Almost two months ago the prototype for what became known as the Thermalright Ultra-120 eXtreme showed up on our doorstep. The review of the excellent Ultra-120 was just finished and that cooler moved to the top of our performance charts along with the Tuniq Tower 120 and some specialized configurations of a few other coolers.


The eXtreme added two more heatpipes, for a total of six, but it was otherwise just like the Ultra-120 as far as we could tell. We didn't expect that much improvement over the already excellent Ultra-120, but many of you will recall that the prototype tested in the Thermalright Ultra-120 eXtreme preview set new records in air cooling. This was clearly the best air cooler ever tested in the AnandTech labs. The cooler prototype was not perfect, however. There was what we considered a major issue with the socket 775 mount, which needed to be bent to fit between the heatpipes and then straightened again. We suggested this needed to be fixed by Thermalright for the production version of the eXtreme.

It has been almost two months since our first look at the Thermalright Ultra-120 eXtreme, and the cooler is now in full production at Thermalright. You should start to see units for sale in the next few days. Thermalright advised us that they have fixed the issue with the socket 775 adapter. We were also advised that several minor refinements were made in the design of the eXtreme. Normally the availability of the production part would merely be a comment to another article or something for AnandTech Forum discussions. However, this cooler has generated a huge amount of interest simply because it performed better than any we have tested. For that reason, we felt we should take another look at the production unit, to make certain the mounting was corrected and to confirm the outstanding performance we first saw in the prototype.

Thermalright offered to ship us a retail production unit, so this is an update based on the production Ultra-120 eXtreme. We also retested the production unit to see if a second Thermalright Ultra-120 eXtreme - this one a retail unit - would perform just as well as the eXtreme prototype. We even tested with the same Scythe S-FLEX fan used in our first tests.

Coolers are less subject to production changes that degrade performance than motherboards are; we have at times found great prototype motherboards that proved less than stellar when finally in full production. For our readers, we felt a second test would confirm that the Thermalright Ultra-120 eXtreme you buy will deliver the same chart-topping performance than we found in testing at AnandTech, so today we are testing the retail production sample.

Ultra-120 eXtreme Production Kit
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  • JarredWalton - Saturday, May 05, 2007 - link

    Wes looked at that in the earlier article, and depending on your PSU/case configuration it can certainly function fanless. Overclocking fanless isn't recommended, and I personally think you should still have some low RPM fans in every PC to be safe. If you undervolt a 120mm fan so it's only running at 400 RPM or so (or even the stock 800 RPM), it will still be inaudible and yet it will make a huge difference in cooling performance. Reply
  • fasdl - Saturday, May 05, 2007 - link

    wow, those numbers are unreal! I can't believe this thing is really that good. Is this better at the point where it's better than water cooling? Reply
  • vailr - Friday, May 04, 2007 - link

    Suggestion to Thermalright: replace the metal backplate; go to a non-conducting material. Such as found in the Zalman CS-2:
    http://sharkacomputers.com/zacsclsuforl.html">http://sharkacomputers.com/zacsclsuforl.html
    Reply
  • Magnadoodle - Friday, May 04, 2007 - link

    Thermalright products are know to perform better with more airflow while Scythe products usually perform better at low airflows. It would be interesting to test the passive cooling performance of the heatsinks, although that would imply alot of testing. Reply
  • noobzter - Friday, May 04, 2007 - link

    Is it sticky? If it is, I wonder whether performance is affected if one were to use AS5. Reply
  • bigpow - Friday, May 04, 2007 - link

    instead of using static charts for comparison tests, why don't you use a javascript-based chart?

    That'd allow readers to check/uncheck whats on the chart - just like the one on Yahoo stock chart

    I haven't seen any other IT websites using this method, and it's only natural if Anandtech.com (my fav site) is the 1st one to have "live" chart
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Saturday, May 05, 2007 - link

    I would *love* to have such a tool, mostly because the scaling graphs right now can be quite a pain in the hind quarters to generate. Unfortunately, such a tool takes development time, and while our web programmers are working on an overhaul of the graphing engine (and document engine in general) I'm not sure if we'll get an on-the-fly graph tool. I'll send the suggestion their way, though - it's at least worth considering, although server load might be a problem with such a design as well. We periodically get people that can't see some of the images for a variety of reasons, so any programmed graphics might be more trouble than they're worth. We'll see.... Reply
  • Howard - Friday, May 04, 2007 - link

    That way, you don't have to worry about the ambient temperature. Reply
  • Final Hamlet - Friday, May 04, 2007 - link

    I really am interested in silencing my AM2 X2 3800+ - is it possible to run my CPU without any fans if I add a TR 120? Reply
  • Ender17 - Friday, May 04, 2007 - link

    Great review, any idea when we can see a comparison with the IFX-14? Reply

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