Comanche 4 & Conclusion
Lastly, we did some benchmarking with what has got to be one of the most CPU limited gaming benchmarks around, Novalogic's Comanche 4. Despite the fact that this is a game benchmark that can be used to test the relative performance of video cards, frame rates are strongly influenced by processor speed and available memory bandwidth, especially at low resolutions with sound disabled, which is how we ran the tests to get the frame rates listed below.
With our CPU at it's default clock speed, we were able to hit a healthy 78.83 FPS (Frames Per Second) in Comanche 4 at 800x600. Cranking the CPU's clock speed up to over 3.9GHz, however, yielded a significant performance gain. With the CPU at 3.95GHz, our VapoChill LightSpeed [AC] cooled rig just barely missed breaking the 90 FPS mark at 89.63 FPS, an increase of over 13.7%.
The VapoChill LightSpeed [AC] is a very impressive product. It's easily one of the most powerful cooling products in its class, and the new design makes it much more compelling than the original VapoChill units that ship as part of a complete case. The LightSpeed is compatible with almost any case, and unlike the original VapoChills, the LightSpeed doesn't draw any current from the system's host PSU. In our opinion, these are important benefits in this age of stylish aluminum cases and power-hungry systems. But there are a couple of drawbacks to the VapoChill LightSpeed as well.
For one, the unit is relatively loud. When running at full throttle, the LightSpeed is definitely loud enough to be bothersome during a long day's work. Fan speeds can be throttled down to much lower levels, and it will still operate reliably, but even with the fans at 40% we found the LightSpeed [AC] to be a bit intrusive. It's also quite expensive at over $800 U.S. The vapoChill LightSpeed [AC] is definitely not a cheap upgrade, but you do get what you pay for. The LightSpeed is more powerful and more versatile than a VapoChill XE, yet it's roughly the same price. We're going to give the VapoChill LightSpeed [AC] a strong 9 on the Heat Meter, based on its excellent cooling performance and versatile design. Had Asetek designed the unit to be quieter and the price been a bit lower, a higher rating and an Editor's Choice award may have been in the cards. With possible updates and revisions to the product down the road, that is a distinct possibility as well.