Testing and benchmarking
Now that the system is hooked up and actually working as a cooling solution let's run some performance tests. Initial thoughts: very exciting. We set our room temperature towards roughly 21 Degrees C for an objective comparison.
As you can see the Aquagate MAX is performing pretty well with regards to cooling our PC.
The setup used:
- nForce 790i Ultra SLI
- Core 2 Quad QX9770 (3.2 GHz / 1600 MHz FSB / 1.2 Volts)
- Core 2 Quad QX9770 (3.6 GHz / 1600 MHz FSB / 1.4 Volts)
- Core 2 Quad QX9770 (4.0 GHz / 1600 MHz FSB / 1.6 Volts)
- Corsair Dominator DDR3 memory
- 300 GB WD HDD
- GeForce 8600 GTS
- Power supply: Enermax Galaxy EGA1000EWL 1000W (a default 135mm fan for intake; and 80mm fan for air exhaust)
Right after system boot up the water obviously is cool at room-temperature, the components will be slightly warmer.
Core 2 Quad QX9770 XE idle temperatures
First let's focus at non-overclocked results. Our processor is a beefy one, as it's the 1600 MHz FSB based quad core QX 9770. By itself the processor runs quite hot due to the high FSB frequency.
- The blue line; default processor clocks at 3200 MHZ. As you can see we have very mild temperatures at 24 (75F) to 29 (84F) Degrees C.
- The Orange line; here we yank 1.45 Volts into the CPU, and now clocked to processor towards 3600 MHz. Temperatures immediately rise towards 33 Degrees C (91F), which still is very good.
- The Green line; we push the core towards 4 GHz and insert 1.6 volts into it. The result is a much higher idle temperature however towards 50+ Degrees Celsius (122F)
Bit idle temperatures are not that interesting. Let's really stress all four logical CPU cores on the processor with 4 Prime 95 treads active and running.
Core 2 Quad QX9770 XE Load / Stress testing the CPU
Here the game definitely changes. Our test is really brutal, unless you transcode a lot there are very few situation where you'd end up using all 4 CPU cores at 100%. None the less, this is called a stress test.
- Blue line; at default 3200 MHz and a 1600 MHz FSB we actually see very nice temperatures on all four cores up-to 42 Degrees C (108F).
- Yellow line; We again apply 1.45 Volts to the CPU and overclock towards 3600 MHz. We max out at near 60 Degrees C (140F). Which is pretty decent really.
- Green line; 1.6 Volts and 4000 MHz on the processors cores. Here's where we enter the danger zone at a near 79 degrees C (174F). Realistically you'll not achieve this temperature ever. But that's doesn't mean it won't happen. So 4 GHz is a little borderline here. I'm pretty confident that a better water-block could shave off another 10 Degrees C quite easily as the pump and radiator definitely are able to handle it.
During our test phase we had the reservoir FAN control the PWM of the fans. This resulted in what we think was the maximum 2400 RPM continuously. This was pretty loud for water-cooling standards as DBa levels now had risen towards 44 DBa. While not extreme, on average that's too loud though.