The Flowtherm thermal modeling program allows three dimensional objects to be created, heat and air sources to be applied, and the resulting thermal flow diagrams modeled. All of which can be done before a single unit needs to be produced. The company has included two pictures to illustrate how the heatsink performs in real life, unfortunately, the fin temperatures don't seem to be depicted... so it's difficult to comment on how well this design conducts heat up through to the very top of its' many thin copper fins.
For our testing of the Thermal Buster we used the FrostyTech Synthetic Heatsink Test apparatus. The temperatures values recorded through this device are much more accurate than with an on die test for several reasons we'll explain in a moment.
What is it?
The apparatus itself consists of a framework housing an aluminum block which is heated by a 50W heatsource. Heat is transmitted to the heatsink via the block and up through a copper die template which has a thermistor embedded directly in it.
A temperature reading for a particular heatsink is taken once the temperature stabilizes in the copper die template. Since the die templates have the surface area of either a silicon topped or heatspreader-topped processor the flow of heat to the base of the heatsink accurately mimics a real life configuration.
The synthetic test temperature results show that when the Thermal Buster is used on a Celeron or PGA-type processor it performs equivalent to that of the much larger Frosty CopperSink, and only slightly less than the significantly wider all-aluminum Coolermaster CH5-5K12 heatsink. The Ascent AC300-4P represents how a generic run of the mill large aluminum bonded-fin heatsink would perform in this test.
When we switched to the small copper die template (representing FC-PGA or Socket A processors) for our tests many of the heatsinks had troubles keeping the temperature below the all-to-critical 70 degrees C - the maximum value our thermistors could record. The typical Ascent was completely unable to cope while the large Coolermaster held the low-end of the scale at 64.8 C. However, during this test the Thermal Buster managed to outperform our much larger and totally copper Frosty CopperSink proving itself indeed capable.
Considering the technology and construction of the Thermal Buster heatsink - and forgetting how horrible the original fan is - you have a heatsink with good performance characteristics. Even under the worst scenario - total fan failure - the Thermal Buster managed to keep our PIII from destroying itself. Synthetic testing illustrates its performance characteristics on both small-die and heatspreader-based processors. When considering the dimensions of this heatsink are the smallest of any which we tested, the at par or just below par performance of the is very good.
If you have a cramped case and are looking for a very good heatsink to keep things cool then the Thermal Buster makes a worthy option. The only caveat is don't use that original fan!!
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