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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  • Wesley Fink - Friday, May 04, 2007 - link

    According to Thermaltake the IFX-14 will not be available until late May at the earliest. Reply
  • Arctucas - Friday, May 04, 2007 - link

    I should get mine in a couple of weeks.

    This is OT I know;
    I really like TR, (I was planning on doing a complete motherboard cooling setup with their products) except that I bought their HR-09 MOSFET coolers for my Striker Extreme mobo (after email conversations with their tech support, who assured me the coolers were compatible) but unfortunately they do not fit.

    After several more emails, TR still insists the HR-09s will work they just don't cover ALL the MOSFETs. Does anyone else think that is sort of non sequitur?

    Anyway, I'm sure the Ultra will be just fine, I just hope that the HR-05SLI I ordered for the chipset will fit.
    Reply
  • LoneWolf15 - Friday, May 04, 2007 - link

    Great update. The only thing that bothers me is the lack of the 939 adapter. Thermalright makes great products --but for what you pay for one, this product ought to come with that adapter, and without it, it's a real drawback. Considering that the Ultra120 and the Sumbeam's Tuniq Tower 120 both come with it, one would think any "extreme" (implying high-end) version ought to as well. Reply
  • Ender17 - Friday, May 04, 2007 - link

    939 isn't extreme or high end Reply
  • LoneWolf15 - Friday, May 04, 2007 - link

    "Extreme" was referring to the name of the cooler, Ender.

    Also, some of us do own Athlon 64 FX CPU's, high-end Opterons, or the Athlon 64 X2 4800+ in Socket 939. We might still wish to use a great cooler like this. I know that going from a good Swiftech MCX-64V cooler (or at least good when I bought it) to a Tuniq brought my temps down by 8-10C at idle (I have an X2 4800+) , and sometimes even more under load, so I would say that some might very well benefit from this cooler. You don't have to have a Socket 775 or AM2 cooler to find this useful.
    Reply
  • crimson117 - Friday, May 04, 2007 - link

    "...or even more likely the 2C higher ambient temperature in our test room compared to the room temperature in the initial review."

    Thanks for considering ambient temperature! It's so easy to overlook it, but I think it really makes a huge difference... imagine gaming in a hot, non-air conditioned room in the summer, vs a cool thermally regulated server room with industrial cooling. It can make a huge difference in the operation of the whole computer, especially when overclocking.
    Reply
  • yacoub - Friday, May 04, 2007 - link

    The only thing lacking is a fitment report for the cooler as to how it fits on a variety of 975/965/680i/650i boards you have around the labs. This is especially important for such a large cooler. Perhaps also if it fits in mid-tower cases you have available to test.

    Thanks.
    Reply
  • crimson117 - Friday, May 04, 2007 - link

    To me this would be a lot of effort (20 coolers times 20 motherboards) for very little benefit. Reply
  • yacoub - Friday, May 04, 2007 - link

    All it requires is holding the hsf over the CPU socket to verify that it clears all obstacles. Not really much effort at all. And it's vitally important to the readers who want to know if a given cooler will fit on their board. Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Friday, May 04, 2007 - link

    TheThermalright Ultra-120 eXtreme is the same size as the Ultra-120. It is much smaller than you might imagine - much smaller than the Tuniq or Scythe Infinity or most other heatpipe towers with 120mm fans. It fits every board we have in the cooling lab right now. This includes the EVGA 680i, Asus P5W-DH Deluxe, Asus Striker, and Asus Commando. Thermalright has a compatible motherboard list at their website.

    The thing to keep in mind with the Ultra-120 footprint is it is just as wide as other heatpipe towers, but it is much narrower front to back, as we stated in the Update. The tightest fit, as it is with most towers, is on the EVGA 680i, wich is our Cooling test bed board.
    Reply

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