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Test System

Is the KuFormula VF1 Plus the Formula for Graphics Cooling?
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System Hardware
Processor(s) AMD Athlon 64 3400+ (Venice)
2.4 GHz (overclocked to 2688 MHz) , 512 kB L2 cache
Platform ASrock 9393dual-SATA2 (socket 939)
ULI 1695 chipset, BIOS version 1.6
RAM Patriot EP
1x 1024 MB PC3500 (CL2.0-3-2-5)
Hard Drive Western Digital WD1200JB
120 GB, 7,200 RPM, 8 MB cache, UltraATA/100
Networking On-board 100 MBit Ethernet
Graphics Card ATI All-In-Wonder X1800 XL (PCIe)
256 MB GDDR3
Power Supply Ultra X-Connect , ATX, 550 W
System Software & Drivers
OS Microsoft Windows XP Professional 5.10.2600, Service Pack 2
DirectX Version 9.0c (4.09.0000.0904)
Platform Driver AMD AthlonTM 64 Processor Driver 1.2.2.0
Graphics Driver ATI Catalyst 6.1

Testing Considerations

I would first like to point out that the stock cooler was benchmarked after it was reseated with Arctic Silver 3 thermal compound, instead of the inefficient thermal tape supplied with it. I always put AS3 on stock coolers as the thermal tape may create a handicap - you are not going to use thermal tape on your aftermarket cooler, after all.

To ensure equal testing conditions, all benchmarks of the stock cooler to demonstrate its performance were conducted with AS3 applied and the cooler reseated carefully to ensure good contact. Every modder and overclocker should refit their stock cooler with good thermal compound, as it is a very inexpensive mod, and sometimes corrects problems of insufficient contact with the heat sink from the factory.

For comparison purposes, we benchmarked the stock cooler twice: once at its default fan speeds, then again with its fan forced to its maximum speed using AtiTool. Some stock coolers perform better when tweaked in this way by the enthusiast, and it provides a good idea of the kind of performance an overclocker can extract from stock equipment.

To test the graphic chip's temperature under load we used the free AtiTool utility (version 0.25, beta 14) because it includes a built-in artefact tester that really stresses a video card. I find the artefact tester useful not only to test for artefacts, but also to heat up a video card to maximum temperature. We haven't found an application yet that can work a video card harder, nor warm it up to maximum temperature faster.

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