Making sure your rig’s temperatures, hardware, and clock speeds are running correctly is a good way to monitor your PC’s health. We always recommend stress-testing your shiny-new rig, or checking your hardware if you experience any stability issues that occur out of the blue. We’ve gathered up a list of the best free utilities you can use to make sure you have a healthy PC.
Know of any other free monitoring tools? Let us know in the comments section below!
When Corsair released its closed-loop H80 water cooler in 2011, we found it to be one of the best-performing dual-fan kits available. It was also very loud at full blast and cumbersome to install, and the updated H80i model sets out to address these issues while also improving performance.
Note: This review was taken from the March 2013 issue of the magazine.
The Thermalright Silver Arrow SB-E doesn’t lack for heat pipes: Eight of them rise from the heat exchanger up into the two sets of cooling fins. The entire thing, from aluminum fins to copper pipes and heat exchanger, is plated in a shiny nickel coat. The two sets of cooling fins are shiny and jagged, and much more stylized than the Noctua DH-14 (reviewed April 2012) or the Phanteks PH-TC14PE (reviewed June 2012), its most obvious competitors of the coolers we’ve tested. The whole assemblage weighs two pounds, 7.6 ounces with both fans. Those fans—a 15cm TY-150 and 14cm TY-141—are both low-RPM 12V fans with 4-pin PWM connectors.
There’s something incongruous about mustard-and-olive fans with those edgy nickel-plated cooling fins.
WE HAVE BEEN anxious to test Cooler Master’s TPC 812 since we saw a prototype at this year’s CES—or was it last year’s? Regardless, the company piqued our interest with its talk of “vertical vapor chamber cooling,” and we finally have our hands on the TPC 812, a massive air cooler with six heat pipes and two vertical vapor chambers.
SOMETIMES WHEN we use the Hyper 212 Plus in a build we get comments to the effect of, “Why don’t you use Xigmatek’s Gaia? It’s just as good and just as cheap!” Just as cheap? Definitely. Just as good? We’ll see!
Stop us if you’ve heard this before: The Gaia is a skyscraper-style stack of aluminum cooling fins on top of three direct-contact copper heat pipes. The Gaia is 6.5 inches high by 2.9 inches thick (with the fan) and 4.9 inches wide. At one pound, 4.7 ounces, it’s practically the same weight as the Hyper 212 Evo. Aside from the slightly narrower cooling fins and the fact that it has three heat pipes rather than four, and its 12cm PWM fan is held on by rubber pegs rather than a plastic clip, the Gaia looks a lot like the Evo.
We just realized that the Xigmatek Gaia’s cooling fins resemble the letter X.
What, this old thing? Cooler Master’s Hyper 212 Evo is the new‑and‑improved version of our standby CPU cooler. It’s just $35 and offers performance far exceeding other coolers in its price range, so it’s the first thing we reach for when we build a new budget-conscious rig. Given that LGA2011 CPUs don’t come with heatsinks, the Evo is the closest thing we have to a stock cooler, and it will be the standard against which all other Sandy Bridge-E coolers are judged.
With the rumored release of Ivy Bridge just around the corner, we're finally starting to see some early benchmarks roll in from the lucky few who have managed to lay hands on Intel's new CPU a bit early. Yesterday, we highlighted a review of an Ivy Bridge-rocking HP EliteBook, prompting several commenters to say "Desktop overclocking numbers or GTFO." Fortunately, some of those very benchmarks have popped up on the Web in the past 24 hours. (That's good, because we didn't feel like going anywhere.)
Overclocking a graphics card isn't terribly difficult, and if you're careful, it's not all that dangerous either. But there's always that risk of taking things too far or ending up with components that just don't respond well to faster clockspeeds. Factory overclocked cards get around both problems, and one of the newest on the market is TUL Corporation's PowerColor PCS+ HD7850, a spiffy looking hunk of hardware with a power friendly design.
If those spiffy new Kepler-based GTX 680 graphics cards do in fact end up hitting the streets tomorrow, as has been widely rumored, enterprising overclockers will no doubt be looking to tweak their new hardware to even higher levels of performance. Boosting core frequencies should be a cinch for owners of MSI-brand GTX 680s; the company joined forces with Guru3D to release a new Beta version of its Afterburner overclocking utility, complete with support for Kepler GPUs.