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Five LGA1156 coolers tested on Lynnfield

Intel LGA1156 cooler group test

Last time we did a group test of coolers for a new socket - our Core i7 cooler round up - we had to wait a while for many models to be available. That's not the case with LGA1156 however, as there are coolers on sale now that will fit Intel's forthcoming socket.

Bear in mind that as Lynnfield CPUs have a dual-channel DDR3 memory controller and integrated PCI-Express lanes, so they require more connections with the motherboard than a Core 2 chip yet fewer than an LGA1366 Core i7 chip. Despite Intel packing the communication and power delivery pins of the LGA1156 socket tighter than with LGA775 and LGA1366, as we've already seen, the new socket is physically still slightly larger than LGA775 by just 2mm, so you’ll either need a new mounting bracket or a whole new cooler for your first Lynnfield PC. Why thank you, Intel.

With prices ranging from under £15 to £50, and with some aiming for quietness and others branded 'Extreme' there should be something for everyone in this test. Best of all, you can get your Lynnfield cooler now before the rush on launch day, bringing you step closer to that next upgrade!

Five LGA1156 coolers tested on Lynnfield Introduction and how we tested
While we really did test five coolers, we needed to use the Zalman CNPS 10X Extreme for testing before I could take this shot. As you'll discover, we were loathe to take the cooler off once it was fitted

How we tested

As Intel will kill us if we publish any frequency numbers before the launch date (metaphorically, or course, just in case the Dennis Publishing legal team are reading this) so all we can tell you is that we overclocked our Lynnfield CPU with a specific voltage to a specific clock frequency. We used exactly the same overclock that we expect to be relatively typical in the future, on all coolers, to keep the test consistent. Unfortunately that's all we can say at this moment, but we will retrospectively fill in the blanks when the time is right. We can detail the rest of the test kit however, which was as follows:

Hardware

  • Motherboard: Asus P7P55 Deluxe
  • Memory: 4GB Kingston HyperX 1,600MHz DDR3 (two sticks of a Core i7 triple-stick kit)
  • Graphics card: 512MB ATI Radeon HD 4870
  • Case: Chieftec Aegis CX-05B-B
  • Power supply: BFG LS-550 550W
  • Hard disk: 640GB Western Digital Caviar Blue wd6400aaks
The Chieftec Aegis was chosen because it's a fairly basic case with a rear and a roof 120m fan, side panel grill and is reasonably spacious and solidly built. The 512MB Radeon HD 4870 is a good example of a reasonably hot graphics card, though we didn't run any GPU stress apps during testing so as to keep the fan quiet. Even so the card still gets quite hot. The BFG power supply was also chosen for being very low noise too.

Software

  • Operating system: Windows XP 32-bit SP2
  • Applications: Prime95 (smallfft test across all cores), CoreTemp, CPU-Z (set to auto-load during startup, to ensure the undisclosable overclock is running)