CPU cooler group test review with 3770K -
Noise levels - Sound pressure readings
With a certified dBA meter we measure how many dBAs originate from the PC. It's slightly subjective as there is always noise in the background, from the streets, from the HD, PSU fan, etc so this is by a mile or two not a precise measurement. You could only achieve objective measurement in a sound test chamber. Take this measurement as an indication, not a precise measurement please.
The human hearing system has different sensitivities at different frequencies. This means that the perception of noise is not at all equal at every frequency. Noise with significant measured levels (in dB) at high or low frequencies will not be as annoying as it would be when its energy is concentrated in the middle frequencies. In other words, the measured noise levels in dB will not reflect the actual human perception of the loudness of the noise. That's why we measure the dBA level. A specific circuit is added to the sound level meter to correct its reading in regard to this concept. This reading is the noise level in dBA. The letter A is added to indicate the correction that was made in the measurement. Frequencies below 1kHz and above 6kHz are attenuated, whereas frequencies between 1kHz and 6kHz are amplified by the A weighting.
|TYPICAL SOUND LEVELS|
|Jet takeoff (200 feet)||120 dBA|
|Construction Site||110 dBA||Intolerable|
|Shout (5 feet)||100 dBA|
|Heavy truck (50 feet)||90 dBA||Very noisy|
|Urban street||80 dBA|
|Automobile interior||70 dBA||Noisy|
|Normal conversation (3 feet)||60 dBA|
|Office, classroom||50 dBA||Moderate|
|Living room||40 dBA|
|Bedroom at night||30 dBA||Quiet|
|Broadcast studio||20 dBA|
|Rustling leaves||10 dBA||Barely audible|
But let's have a peek at noise levels. We take a dBA gun and point it at the working PC and take a distance of 75 CM.
So explaining sound is always difficult, but up-to 40 dBA is considered to be silent. Once you are in the 41~43 dBA range you can hear the product and after 44 dBA you already have a noisy product. The margins are that tight.
We now put the processor under 100% load again with the processor under full load for a full Prime95 run. Noise pressure is a difficult thing to explain alright.
So if you want silence then up-to 40 dBA is your baseline threshold. Some products that you won't hear at all are the Noctua NH-L12 and the Cooler Master GeminII SF524 low profile coolers.
For the coolers in the 41 dBA range, well you can hear airflow to some extent really. Nothing bad, very normal. That brings all heatpipe coolers within acceptable noise limitations.
In this review we test over a dozen CPU coolers, mainly heatpipe based. We'll test them on a Core i7 3770K. In this group test we'll use Scythe, Noctua, Coolink, Deepcool, Alpenfohn, Gelid and Cooler Master coolers.
Gelid GX-7 CPU cooler review
Gelid is a company that made a nice impression a year or two ago introducing themselves by releasing their first aftermarket CPU cooler, the 'Silent Spirit' cooler. After Gelid released that Silent Spirit and then Tranqillo CPU coolers it was time for a new model. Progress is made and anno Q4 2011 it's time to release their third consumer grade CPU cooler. Their latest creation comes in the form of a tower cooler called GX-7 -- aimed at gamers apparently.
Noctua NH-C14 CPU cooler review
In the long line of Noctua CPU coolers they introduced another CPU cooler, tagged with the name NH-C14, the heatpipes bent in a C shape and armed with not one, but two Noctua NF-P14 FLX 140mm fans this product is bound to keep any CPU released to date nicely cooled and chilled.
Thermalright HR-02 CPU cooler review
We test and review the Thermalright HR-02 CPU cooler. Thermalright actually introduces this product as a passive CPU Cooler. The HR-02 is the second revision of the legacy Thermalright HR-01 cooler. We'll test it passively cooled yet we'll also pair it with Thermalright's TY-140 fan, a 1300 RPM fan that is silent, yet high performing. As stated, the results stunned me, this is really really good stuff.