Alpha Vs. Gorb with a TBird

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I’ve been messing around with a T-bird 800 / A7V combination for just on 2 weeks now.

The CPU I purchased came bundled with a Gorb, and required a conductive pen to unlock.

Naturally, I didn’t spend over AU$800 on all this to have it run at stock speed, so with great anticipation I began tweaking. I have to admit I was both encouraged and disappointed by the results I achieved:

  • 1GHz Fails to post
  • 950 Posts, fails to fully boot Windows
  • 900 Boots Windows, locks up after 3-5 mins of heavy usage (57-58c)
  • 850 Runs Stable, but the CPU temps hover between 40-55c

Obviously, the #1 problem here is heat, so it was time to look at alternatives. . . .

For days I tossed around anything from peltiers (Tom’s advice) to water-cooling (Ed’s advice), but eventually decided that neither would be suitable due to the way the box moves about, and the (lack of) monitoring I was prepared to give it.

So in the end I took the gamble and bought an Alpha PAL6035MUC (all my fault) from Japan for a grand total of AU$75.

The results? Impressive:

  • 1GHz Posts, but fails to boot Windows
  • 950 Rock solid stable, idle temps around 30c, under load 35-40c

I was so damn impressed with the performance of this cooler that I decided to do some load testing and plot the results. What you see below are temps taken simultaneously at the core of the CPU, and the other taken at the “meat” of the heatsink. The test procedure was simple – let the system boot and temps stabilize to idle, then run the full 3DMark 2000 gamut of tests, using MBM4 to log the temps every 0.1 mins:

Heat

As you can see, the Alpha outperformed the Gorb hands down. One point of interest is the temp of the Gorb vs the core temp of the CPU – the old “feel” test is absolutely useless with the Gorb, as it just can’t pump the heat away from the CPU.

My opinion: Air cooling is viable with these CPU’s – to a point. The 1GHz barrier seems to be an outright limitation of my aluminium TBird, but with CPU’s that have cores capable of doing 1Gig, air cooling with the Alpha would seem to be worth a look.

Email James


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