Xigmatek Praeton CPU Cooler Review
By Rafael Coelho on May 29, 2012
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.
Figure 2 shows the contents of the box: the cooler itself, a small bag of thermal compound, manual, and installation hardware.
Figure 3 displays the Xigmatek Praeton.
This cooler is discussed in detail in the following pages.
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.
Figure 5 reveals the side of the cooler. Notice the wire clip that holds the fan in place.
In Figure 6, you can see the curves of the 6 mm heatpipes.
Figure 7 shows the top of the cooler with the 90 mm fan.
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.
The 90 mm fan is only 0.6” (15 mm) tall and supports PWM speed control.
Figure 10 shows the heatsink of the Xigmatek Praeton without the fan.
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.
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.
Figure 14 shows the Xigmatek Praeton installed in our computer.
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.
Operating System Configuration
We adopted a 2°C error margin, meaning temperature differences below 2°C are considered irrelevant.
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.
|Cooler||Room Temp.||Noise||Speed||Core Temp.||Temp. Diff.|
|Cooler Master Hyper TX3||18 °C||50 dBA||2850 rpm||69 °C||51 °C|
|Corsair A70||23 °C||51 dBA||2000 rpm||66 °C||43 °C|
|Corsair H100||26 °C||62 dBA||2000 rpm||64 °C||38 °C|
|EVGA Superclock||26 °C||57 dBA||2550 rpm||67 °C||41 °C|
|NZXT HAVIK 140||20 °C||46 dBA||1250 rpm||65 °C||45 °C|
|Thermalright True Spirit 120||26 °C||42 dBA||1500 rpm||82 °C||56 °C|
|Zalman CNPS12X||26 °C||43 dBA||1200 rpm||71 °C||45 °C|
|Zalman CNPS9900 Max||20 °C||51 dBA||1700 rpm||62 °C||42 °C|
|Titan Fenrir Siberia Edition||22 °C||50 dBA||2400 rpm||65 °C||43 °C|
|SilenX EFZ-120HA5||18 °C||44 dBA||1500 rpm||70 °C||52 °C|
|Noctua NH-L12||20 °C||44 dBA||1450 rpm||70 °C||50 °C|
|Zalman CNPS8900 Extreme||21 °C||53 dBA||2550 rpm||71 °C||50 °C|
|Gamer Storm Assassin||15 °C||48 dBA||1450 rpm||58 °C||43 °C|
|Deepcool Gammaxx 400||15 °C||44 dBA||1500 rpm||60 °C||45 °C|
|Cooler Master TPC 812||23 °C||51 dBA||2350 rpm||66 °C||43 °C|
|Deepcool Gammaxx 300||18 °C||43 dBA||1650 rpm||74 °C||56 °C|
|Intel stock cooler||18 °C||41 dBA||2000 rpm||97 °C||79 °C|
|Xigmatek Praeton||19 °C||52 dBA||2900 rpm||83 °C||64 °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.
In the graph below, you can see how many decibels of noise each cooler makes.
The main specifications for the Xigmatek Praeton CPU cooler include:
* Researched at Newegg.com on the day we published this review.
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.