Sunday, February 22, 2009

Cool your gigahertz

Still haven't forgotten about the blog here. Things should be normalizing soon, though. I just thought I'd make a random post.

Why get a fancy cooler for your CPU? Because most CPUs can be overclocked safely to speeds rivaling or outperforming top of the line versions as long as they don't get too hot. Also, generally speaking, the stock cooler is louder and less efficient than a decent 3rd party option. I went a little bonkers and got a more expensive cooler, the Coolermaster V10 (picture at bottom), but the results are great. Plus, no more noise than before the swap, and the system was dead silent before.

Here's my Intel Core i7 940 (comes clocked at 2.93GHz) running at ~3.4GHz with what could be considered regular load (all the usual startup apps, browser, email, bit torrent, iTunes all open):

Stock cooler:

with Coolermaster V10:

It looks like the fans should be louder, but there is zero difference in noise. I dunno. There is some sort of control built into this (v10) Peltier cooler unit, so I'm not sure if this is reporting accurately. The NB fan speed makes me think it might not be, since they aren't scaling together at all. Still, look at those temps - and that's just air cooling. I could probably bump this baby up to 4GHz, but that will take more research to do properly (minor bumps can be kinda hack-ish without causing much trouble). The i7 940 (2.93GHz) costs ~$500, the 965 (3.2GHz) goes for ~$1000. The 920 (2.66GHz) is ~$250 and performs just about as well as the 940 from what I've heard (wish I had known that before buying mine), and unless you plan to overclock the 965 and do a bunch of tweaking, it just doesn't make sense to opt for it over a modest overclock on either of the other i7 chips.

Anyhow, this was my yay of the day. Here is a pic of the V10 cooler - try not to look directly at it, cuz it angers easily.

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