I was in need of a better CPU cooler. I was doing some video processing and conversion which was very CPU intensive and it was maxing out my CPU. The system is an ASUS P7P55D Deluxe Motherboard with 4 gig of memory and an Intel i7-860 CPU (see my blog on this CPU) rated at 2.8 ghz. (see my blog about this) This particular CPU has 4 cores and is hyper-thread capable. I installed the Intel CPU cooler, a rather small fin air cooler. Primarily I wanted to see how this would work out of the box. I had read a review on the 17-860 at www.pcper.com which reported that this chip never ran at it's rated clock speed and was temperature driven. They reported that when 1 or 2 cores were in use they observed the chip speed bumping up to 3.1ghz. This fascinated me and I wanted to see this for myself as I had never seen a CPU actively control it's speed like that. The ASUS P7P55D user guide supports IntelSpeedStep and Intel TurboMode Tech, both enabled by default. So this should be interesting.
I am using a program called TMPGEnc 4.0 Xpress Multi format Video Encoding Software, and converting 1080p mpeg 4 video to 720p mpeg 4. You can get more information at: Pegasys web site . I used an ASUS system monitor utility that came with the motherboard to monitor CPU speed and temp. When I started the encoding the CPU temp immediately went to 208 degrees F. (98C) and stopped. The fan speed maxed out at about 2600rpm. When I looked at CPU performance it was still over clocked a bit at 3.2ghz and they were all running at 100% but there was NO activity in the hyper-thread mode. I found out later that this was a CPU imposed restriction as a result of temperature. TMPGEnc Xpress was reporting the duration of the encoding would be about 41 hours. This was going to take a bit, but I didn't want to temp stress the CPU that long so I aborted the encoding and started looking for a better CPU cooler.
I was just looking for something a little bit better until I ran across the user comments on newegg.com about this innovative water cooled factory sealed CPU cooler, the Corsair H50 hydro series. More details at: Corsair H50 . Should you decide to purchase this cooler follow the instructions and the video on the corsair H50 web site was also helpful.
The improvement in performance was dramatic. This same project when run again dropped the CPU temperature a full 50 F to about 155 degrees F (68C) and all four Hyper-Thread processors were running. The time to complete the project dropped from 41 hours to 33 hours, a 25% improvement. If you are looking at an Intel i-series processor and you and going to use a CPU intensive task then this cooler is the one to get. It cools better than any air cooled / heat pipe system and is cheaper and more reliable than a whole system liquid cooled setup.