Buying a CPU cooler can be a confusing business these days, there are dozens to choose from, all claiming to have the best performance available. The last year or so has been an interesting time for high end air cooling, with some significant leap forwards in performance by tweaking the design and stepping away from conventionality. We've seen everything from HDT (Heat pipe Direct Technology) variations, to mirror finish bases, 140mm fans and dual radiator panels, just to get that performance advantage over the competition.
Today's shootout will take several of the latest and (potentially) greatest coolers, of all shapes and sizes, and see what they can do. We will of course be establishing which is the best performer, but we will also be looking at things like build quality, ease of mounting, noise and the price.
With the arrival of Sandy Bridge, we have been treated to some seriously high overclocks, and also, some people have been piling on the voltage to as high as 1.7v, so it makes sense to include 1155 tests within this shootout, and we've taken the decision to test all our coolers on the 1366 Core i7 platform too, for the simple reason that it generates much more heat. Even at lower clocks, such as 4.4GHz, or even 4.2GHz, it is still churning out more heat than a 2600K Sandy Bridge at 5GHz.
The final thing that I'd like to mention, is that we went to each manufacturer/distributor and asked them if they would like to submit any number of coolers for our shootout, most of them had at least one, but some had two, but others had three, so what we had to do, was weed out the ones that weren't quite suitable for a high performance test, but were decent coolers in their own right, and keep in the ones that, on paper, could be contenders. By doing this, some manufacturers have more than others, and this wasn't planned, it's just the way it happened, so please keep that in mind.
For complete Test ,here