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Molex FC-PGA

vs.

Thermaltake “Golden Orb"

Burning Issues.The source for all your CDR answers and more! CD-recording hardware; software, tests, how-to's, reviews, step-by-step guides, troubleshooting.  Security;  system cooling, overclocking, optimising.  Molex

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“Speak softly & carry a big stick:”

   . . . . . advised Theodore Roosevelt:  these two ‘radial’ CPU coolers, both specifically designed to work with FC-PGA  socket 370 CPU’s, do precisely this. In our test system, both quietly managed overall cooling efficiency figures [C/W] of 0.5 or better on a FC-PGA ‘Ron2 533A overclocked to 800Mhz/1.62v & 840Mhz/1.65v.

  Before going to the test results, it’s worth considering how & why these small, quiet . . . . er . . . cool coolers perform so well, especially since they have such small, quiet 50mm fans - the Golden Orb’s rated at 26 db/20 CFM; that of the Molex at 25db/9.5 CFM.

  “I’ve gotta BIG” one:

 Looming beside me on the test-bench is a GlobalWin FDP32 – a top-performing PGA socket 370 cooler. It is a pretty definitive example of a conventional extruded alloy fansink.                       

The thing is huge – like the Alpha coolers it competes with - & noisily [32 rated db] equipped with a large [60mm] high-throughput [27cfm] fan. Many have been later fitted, or may be supplied with even more powerful, even noisier 60mm or, gawd ‘elp us, 80mm fans.

The FDP’s great size – so large they tend to block SDRAM slots on many motherboards – gives a total fin & body surface area potentially exposed to cooling of some 530 sq cm – around 0.55 sq feet 

Sounds a lot, doesn’t it - & such a huge cooler must have far more cooling area than these funny little quiet things, mustn’t it? . . . . . . . well:

 

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Table 1: shows our estimates of the fin & body surface area of these 3 coolers; & the proportion of this directly swept by their flow into &/or from their fans:

Table 1:all cm2

base/body area

fin area

Total

fin area swept

base/body area swept

Total swept

% swept

FDP32

45

485

530

342

45

387

73

Golden Orb

22

398

410

255

17

273

69

Molex FC-PGA

16

342

358

342

11

353

99

Copyright © 26th June 2000 shoarthing at Burning Issues

 

Table 2: shows our estimates of the size of these 3 coolers, then the volume they occupy in your computer-case, & then, most importantly, the Cooling Density they offer – the ratio of directly swept cooling area to volume occupied.

Table 2

length/breadth/height [gross] [no clips] cm

Volume cm3: [v]

Total swept cm2: [s]

Cooling Density: s/v

FDP32

7.4/6.7/7.2

308

387

1.26

Golden Orb

7.0/7.0/4.5

173

273

1.58

Molex FC-PGA

5.6/6.6/3.8

95

353

3.71

Copyright © 26th June 2000 shoarthing at Burning Issues

 

 It's obvious here that the radial coolers – especially the Molex – give greater Cooling Density: they simply occupy less of your computer, while exposing similar radiator areas to their cooling-fans’ airflow.

How do they manage it?

   . . . . . by clever design: in the case of the “Golden Orb,” by imitating the brilliant “turbocooler” design Guy Wagner came up with for Hewlett Packard for the original “orb” cooler for the 80+W PA8000 series RISC processor.

 The Molex, as this exploded drawing shows, divides the function of a cooler into separate optimised components, instead of making the whole thing as one alloy casting or extrusion.

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The fan is press-fitted onto a plastic shroud, this clips onto a long, very thin folded-fin jacket, which is bonded about the solid cylindrical core conducting the CPU’s heat to the fins. The clip [see warning below] is a press-fit to this core.

 The Golden Orb appears to be an investment casting, turned internally & on the base.

The tall fins surround the fan,  & pass  heat to the air both on  it being drawn in around the upper part, and on it being exhausted around the base.

This drawing shows the principle – it in fact illustrates the [superior] function of the new HP turbocooler – which has its base deeply slotted out between the fins, so greatly increasing the swept area where it’s most important – near the heat-source.

Burning Issues.The source for all your CDR answers and more! CD-recording hardware; software, tests, how-to's, reviews, step-by-step guides, troubleshooting.  Security;  system cooling, overclocking, optimising. Golden Orb

 

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 Sadly, the complex bureaucracy of Hewlett-Packard’s subsidiaries prevented us from getting samples of their new ArctiCooler CA 423/482 perf + for this test. There’s a review with care taken over the temperature measurements at hardOCP  

 A notable feature of the Golden Orb is the clever, novel, & very secure clamping-system. The efficiency of coolers perched upon the tiny FC-PGA die – through which upwards of 40 Watts of energy may exhaust & which measures at most 1.13 x 0.94 cm [0.45” x 0.36”] - is very greatly influenced by three factors:

  1:     the smoothness of the cooler base - & both these coolers are quite well machine-finished – the Molex in particular;

  2:     the quality & thickness – as thin as possible - of the thermal-compound between the CPU & base;  &

3:       3:     the clip – both as regards its sheer pressure & how evenly this pressure is distributed.

 

The Golden Orb clip cams down from two points when the body of the cooler is rotated clockwise through about 20 degrees.

 

 

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This gives an level & extremely secure seating of the cooler on the awkwardly  asymmetrical socket370 - vital for good heat-transfer from the FC-PGA die – but needs careful handling. I much prefer it to the usual spring-fasteners.

See our warning as regards the crudely efficient Molex clip.

 

The Test:

Both coolers were tested in the same three days on the same hardware platform.  Ambient temperatures were between 21/24C – the case closed & very thoroughly ventilated. CPU Stability Test v5.2 was used to stress the CPU 100%. – the machine was used for normal multi-tasking chores throughout, including burning CD’s, with total stability.

 

Table3

Mhz/volts

Watts

Ambient

Intake

Mobo*

CPU*

C/W

Golden Orb

800/1.62

29.92

22.0

24.5

25

39

0.52

840/1.65

32.61

22.0

24.5

25

39

0.48

Molex FC-PGA

800/1.62

29.92

24.0

25.0

27

40

0.51

840/1.65

32.61

23.0

24.6

26

42

0.53

Copyright © 26th  June 2000 shoarthing at Burning Issues

 

Noise:

We had intended to take A-weighted db readings at 0.25 & 0.5m from the case-front of the test-system – a more real-world distance between a user with CD's & floppies to insert & remove from their computer than the 1m commonly used.

Unfortunately, our db meter wasn’t sensitive to pick up any direct reading at all from these coolers. The Molex, rated at 25db, is supposed to be [& subjectively is] just about noiseless. The Golden Orb, ambitiously rated at 26db, was audible, though quiet enough to provide a new note to the overall noise of the test-system, rather than an obviously increased level of noise-pressure.

We will add proper readings to this test when a better meter has been sourced – those that will read down below 30db are hard to find & expensive.

 

Conclusions:

 These coolers are efficient – really efficient. Most high-performance after-market coolers of recent time have been aimed at overclockers; & with honourable exceptions, including some Alpha’s [when fitted with the original high-quality Sanyo-Densai fans] & the original HP 'turbocooler', have been grotesquely noisy, overlarge examples of brute-force ‘engineering.’

Our & others' experience has shown the Golden Orb to be capable of cooling CPU’s at around 40W [an FC-PGA at around 900Mhz/1.75v] in a well-ventilated enclosure.

The Molex, with its tiny 9.5CFM fan [an 0003/‘H’ model is available with a mighty 11.5 CFM], seems near its limit coping with  33W, & is almost certainly designed for no more than 30W - that is: for all present & future Celeron2 FC-PGA's & most currently available FC-PGA PIII's. A CPU running at 18C over ambient in a thoroughly-ventilated system is going to be at temperatures around 50C playing Quake on a warm summer’s evening. In a less well-ventilated case & during a heatwave temperatures could rise to worrying levels.

Anyone interested in a quiet FC-PGA-powered machine should look at these coolers: a system with a quiet HD, a "noise-killer" PSU with a variable-speed  fan, & quiet intake & video-accelerator fans can be made literally whisper-quiet [28 db or less] using the Molex.

The Molex is also small & light enough to find OEM & aftermarket use as a perfect video-accelerator cooler & both coolers are likely to fit the many dual socket 370 motherboards due to be released – see an interesting piece at bp6.com on adapting twin Golden Orbs for this motherboard. Both - again especially the Molex - are compact enough to fit in confined situations, such as dual slot1 motherboards.

 For years high-performance CPU coolers have been getting larger & larger, noisier & noisier. With either of these compact 'radial' coolers we can run one of today's high-intensity CPU's at speeds up to & over 800Mhz without - other than the performance - noticing it.

 

Do I hear a [quiet] round of applause?

 

If you have any comments/questions about this review please go here


Copyright © 26th June 2000 shoarthing at Burning Issues - all rights reserved

 

Our next cool-test will concentrate on the effects of various arrangements for case ventilation on overall cooling efficiency: we’ll use one or both of these models – fully expecting their overall efficiency to drop to the 0.7 C/W range in a case ventilated by the PSU only. The test system[s] will be run with combinations of up to 5 case-fans to find the quietest & most efficient setup.

 

 Manufacturer’s pages & availability: 

The Golden Orb is widely available, often rebadged as so & so’s “Radial Cooler”

It is available for $9US from www.allstarshop.com + carriage: in the UK the price asked by www.overclockers.co.uk & www.powercomputing.co.uk has enterprisingly been around 3 times this at Ł20 [+ carriage]  .

The Molex FC-PGA Radial Fin ™ is available in the UK for Ł16 from www.quietpc.com - who very kindly supplied the sample used in this test. They stock other good-quality & hard-to-find components for those fed up with being deafened by their machines, including fair-priced “Athlon” PSU’s – we intend to test one of these soon.

["Radial Fin" is a trademark of Molex Incorporated]


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