Intel stock cooler really is bad!


Aug 5, 2013

I did a little test last night. Having just bought the Xeon E3-1230-V2 to replace my I5-3570k, I was wondering if I still need to use my Evo 212 aftermarket cooler, as the Xeon is very low power and cool running. So I did a quick swap to the stock cooler.

I didn't like the look of the hard rubber like thermal paste on the stock cooler, when I touched it, it just fell off in pieces and didn't seem like it would spread, so I used some MX-2 instead.

Fitting the cooler was a breeze, 4 plastic studs just pop into the mobo.

Upon powering up, the fan on the cooler initially went to max before settling down as low speed. However, the noise at anything above idle was terrible, not only the rush of air, but a terrible grinding noise from the fan. The last time I heard that same noise was from a Zotac GTX 670 with reference cooler. So I tried a second Intel stock cooler which I had, it had the same noise. Not a good start.

So, I went into windows and started some stress testing with prime. Within about 30s, the temp was already exceeding 60C and the fan was ramping up quickly and becoming noisy. A couple more minutes in and the temp was hitting 70C, with significant noise from the fan. The temp kept rising and it became clear that the cooler was not capable of keeping the temperature under control under extreme stress conditions, so I ended the test.

To ensure it wasn't an issue with the cooler, I switched back to the other Intel stock cooler and played a game of Titanfall. Unlike BF4, Titanfall barely stresses the CPU, utilising about 20-30% max. However, despite this within about 10 minutes of playing the game, the fan was already ramping up loudly and temps were around 65C. Not good at all.

In comparison, the Coolermaster Evo 212 is awesome. Starting with the fan on its lowest setting, it takes a good 10 minutes of stress testing before the temp approaches 60C and the fan ramps up slightly to being just audible. With the small increase in fan speed, the temp drops to about 56C and doesn't move from there. Playing Titanfall, the temps hover around 52C with the fan on it's lowest speed.

In summary, even on a low power stock clocked Xeon, it seems the stock Intel cooler is barely adequate for any continuous CPU usage above about 20-30% and its fan is very noisy above idle speed.