SilverStone NT06-E CPU Cooler Review
By Rafael Otto Coelho on September 21, 2009


Introduction

This time we reviewed NT06-E cooler from SilverStone, which features a copper base, five heatpipes and a horizonal heatsink, with room for a 120 mm fan, which does not come with the cooler. Check out the results from our tests!

NT06-E differs from all other coolers we tested so far because it does not come with a fan. According to the manufacturer, this allows more flexibility - which can be true to some buyers -, because many enthusiasts like to choose top shelf fans to upgrade their coolers. When comparing prices between coolers you must take into account the extra cost of a good fan when adding MT06-E into the comparison.

On this test we used FM123 fan that SilverStone sent us with the NT06-E sample. As we explained, the fan must be purchased separately and the performance from this cooler will depend on the fan you choose.

NT06-E box is made of a thick brown cardboard, which is an "enviromentally correct" material.

SilverStone NT06-E
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Figure 1: Box.

Inside the box we found the cooler, installation hardware and a tube of  gray thermal compound.

SilverStone NT06-E
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Figure 2: Box contents.

In Figure 3 you can have a general look of NT06-E. Its design resembles Noctua C12P we tested recently.

SilverStone NT06-E
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Figure 3: NT06-E.

Viewing the cooler from the side we can see that the main heatsink has some distance from the base, which has a small aluminum heatsink to help with the cooling.

SilverStone NT06-E
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Figure 4: Side view.

In Figure 5 we can see the tips from the five 6-mm heatpipes.

SilverStone NT06-E
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Figure 5: Front view.

Introduction (Cont’d)

In Figure 6 we can notice that the heatpipes are well distributed on the heatsink and very close to each other at the base.

SilverStone NT06-E
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Figure 6: Rear view.

From the top we can see the frame where the fan must be screwed to. There is no kind of anti-vibration system between the heatsink and the fan.

SilverStone NT06-E
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Figure 7: Top view.

The base is made of copper and it is very smooth, but with no mirror finishing, as you can check in Figure 8.

SilverStone NT06-E
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Figure 8: Base.

On our benchmarking we used an FM123 fan, also made by SilverStone, but you can use almost any 120 mm fan with this cooler.

SilverStone NT06-E
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Figure 9: Fan package.

This fan comes with an amazing controller, with a potentiometer installed on a bracket to be installed on any expansion slot from the case. Its maximum rotation is 2600 rpm, a very high number for a 120 mm fan. Its airflow is also high, reaching 106.3 cfm.

SilverStone NT06-E
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Figure 10: Fan.

Installation

In Figure 11, you can see the hardware necessary to install NT06-E, including the backplates. The rectangular backplate on left is used with AMD CPUs while the two backplates on the right are used with Intel processors: the top one is for socket LGA775 CPUs only and the bottom one fits sockets 775, 1156 and 1366, being included on newer shipments of this cooler (early NT06-E models fit only socket LGA775 and AMD CPUs).

SilverStone NT06-E
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Figure 11: Installation hardware.

The first step to install this cooler is to screw the adequate clip to the base of the cooler. In Figure 12 we show the socket LGA775 clip attached to NT06-E.

SilverStone NT06-E
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Figure 12: Socket LGA775 clips installed.

After that you must install the blackplate on the back side of the motherboard using four screws and attach four nuts to the screws from the top side of the motherboard, using rubber washers between the nuts and the board.

SilverStone NT06-E
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Figure 13: Screws attached to the motherboard.

Then the cooler goes over the CPU and you must secure it on the screws using four inner-thread thumbscrews. This thumbscrews are difficult to fasten, even with the motherboard out of the case. In Figure 14, you can see how the cooler looks like after installed on the motherboard.

SilverStone NT06-E
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Figure 14: Installed on motherboard.

InFigure 15 we can see the cooler installed into the case, with the fan in place.

SilverStone NT06-E
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Figure 15: Installed inside the case.

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 and SilverStone NT06-E. 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.

CPU Idle

CoolerRoom Temp.NoiseFan SpeedBase Temp.Core Temp.
Intel stock14 °C44 dBA1000 rpm31 °C42 °C
BigTyp 14Pro (min. speed)17 °C47 dBA880 rpm29 °C36 °C
BigTyp 14Pro (max. speed)17 °C59 dBA1500 rpm26 °C34 °C
Akasa Nero18 °C41 dBA500 rpm26 °C35 °
Cooler Master V1014 °C44 dBA1200 rpm21 °C26 °C
TMG IA1 (max. speed)16 °C47 dBA1500 rpm22 °C30 °C
TMG IA1 (min. speed)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 speed)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. speed)18 °C42 dBA800 rpm26 °C30 °C
ISGC-300 (max. speed)18 °C46 dBA1400 rpm24 °C26 °C
SilverStone NT06-E21 °C66 dBA2600 rpm30 °C41 °C

CPU Fully Loaded

CoolerRoom Temp.

Noise

Fan SpeedBase Temp.Core Temp.
Intel stock14 °C48 dBA1740 rpm42 °C100 °C
BigTyp 14Pro (min. speed)17 °C47 dBA880 rpm43 °C77 °C
BigTyp 14Pro (max. speed)17 °C59 dBA1500 rpm35 °C70 °C
Akasa Nero18 °C48 dBA1500 rpm34 °C68 °C
Cooler Master V1014 °C54 dBA1900 rpm24 °C52 °C
TMG IA1 (max. speed)16 °C47 dBA1500 rpm27 °C63 °C
TMG IA1 (min. speed)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 speed)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. speed)18 °C42 dBA800 rpm36 °C64 °C
ISGC-300 (max. speed)18 °C46 dBA1400 rpm31 °C56 °C
SilverStone NT06-E21 °C66 dBA2600 rpm39 °C96 °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 is cooling performance.

NT06-E

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

NT06-E

We know the position we mount the cooler (with the heatpipes tips pointing the left side of the motherboard, i.e., pointing to the bottom of the case) is not the ideal, but we installed this way for two reasons: first, the photos on product manual show it mounted in this position, so it is the position the typical user would install. Second, this was the only position it fitted our system. In full tower cases, where the power supply is not too close the motherboard, you probably can install it rotated in 180 degrees, i.e., with the heatpipes tips facing the top of the case. If your memory modules are not tall, you can also install this cooler with this tips pointing to the front of the case.

In order to see if the position of the cooler could affect performance, we simply put our case in the horizontal position. Under this scenario core temperature has reduced from 96 °C to 77 °C. Nevertheless we kept the first value on our tables and chrts since we think the test must reflect the typical usage.

Main Specifications

SilverStone NT06-E main features are:

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

** Relative to the FM123 fan used.

Conclusions

NT06-E cooler from SilverStone has an excellent construction quality. But unfortunately this quality did not translate into performance. Even with a high airflow fan, it performed as bad as the worst coolers we tested with this methodology.

We understand that maybe the position the cooler was installed has contributed to the bad results. However the position we installed the cooler is exactly the same as pictured in the manual. Besides that, it was the only possible way we could install on our testbed computer, so we have no reason to discard the data. So it is possible that if it is installed in a different position it will show better performance: in our attempt to change the position of the case it permormed a little better, but not enough to get even close the coolers we gave award seals to.

NT06-E is not an inexpensive cooler and you still must consider you have to purchase a separated fan. It is not easy to install too. So, there is only one possible conclusion: forget about buying this cooler.

Originally at http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/SilverStone-NT06-E-CPU-Cooler-Review/811


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