3R System iCEAGE Prima Boss CPU Cooler Review
By Rafael Otto Coelho on October 15, 2009


Introduction

Hardware Secrets Golden Award

We tested the 3R System iCEAGE Prima Boss, a CPU cooler with tower design, four 8 mm U-shaped copper heatpipes and a 120 mm fan. Let's see how its performance compares to other coolers we have tested recently.

The Prima Boss's box has a handle at the top and a small transparent window that allows you to see part of the cooler.

iCEAGE Prima Boss
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Figure 1: Box.

Inside the box we fount the heatsink, fan (not installed), user manual, installation hardware and a tube of aluminum-based thermal compound.

iCEAGE Prima Boss
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Figure 2: Box contents.

The included fan has no automatic rotation speeds (there is no PWM pin on the connector) but this cooler comes with a fan controller that must be installed in one of the rear slots of the case. You can see this controller in Figure 3.

iCEAGE Prima Boss
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Figure 3: Fan controller.

3R System iCEAGE Prima Boss

The iCEAGE Prima Boss uses a tower design, with aluminum fins and four U-shaped copper heatpipes with 8 mm diameter, transferring the heat from the CPU to the fins.

iCEAGE Prima Boss
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Figure 4: Front view.

In Figure 5 we have a side view of iCEAGE Prima Boss.

iCEAGE Prima Boss
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Figure 5: Side view.
 
In Figure 6 we have a top view of the cooler, and the fins shape. This cooler supports two 120 mm fans, but it comes with only one, and does not includes the clips for attaching a second one.

iCEAGE Prima Boss
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Figure 6: Top view.

3R System iCEAGE Prima Boss (cont’d)

The 120 mm fan is made of transparent plastic and has four blue LEDs. There are four small rubber pads between the fan and the heatsink, helping to absorb vibrations.

iCEAGE Prima Boss
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Figure 7: Fan.

In Figure 8, you can see the Prima Boss with the fan in place.
 
iCEAGE Prima Boss
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Figure 8: Installed fan.

The base surface of the cooler is formed by the heatpipes themselves, so they keep direct contact with the CPU.

iCEAGE Prima Boss
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Figure 9: Base.

There is an aluminum curved plate with the cooler. User manual calls it an airflow deflector but does not show how it must be installed.

iCEAGE Prima Boss
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Figure 10: Airflow deflector.

Installation

To install this cooler on AMD CPUs you just need to fasten the preinstalled clips in the existing motherboard frame. You can see this clips in Figure 11.

iCEAGE Prima Boss
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Figure 11: AMD CPUs clips.

But to install it on Intel socket LGA775 CPUs you must first install a frame on the motheboard. It uses a backplate on the solder side of the motherboard. In Figure 12 we can see the parts, as well as a long tool to help install and remove the cooler.

iCEAGE Prima Boss
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Figure 12: Socket LGA775 hardware. 
 
In Figure 13, you can see how the cooler looks when installed on our motherboard. We almost could not install it in this position, because the motherboard chipset heatsink interfered with the clip tip.
 
iCEAGE Prima Boss
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Figure 13: Installed on motherboard.

As every tower cooler with 120 mm fan, it will not fit slim (nor SFF) cases.

iCEAGE Prima Boss
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Figure 14: Installed into the case.

In Figure 15, you can see the beautiful glow of the fan.

iCEAGE Prima Boss
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Figure 15: Fan glow.

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. To measure the efficiency of 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 Prime95 with the "In-place Large FFTs" option, and three instances of the StressCPU program, all at the same time.

We also compared the reviewed cooler to the 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 the from the SpeedFan program, using 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 made inside an acoustically insulated room with no other noise sources, which is not the case here.

Hardware Configuration

Software Configuration

Software Used

Error Margin

We adopted a 2 °C error margin, i.e., temperature differences below 2 °C are considered irrelevant.

Our Tests

On the tables below you can see our results. We ran the same tests with the 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, Thermaltake ISGC-200, Scythe Kabuto, Arctic Cooling Alpine 11 Pro, Thermaltake ISGC-300, SilverStone NT06-E, Zalman CNPS9700 NT,  Scythe Mugen-2, Thermaltake ISGC-400, Cooler Master Vortex 752 and 3R System iCEAGE Prima Boss. Each test ran with the CPU idle and the with the CPU fully loaded. On BigTyp 14Pro, TMG IA1, NH-U12P and ISGC-300 the tests were done with the fan at full speed and at minimum speed. The other coolers were connected directly to the motherboard and it controls the fan speed based on CPU load level and temperature on PWM models. ISGC-400 and iCEAGE Prima Boss were tested at minimum speed on idle test and at maximum speed on full load test.

CPU Idle

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) 17 °C 47 dBA 880 rpm 29 °C 36 °C
BigTyp 14Pro (max) 17 °C 59 dBA 1500 rpm 26 °C 34 °C
Akasa Nero 18 °C 41 dBA 500 rpm 26 °C 35 °
Cooler Master V10 14 °C 44 dBA 1200 rpm 21 °C 26 °C
TMG IA1 (max) 16 °C 47 dBA 1500 rpm 22 °C 30 °C
TMG IA1 (min) 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) 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
Schythe Kabuto 22 °C 42 dBA 800 rpm 29 °C 34 °C
Arctic Cooling Alpine 11 Pro 20 °C 43 dBA 1500 rpm 32 °C 39 °C
ISGC-300 (min) 18 °C 42 dBA 800 rpm 26 °C 30 °C
ISGC-300 (max) 18 °C 46 dBA 1400 rpm 24 °C 26 °C
SilverStone NT06-E 21 °C 66 dBA 2600 rpm 30 °C 41 °C
Zalman CNPS9700 NT 22 °C 48 dBA 1700 rpm 28 °C 35 °C
Scythe Mugen-2 17 °C 41 dBA 700 rpm 25 °C 30 °C
ISGC-400 (min) 17 °C 44 dBA 850 rpm 24 °C 30 °C
Cooler Master Vortex 752 20 °C 48 dBA 1700 rpm 32 °C 44 °C
iCEAGE Prima Boss (min) 22 °C 42 dBA 1000 rpm 29 °C 36 °C

CPU Fully Loaded

Cooler Room Temp. Noise Fan Speed Base Temp. Core Temp.
Intel stock 14 °C 48 dBA 1740 rpm 42 °C 100 °C
BigTyp 14Pro (min) 17 °C 47 dBA 880 rpm 43 °C 77 °C
BigTyp 14Pro (max) 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) 16 °C 47 dBA 1500 rpm 27 °C 63 °C
TMG IA1 (min) 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) 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
Scythe Kabuto 22 °C 47 dBA 1200 rpm 38 °C 63 °C
Arctic Cooling Alpine 11 Pro 20 °C 51 dBA 2300 rpm 49 °C 85 °C
ISGC-300 (min) 18 °C 42 dBA 800 rpm 36 °C 64 °C
ISGC-300 (max) 18 °C 46 dBA 1400 rpm 31 °C 56 °C
SilverStone NT06-E 21 °C 66 dBA 2600 rpm 39 °C 96 °C
Zalman CNPS9700 NT 22 °C 56 dBA 2600 rpm 34 °C 63 °C
Scythe Mugen-2 17 °C 46 dBA 1300 rpm 28 °C 54 °C
ISGC-400 (max) 17 °C 47 dBA 1400 rpm 36 °C 69 °C
Cooler Master Vortex 752 20 °C 55 dBA 2300 rpm 48 °C 92 °C
iCEAGE Prima Boss (max) 22 °C 53 dBA
2000 rpm 35 °C 59 °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.  The values shown are in degrees Celsius. Remember that the lower the number the better the cooling performance.

iCEAGE Prima Boss 

The next graph will give you an idea on how many degrees Celsius the CPU core was hotter than room temperature during the tests.

iCEAGE Prima Boss
 

Main Specifications

3R System iCEAGE Prima Boss main features are:

Conclusions

The 3R System iCEAGE Prima Boss seemed to be a good cooler at first look, but it proved to be an excellent one.

Its performance was on the same level of the best coolers we have tested under this methodology, even with a lower price than most of them. Its noise level is excellent at low speeds and acceptable at maximum settings. We really like the practicality of automatic speed control fans, but the fact this one comes with a manual fan controller that allows you to adjust speed without opening your case is really nice, allowing you to choose if you want maximum performance when noise level does not matter or sacrify a little performance whem silence is desirable or necessary

Finally, the transparent four blue LEDs fan gives an "icy" look to your computer (obviously, if you have a side window on your case).

For all this, the 3R System iCEAGE Prima Boss deserves the Hardware Secrets Golden Award seal.

Originally at http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/3R-System-iCEAGE-Prima-Boss-CPU-Cooler-Review/836


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