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Maximum PC Staff Aug 07, 2008

Alpine 7 Pro

At A Glance

Black Diamond

Very inexpensive; performs better than a stock cooler; easy to install.

Bunny Hill

Not for serious overclockers; a bit dull looking.

Given its small size, we didn’t expect maximum cooling performance from Arctic Cooling’s Alpine 7 Pro. And while the Alpine 7 Pro doesn’t set any performance records, in some situations it does match the capabilities of our cooler of choice, Thermaltake’s DuOrb. Given the sheer size difference between this 9x9x3cm cooler and the, well, monstrous DuOrb, the Alpine 7’s performance was a pleasant surprise.

The Alpine 7 Pro does an exceptional job of cooling when your processor is idle—it even ran head to head with the DuOrb in this capacity. Both coolers dropped the temperature of all four cores of our Q6700 to 36 C, but when we cranked up our processor to 100 percent usage rates, the Alpine 7 faltered.

As always, our burn-in test separated the lion from the lamb. The DuOrb is reasonably quiet and provides flawless cooling. The Alpine 7 Pro’s attached 9.2cm fan is similarly silent—far less audible than a beastly cooling apparatus like the Zalman CNPS9700. It just doesn’t cool as well. We appreciate the Alpine 7 Pro’s ability to offer better cooling than a stock Intel cooler, but as we expected from the get-go, this is not a high-performance cooler.

The cooler supports the Intel LGA775 spec to a T. Prior to this, we had never tested a cooler that included all four installation prongs that Intel stock coolers have. The inclusion of these prongs eliminates the need to remove the motherboard to install the cooler. It’s a welcome relief from a tiresome process that we could really do without. All air coolers that fit an LGA775 motherboard should come with a four-prong mounting system—period.

Overclockers might want to steer clear of the Alpine in favor of a bulkier cooler, but the Alpine 7 Pro’s smidgen of additional cooling over a stock part and superlow price make it a fantastic value.

Benchmarks

Alpine 7 Pro
Themaltake Duo Orb
Stock Cooler
Idle (C) 36.0 36.0 46.0
100% Burn (C) 66.5 52.0 74.0
Best scores are bolded. Idle temperatures were measured after an hour of inactivity; load temperatures were measured after an hour’s worth of CPU Burn-In (four instances). Test system consists of a stock-clock Q6700 processor on an EVGA 680i motherboard.
THE VERDICT

Alpine 7 Pro

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