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Reviewed By: Carl Nelson [11.05.01]
Manufactured by: ThermalTake
Suggested Price: $??


The Results Are In!

You'll notice that our graphs are not zeroed.  This was done purposely; since we are not contrasting the temperatures against each other, the short range serves to show us a more detailed view of the graph.

You can see asterisks along the timeline; they are to show the stages of testing:

Start: Case cover on, fans turned off
* = Prime95 disengaged
** = Case cover removed
*** = Case cover installed, all fans turned on

Using multiple stages allowed us to look at what influenced the fan speeds the most - By turning off Prime95 and leaving the case fans off, we can see that the CPU temperature dropped, but the system temperature stayed the same.

By removing the case cover, both the CPU and system temperatures dropped by a little.

By turning on the case fans, we put ourselves in a 'best case scenario' and the system temp dropped all the way to its lowest level.

A Closer Look.

In case you don't notice right away by looking at the graph above, I have made a couple others using the exact same figures... First, let's have a look at the CPU temperature in relation to fan speed:

As you can see, the CPU temperature is *relatively* closely tied to the fan speed. This is somewhat deceiving however.  The most important part of this chart is where I turned off Prime95.  You can see that the CPU temperature immediately dropped by almost 10 degrees, but the fan speed didn't go down by much.  Keep in mind that this is in the 'worst case scenario' at normal CPU levels - basically what most users with a 'normal' case will see.  The next chart gives the best details:

Here you see that the CPU fan speed of the Volcano 7 is much more oriented toward the system temp.  This is because the thermal sensor is on the outside of the heatsink, and does a better job of measuring basic system temperature than it does of the actual CPU temperature.  This isn't necessarily a *bad* thing, it just tells us that is could be better.

During normal usage, my regular temperature and fan speed is that you see from minute 64 and beyond... Once I can change the voltage on this board, I'll be loving life (hopefully at 1.4 ghz :P)

After reading the details of the Volcano 7, surely you will be thinking, "Could this be the *perfect* heatsink?"

The answer is, it could have been, but it isn't.  The only thing keeping me from giving the Volcano 7 a perfect 100% score is the fact that the variable fan speed is based on the system temperature, rather than CPU temp.  Why is this important? Well it isn't really that important, unless you place a LOT of importance on fan noise.  If your system temp is up there after running some games, but the CPU is less stressed and running cooler, the Volcano 7 will still be working its ass off because it just doesn't know...

The Volcano 7 is still the absolute smartest heatsink on the planet right now, and it performs like a champ.  Great clip design, great looks, great performance, all make for an award-winning heatsink, and the Volcano 7 is just that - the winner of HCW's "I AM HARDCORE" award!

  • Very good temperature scores!
  • Easy to install
  • Great clip design
  • Excellently built
  • Beautiful design, imagine a blue neon light shining off that fan guard :)
  • It is only as noisy as it has to be
  • 80 mm fans are the only way to go for high CFM heatsinks

  • Variable fan speed is more oriented to system temp more that CPU temp
  • While I liked the clip design, many would prefer a direct mount style for this big a HSF

Final Score: 97%