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Spire DiamondCool II SP741B3 AMD Athlon64 Heatsink Review
Spire DiamondCool II SP741B3 AMD Athlon64 Heatsink Review
Abstract: The DiamondCool II SP741B3 is one of those heatsinks that's just hard to peg at first glance. It's a hefty AMD Athlon64 heatsink made of copper for sure, and copper means it has to be good right?

 Manufacturer  Category  Published  Author 
Spire    Cooling / Heatsinks   Apr 25, 2006   Max Page  

If there's 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.

To 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 Heatsink
heatsink specsheet
manufacturer: spire
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 plate.

Compatible with Sockets: 754/939/940
Est. Pricing: $40USD ($45CDN)

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.

Since 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!

° Next Page 

Table of Contents:

 1: — Spire DiamondCool II SP741B3 AMD Athlon64 Heatsink Review
 2:  360° View - Spire DiamondCool II Heatsink
 3:  Acoustic Comparisons and Base Surface Quality
 4:  Final Heatsink Temperature Comparisons

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