If you've read any of my reviews then you may have noticed I reviewed the Stock CPU cooler from my AMD Athlon X2 4200+ CPU. Technically I don't think it quite qualifies ad a review as it really isn't a retail product available for purchase to the general public (at least not that I know of anyway). Well recently I got an Intel Cedar Mill 631 CPU; upon opening the package the first things that struck me was the CPU cooler, it just looks really cool. The piece I did on the AMD cooler got a lot of hits on ThinkComputers and quite a few good comments so I figured I should do a write up of the Intel cooler also. Read on to check out this cooler….
Intel P4 Stock Cooler Review
A Better Look at Things
Well since the Intel cooler isn't really a retail item there are no cool box shots for you, but I'll start off with the cooler inside the packaging.
You can see from the picture that the cooler is pretty big in comparison to the CPU located on the side of the package.
The Intel cooler is actually pretty heavy; the fins themselves are pretty thick and appear to be made of aluminum. You'll notice there is no fan guard either, and the connector is a 4-pin type.
Flipping it over we can see a pre-applied thermal compound pad attached to a copper slug. There are four 'feet' that lock into the holes of your socket LGA 775 motherboard. I thought of trying this cooler out on my X2 but without modification it would be kind of hard to do.
After I tested the Intel CPU cooler out, I removed it and replaced it with a liquid cooling system. I had to remove the thermal pad to really get a good look at the base. The finish of the base of the Intel CPU cooler is not bad, but not great either.
The base has lots of tiny scratched all over it, and isn't quite a mirror finish.
I stuck my macro lens on my camera to get in close to the base, if you run your fingernail across the base you can hear a faint tick-tick-tick, zooming in close you can see many machining circular lines. My guess is that the faint scratches we saw earlier are the attempt to 'lap' the base to get rid of these machining marks.
Installation, Testing and Comparison
Installation, I have to say that the process is not easy. I installed this on my ASUS P5WD2-E Premium motherboard and I was actually afraid that I was going to crack it. I had to literally lean on it to get the thing to lock into place, I believe that it shouldn't be that hard to install a CPU cooler. While I was installing it the motherboard was creaking under the strain from all the pressure I had to use to get it installed. Eventually I got it in place, with beads of sweat dripping from my brow as I fired the computer up with my fingers crossed hoping that I didn't kill my new motherboard.
For testing Prime95 was run for 35 minutes to get load, the ambient room temperature was 27C during testing. After removing the stock cooler I installed the Thermaltake Rhythm external liquid cooler so I could do reviews of ram and overclock the CPU as I quickly found that the stock cooler just wasn't going to cut it for over clocking.
Intel Stock: 54C
TT Rhythm: 31C
Intel Stock: 69C
TT Rhythm: 48C
You can see from the results here that not much over clocking is going to be done with the stock cooler attached. Just by switching over to water the temps dropped dramatically, but that is to be expected. The noise level of the Intel is a bit loud as well when the fan goes into full speed under load, to the point that it can be annoying actually.
Well personally I would rather have an ugly CPU cooler that performs well, rather than a good looking CPU cooler that can't take the heat. It just goes to show that looks aren't everything huh?
I have to say that I was actually surprised by the bad performance of the Intel CPU cooler, it is very heavy for its size and seemed to be well made, but I guess just not made good enough for this job. The average 'Joe' would most likely be happy with this cooler as they are not pushing their system like I would or do and it does look cool.
DragonSteelMods give the Intel Stock Cooler a 2 out of 5 score.
-Looks really cool
-Loud under load
-Hard to install
-Base could be better