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Xigmatek Thor’s Hammer

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Posted April 6, 2009 by Jake in Cooling

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by Jake
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Setup & Results

To test the heatsink, we boot into Windows and let the system sit idle for 10 minutes, then measure temperatures. We then load the CPU cores to 100% using Prime95 for 20 minutes and then again measure the temperatures. This entire process is done twice and then averaged to avoid any minor discrepancies that might occur. Ambient temperatures are kept at 25?C, and Arctic Cooling MX-2 is used for the thermal interface material. CoreTemp was used to record all temperatures. Temperatures are reported to the nearest whole degree Celcius; anything less than one degree can be attributed to slight testing variances. Frankly, the tolerances at less than one degree are extremely minute for testing such as this. All thottling features in BIOS are disabled.

In this particular setup, since Thor’s Hammer does not come with an included fan, we’ll use the 120mm fan from Xigamtek’s Dark Knight, as we feel it is a good apples-to-apples comparison, and this fan also represents a good balance between noise and performance; it’s a 2200 RPM, 30.1 dBA fan that has specifications we feel are adequate to suit most enthusiasts in a "normal" air cooling setup.

Our test setup is as follows:

Setup

So how does Thor’s Hammer perform? Let’s take a look below.

Temps-stock

As we can see, Thor’s Hammer does a very good job at keeping the hot i7 920 under control when running at stock speed, showing a significant improvement over the stock Intel cooler. It also matches Xigmatek’s outstanding Dark Knight exactly in terms of cooling peformance, and is slightly ahead of the other HDT towers, the Akasa Nero and OCZ Gladiator Max. The result isn’t surprising, given the very close similarities in design between the HDT coolers. Let’s juice up the voltages and BCLK and see what happens when we overclock the i7 monster.

Temps-stock

When we crank up the voltage and overclock the CPU by over 1GHz to 3.8GHz, we see that Thor’s Hammer struggles a bit to cope with the enormous about of heat generated by the Core i7, but the temperatures level out at 72 degrees Celcius, just silghtly better than the Dark Knight (and using the Dark Knight’s fan as well), but does sit atop the HDT cooler pack. By comparison, the stock cooler failed miserably, as we stopped the test after temperatures went beyond 90 degrees Celcius to avoid damaging the processor.

With the 40% larger surface area of the Core i7 over the Core2 chips, the current crop of heatsinks do struggle to keep the chip cool under load when highly overclocked. Idle temps are excellent, but when the cores are juiced up then things start to get interesting. Regardless, a 3.8GHz ultimate overclock on a 2.6GHz chip is nothing short of outstanding, so clearly the Hammer is doing a fine job allowing us to the push the i7 920 very hard.

Regarding noise produced by the fan: it is entirely dependent on which fan you choose, so you do have the option of going with a silent setup with a Noctua fan, for example, or something far more robust and high output, such as a Sanyo Denki if you’re lucky enough to get your hands on one.

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