroFlow FX120
Thermalright Ultra 120 Extreme
OCZ Vendetta 2
CoolerMaster Hyper 212
Asus Silent Square EVO
Arctic Cooling Freezer 64 Pro
AMD Quad Core 955 Black Edition
MSI 890GXM-G65 Motherboard
Kingston 4GB DDR3 1600mhz (8GB kit review here)
Sapphire HD5670 Ultimate Edition (review here)
Silverstone Raven 02 Chassis
Thermaltake XT 675W PSU
With air conditioning, room ambient temperatures were kept at a steady 25c, comfortable conditions for most people. Load temperatures were recorded by looping Cinebench R11.5 for a 30 minute period under 100% load and recording the maximum results. These are real world conditions … the application uses the Cinema 4D rendering engine.
When possible fans were set to high positions.
We use the following for measurements as many onboard software based results are not accurate.
MultiMeter Thermal Probe
Digital Sound Level Noise Decibel Meter Style 2
Raytek Laser Temp Gun 3i LSRC/MT4 Mini Temp
The Thermaltake Contac 29 delivers a fantastic set of results with our Black Edition processor, considering it costs less than a third the price of the NH D14!
Most of the coolers on test today could be classed as silent, apart from the Coolit Domino ALC, Vantec VAF 1225 AeroFlow FX120 and the Arctic Cooling Freezer 64 Pro. The Contac 29 actually scored slightly worse than my ears suggested initially, it sounds no louder than the OCZ Vendetta 2 for instance. Real world the cooler is barely audible with a few system fans running.
Next we increased the voltage of the Black Edition to 1.45 and cranked it to 3.9ghz, the limit for our particular processor.
As the results above show the Contac 29 handled our overclocking tests very well with a joint second place position with the Xigmatek HDTS1284EE cooler. It still managed to remain barely audible which was impressive.
As Thermaltake supply rubber mounts for an additional fan, we decided to add a Noctua 120mm fan to the other side of the cooler in a traditional ‘push/pull’ air flow configuration. We are curious to see how the extra fan might help our overclocking results.
Adding the extra fan helped to reduce temperatures by a further 2 degrees both when idle and when loaded. I would certainly recommend an extra fan if you intend to overclock with increased voltage.