one truth about heatsinks, it's that you can never tell a good one just by
looking at it. Modern CPU heatsinks are incredibly complex assemblies of
differently shaped bits of thermally conductive
metals, joined in ways that vary from
one model to the next. The same ingredients implemented ever so differently
will cause a profound impact on the final outcome.
achieve the underlying goal of transferring heat energy from a small
surface area to a much larger one is a surprisingly complex task,
even with computational fluid dynamics programs like Fluent, Flomerics Flotherm and Icepak to model ideas. When engineers consider
the restrictions on size, weight, and noise from cooling fans, it's remarkable that heatsinks actually dissipate
the amount of energy they do. Upwards of 90W from an AMD
Athlon64 and 115W from an Intel Pentium D processor.
The Spire DiamondCool II SP741B3 is
one of those heatsinks that's just hard to peg at first glance. It's a hefty AMD
Athlon64 K8 heatsink made of copper for sure, and copper means it
has to be good right? Well, not so fast...
The proportions of this socket
754/939/940 heatsink are a little odd; the copper base plate is 10mm
thick throughout, yet the copper cooling fins are each scarcely more then ~67
x 35mm in profile - that's compact. For some reason the 90mm fan overhangs 7mm on three
sides of the Spire DiamondCool II, 20mm on the last. Adding to all of that,
its four copper heatpipes which thread between the base and cooling fins
are only moving the heat about 30mm up on the fins.
To the novice, an abundance of
copper and heatpipes is reason enough, but for us it's obvious some thermal tests are
in order here. After all, you can never tell how a heatsink will
perform just by looking at it.. ;-)
|Spire SP741B3 DiamondCool II
|Model No.: DiamondCool II SP741B3|
|Materials: Copper base and fins, heatpipes|
| Fan Mfg: Fanner Tech. Co.|
|Fan Spec: 2400RPM, 12V, 0.20A|
|Fan Dim: 25x90x90mm|
|Heatsink & Fan Dim: 77x97x73mm |
|Weight: est. 600 grams|
|Includes: Stars-420 silicon thermal compound, PCB support
Compatible with Sockets: 754/939/940
|Est. Pricing: $40USD
Installation of the Spire DiamondCool II
SP741B3 heatsink is straightforward, although you will need to remove
the plastic K8 heatsink retention frame from the motherboard first. Using the supplied metal rear-PCB support plate, or
the one already with the motherboard, it's then just a matter of applying thermal compound and positioning the heatsink
onto the CPU. Tighten both screws equally so that there is still some spring left in
the springs and you'll have perfectly balanced compressive forces.
the Spire DiamondCool II SP741B3 doesn't stick with the
AMD K8 clip and tab mechanism, it doesn't look like this cooler will
survive the impending transition to socket AM2. The new DDR-2 powered AMD Athlon64 socket AM2 uses two clips on
either side of the heatsink to lock it into place, or conversely
two screw holes at either end of the heatsink. Judging by
recent information, the
two center-line clips common to socket 754/939/940 heatsink retention frames have survived the transition to socket
AM2, but single post screw-based retention systems have not.
FrostyTech's K8 Test Methodology is outlined in detail
here if you care to know what equipment is
used, and the parameters under which the tests are conducted. Now let's move
forward and take a closer look at this heatsink, its acoustic characteristics,
and of course it performance in the thermal tests!