For the first post in this series, see The Great CPU Caper, Part I here.
Like every good geek, I did some research before buying my E8400.
What I found wasn’t pretty – apparently, Intel changed the reference design of the stock heatsink/fan that came with every CPU that they sold.
The pictures speak for themselves, so I’ll let them do the talking:
The HSF on the left is from my E8400. Note how it does not have a copper core or base, and how it is half the height difference of the HSF on the right, which I presume is from a previous-generation of Intel CPUs, such as the E6600 or similar.
This is bad for two reasons – copper is a far better conductor of heat than aluminium is. The second reason is that by halving the heatsink module, they’ve essentially halved the surface area that will contribute to the dissipation of heat produced by the HSF.
Sadly, this isn’t the first time Intel have revised their HSF design for the worse, either. Sometime in 2007, they made the change from an copper core/base combo to an aluminium core/base one. One forum-goer had the guts to take apart one of each, and what he found wasn’t pretty:
You can see how this would affect the thermal characteristics of the HSF, can’t you? From the diagram above, it’s really no surprise that Intel chose to halve the height of the heatsink – especially when half is pretty much made redundant by the craptacular aluminium core/base.
Incredibly stupid moves by Intel, in my humble opinion, even if some of their newer products produce less heat than they previously did.
Anyway, it’s all pretty much moot anyway – when I purchased my CM 690 from PC Case Gear I also decided to pick up some Arctic Cooling HSF anyway – it’s not copper, but it’s full aluminium, and seems to work very nicely with my Arctic Silver 5 🙂
The copper cored HSF I bought from a third party now sits in the family machine, which has been named voldemort. I’ll have to remember why I named it voldemort, so forgive me if you see a couple of posts inbetween now and the next great CPU caper.