FrostyTech typically eschews real world testing for synthetic thermal test platforms whenever possible; repeatability is more controllable, and parameters like thermal load can be specified from the start by selecting appropriate resistive heater components.
However, when it comes to videocard heatsinks it has proven a challenge to design a suitable platform which will accommodate the wide variety of mounting styles, GPU core dimensions, and VGA heatsinks out there....
Videocard heatsinks react strongly to the internal case environments, and when front/back thermal solutions start to be considered the equation gets rather complicated.
For the time being, FrostyTech will be conducting its VGA heatsink tests with an actual videocard. Temperatures will be recorded with the computer system at idle on the desktop, and when stressed with 3DMark06 where the peak temperature will be noted. The parameters of equipment set up and instrumentation are noted below. The reference heatsink is a stock Geforce 9600GT videocard.
There aren't a lot of VGA heatsinks in this comparison, but what we've tested gives a good indication of where the Evercool VC-RHE Formula 2 VGA heatsink stands. The Evercool Formula 2 heatsink posts a 3DMark06 system stressed maximum rise above ambient temperature of 20.9°C, with 34.6 dBA noise. With the VC-RHE Formula 2's 80mm fan spinning at 3000RPM, stressed temperatures rise only 7°C above idle - idle being when the videocard is just displaying the Windows Vista desktop.
By comparison the stock GeForce 9600GT GPU heatsink does no better than 32.3°C above ambient under 3DMark06 stressed conditions, with ~40 dBA noise.
The main advantage with VGA heatsinks like the Evercool VC-RHE Formula 2 is that the fan works to cool adjacent video memory and PCB with its exhaust. With BGA-mounted devices a significant portion of heat is dumped into the PCB via the solder balls, so to a certain point airflow can work to lower the overall temperatures of the surrounding area.
With a fixed 3000RPM fanspeed the Evercool VC-RHE Formula 2 VGA heatsink offers up a consistent, quiet, after market videocard cooling option for entry-to-mid level class videocards like the Geforce 9600GT.
The Top 5 best heatsinks for low noise and low temperature are ranked here. For more reviews on the latest heatsinks and cooling solutions, rely on FrostyTech's inventory of 400+ heatsink reviews. Here are a few other articles that you might enjoy as well.
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