Arctic Alpine 11 PLUS CPU Cooler Review
By Rafael Coelho on August 7, 2012


Introduction

The Alpine 11 PLUS is an inexpensive CPU cooler from Arctic. It has an aluminum heatsink and a 92 mm fan. Let’s test it!

Arctic offers two coolers that are actually almost the same product: the Alpine 11 PLUS (that we are reviewing here) and the Alpine 64 PLUS, which is a similar cooler, but aimed at AMD CPUs.

The Alpine 11 PLUS comes in a small white cardboard box, as shown in Figure 1.

Arctic Alpine 11 PLUS
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Figure 1: Package

Figure 2 shows the contents of the box: the cooler itself, manual, and installation hardware.

Arctic Alpine 11 PLUS
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Figure 2: Accessories

Figure 3 displays the Alpine 11 PLUS.

Arctic Alpine 11 PLUS
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Figure 3: The Arctic Alpine 11 PLUS

This cooler is discussed in detail in the following pages.

The Arctic Alpine 11 PLUS

Figure 4 illustrates the front of the cooler. Here you can see the aluminum heatsink and the black frame of the fan.

Arctic Alpine 11 PLUS
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Figure 4: Front view

Figure 5 reveals the side of the cooler. Here it is clear that the heatsink is a single aluminum piece.

Arctic Alpine 11 PLUS
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Figure 5: Side view

In Figure 6, you can see the top of the cooler, where the 92 mm fan with white blades is located.

Arctic Alpine 11 PLUS
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Figure 6: Top view

The Arctic Alpine 11 PLUS (Cont’d)

Figure 7 illustrates the base of the cooler. The heatsink is a one-piece aluminum block; the base surface is also made of aluminum. The thermal compound comes preapplied on the base.

Arctic Alpine 11 PLUS
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Figure 7: Base

Figure 8 reveals the Alpine 11 PLUS without the fan.

Arctic Alpine 11 PLUS
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Figure 8: Without the fan

Figure 9 shows the 92 mm PWM fan that comes with the Alpine 11 PLUS, as well as the plastic frame that holds it in place. This frame snaps the heatsink, so the removal and installation of the fan is a very easy task.

Arctic Alpine 11 PLUS
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Figure 9: Fan

Installation

To install the Arctic Alpine 11 PLUS, first you need to install two holders on your motherboard, as shown in Figure 10. These holders are held in place using four pressure bolts.

Arctic Alpine 11 PLUS
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Figure 10: Holders installed

Install the cooler, screwing it to the holders at the corners, as you can see in Figure 11.

Arctic Alpine 11 PLUS
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Figure 11: Installation finished

How We Tested

We tested the cooler with a Core i5-2500K CPU (quad-core, 3.3 GHz), which is a socket LGA1155 processor with a 95 W TDP (Thermal Design Power). In order to get higher thermal dissipation, we overclocked it to 4.0 GHz (100 MHz base clock and x40 multiplier), with 1.3 V core voltage (Vcore). This CPU was able to reach 4.8 GHz with its default core voltage, but at this setting, the processor enters thermal throttling when using mainstream coolers, reducing the clock and thus the thermal dissipation. This could interfere with the temperature readings, so we chose to maintain a moderate overclocking.

We measured noise and temperature with the CPU under full load. In order to get 100% CPU usage in all cores, we ran Prime 95 25.11 with the “In-place Large FFTs” option. (In this version, the software uses all available threads.)

We compared the tested cooler to other coolers we already tested, and to the stock cooler that comes with the Core i5-2500K CPU. Note that the results cannot be compared to measures taken on a different hardware configuration, so we retested some “old” coolers with this new methodology. This means you can find different values in older reviews than the values you will read on the next page. Every cooler was tested with the thermal compound that comes with it.

Room temperature measurements were taken with a digital thermometer. The core temperature was read with the SpeedFan program (available from the CPU thermal sensors), using an arithmetic average of the core temperature readings.

During the tests, the panels of the computer case were closed. The front and rear case fans were spinning at minimum speed in order to simulate the “normal” cooler use on a well-ventilated case. We assume that is the common setup used by a cooling enthusiast or overclocker.

The sound pressure level (SPL) was measured with a digital noise meter, with its sensor placed near the top opening of the case. This measurement is only for comparison 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

Operating System Configuration

Software Used

Error Margin

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

Our Tests

The table below presents the results of our measurements. We repeated the same test on all coolers listed below. Each measurement was taken with the CPU at full load. In the models with a fan supporting PWM, the motherboard controlled the fan speed according to core load and temperature. On coolers with an integrated fan controller, the fan was set at the full speed.

CoolerRoom Temp.NoiseSpeedCore Temp.Temp. Diff.
Cooler Master Hyper TX318 °C50 dBA2850 rpm69 °C51 °C
Corsair A7023 °C51 dBA2000 rpm66 °C43 °C
Corsair H10026 °C62 dBA2000 rpm64 °C38 °C
EVGA Superclock26 °C57 dBA2550 rpm67 °C41 °C
NZXT HAVIK 14020 °C46 dBA 1250 rpm65 °C45 °C
Thermalright True Spirit 12026 °C42 dBA1500 rpm82 °C56 °C
Zalman CNPS12X26 °C43 dBA1200 rpm71 °C45 °C
Zalman CNPS9900 Max20 °C51 dBA1700 rpm62 °C42 °C
Titan Fenrir Siberia Edition22 °C50 dBA2400 rpm65 °C43 °C
SilenX EFZ-120HA518 °C44 dBA1500 rpm70 °C52 °C
Noctua NH-L1220 °C44 dBA1450 rpm70 °C50 °C
Zalman CNPS8900 Extreme21 °C53 dBA2550 rpm71 °C50 °C
Gamer Storm Assassin15 °C48 dBA1450 rpm58 °C43 °C
Deepcool Gammaxx 40015 °C44 dBA1500 rpm60 °C45 °C
Cooler Master TPC 81223 °C51 dBA2350 rpm66 °C43 °C
Deepcool Gammaxx 30018 °C43 dBA1650 rpm74 °C56 °C
Intel stock cooler18 °C41 dBA2000 rpm97 °C79 °C
Xigmatek Praeton19 °C52 dBA2900 rpm83 °C64 °C
Noctua NH-U12P SE218 °C42 dBA1300 rpm69 °C51 °C
Deepcool Frostwin24 °C46 dBA1650 rpm78 °C54 °C
Thermaltake Frio Advanced13 °C56 dBA2000 rpm62 °C49 °C
Xigmatek Dark Knight Night Hawk Edition9 °C48 dBA2100 rpm53 °C44 °C
Thermaltake Frio Extreme21 °C53 dBA1750 rpm59 °C38 °C
Noctua NH-U9B SE212 °C44 dBA1700 rpm64 °C52 °C
Thermaltake WATER2.0 Pro15 °C54 dBA2000 rpm52 °C37 °C
Deepcool Fiend Shark18 °C45 dBA1500 rpm74 °C56 °C
Arctic Freezer i3013 °C42 dBA1350 rpm63 °C50 °C
Spire TME III8 °C46 dBA1700 rpm70 °C62 °C
Thermaltake WATER2.0 Performer11 °C54 dBA2000 rpm49 °C38 °C
Arctic Alpine 11 PLUS11 °C45 dBA2000 rpm82 °C71 °C

In the graph below, you can see how many degrees Celsius hotter the CPU core is than the air outside the case. The lower this difference, the better is the performance of the cooler.

Arctic Alpine 11 PLUS

In the graph below, you can see how many decibels of noise each cooler makes.

Arctic Alpine 11 PLUS

Main Specifications

The main specifications for the Arctic Alpine 11 PLUS CPU cooler include:

* Researched at Newegg.com on the day we published this review.

Conclusions

The Arctic Alpine 11 PLUS is a good replacement for the Intel stock cooler if it breaks. It has a better cooling performance than the stock cooler, although it makes a little more noise.

Of course, this cooler is not aimed at enthusiast users or overclockers, even though the phrase “CPU cooler for power users” is written on its box. It is a good replacement for the stock cooler, but no more than that.

Originally at http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/Arctic-Alpine-11-PLUS-CPU-Cooler-Review/1607


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