Arctic Alpine AM4 Passive in Test – Physics vs. Dream of a quiet (but fast) PC 1:0

So, now I become technical and generate with the help of the Witcher 3 Loop and cleverly tested settings (BIOS, Wattman, graphics options) exactly the power dissipated by the manufacturer. There is no constant load, but an average value of more than 60 minutes, because only then are the temperature values reasonably stable. The room temperature is a pleasant 22°C and we will take a look at the following table:

At 45 watts, the limit of temperature possibilities is reached at 90°C Tctl (peak 95°C) and the APU throttles down. Due to the passive cooling, the voltage converters also do not receive air flow, so that one quickly lands at 95 °C. And this motherboard is one of the better, because despite the mini-ITX form factor, it even has a rather large VRM cooler. The fact is, the specified 47 watts are a case for the gallery, because it is simply not enough. Woe betide when the sun shines in summer. Then there are roast pork cups Deluxe.

At 35 watts on average, one can already speak of a sensible cooling, but even the Ryzen 5 2400 GE is hardly able to deliver decent frame rates. For players, such a constellation is rather superfluous, but it should never be forgotten that such an OEM APU is also often used in the office. But that's when the cooler is a viable alternative. Nevertheless, you never have the full beat consistently, only at intervals.

If only 25 watts have to be dissipated, which should also be the standard in everyday office life, then nothing will rot any more and you would still have a good air up even at the room temperature. But I don't watch the gamer anymore, otherwise I get one more over it. No people, there's really nothing left. Logically, the power comes from fuel and energy supplied to the fuel flame moves quite little.

In idle mode, the CPU snaps in passive use on average over 60 minutes approx. 8 watt. This halved again if all programs were silent and Windows was not secretly tinkering around in the background. But no one uses such a system, so this time we test with the everyday scenario on Ms. Müller's desk, when she sits next door with the boss in the meeting. Increased ground noise, then.

Summary and conclusion

I can't give a buying tip, especially because of the bending of the board, here you could and should have put a little more effort. The springs that you supply have zero clamping force and can be squeezed far too far together or Deform. If you are clever, try further washers until the cooler is firmly seated, but the motherboard is not yet warped. That is very much possible.

What, of course, appeals is the very fair price. So there is at least one sticker for the good price/performance ratio. And there's a little tip: if you screw a flat and quiet 92mm fan on top, you're welcome to try out the full 95 watts – that's easy. This cooler is also available as Arctic Alpine 12 passives for Intel CPUs.

However, Arctic cannot reinvent passive cooling either, as there are physical limits that steadfastly prevent this. You would have to find other, more large-scale solutions to trick the good old lady physics. But not with such a piece of aluminium cut out of a strand. As in any such case, Mother Nature wins nonchalantly over marketing.


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About the author

Igor Wallossek

Editor-in-chief and name-giver of igor'sLAB as the content successor of Tom's Hardware Germany, whose license was returned in June 2019 in order to better meet the qualitative demands of web content and challenges of new media such as YouTube with its own channel.

Computer nerd since 1983, audio freak since 1979 and pretty much open to anything with a plug or battery for over 50 years.

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