For the stock clock tests, I will be comparing the V8 against Intel's retail CPU cooler. The V8 will be tested at low and high fan settings using its built-in fan controller. Idle CPU temps were taken after 10 minutes of no system activity (sitting idle at the desktop). Load temps were taken 15 minutes in while running two instances of Prime 95 (one instance per core) using the In-place large FFTs torture test (maximum heat, power consumption and some RAM tested) and watching a full screen HD video from Hulu.com. All CPU throttling options were disabled in the BIOS. Temperatures were obtained using CoreTemp. Since each core has its own temperature, I will take the highest of the two and report that per test. Below are the results from testing.
As you can see, the Intel retail CPU cooler worked just fine for stock clocks. I decided not to do any overclocking with the stock cooler, as I simply don't recommend it. The V8 was able to lower load temps at stock clocks by 4 C over the Intel solution. The V8's fan speed did not play a role here which I found interesting. When it came to overclocking, the V8 kept the CPU at 45 C or less throughout testing. This is very impressive for a CPU that is overclocked nearly 1 GHz! Bumping the fan speed to high only netted 1 C cooler.
As I stated above, the Intel retail CPU cooler will work just fine for most processors, so long as you don't plan to overclock. If you want to get the most out of your CPU via overclocking, however, I would certainly recommend some sort of aftermarket cooling solution and as we saw here today, Cooler Master's V8 is an excellent candidate.
This CPU cooler has a lot going for it. Starting with pure aesthetics, this is one nice looking unit with a unique design. Four separate banks of cooling fins are sandwiched by a 120mm fan, all of which are connected to the base of the heatsink via eight different heat pipes. Cooler Master integrated a rheostat-style fan speed controller, accessible by using the included add-in card slot. All of the necessary hardware is included for installation as well as a tube of thermal paste.
Installation on an Intel LGA775 CPU socket requires removal of the motherboard from the case in order to install a backplate and secure the unit to the board. The included instructions were decently written with plenty of diagrams to guide you along.
During use, the fan was very quiet on low and just barely audible on high over my other system fans. I really expected the fan to be kind of loud, but I was pleasantly surprised.
The V8 performed really well during testing and I have little doubt that I can squeeze a few hundred more MHz out of this processor. I wish I could have tested against more CPU coolers, but this is the first aftermarket one I have used with this configuration as it is a new test system.
My only complaint about the V8 is its size. Be warned that it won't fit in all cases. The unit was about 1/2" too tall in my case and I couldn't reinstall my side panel without some creative thinking.
As of writing, I was unable to find a store in the U.S. selling the V8, but it was available in Canada just under $70.00. If you are looking to do some serious overclocking with an air cooler, I would put the V8 high on your list.