Arctic Cooling Alpine 64 Pro CPU Cooler Review
By Rafael Otto Coelho on January 4, 2010


Introduction

Today we are going to test Alpine 64 Pro, a low-cost CPU cooler for AMD processors from Arctic Cooling. This cooler features a traditional design, with a 92-mm fan and no heatpipes. But how about its performance? Let's check it out!

Alpine 64 Pro resembles a lot Alpine 11 Pro also from Arctic Cooling. The main difference is that Alpine 11 Pro is made for Intel CPUs, while Alpine 64 Pro fits only AMD products.

Alpine 64 box is simple and small, as you can see in Figure 1.

Alpine 64 Pro
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Figure 1: Box.

Inside the box we found the cooler and the installation manual. There is no thermal compound pack because it comes preapplied on the cooler base.

Alpine 64 Pro
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Figure 2: Box contents.

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

Arctic Cooling Alpine 64 Pro

In Figure 3 we have a general look from Alpine 64 Pro. Note the four-pin fan connector, meaning that it has PWM automatic fan control.

Alpine 64 Pro
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Figure 3: General view.

In Figure 4 we have a front view of the cooler. The heatsink is a single aluminum piece and the fan frame is placed over it.

Alpine 64 Pro
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Figure 4: Front view.

In Figure 5 we see Alpine 64 from the side. Note the clip that secures the cooler to the motherboard.

Alpine 64 Pro
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Figure 5: Side view.

Arctic Cooling Alpine 64 Pro (Cont'd)

In Figure 6 we can see one of the fan holders. It is a soft rubber piece, which lets the fan a little "loose" over the cooler, helping to reduce the fan noise level.

Alpine 64 Pro
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Figure 6: Fan holder.
In Figure 7 we see the aluminum base of the cooler. This base is not smooth enough to show a mirrored aspect. The thermal compound comes preapplied, as we wrote before.

Alpine 64 Pro
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Figure 7: Base.

Installation

In Figure 8 we see the fan detached from the heatsink. Actually this fan is just placed over the heatsink, becoming firm only when the cooler is attached to the motherboard.

Alpine 64 Pro
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Figure 8: Fan and heatsink.

Fastening the cooler is done using the two clips shown in Figure 9. You must loose both screws that hold the clips on the top of the cooler, put the cooler on the CPU, lock the clips on the motherboard frame and then fasten the screws.

Alpine 64 Pro
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Figure 9: Holding clips.

One incident occured when we fastened the screws that pull the clips up, pressing the cooler against the CPU: the point where one of the screw heads forces the cooler frame simply broke, maybe due to a factory defect, maybe because we fastened it too tight. After that, we had to use a mettalic washer to hold the screw and secure the cooler. So, we leave a tip: if you are installing this cooler, do not overtight the screws.

How We Tested

In order to test this AMD CPU cooler we adopt the following methodology.

We picked the AMD processor with the highest TDP (Thermal Design Power) we had available, a Phenom X4 9650 (95 W).

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 on the "In-place Large FFTs" option and three instances of StressCPU program, all at the same time.

We compared the tested cooler to the AMD stock cooler (that came with the CPU we used) and to one high-performance cooler.

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

In the table below you can see our measuring results. Each measure was repeated with the CPU idle and under full load. With the stock cooler and the Arctic Cooling Alpine 64 Pro the motherboard controlled the fan rotation according to the load level and core temperature. On 3R System iCEAGE Prima Boss the fan was always at full speed.

Idle

CoolerRoom Temp.Noise
RotationBase Temp.Core Temp.
AMD stock23 °C45 dBA2400 rpm34 °C32 °C
iCEAGE Prima Boss23 °C53 dBA2000 rpm29 °C28 °C
Alpine 64 Pro23 °C43 dBA1200 rpm30 °C31 °C

Full Load

CoolerRoom Temp.NoiseRotationBase Temp.Core Temp.
AMD stock23 °C53 dBA3200 rpm44 °C60 °C
iCEAGE Prima Boss23 °C53 dBA2000 rpm34 °C44 °C
Alpine 64 Pro23 °C48 dBA1500 rpm44 °C61 °C

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

Alpine 64 Pro

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.

Alpine 64 Pro

Main Specifications

Arctic Cooling Apline 64 Pro main features are:

* Researched on www.newegg.com on the day this review was published.

Conclusions

Arctic Cooling Alpine 64 Pro is an inexpensive and quiet cooler, and thus a good option if you bought an AMD CPU without a cooler or if you want to change the stock cooler with something that makes less noise.

Its performance, however, is equivalent to the AMD stock cooler's. So, if you are looking for a high performance-cooler in order to keep your CPU colder and/or to make an overclock, you must look for another option.

Originally at http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/Arctic-Cooling-Alpine-64-Pro-CPU-Cooler-Review/894


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