CPU Cooling Test Configuration

The test setup was exactly the same as used in the recent Thermalright Ultra 120 review. All the components of the test bench remained the same.

Cooling Performance Test Configuration
Processor Intel Core 2 Duo X6800
(x2, 2.93GHz, 4MB Unified Cache)
RAM 2x1GB Corsair Dominator PC2-8888 (DDR2-1111)
Hard Drive(s) Hitachi 250GB SATA2 enabled (16MB Buffer)
Video Card: 1 x EVGA 7900GTX - All Standard Tests
Platform Drivers: NVIDIA 9.53
NVIDIA nTune: 5.05.22.00 (1/16/2007)
Video Drivers: NVIDIA 93.71
CPU Cooling: Thermalright Ultra 120 Extreme
Thermalright Ultra 120
Scythe Infinity
Zalman CNS9700
Zalman CNS9500
CoolerMaster Hyper 6+
Vigor Monsoon II Lite
Thermalright MST-9775
Scythe Katana
Tuniq Tower 120
Intel Stock HSF for X6800
Power Supply: OCZ PowerStream 520W
Motherboards: EVGA nForce 680i SLI (NVIDIA 680i)
Operating System(s): Windows XP Professional SP2
BIOS Award P24 (1/12/2007)

Since Thermalright provided a syringe of their own thermal compound, the Thermalright compound was used in mounting the Ultra 120 Extreme, just as it was used in the Ultra 120 review. For more details on the specifications, weights, and installation please refer to the Thermalright Ultra 120 review. As already stated, the Ultra 120 Extreme is the same exact cooler with two extra heatpipes.


As you can clearly see from the installed photos, the Ultra 120 Extreme is the same dimensions as the Ultra 120. Nothing is really any different with 120 Extreme install except for the issues with fitting a Socket 775 adapter through the pipes with extra heatpipes in the way. Hopefully Thermalright will have solved this issue by the time you can find retail Thermalright Ultra 120 Extreme heatsinks for purchase.

To be blunt, not too much was expected with the Ultra 120 Extreme. Six heatpipes instead of four is nice, but how much could two added pipes really do for a cooler that was at the top of our performance charts? As you will see in our performance results, assumptions should always be tested. There was certainly a surprise for us in the Ultra 120 Extreme cooling and overclocking performance.

Fanless Cooling and Noise Levels

Since all testing used the same S-Flex SFF21F 120mm fan used in the Ultra 120 review, we did not retest noise levels. Noise levels will be exactly the same as the excellent results posted in the Thermalright Ultra 120 review. Please refer to that review for information on the Ultra 120 Extreme noise levels.

The Ultra 120 also was useful as a fanless cooler, as demonstrated in that review. However, our current cooler setup is not ideally suited for testing fanless CPU coolers, since we do not have a downward facing fan or additional rear exhaust fans to assist the fanless cooler. Refer to performance charts for fanless cooling in the Ultra 120 review. Results with the Ultra 120 Extreme should be even better with the extra cooling provided by the additional heatpipes in the EXTREME design. Improvements in fanless cooling should be similar to the cooling improvements seen in this comparison of Ultra 120 and Ultra 120 Extreme cooling with the same S-Flex fan.

Index Cooling at Stock Speed
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  • DrMrLordX - Wednesday, March 07, 2007 - link

    I can't see many reasons to go with the Tuniq Tower 120 over this thing except maybe for the price. The Ultra-120 and Ultra-120+ both cost more after you pay for the fan. Reply
  • Gigahertz19 - Wednesday, March 07, 2007 - link

    I'll have to look through the article again but what about noise level for the fan? It can be a great cooler but if it emits a lot of noise then it's worthless in my book.


    Any possible chance of reviewing some water-cooling systems for the Core 2 Duo in the future? I'd be curious to see how a cheap water cooling system would compare with a high end cooler like the Ultra 120+? Specifically a $50 water cooler like the Cooler Master aquagate mini or a higher end water cooling system like the Corsair Nautilus 500.


    COOLER MASTER AQUAGATE Mini R80 / R120 Liquid Cooling System - $50 Newegg
    Thermaltake CL-W0065 Liquid Cooling System - $60 Newegg

    CORSAIR Nautilus 500 Water Cooling Sytem $150 Newegg
    Swiftech H20-120 PREMIUM CPU Liquid Cooling Kit $122 Newegg

    Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Wednesday, March 07, 2007 - link

    The noise is all cases, both Idle and Stress, and High and Low speeds, was at or below the system noise floor which is determined by the quiet OCZ PowerFlex 520W power supply. For a fan with 64 CFM output these noise levels are extremely low. Scythe rates the fan at 28 dbA at full output and our tests did not reveal any results that would bring that spec into question. Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Wednesday, March 07, 2007 - link

    As we said on page 2 the SAME S-FLex fan was used for testing the Ultra 120+ that we used in the Ultra 120 review. THe noise test results are the same as the Ultra 120 review at http://www.anandtech.com/casecooling/showdoc.aspx?...">http://www.anandtech.com/casecooling/showdoc.aspx?... Reply
  • Ender17 - Wednesday, March 07, 2007 - link

    how about some tests with the reference fan at 7V?
    31 dBA is way too loud for any quiet system
    Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Wednesday, March 07, 2007 - link

    Our OCZ Power Stream 520 is one of the quietest performance power supplies we have tested and it has a noise floor of 38.3dB from 24" (61cm) and 47dB from 6" (152mm) - both measured from an open case side. Noise measurements will be lower with a closed case, so ours should be considered worse case. The measured noise level of the test room is 36.4dB.

    Since you consider 31db to be too loud can you please tell us the power supply you are using for your quiet system and how you measure noise? Distance conditions, ambient room noise, etc. We see no point in measuring noise below a Power supply noise floor since few users will run their systems with a fanless PS.

    You can also run the 120+, 120, or HR01 without a fan for near zero noise, or choose an S-Flex SFF21D fan with 8 DBA noise at around 34cfm.
    Reply
  • ATWindsor - Wednesday, March 07, 2007 - link

    The OCZ isn't that a quiet PSU, han 36.4 db isn't a paticulary quiet room either. If there is no other equipment in the room, I would even say its a bit high on background noise.

    AtW
    Reply
  • ATWindsor - Wednesday, March 07, 2007 - link

    The OCZ isn't that a quiet PSU, han 36.4 db isn't a paticulary quiet room either. If there is no other equipment in the room, I would even say its a bit high on background noise.

    AtW
    Reply
  • Marlowe - Wednesday, March 07, 2007 - link

    I must agree. I sold my 520W Powerstream because it was too noisy.

    I have the Tuniq Tower also, it's a great cooler I agree! =)
    Reply
  • Ender17 - Wednesday, March 07, 2007 - link

    also, the PowerStream isn't even close to be the quietest PSU available.
    Checkout Corsair or SeaSonic.
    Reply

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