Sytrin Nextherm ICS 8200 - Page 8

Written by Randy Torio    Saturday, 11 June 2005 11:00
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Test Setup

Testing was completed on the most popular A64 testbed.  I wanted to illustrate the advantages of this AC unit on the most critical components: the CPU, System, and GPU.

Test Setup:

  • DFI NF4 Ultra-D (VDIMM 5v enabled)
  • Mushkin Redline PC4000
  • AMD Athlon 64 3000+ Winchester
  • ATI Radeon X800XL
  • 2 x 80GB Hitachi SATA II hard drives in RAID 0
  • Stock AMD Heatsink

For testing purposes, I left all of the components at stock speeds.  I wanted to eliminate as many external variables of heat as possible, as this case was not directly catered towards pure overclockers.  Utilizing the supplied system and component temperature probes with the LCD unit, I calculated the system temperature and CPU temperature during all three modes; no fan mode, fan mode, and AC enabled.  Please note that the CPU temperature probe was placed directly on the side of the Athlon 64 heatspreader, so temperatures may appear lower than what you see from the bios.  GPU temps were taken using the on-die temperature sensor supplied with the ATI X800XL and reported by ATITool.  Prime95 was used to stress the system.  I took temperature readings after 30 minutes of Prime95 to ensure complete system load temperatures and idle temperatures were taken by waiting 30 minutes for the system to be in idle state.  I tried my best to keep the Tamb temperatures at 25°C for consistency.

Because the power supply included was admirable, I decided to stress test the voltages as well.  I used a digital multimeter to check for voltage fluctuations during the Nature Test of 3dMark 2001 and during CPU Burn.

Results:

The AC unit is indeed very effective in reducing overall system temperatures.  In comparison to No Fan mode, the AC function greatly reduces systems temperatures and even has a drastic impact on the GPU temperature.  Considering the GPU is right in front of the duct while the AC is on, the GPU temperature differed more than 10°C.  This was rather surprising, as I've never seen the drop in temperatures from only a system cooler.  However, the CPU only enjoyed a drop in temperature of 2 degrees.  This is probably due to the CPU's distance from the cold air in comparison to the GPU.  However, this cooling came at the cost of noise.  The noise of the blower is noticeable, which is just a little quieter than an 80mm Tornado fan on high.  The sound is definitely an issue if you are primarily using the AC unit for normal work.  That said, the AC Unit function is perfect for lowering system temps when necessary.  The ability to control its operation is an added bonus for those looking for a balance between noise and performance.