Xigmatek Praeton CPU Cooler Review
By Rafael Otto Coelho on May 29, 2012


Introduction

The Xigmatek Praeton, a CPU cooler aimed at SFF (small form factor) computers, is only 1.8” (45 mm) tall. It has four heatpipes with direct-touch base configuration. Let’s test it!

The Praeton comes in a small black box, as shown in Figure 1.

Xigmatek Praeton
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Figure 1: Package

Figure 2 shows the contents of the box: the cooler itself, a small bag of thermal compound, manual, and installation hardware.

Xigmatek Praeton
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Figure 2: Accessories

Figure 3 displays the Xigmatek Praeton.

Xigmatek Praeton
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Figure 3: The Xigmatek Praeton

This cooler is discussed in detail in the following pages.

The Xigmatek Praeton

Figure 4 illustrates the front of the cooler. Here you can see the slimness of the horizontal heatsink as well as the tips of the four heatpipes.

Xigmatek Praeton
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Figure 4: Front view

Figure 5 reveals the side of the cooler. Notice the wire clip that holds the fan in place.

Xigmatek Praeton
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Figure 5: Side view

In Figure 6, you can see the curves of the 6 mm heatpipes.

Xigmatek Praeton
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Figure 6: Rear view

Figure 7 shows the top of the cooler with the 90 mm fan.

Xigmatek Praeton
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Figure 7: Top view

The Xigmatek Praeton (Cont’d)

Figure 8 shows the bottom of the cooler. The heatpipes are installed side-by-side on the base of the cooler, without any gaps between them, which improves the heat transfer.

Xigmatek Praeton
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Figure 8: Bottom view

The 90 mm fan is only 0.6” (15 mm) tall and supports PWM speed control.

Xigmatek Praeton
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Figure 9: Fan

Figure 10 shows the heatsink of the Xigmatek Praeton without the fan.

Xigmatek Praeton
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Figure 10: Fan removed

Installation

Figure 11 shows the clips used to install the Praeton on AMD CPUs. In Figure 12, you can see the clips for use with Intel CPUs, and the nuts that hold the cooler on the solder side of the motherboard.

Xigmatek Praeton
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Figure 11: Clips for use with AMD CPUs

Xigmatek Praeton
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Figure 12: Clips for use with Intel CPUs

Figure 13 reveals the solder side of our motherboard after installing the Praeton. Unfortunately, there is no backplate to help support the cooler. Even without a lot of weight or torque, it would be better to include a backplate in order to spread out the pressure made by the screws.

Xigmatek Praeton
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Figure 13: Solder side of the motherboard

Figure 14 shows the Xigmatek Praeton installed in our computer.

Xigmatek Praeton
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Figure 14: Cooler installed

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

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.

Xigmatek Praeton

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

Xigmatek Praeton

Main Specifications

The main specifications for the Xigmatek Praeton CPU cooler include:

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

Conclusions

Of course, we were not expecting a high cooling performance on such a small cooler, even considering the gapless, direct-touch heatpipes. Our test shows that the performance of the Praeton is a lot better than the stock cooler, which means it fulfilled part of its purpose.

On the other hand, low-profile coolers are frequently used in Home Theater PCs (HTPCs) and, for this application, the cooler must be quiet, which the Xigmatek Praeton is not.

This means that if you are in need of a CPU cooler that is about 1.8” (45 mm) tall, and you don’t need it to be quiet, the Xigmatek Praeton is an option. Otherwise, we would suggest looking for a different cooler.

Originally at http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/Xigmatek-Praeton-CPU-Cooler-Review/1562


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