Thermaltake Silent 1156 CPU Cooler Review
By Rafael Otto Coelho on August 3, 2010


Introduction

Hardware Secrets Bronze Award

This time we tested the Thermaltake Silent 1156, a CPU cooler with a tower heatsink, two 8 mm, U-shape heatpipes and a quiet 90 mm fan. Check it out!

The Silent 1156 is, as its name makes clear, aimed at Intel socket LGA1156 CPUs, with the focus on quietness. Its box, shown in Figure 1, is small and made of simple cardboard paper.

Thermaltake Silent 1156
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Figure 1: Box

In Figure 2, you can see the box contents: the cooler itself, manuals, clips, and a tube of thermal compound.

Thermaltake Silent 1156
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Figure 2: Box contents

In the next pages, you will see this cooler in detail.

The Silent 1156

In Figure 3, we have a front view of the cooler. The 90 mm fan has a plastic cone that directs the airflow to the heatsink.

Thermaltake Silent 1156
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Figure 3: Front view

In Figure 4, you can see the side of the cooler. Note that the heatsink is relatively small and it does not stay exactly over the base, so the cooler occupies little "airspace" over the motherboard. With this design, the fan does not interfere with memory modules, even if they have tall heatsinks.

Thermaltake Silent 1156
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Figure 4: Side view

In Figure 5, you can see the back of the cooler. The fins are firm and the cooler has an excellent overall quality.

Thermaltake Silent 1156
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Figure 5: Rear view

In Figure 6, you have a top view of the cooler. Note that the heatsink is relatively small, with plain fins.

Thermaltake Silent 1156
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Figure 6: Top view

The Silent 1156 (Cont’d)

To remove the fan, you just need to unhook it from the heatsink. In Figure 7, you can see the Silent 1156 without the fan, with the clips installed.

Thermaltake Silent 1156
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Figure 7: Without the fan

In Figure 8, you can see the 90 mm fan that comes with the cooler. It has a four pin connector, which means it supports PWM automatic speed control. It is screwed to a plastic frame that makes it easy to put on and remove, which is excellent if you like to clean your cooler periodically.

Thermaltake Silent 1156
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Figure 8: Fan

In Figure 9, you can see the base of the cooler, which is made of pure copper. The surface is smooth, but not sufficiently polished to be mirror-like.

Thermaltake Silent 1156
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Figure 9: Base

Installation

In Figure 10, you see the base of the Silent 1156, with the clips installed. This cooler has an installation system with pressure bolts, just like the Intel stock cooler. As this cooler is not too heavy, this is not really a problem.

Thermaltake Silent 1156
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Figure 10: Clips

In Figure 11, you can see the cooler installed in our case.

Thermaltake Silent 1156
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Figure 11: Installed in our case

How We Tested

We tested the cooler with a Core i7-860 CPU (quad-core, 2.8 GHz), which is a socket LGA1156 processor with a 95 W TDP (Thermal Design Power). In order to get a higher thermal dissipation, we overclocked it to 3.3 GHz (150 MHz base clock and 22x multiplier), keeping the standard core voltage (Vcore), which was the maximum stable overclock we could make with the stock cooler. Keep in mind that we could have raised the CPU clock more, but to include the stock cooler in our comparison, we needed to use this moderate overclock.

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

We compared the tested cooler to the Intel stock cooler with a copper base (included with the CPU), as well as with other coolers. Note that in the past we tested coolers with a socket LGA775 CPU, and we retested some "old" coolers with this new methodology. This means you can find, different values in older reviews than the ones you will read in the next page.

Room temperature measurements were taken with a digital thermometer. The core temperature was read from the SpeedFan program (given by the CPU thermal sensor), using an arithmetic average of the core temperature readings. During the tests, the left panel of the case was open.

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 case and video board cooler fans, so they 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

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 idle and full load CPU. In the models with PWM supporting fan, the motherboard controlled the fan speed according with core load and temperature. In the other coolers, we set the fan at the minumum speed on idle test and at full speed on full load test.

 

Idle Processor

Processor at Full Load

CoolerRoom Temp.NoiseSpeedCore Temp.NoiseSpeedCore Temp.
Intel stock (socket LGA1156)14 °C44 dBA1700 rpm46 °C54 dBA2500 rpm90 °C
Cooler Master Hyper TX3 G114 °C47 dBA2050 rpm33 °C56 dBA2900 rpm62 °C
Zalman CNPS10X Extreme14 °C45 dBA1400 rpm27 °C53 dBA1950 rpm51 °C
Thermaltake Silent 115614 °C44 dBA1200 rpm38 °C49 dBA1750 rpm69 °C

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

Thermaltake Silent 1156

Main Specifications

The main characteristics of the Thermaltake Silent 1156 are:

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

Conclusions

On one hand, the Thermaltake Silent 1156 did not achieve a good performance level, as it kept our CPU a lot hotter than a high end cooler and even a little hotter than a mainstream cooler. On the other hand, when compared to the Intel stock cooler, it kept our CPU more than 20 °C cooler.

It is easy to install and looks nice. The best feature was the low noise level, even when the CPU was under full load.

It is a relatively inexpensive cooler, so if you have a socket LGA1156 CPU and you want to replace the stock cooler with another one, that has better performance and a lower noise level, and you are a budget-conscious buyer that does not want to pay a small fortune for a top notch cooler, you can buy the Thermaltake Silent 1156 with no fear of making a bad choice.

Originally at http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/Thermaltake-Silent-1156-CPU-Cooler-Review/1059


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