Surface Roughness Comparator:
Surface finish is an important factor that we all look for when holding a new heatsink. Flipping a cooler over to see how well the base has been machined is a quick way to judge the attention to detail that was put into making it. The following FrostyTech Surface Roughness Comparator offers a concise cross section common machine surface finishes. Not every heatsink base will fit into the envelope of this gage, but it does offer a very handy set of representations.
This commercially available gage has 22 machined surfaces from 2 to 500 microinches; Lapped (2, 4, and 8 µ" RA), Ground (8, 16, 32, and 63 µ" RA), Blanchard Ground (16 and 32 µ" RA), Shape Turned (32, 63, 125, 250, and 500 µ" RA), Profiled (63, 125, 250, and 500 µ" RA), and Milled (63, 125, 250, and 500 µ" RA).
The 60mm Zalman fan we used for our tests has a bit of whine to it, but will probably not be all that noticeable outside of the actual computer case. To listen to this heatsink for yourself in operation, be sure to click on the little headphones icon below and download the Acoustic Sample MP3 file.
Sound Level Measurements:
Listening to the actual noise a heatsink makes allows you to hear what pure numbers alone cannot get across. To further emphasize FrostyTech's reliance on cold hard facts when evaluating a heatsink, we also take Decibel readings with a sound level meter. These results may be higher than the manufacturer's listed specs, but then again these are real world measurements. Measurements are made on the dB (A) scale.
With the sound meter in hand, we measured the noise from this fan and heatsink combination at 50 dBA. Next up, the thermal test results!
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