CPU and GPU Coolers Testing Methodology
At VR-Zone.com, we continuously strive to provide you with the highest quality and most accurate product reviews. You can certainly test a cooler by installing it on a CPU or a GPU, yet this is not a very professional method for various reasons. The differences between the processors, the rather inaccurate motherboard readings and the instability of the thermal load are but a few. Furthermore, nobody can guarantee that the same hardware will be compatible or even available to test a large number of coolers on it in order to get comparable results. Therefore, we decided to create a thermal benching station which can be used to test any form of cooler and achieve an exact thermal load. We took this a step further and designed it so that it can also control its input power both manually and automatically while taking thermal and acoustics readings at the same time.
The thermal core of our testing station is a quite simple pure copper block at the size of a CPU core. The base of the copper block has been machined to house two Watlow Firerod cartridges inside its body, rated able to generate 150W at 240V input voltage each. A small PT100 sensor is installed inside a hole at the highest possible point of the copper core, only half a mm lower than the top of the copper block. The head of the sensor is at exactly the top center point of the copper core, where an actual CPU / GPU core would be.
In order to make our testing station compatible with every cooler ever made we went with a very simple design using interchangeable PCBs. Creating custom PCBs by drilling exact holes at specific points is very easy, therefore by being able to easily install different PCBs and adjust their height compared to the top of the copper core we gained the ability to emulate any CPU core precisely and install any cooler despite its design, size, shape, weight and / or retention mechanism. By being able to use any custom PCB and any size copper core, we ensured the usability of our testing station indefinitely.
CPU test PCB