Acoustic Samples: Listen to this Heatsink!
The Akasa AK-961 heatsink should be very quiet when its fan is controlled by a Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) compliant motherboard BIOS. With a rated fan speed of between 500RPM and 3400RPM the AK-961 can alternate between very quiet and loud given the processor's thermal load.
Since we have to test with a 3-pin power connection, the Akasa AK-961 defaults to a fan speed of 3400RPM which creates a real racket (60 dBA). To listen to this heatsink in operation at its full fan speed, click on the little headphones icon below and play the sample MP3 files.
|frostytech acoustic sampling chamber |
| ||standard waveform view of a 10 second recording. click on the headphones icon to listen to an mp3 recording of this heatsink in operation. the fan is rotating at 3400 rpm.|
Sound Level Measurements: Which Heatsink is Quietest?
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 noise level measurements with a sound level meter.
|FrostyTech Heatsink Noise Level Measurements |
Noise level Decibel measurements of each heatsinks' fan in operation are taken with the aid of a sound level meter and sound isolating enclosure. The values may be higher than the mfgr's listed specs, but are directly comparable to one another. Measurements are made on the dB (A) scale, lower values are best. Information on Frostytech's test methodology is available here.
|manufacturer: ||model no.: ||fan* speed: ||noise level (dba): ||cpu** platform|
|Verax ||Quattro 1 ||low ||30.9 dB ||Intel/AMD|
|Zalman ||CNPS7000B-CU ||low ||33.2 dB ||Intel/AMD|
|Scythe ||Shogun ||low ||33.7 dB ||Intel/AMD|
|ASUS ||Starice ||low ||34.4 dB ||Intel/AMD|
|Zalman ||CNPS7700-Cu ||low ||35.1 dB ||Intel/AMD |
|Thermalfly ||F1-IACSHA ||low ||35.4 dB ||Intel/AMD|
|Zalman ||CNPS9500 LED ||low ||36.2 dB ||Intel/AMD|
|Verax ||Helado || ||36.3 dB ||Intel/AMD|
|Zalman ||CNPS8000 ||low ||36.4 dB ||Intel/AMD|
|Thermalfly ||I75DUB || ||38.7 dB ||Intel|
|Gigabyte ||3D Cooler-Pro ||low ||38.8 dB ||Intel/AMD|
|Intel ||Stock Pentium D ||low ||40.5 dB ||Intel|
|EKL ||V8 ||low ||41.0 dB ||Intel/AMD|
|Gigabyte ||3D Cooler-Ultra ||low ||42.8 dB ||Intel/AMD|
|Coolermaster ||Hyper48 || ||43.6 dB ||Intel/AMD|
|Gigabyte ||3D Rocket-Pro ||low ||43.8 dB ||Intel/AMD|
|Zalman ||CNPS7000B-CU ||high ||44.9 dB ||Intel/AMD|
|Gigabyte ||GH-PCU23-VE ||low ||44.9 dB ||Intel/AMD|
|Noctua ||NH-U12 || ||45.4 dB ||Intel/AMD|
|Scythe ||Shogun ||high ||45.9 dB ||Intel/AMD|
|Intel ||Stock Pentium D ||high ||47.5 dB ||Intel|
|Coolermaster ||Aquagate Mini ||low ||48.6 dB ||Intel/AMD|
|Thermalfly ||I75DUH || ||48.7 dB ||Intel|
|Spire ||SP601B3 || ||48.9 dB ||Intel/AMD|
|nPowertek ||NPH-775-1 || ||50.1 dB ||Intel|
|Zalman ||CNPS9500 LED ||high ||50.3 dB ||Intel/AMD|
|Gigabyte ||3D-Rocket || ||50.7 dB ||Intel/AMD|
|Zalman ||CNPS7700-Cu ||high ||50.7 dB ||Intel/AMD|
|Gigabyte ||G-Power Pro ||low ||50.9 dB ||Intel/AMD|
|OCZ ||Tempest || ||51.6 dB ||Intel/AMD|
|Apack ||Zerotherm BTF80 || ||51.9 dB ||Intel/AMD|
|Apack ||Zerotherm BTF90 || ||52.1 dB ||Intel/AMD|
|Zalman ||CNPS9500 AT || ||53.3 dB ||Intel|
|Thermlatake ||Jungle512 ||low ||53.7 dB ||Intel|
|Thermalright ||Ultra 120 || ||53.7 dB ||Intel/AMD|
|Verax ||Quattro 1 ||high ||55.4 dB ||Intel/AMD|
|Akasa ||AK-960E || ||56.3 dB ||Intel|
|Zalman ||FS-C77 || ||56.5 dB ||Intel/AMD|
|Gigabyte ||3D Rocket-Pro ||high ||56.7 dB ||Intel/AMD|
|Zalman ||CNPS8000 ||high ||57.4 dB ||Intel/AMD|
|EKL ||V8 ||high ||57.5 dB ||Intel/AMD|
|Sunon ||Watrubo || ||57.5 dB ||Intel|
|Antazone ||AS-C1000 || ||57.6 dB ||Intel/AMD|
|Noctua ||NH-U9 || ||58.4 dB ||Intel/AMD|
|Coolermaster ||Aquagate Mini ||high ||59.2 dB ||Intel/AMD|
|Thermalfly ||F1-IACSHA ||high ||60.4 dB ||Intel/AMD|
|Akasa ||AK-961 || ||60.7 dB ||Intel|
|Thermaltake ||Jungle512 ||high ||60.8 dB ||Intel|
|Gigabyte ||3D Cooler-Pro ||high ||62.5 dB ||Intel/AMD|
|Gigabyte ||3D Cooler-Ultra ||high ||63.0 dB ||Intel/AMD|
|Evercool ||PT02-9232CP || ||63.3 dB ||Intel|
|Gigabyte ||GH-PCU23-VE ||high ||65.6 dB ||Intel/AMD|
|ASUS ||Starice ||high ||67.4 dB ||Intel/AMD|
|Thermalfly ||I75DUB ||high ||68.5 db ||Intel|
|Gigabyte ||G-Power Pro ||high ||71.9 dB ||Intel/AMD|
| || || ||noise level (dba) |
*unless noted, for reference heatsinks with variable-speed fans only the 'high speed' (12V) fan noise measurement is included in the comparison sheet; more detailed results for the low fan speed (~5V) tests reside in each specific heatsink review. ** 'AMD' denotes compatibility with socket 754/939/940 & AM2 processors where applicable. 'Intel' denotes compatibility with socket 775 platform.
With its 90mm PWM fan spinning at 3400RPM the Akasa AK-961 heatsink generates 60.7 dBA noise. With just 5V going into the fan, noise levels hover around 36.0 dBA. This value was not recorded above because we cannot be certain it represents 500RPM on the PWM fan, as PWM fans scale speed in a different fashion. By comparison, the stock socket 775 Intel Pentium D heatsink produces about 47.5 dB at its fastest speed.
Surface Finish and Flatness
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 test involves the use of a Surface Roughness Comparator, which offers a concise cross section common machine surface finishes.
The Akasa AK-961 heatsink has a surface roughness of approximately 63 microinches, which is considered excellent. Next, let's see how this heatsink handles the heat compared to a selection of other heatsinks!