3R System iCEAGE Prima Boss II CPU Cooler Review
By Rafael Coelho on January 12, 2010


Introduction

Hardware Secrets Golden Award

This time we tested a new cooler from 3R System: iCEAGE Prima Boss II, new version of iCEAGE Prima Boss we reviewed recently. But will it perform better than its older brother? Check it out!

The box resembles Prima Boss', except for the purple pallete and the diamond-shaped clear window at the front.

iCEAGE Prima Boss II
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Figure 1: Box.

In Figure 2 we can see the box contents: heatsink, fan, installation hardware, thermal compound, user manual, fan controller and an air deflector that allows the user to direct part of the airflow to the transistors from the voltage regulator circuit.

iCEAGE Prima Boss II
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Figure 2: Box contents.

In Figure 3 we can see Prima Boss II heatsink. The main difference to the older model is the number of heatpipes: five, against four on the previous model. In both models the heatpipes are 8 mm in diameter.

iCEAGE Prima Boss II
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Figure 3: Prima Boss II.

In the next pages we will see the cooler in details.

3R System iCEAGE Prima Boss II

In Figure 4 we see the cooler from the front. On the base there is a small aluminum auxiliary heatsink. The heatpipes use an amazing design where they are spread in front of the fan, receiving direct airflow.

iCEAGE Prima Boss II
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Figure 4: Front view.

In Figure 5 we have a side view of Prima Boss II. The sides of the fins are folded, making a closed wall, so the fins create a kind of air tunnel.

iCEAGE Prima Boss II
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Figure 5: Side view.

In Figure 6, you can see Prima Boss II heatsink from above. Note the fin design, the position of the heatpipes and the surface of the top fin, which is not smooth: has small reentrancies. This roughness makes a turbulent airflow near the fins, which helps the heat transfer.

iCEAGE Prima Boss II
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Figure 6: Top view.

In Figure 7 we can see the base of the cooler, made practically only by the heatpipes. It is very smooth but has no mirrored looks. We can also see the "iCECREAM V2" thermal compound tube.

iCEAGE Prima Boss II
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Figure 7: Base.

3R System iCEAGE Prima Boss II (Cont’d)

In Figure 8 we can see the 120 mm transparent fan with blue LEDs that comes with the cooler.

iCEAGE Prima Boss II
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Figure 8: Fan.
In Figure 9, you can see the cooler with the fan in place. Prima Boss II also comes with holders for a second fan (which does not come with the cooler).

iCEAGE Prima Boss II
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Figure 9: Fan installed.
In Figure 10 we can see a detail of the fan holders, which are made of soft rubber, helping to absorb noise and vibration. A detail we find strange is the fact the fan is a little bit bigger than the heatsink, making the holders to be only half inserted into the heatsink. So, if you do not take care while installing the cooler, the fan can get loose. If the heatsink were three or four fins taller, this problem would not occur.

iCEAGE Prima Boss II
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Figure 10: Fan holder.
In Figure 11 we can see the fan controller that comes with the cooler, which is intended to be installed in one of the rear slots from the computer case. It would be nicer if this controller could be installed on a 5 ¼" bay.

iCEAGE Prima Boss II
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Figure 11: Fan controller.

Installation

In order to install Prima Boss II in your system, you first must install a metallic backplate on the solder side of your motherboard, where four (sockets 775, 1156, 1366, AM3, AM2+ and AM2) or two (sockets 939 and 754) screws are attached. After that, you just need to apply thermal compound, put the cooler in place and fasten the spring screws that hold the cooler in place.

iCEAGE Prima Boss II
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Figure 12: Backplate ready to be installed.

In Figure 13 we can see the cooler installed on our motherboard. It didn't interfere with the motherboard heatsink, but the fan stayed over the first memory slot, preventing the use of tall memory modules on it.

iCEAGE Prima Boss II
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Figure 13: Installed on the motherboard.

In Figure 14 we can see the cooler installed in our case. The fan glows blue when powered.

iCEAGE Prima Boss II
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Figure 14: Installed inside the case.

How We Tested

We are adopting the following methodology for 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 coolers shown on below tables. 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, iCEAGE Prima Boss and Megahalems Rev. B were tested at minimum speed on idle test and at maximum speed on full load test.

CPU Idle

CoolerRoom Temp.NoiseFan SpeedBase Temp.Core Temp.
Intel stock14 °C44 dBA1000 rpm31 °C42 °C
BigTyp 14Pro (min)17 °C47 dBA880 rpm29 °C36 °C
BigTyp 14Pro (max)17 °C59 dBA1500 rpm26 °C34 °C
Akasa Nero18 °C41 dBA500 rpm26 °C35 °C
Cooler Master V1014 °C44 dBA1200 rpm21 °C26 °C
TMG IA1 (max)16 °C47 dBA1500 rpm22 °C30 °C
TMG IA1 (min)16 °C57 dBA2250 rpm21 °C30 °C
Zalman CNPS10X Extreme16 °C44 dBA1200 rpm21 °C29 °C
Thermaltake ISGC-10018 °C44 dBA1450 rpm35 °C49 °C
Noctua NH-U12P (low)15 °C42 dBA1000 rpm20 °C30 °C
Noctua NH-U12P15 °C46 dBA1400 rpm20 °C28 °C
Noctua NH-C12P17 °C46 dBA1400 rpm23 °C28 °C
Thermaltake ISGC-20021 °C43 dBA1100 rpm31 °C35 °C
Schythe Kabuto22 °C42 dBA800 rpm29 °C34 °C
Arctic Cooling Alpine 11 Pro20 °C43 dBA1500 rpm32 °C39 °C
ISGC-300 (min)18 °C42 dBA800 rpm26 °C30 °C
ISGC-300 (max)18 °C46 dBA1400 rpm24 °C26 °C
SilverStone NT06-E21 °C66 dBA2600 rpm30 °C41 °C
Zalman CNPS9700 NT22 °C48 dBA1700 rpm28 °C35 °C
Scythe Mugen-2 17 °C41 dBA 700 rpm25 °C30 °C
ISGC-400 (min)17 °C44 dBA850 rpm24 °C30 °C
Cooler Master Vortex 75220 °C48 dBA1700 rpm32 °C44 °C
iCEAGE Prima Boss (min)22 °C42 dBA1000 rpm29 °C36 °C
Evercool Buffalo17 °C51 dBA1850 rpm22 °C29 °C
Scythe Big Shuriken20 °C42 dBA900 rpm31 °C39 °C
Cooler Master Hyper TX321 °C44 dBA1700 rpm30 °C39 °C
Titan Skalli20 °C43 dBA1200 rpm27 °C34 °C
Prolimatech Megahalems Rev. B21 °C40 dBA800 rpm28 °C32 °C
Zalman CNPS9900 NT23 °C45 dBA900 rpm30 °C34 °C
Cooler Master Hyper N62021 °C44 dBA1200 rpm28 °C34 °C
Nexus LOW-7000 R223 °C46 dBA1400 rpm33 °C42 °C
Evercool HPK-10025EA20 °C54 dBA1900 rpm27 °C34 °C
Evercool HPH-9525EA23 °C50 dBA1900 rpm38 °C49 °C
iCEAGE Prima Boss II23 °C42 dBA1000 rpm29 °C35 °C

CPU Fully Loaded

CoolerRoom Temp.NoiseFan SpeedBase Temp.Core Temp.
Intel stock14 °C48 dBA1740 rpm42 °C100 °C
BigTyp 14Pro (min)17 °C47 dBA880 rpm43 °C77 °C
BigTyp 14Pro (max)17 °C59 dBA1500 rpm35 °C70 °C
Akasa Nero18 °C48 dBA1500 rpm34 °C68 °C
Cooler Master V1014 °C54 dBA1900 rpm24 °C52 °C
TMG IA1 (max)16 °C47 dBA1500 rpm27 °C63 °C
TMG IA1 (min)16 °C57 dBA2250 rpm25 °C60 °C
Zalman CNPS10X Extreme16 °C51 dBA1900 rpm24 °C50 °C
Thermaltake ISG-10018 °C50 dBA1800 rpm58 °C93 °C
Noctua NH-U12P (low)15 °C42 dBA1000 rpm28 °C59 °C
Noctua NH-U12P15 °C46 dBA1400 rpm25 °C54 °C
Noctua NH-C12P17 °C46 dBA1400 rpm37 °C76 °C
Thermaltake ISGC-20021 °C48 dBA1900 rpm42 °C68 °C
Scythe Kabuto22 °C47 dBA1200 rpm38 °C63 °C
Arctic Cooling Alpine 11 Pro20 °C51 dBA2300 rpm49 °C85 °C
ISGC-300 (min)18 °C42 dBA800 rpm36 °C64 °C
ISGC-300 (max)18 °C46 dBA1400 rpm31 °C56 °C
SilverStone NT06-E21 °C66 dBA2600 rpm39 °C96 °C
Zalman CNPS9700 NT22 °C56 dBA2600 rpm34 °C63 °C
Scythe Mugen-2 17 °C46 dBA 1300 rpm 28 °C54 °C
ISGC-400 (max)17 °C47 dBA1400 rpm36 °C69 °C
Cooler Master Vortex 75220 °C55 dBA2300 rpm48 °C92 °C
iCEAGE Prima Boss (max)22 °C53 dBA2000 rpm35 °C59 °C
Evercool Buffalo17 °C51 dBA1850 rpm32 °C67 °C
Scythe Big Shuriken20 °C50 dBA1500 rpm51 °C85 °C
Cooler Master Hyper TX321 °C53 dBA2700 rpm39 °C66 °C
Titan Skalli20 °C47 dBA1550 rpm37 °C69 °C
Prolimatech Megahalems Rev. B21 °C61 dBA2600 rpm30 °C51 °C
Zalman CNPS9900 NT23 °C56 dBA2000 rpm34 °C54 °C
Cooler Master Hyper N62021 °C50 dBA1650 rpm32 °C56 °C
Nexus LOW-7000 R223 °C53 dBA1900 rpm45 °C74 °C
Evercool HPK-10025EA20 °C54 dBA1900 rpm39 °C69 °C
Evercool HPH-9525EA23 °C50 dBA1900 rpm58 °C100 °C
iCEAGE Prima Boss II23 °C56 dBA2100 rpm32 °C56 °C

The next graph shows how many degrees Celsius the CPU core was hotter than room temperature during our idle tests.

 iCEAGE Prima Boss II

The next graph gives you an idea on how many degrees Celsius the CPU core was hotter than room temperature during our full load tests.

 iCEAGE Prima Boss II

Main Specifications

3R System iCEAGE Prima Boss II main features are:

Conclusions

When we tested iCEAGE Prima Boss a couple of months ago we were impressed with its performance. So, when we received this new model, we thought it would not overperform the previous model. Well, we were wrong.

The changes were not substantial, with the addition of one extra heatpipe and a new fin design, but the performance was improved of about 4°C in out tests. The noise level is still good and the installation is simple and steady. Other advantage of this model is the support for sockets 1156 and 1366.

We still do not know how much Prima Boss II will cost, but if the price is equivalent to its predecessor's, it will surely be a good buy.

3R System iCEAGE Prima Boss II is one of the world's top performer in today's CPU coolers market. Due to its great performance, it receives the Hardware Secrets Golden Award seal.

Originally at http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/3R-System-iCEAGE-Prima-Boss-II-CPU-Cooler-Review/896


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