Variable fan moderates noise and performance – Joe
SUMMARY: Good cooling at fastest setting, flexible fan controls.
It ships with a load of parts:
- Thermistor Cable
- Potentiometer Cable (10K)
- Four Pin Power Adapter
- Thermal Pad
- Thermal Grease
The fan is an Everflow Model #TT-8025TU – an 80 x 25mm unit which features 3 operating modes:
- Flat Out – 4800 rpm
- Temperature Controlled: 1300 rpm @ 20C, 4800 rpm @ 55C
- Resistor Controlled: 1300 to 4800 rpm
It’s spec’d @ 17 dBA, 20.6 cfm at 1300 rpm to 48 dBA, 75.7 cfm @ 4800 rpm. In use, I measured its speed at 5480 rpm at 12 volts.
At full bore, the fan consumes 8.4 watts, so the four pin adapter is essential. The fan has a separate tachometer output so you can plug it into the motherboard’s fan header to monitor rpms. You have the option to vary rpms by temperature or manually adjust rpms with the potentiometer’s dial – both allow settings from 1300 to 4800 rpms.
One thing not mentioned in the packaging (although it is on the website): In order to activate temperature or potentiometer control, you MUST remove the blue jumper on the fan’s thermistor cable pin.
I measured its noise, 5347 rpm, at 70 dBA with a Radio Shack sound meter 8″ from the fan’s intake, a little louder than a Delta 38 (about 69 dBA). It’s not safe to use a motherboard fan header, and Thermaltake provides an four pin adapter cable.
features a copper core surrounded by aluminum fins. The copper core is slightly above the aluminum base, which is not a problem as the core is large enough to contact any CPU. The base is flat but not polished.
Some think that a copper core/aluminum fin arrangement is a superior combination due to each metals’s thermal characteristics. Bunk. It’s lighter and cheaper – that’s it. The fins
are typical aluminum extrusion – nothing out of the ordinary.
The clip engages all three lugs, so mounting is very secure. However, it does require a screwdriver to mount, so the screwdriver-challenged should take note.
In summary, a fairly conventional aluminum extrusion/copper core heatsink with a very secure clip and a 3 way fan.
The Volcano 9 was first tested on the CPU Die Simulator which gives results that are unaffected by motherboard influences. I then tested it on an Iwill KK266+, modified to read AMD’s on-die diode, as an example of what users might see on their systems.
In addition, with an adapter I tested it on a Lucky Star P4A845D with a modified P4 1500 to read CPU case temps. The copper core covered about 95% of the CPU case top.
|Volcano 9, 5347 rpm, 48 dBA|
|Volcano 9, 2617 rpm, 34 dBA|
CPU Die Temp
CPU Back Temp
|Palomino 1200, Iwill KK266+|
|Lucky Star P4A845D, P4 1500|
¹CPU Case Temp
²CPU Die Temp per MBM
C/W = Delta / CPU Watts
Interpreting C/W: For every watt (CPUw) that the CPU
consumes, the HSF will limit the CPU’s temperature rise to (C/W x CPUw)
plus the temperature at the HSF’s fan inlet. For example, at an ambient temp of 25 C, a C/W of 0.25 with a CPU radiating 50 watts means that CPU temp will increase 50 x 0.25 = 12.5 C over ambient temp, or 37.5 C. The lower the C/W, the better.
Die Simulator results place the Volcano 9, at its highest rpms for Socket A cooling, in the mid rank of heatsinks (Heatsink Ranking). At a more noise tolerable 2617 rpm, the Volcano 9 falls into the lower ranks of heatsinks tested.
For P4 cooling, the Volcano 9 ranked lowest of those tested; the thermistor was placed against the CPU’s side, and the fan ran at 3336 rpm while running Prime 95. At idle, the fan ran at 2162 rpm – very quiet.
To test the thermistor, I taped it to the side of the Palomino’s core. Thermaltake shows the thermistor taped to the backside of the CPU, with the thin blue wires resting between the socket and the CPU. Because of the thermistor’s length, the tip will not contact the back center of the CPU¹, where the temps are the hottest. I decided to use the CPU side instead.
CPU Die Temp
CPU Back Temp
|IDLE, Palomino 1200, Iwill KK266+, 3155 rpm|
|STRESS, Palomino 1200, Iwill KK266+, 3533 rpm|
The Volcano topped out at 46C, 3533 rpm, running Prime 95. I then let it run at Idle until temps stabilized. After about 30 minutes, the CPU powered down into a “sleep” state:
The Volcano 9 hit its lowest rpms at this point – about 2151 rpm. I then woke it up by running a Quake Demo:
Note the rapid rise in temps – the thermistor lagged somewhat, but reached 3091 rpm at the peak – don’t expect response to be instantaneous. However, at idle it’s quiet and probably OK if you want to sleep.
Thermaltake’s Volcano 9 offers consumers three options in fan control – thermistor control may offer an attractive option to some users. Potentiometer control offers more rpm range, although users must manually dial in rpms. Cooling performance is OK but not top rank.
For Socket A cooling, the Volcano 9 is an OK performer; for P4 (not designed for it), it ranks at the bottom.
Overall, an interesting blend of performance options and noise control.
If you purchase this heatsink or fan, I would be very interested in your opinions.
¹You could bend the probe into a “U” shape and contact the back, but on some CPUs, there are components on the back which interfere with contact.