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Reviewed By: Carl Nelson [11.05.01]
Manufactured by: ThermalTake
Suggested Price: $??


The Test 

To test the temperatures, we brought the CPU to absolute full load by running the Prime95 Torture Test.  Motherboard Monitor 5.1 was used to record fan speeds and temperatures.  I'm not going to bother you with Idle Temp scores any longer, they are pretty much irrelevant if you have the stress temps.

Normally, we would show you a high temp score after an hour of CPU torture, and compare it to other heatsinks we've tested on the same platform... Well, with variable fan speeds, that just isn't going to work.  The Volcano 7 is not meant to be run at full speed at all times to get your CPU down to near zero temperatures; that's the beauty of it.  You know that a CPU doesn't *always* have to be cold; you just have to get it down to a certain point to remain stable.  The point behind variable cooling is, the fan will only speed up when it needs to.

The CPU used is an AMD Duron 1100 clocked at 1200 Mhz (Our only AMD motherboard is currently incapable of manipulating the CPU voltage, so we're stuck at this speed for now).  The case used (and this is important) is a custom case done by AMK here in Vancouver BC.  It has 2 intake fans on the side, and one exhaust fan on top.  With this case (which is an excellent case, by the way; very quiet), our system temperature is always very low during normal usage.  This is very important, read why when I explain our testing method.

A Note About Our Temperature Measuring Method

We have started using a new method of temperature reading that is MUCH more accurate than the 'lazy' way of doing it (the way we used to do it, and the way most review sites do it now).  The 'lazy' way would be to simply use the pre-installed thermistor that many motherboards have installed below the CPU.  This is actually a very inaccurate method of reading core temperatures.  Rather than go into full detail of this, I'll point you to a site that has excellent documentation on this matter.  Needless to say, this is the method we'll be using from now on, if testing in-house.

And here is the 'right' way to do it.  This will get us the most accurate core CPU temperature readings, and will present a better way to compare heatsink performance.  Let's make sure other sites start doing the same!

Because the thermal sensor on the V7 is located on the fan, and not near the CPU core, we wanted to see if the potential lack of accuracy meant anything in the real world.  That's why we benchmarked the V7 in 3 stages:

1) With all the case fans turned off, to produce a high system temperature
2) With the case open, to produce a cooler system temperature
3) With the case fans on, to produce the coolest system temperature possible

You'll find the results intriguing...

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