CPU: Intel i7 4770k
Motherboard: ASUS Z97-K
Memory: Kingston HyperX Beast 8GB (2x4GB) 2400MHz
Graphics: ASUS GTX 770
Cooler: Phanteks PH-TC14S and PH-TC12LS
Thermal Paste: Noctua NT-H1
Storage: Corsair Neutron 128GB
PSU: Corsair AX760
Each cooler will be tested at night as it is naturally the quietest time of the day. A decibel monitor is placed at 30cm away from the cooler which is much closer than you would probably be sitting, but it allows for consistent readings in my eyes. The system is left to idle for five minutes to ensure it is at its most rested workload and then the readings are taken. The fans are in PWM mode rather than ‘x’ volts as some fans will not spin without it getting its start voltage. The PWM curves are set to the default ones that are supplied by the ASUS Z97-K’s BIOS. To find out how much noise the fan(s) will make under a full loading, I plug them straight into a 12v line to ensure that they are running at full speed to give you an idea of how much noise is created at maximum RPM ranges.
Thermal performance is judged on four factors overall; the idle temperature at stock and overclocked speeds, as well as the loaded temperatures at stock and loaded speeds. During the testing, whether that be the idle or loaded testing, the system is either in idle or full load for a duration of five minutes before any readings are taken. The average temperature across all four cores is then noted down and used as the results. All room temperatures are recorded beforehand as well as during the test to ensure that the delta temperature is as accurate as possible.