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This time we reviewed Thermaltake ISGC-200 CPU cooler, which uses the same fan of ISGC-100 but has a completely different design, with heatsinks making "sandwiching" the fan. Will its performance be better than its "little brother"?
ISGC-200 box is visually similar to ISGC-100‘s, but a little bit bigger. It also brings the picture of a virtual redhead (that looks very much like the ATI poster girl) holding a huge sword similar to Final Fantasy. Thermaltake says that this girl’s name is Zoe, "goddess of victory", and she is a computer programmer who lives in a Peruvian amazon village and has as mission to use her powers to protect a magic stone. No, we didn’t understand what this story has to do with CPU coolers. Actually, the ancient Greek goddess of victory was named Nike (yes, the sportswear brand took her name). Hardware Secrets is also culture.
Inside the box, there is the cooler itself, installation hardware, a little white thermal compound bag, user manuals and a case sticker.
ISGC-200 is a tower-design CPU cooler, with three U-shaped heatpipes connecting the cooler base to two aluminum heatsinks. The fan stays between these heatsinks, attached to one of them with two metal clips.
[nextpage title=”Introduction (Cont’d)”]
In Figure 5, you can see where the fan stays inside the cooler. Since it is a 92 mm model the cooler could be lower than models using 120 mm fans. The fan touches only one of the heatsinks. On top of the cooler base there are also some fins to help dissipating heat.
In Figure 6, you can see how ISGC-200 looks from the top.
In order to install ISGC-200 on socket AM3, AM2+, AM2, 939 or 754 CPUs from AMD just put the cooler on the processor and attach the clip shown in Figure 10.
For installation on socket LGA775 Intel processors, you must first screw the two clips shown in Figure 11 to the base of the cooler.
Then the cooler retention mechanism looks exactly like the system used by Intel stock cooler. So you just need to press the four pegs to secure it in place. This system is far more practical than the ones that use backplates, but it is criticized because it can bend and force the motherboard. As ISGC-200 is not a heavy cooler, there is no problem in this case.
[nextpage title=”How We Tested”]
We are adopting the following metodology on our CPU cooler reviews.
First, we chose the CPU with the highest TDP (Thermal Design Power) we had available, a Core 2 Extreme QX6850, which has a 130 W TDP. The choice for a CPU with a high TDP is obvious: as we want to measure how efficient is the tested cooler, we need a processor that gets very hot. This CPU works by default at 3.0 GHz, but we overclocked it to 3.33 GHz, in order to heat it as much as possible.
We took noise and temperature measurements with the CPU idle and under full load. In order to achieve 100% CPU load on the four processing cores we ran at the same time Prime95 in "In-place Large FFTs" option and three instances of StressCPU program.
We also compared the reviewed cooler to Intel stock cooler (with copper base), which comes with the processor we used, and also with some other coolers we have tested using the same methodology.
Temperature measurements were taken with a digital thermometer, with the sensor touching the base of the cooler, and also with the core temperature reading (given by the CPU thermal sensor) from SpeedFan program. For this measurement we used an arithmetic average of the four core temperature readings.
The sound pressure level (SPL) was measured with a digital noise meter, with its sensor placed 4" (10 cm) from the fan. We turned off the video board cooler so it wouldn’t interfere with the results, but this measurement is only for comparative purposes, because a precise SPL measurement needs to be done inside an acoustically insulated room with no other noise sources, what we do not have.
- Processor: Core 2 Extreme QX6850
- Motherboard: Gigabyte EP45-UD3L
- Memory: 2 GB Corsair XMS2 DHX TWIN2X2048-6400C4DHX G (DDR2-800/PC2-6400 with timings 4-4-4-12), running at 800 MHz
- Hard drive: 500 GB Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 (ST3500320AS, SATA-300, 7200 rpm, 32 MB buffer)
- Video card: PNY Verto Geforce 9600 GT
- Video resolution: 1680×1050
- Video monitor: Samsung Syncmaster 2232BW Plus
- Power supply required: Seventeam ST-550P-AM
- Case: 3RSystem K100
- Windows XP Professional installed on FAT32 partition
- Service Pack 3
- Intel Inf driver version: 126.96.36.1999
- NVIDIA video driver version: 182.08
We adopted a 2 °C error margin, i.e., temperature differences below 2 °C are considered irrelevant.
[nextpage title=”Our Tests”]
On the tables below you can see our results. We ran the same tests with Intel stock cooler, Thermaltake BigTyp 14Pro, Akasa Nero, Cooler Master V10, Thermaltake TMG IA1, Zalman CNPS10X Extreme, Thermaltake ISGC-100, Noctua NH-U12P Noctua NH-C12P and Thermaltake ISGC-200. Each test ran with the CPU idle and the with the CPU fully loaded. On BigTyp 14Pro and TMG IA1 the tests were done with the fan at full speed and at minimum speed. On Noctua NH-U12P we tested using the fan speed reducing device (U.L.N.A.) and then tested again with the fan connected directly to the motherboard (full speed). Noctua NH-C12P was tested connected directly to the motherboard. With the other coolers, the motherboard controls the fan speed based on CPU load level and temperature.
|Cooler||Room Temp.||Noise||Fan Speed||Base Temp.||Core Temp.|
|Intel stock||14 °C||44 dBA||1000 rpm||31 °C||42 °C|
|BigTyp 14Pro (min. speed)||17 °C||47 dBA||880 rpm||29 °C||36 °C|
|BigTyp 14Pro (max. speed)||17 °C||59 dBA||1500 rpm||26 °C||34 °C|
|Akasa Nero||18 °C||41 dBA||500 rpm||26 °C||35 oC|
|Cooler Master V10||14 °C||44 dBA||1200 rpm||21 °C||26 °C|
|TMG IA1 (max. speed)||16 °C||47 dBA||1500 rpm||22 °C||30 °C|
|TMG IA1 (min. speed)||16 °C||57 dBA||2250 rpm||21 °C||30 °C|
|Zalman CNPS10X Extreme||16 °C||44 dBA||1200 rpm||21 °C||29 °C|
|Thermaltake ISGC-100||18 °C||44 dBA||1450 rpm||35 °C||49 °C|
|Noctua NH-U12P (low speed)||15 °C||42 dBA||1000 rpm||20 °C||30 °C|
|Noctua NH-U12P||15 °C||46 dBA||1400 rpm||20 °C||28 °C|
|Noctua NH-C12P||17 °C||46 dBA||1400 rpm||23 °C||28 °C|
|Thermaltake ISGC-200||21 °C||43 dBA||1100 rpm||31 °C||35 °C|
CPU Fully Loaded
|Fan Speed||Base Temp.||Core Temp.|
|Intel stock||14 °C||48 dBA||1740 rpm||42 °C||100 °C|
|BigTyp 14Pro (min. speed)||17 °C||47 dBA||880 rpm||43 °C||77 °C|
|BigTyp 14Pro (max. speed)||17 °C||59 dBA||1500 rpm||35 °C||70 °C|
|Akasa Nero||18 °C||48 dBA||1500 rpm||34 °C||68 °C|
|Cooler Master V10||14 °C||54 dBA||1900 rpm||24 °C||52 °C|
|TMG IA1 (max. speed)||16 °C||47 dBA||1500 rpm||27 °C||63 °C|
|TMG IA1 (min. speed)||16 °C||57 dBA||2250 rpm||25 °C||60 °C|
|Zalman CNPS10X Extreme||16 °C||51 dBA||1900 rpm||24 °C||50 °C|
|Thermaltake ISG-100||18 °C||50 dBA||1800 rpm||58 °C||93 °C|
|Noctua NH-U12P (low speed)||15 °C||42 dBA||1000 rpm||28 °C||59 °C|
|Noctua NH-U12P||15 °C||46 dBA||1400 rpm||25 °C||54 °C|
|Noctua NH-C12P||17 °C||46 dBA||1400 rpm||37 °C||76 °C|
|Thermaltake ISGC-200||21 °C||48 dBA||1900 rpm||42 °C||68 °C|
On the graph below you can see the temperature difference between the cooler base and the room temperature with the CPU idle and fully loaded. Values shown are in Celsius degrees. Remember that the lower the number the better is cooling performance.
On the next graph you can have an idea on how many Celsius degrees was CPU core hotter than room temperature during the tests.
[nextpage title=”Main Specifications”]
Thermaltake ISGC-200 main features are:
- Application: Socket LGA775, AM3, AM2+, AM2, 939 and 754 processors.
- Fins: Aluminum.
- Base: Copper.
- Heat-pipes: Three U-shape copper heat-pipes.
- Fan: 92 mm.
- Nominal fan speed: 600 to 1,600 rpm.
- Fan air flow: 37 cfm.
- Maximum power consumption: 0.96 W.
- Nominal noise level: 17 dBA.
- Weight: 1.05 lbs (475 g).
- More information: https://www.thermaltakeusa.com
- Average price in the US*: USD 42.00
* Researched at Newegg.com on the day we published this review.
We were very wary before testing Thermaltake ISGC-200, because of the low performance achieved by the smaller cooler from this series, ISGC-100. Our results, however, show that ISGC-200 is far better than its "little brother" on cooling performance. Besides that, it is quieter, even though they use the same fan, probably because of the sandwich design.
Its cooling performance is good, but not as good as the best coolers we tested so far. Even so it won’tt burn your CPU, even when it is overclocked.
Visually ISGC-200 does not attracts the sight; it can be cool in temperature but not in the looks. The installation system is very practical.
In summary, ISGC-200 is a good cooler, silentful, efficient and having a fair price tag. It may not be the best cooler available, but its buyers will surely not regret the purchase.