Once upon a time, replacing the OEM heatsink meant you were probably overclocking your CPU at any cost. That included not only price, but sound and space as well. Today, people aren't just looking for speed with air cooling (as that is growing ever more difficult), but silence too. In some specific applications, quiet operation means more than anything else. Along with Zalman, this is one area where Arctic Cooling has made their mark, especially withGPUheatsinks. Does that experience transfer to CPUs?
For silent desktop operation, you really only have three choices within the current market. One belongs to Intel and the use of their mobile Pentium M on a DFI or AOpen board. The more affordable and mainstream offering comes fromAMDwith the Athlon 64, the Cool And Quiet mode. This allows for the processor to dynamically reduce the clock speed under idle conditions. It also has reasonable power requirements under load, especially the mobile s754 models. The last competitor in this market is theVIAC3/C7 chips. While not comparable to the other options in performance, they do deliver in size and efficiency.
What we are taking a look at today is a way of further taming the Athlon64 to truly silent levels. The Arctic Cooling Silencer 64 Ultra accomplishes this through a fairly straight forward methodology: size. There are no heatpipes, extravagant metals, or other tricks. It simply makes use of a large amount of surface area and a big fan to spin slowly while still sending large amounts of air over the sink. Sometimes the simple solution is the best one, especially given that the 90nm Winchesters aren't terribly demanding with regard to max power dissipation. What another good thing about the simple solution? It's usually cheap. That certainly applies in this case, given that the Silencer 64 Ultra will only set you back $13.50.
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