Intel DBX-B CPU Cooler Review
By Rafael Otto Coelho on May 19, 2010


Introduction

Hardware Secrets Golden Award

When we published our Core i7-980X Review we showed the new cooler that comes with this CPU, named DBX-B. Some readers asked us for a complete review of this cooler, so here it is. See if the owners of this high-end six-core CPU need to buy a CPU cooler with a higher performance if DBX-B will do the trick if they want to overclock their CPU.

In Figure 1, you can see Intel DBX-B: it is a tower cooler, with four U-shaped heatpipes. Its general aspect is very good. The sample we benchmarked came with no thermal compound, but according to Intel the retail version of Core i7-980X will come with a good-quality thermal compound.

Cooler Intel DBX-B
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Figure 1: Intel DBX-B CPU cooler.

In Figure 2, you can see the cooler from the front, with its 100-mm transparent fan featuring blue LEDs, which is protected by a metallic grill. This fan has a four-pin connector, which means it has PWM automatic speed control.

Cooler Intel DBX-B
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Figure 2: Front view.

Intel DBX-B

In Figure 3 you can have a side view of the cooler. Note the four heatpipes, which are curved so it probably won't interfere with any component of the motherboard.

Cooler Intel DBX-B
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Figure 3: Side view.

In Figure 4 you can check the rear side of DBX-B.

Cooler Intel DBX-B
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Figure 4: Rear view.

In Figure 5, you can see the cooler from above. There is a cap that protects the heatpipes tips and a small switch that allows you to choose the fan operating mode: Q (quiet) or P (performance).

Cooler Intel DBX-B
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Figure 5: Top view.

In Figure 6 you can check the base of the cooler, which is a copper plate with a perfect mirrored finishing.

Cooler Intel DBX-B
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Figure 6: Base.

Installation

Installation of DBX-B is simple: you just need to put the backplate shown in Figure 7 on the solder side of the motherboard, put the cooler on the CPU and fasten four screws that attach the cooler in place. Obviously this cooler only fits socket LGA1366.

Cooler Intel DBX-B
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Figure 7: Backplate.

In Figure 8, you can see the cooler installed in our case. During our bechmarking the case rear fan was turned off.

Cooler Intel DBX-B
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Figure 8: Installed in our case.

How We Tested

In order to test Intel DBX-B cooler we used the following methodology.

We used a Core i7-980X six-core CPU, that comes with this cooler as a companion. We overclocked it to 4.2 GHz, with 1.4 V core voltage.

We took noise and temperature measurements with the CPU idle and under full load. In order to achieve 100% full load on all 12 virtual cores (threads) we ran Prime95 (version 25.11, which uses all CPU cores) on the "In-place Large FFTs" option.

Temperature measurements were taken with the core temperature reading (given by the CPU thermal sensor) from the program SpeedFan. For this measurement we used an arithmetic average of the 12 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 3 °C error margin, i.e., temperature differences below 3 °C are considered irrelevant.

Our Tests

In the tables below you can see the results of the measurements. We tested DBX-B with the switch at positions "Q" and "P", and then we tested two other coolers: Prolimatech Megahalems with a SilverStone FM123 fan and Thermaltake ISGC-200 (which is not mechanically compatible with socket LGA1366, but the motherboard we used supports socket LGA775 coolers), so we can have a comparative of performance. All measures were taken at a room temperature of 18 °C.

CPU Idle

CoolerNoiseSpeedCore Temp.
Intel DBX-B (P) 44 dBA 850 rpm 25 °C
Intel DBX-B (Q) 42 dBA 800 rpm 31 °C

Prolimatech Megahalems (max)

60 dBA 2600 rpm 15 °C
Prolimatech Megahalems (min) 43 dBA 750 rpm 17 °C
Thermaltake ISGC-200 42 dBA 1050 rpm 32 °C

CPU Fully Loaded

CoolerNoiseSpeedCore Temp.
Intel DBX-B (P) 62 dBA 2600 rpm59 °C

Intel DBX-B (Q)

54 dBA1750 rpm70 °C
Prolimatech Megahalems (max) 60 dBA2600 rpm57 °C
Prolimatech Megahalems (min) 43 dBA750 rpm75 °C
Thermaltake ISGC-200 48 dBA1900 rpm 79 °C

On the graph below you can check the CPU core temperature when the CPU was idle, in Celsius degrees.

Cooler Intel DBX-B

On the graph below you can check the CPU core temperature when the CPU was fully loaded, in Celsius degrees.

Cooler Intel DBX-B

Main Specifications

Intel DBX-B CPU cooler main features are:

Conclusions

The new Intel DBX-B CPU cooler didn't disapoint us. It took nicely an overclocked Core i7-980X, where we increased its original 3.33 GHz clock to 4.2 GHz. Actually, it kept the temperature at the same level of Prolimatech Megahalems, which is the CPU cooler that achieved the best performance among the products we tested to date, which is really impressive.

Its noise level with the switch at the "P" position was equivalent to other high-performance coolers, i. e. a little high when at full load, but you have the choice to keep the switch at the "Q" position and have the cooler always with a lower noise level.

In short words, Intel managed to bundle its most high-end CPU with a top-notch cooler. So if you buy a Core i7-980X CPU you won't need to buy a retail high-performance cooler because you will already have one. But thinking it over, if you bought this CPU money probably isn't an issue for you...

Originally at http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/Intel-DBX-B-CPU-Cooler-Review/1000


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