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Best CPU Cooler Performance Intel/AMD Q1-2010
March 12 2010

Overclocking is a lot like skydiving and break dancing: not everyone does it, but it's really fun for those of us who do. There's a level of overclocking for every enthusiasts, from simple speed bumps to the record-breaking liquid nitrogen extreme projects. Overclocking is addictive, and before you know it the bug has you looking at hardware that might cost as much as a low-end computer system. Allow me to stand and tell you my name is Olin Coles, and I'm an overclocker. I'm not ashamed; at least not for being a PC-hardware enthusiast... but my occasional leap from an airplane or casual windmill-to-poplock is another story.

Overclockers demand only the best performance from their computer hardware, which is why the aftermarket heatsink industry is thriving with competition. Using both the overclocked 140W AMD Phenom-II X4-965 BE and six-core Gulftown Intel Core i7-980X Extreme Edition processors, Benchmark Reviews tests several new thermal solutions for our Best CPU Cooler Performance Intel/AMD Q1-2010 article. Notable entries include the ProlimaTech Armageddon, Cogage Arrow, Noctua NH-D14, Thermalright Venomous-X, and Zalman CNPS10X-Performa.

Two desktop processors stand at the forefront of enthusiast wish-lists: AMD's Phenom-II X4-965 CPU and Intel's Core i7-980X Extreme Edition "Gulftown" 6-core processor. In response to requests from our community, Benchmark Reviews decided it was time to give AMD their time in our Best CPU Cooler Performance series. So in this Best CPU Cooler Performance Q1-2010 article, an overclocked AMD Phenom II X4 965 "Black Edition" processor was used (original 140W version), and given a heart-warming 1.55 volts to the vCore so it could reach 4000MHz (4GHz) stable. Likewise, our hexa-core Intel Core i7-980X Gulftown received 1.375V for a stable-but-warm 4.0GHz overclock on the capable ASUS P6X58D-Premium motherboard.

This article is huge, and lets face it, you're probably going to skip directly to the results. Fight the urge! Please take the time to read this entire article to best absorb all of the information contained. I've put a lot of time into this work, and not everything is revealed in the charts.