Thermaltake Volcano II

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SUMMARY: The Volcano II is marginally acceptable for T-Birds up to 1400 MHz but only with a Delta 38 fan.

The Heatsink Factory sent us a Thermaltake Volcano II to test.

For some reason, Thermaltake decided to field a more conventional heatsink called the Volcano II. This is a classic extruded heatsink with 18 fins and a bottom that shows machining marks – pretty conventional stuff. The top is secured on one side only; the other side will flex if you push it. The clip is moderately difficult to install and I believe that using a screwdriver is required. All told, a heatsink built to a price point.

TT Volcano II

Thermaltake lists the fan’s specs incorrectly; the fan is an Everflow Model #F126025BH, 12 volts @ 0.17 amp, or about 2 watts. The YS Tech 26 cfm specs out at 2.16 watts. Now, there’s no such thing as a free lunch, so this fan is about 26 cfm, NOT the 36 cfm listed by Thermaltake. The real clue is the noise (31.5 dBA) and the rpms (4500) – there is not a 60 mm fan in existence that can meet these specs. The Delta 38 spins at 7000 rpm, for instance, making lots of noise in the process.

As you’ll see from the test results, the stock fan does not come close to the Delta 38’s performance.

THE TEST

The following test results were on an ABIT KT7, T-Bird 1133 @ 1.9 volts, at various speeds while running Prime 95 to stress the CPU. A 1/16″ hole was drilled into the heatsink’s base and a thermocouple was epoxied into place over the center of the CPU’s core. Ambient temps are measured 1″ from the heatsink fan’s intake. Noise was measured using a Radio Shack sound meter placed 8″ from the fan intake.

For this test, three fans were used: Thermaltake’s stock fan @ 26 cfm, Delta @ 38 cfm, and “Extreme” @ 90 cfm. Noise levels measured at 8″ from each fan’s intake: 57, 69 and 82 dBA respectively.

TEST RESULTS: Thermaltake Volcano II
Fan/CPU MHz/Heat

CPU Temp

Ambient Temp

Delta

C/W

MBM Temp

Stock 26 cfm, 1000 MHz/66 watts

44.0 C

22.5 C

21.5 C

0.33

43 C

Delta 38 cfm, 1000 MHz/66 watts

40.4 C

22.2 C

18.2 C

0.28

38 C

Delta 38 cfm, 1200 MHz/79 watts

42.8 C

22.4 C

20.4 C

0.26

40 C

Extreme 90 cfm, 1200 MHz/79 watts

41.2 C

22.4 C

18.8 C

0.24

38 C

Delta 38 cfm, 1425 MHz/94 watts

46.4 C

21.9 C

24.5 C

0.26

46 C

Delta = CPU temp – Ambient Temp
C/W = Delta / CPU Watts

Interpreting C/W: For every watt the CPU radiates, the heatsink will cool the core by the (C/W x watts) plus ambient temp. For example, at an ambient temp of 25 C, a C/W of 0.25 with a CPU radiating 50 watts means that the CPU temp will be 50 x 0.25 = 12.5 C over ambient temp, or 37.5 C. The lower the C/W, the better.

The Volcano II with the stock fan is not a serious contender for CPUs over 1000 MHz. It takes a Delta 38 to get the Volcano humming (maybe screaming is better), and as tested it does an acceptable job out to 1425 MHz; it can probably do an OK job to 1500 MHz, but that’s an assumption on my part.

Pushing 90 cfm through the Volcano does not get much more cooling, suggesting that the Volcano is about at its limit with the Delta 38.

CONCLUSION

The Thermaltake Volcano II just makes the 0.3 C/W cut that I arbitrarily feel is acceptable for serious AMD CPU cooling, but only with the Delta 38; with its stock fan, the Volcano is not acceptable for serious cooling. The best heatsinks, all using Delta 38s, are testing out in the 0.25 range, so the Volcano II is in the hunt. The Swiftech currently remains number one with its MC462A, although its noise level at full speed is high.

If you don’t want to put up with noise, either accept higher CPU temps, go water cooling or wait until a better air cooled solution is available.

Thanks again to the Heatsink Factory for sending the Volcano II our way.

Email Joe


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