The most valuable aspects for my computer are performance and silence.
The later means as less possible noise producing components and as silent moving parts as possible. The Core i7 920 comes usually in a boxed SKU which means that is comes with a stock cooler. This cooler usually isn’t meant to be silent but rather an average noisy one. Thus the need for a 3rd party solution. Core i7 has a different socket than previous Core 2 Duo line – 1366 as opposed to 775 (the change is mostly due to integrated memory controller and hence more pins for the memory bus). The change of sockets also means that all available coolers won’t work just like that and since the socket 1366 is pretty much new there are no many coolers to choose from. After googling a bit I’ve found one that caught my attention: Scythe Mugen 2. It natively supports socket 1366 and it has a 12cm fan. The bigger the fan is the slower it has to rotate and thus it produces less noise. Well actually it comes with a single low noise 12cm fan but one can attach additional three similar fans (which I don’t plan – one should be more than enough). Anyway, my rule of the thumb for any cooler – the bigger the fan is the less noise it produces.
Here is a bunch of photos of the Scythe Mugen 2. I placed a CD case next to it to show the cooler’s relative size. There is also some cardboard stuffed in the cooler which I will remove before mounting it:
The cooler is one huge beast. Its size is amazing. At least is not that heavy. Few years ago I couldn’t imagine I’d mount coolers of this size and weight to motherboards.
Another important aspect of lowering the noise is fan speed controller on the mainboard. You attach the fan to the mainboard and BIOS takes care of fan speed. Not sure which motherboards support it but I am sure I’ll get one with proper support.
BTW if you wonder why I am buying a boxed CPU just to replace the stock cooler then wonder no more: non-boxed versions aren’t much cheaper and even if they were it is hard to find one.
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