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  • Clem - Thursday, March 15, 2007 - link

    Is the 'Intel Stock HSF for X6800' connected to a:
    1. Molex 12v outlet (3 pins utilized) fan running at full speed and would you know approximated what that speed that is ?
    2. 3 pin Motherboard header - fan running at full speed (approximately what RPM) ?
    3. 4 pin Motherboard header - fan running at various speeds ?

    I think the 'Intel Stock HSF for X6800' fan can run from 800 RPM to 2600 RPM but somethimes a motherboard will only let it run at 1600 RPM on the 4 pin header.
  • hox - Thursday, March 08, 2007 - link

    Here are my thoughts of the Anadntech Heatsink reviews, while helpful, there is a growing body of end user discrepancies in temperatures realized. This post is to stimulate discussion to determine why end users are not acheiving the same results (degrees C at idle and load) as reported in so many heat sink reviews.

    I would like to know what you have enabled or disabled in the bios that controls CPU automatic throttling. Typically that would include Enhanced C1 control (C1E), SpeedStep, and for my Asus MB, something called CPU internal thermal control.

    These settings affect how the cpu "handles" load and will affect the temps reported to the Ntune program. Programs like CpuZ and Coretemp and Ntune do not detect some of these rapid throttling instances, but the temps of the processor are reduced because of this throttling. The Righmtark CPU temp utility is one of the few programs I know that allows you to visualize this throttling even when you have several of the throttling paramters disabled.

    This issue is important because the temps you are seeing, even at idle, are very different for several of your reviewed heatsinks then what end users will experience when they have altered these parameters in the bios.

    I believe this will be helpful for end users to feel like the products your reviews are deeming as superior are performing in their hands in a manner similar to your review. Please provide the bios settings to help the end users decide if the equipment they have purchased is functioning properly.

    I suspect by doing this, many RMAs and emails to the manufacturer would be reduced.

    There is a clear 10C difference between the reported CPU temps at both idle and full load for my QX6700 cpu caused by changing these three settings. Enabling these parameters in the bios I routinely see temps of 33 to 35 C for the cores of my QX6700 at stock speeds, MB temp is 35C. Disabling these parameters, temps on all 4 cores rise to 44C. Thus discrepancy in temps could lead someone to think that the Monsoon II lite cooler I am using is malfunctioning, when in reality it is working properly.

    Also it would be helpful if you also tested these devices with the quad core processors which have a higher heat output. By testing the quad core cpus the high end capacity of these heat sinks to move heat would be tested. Providing the thermal resistance Degrees C/Watt would also be a helpful guideling for these devices.

    It would also be helpful to comment whether the side door will fit with the thermalright heat sinks. As far as I know this heat sink is taller than the Tuniq which caused end users to move side panel fans and vents.

    Thank you
  • Wesley Fink - Sunday, March 11, 2007 - link

    All BIOS settings that affect automatic throttling are turned OFF in our reviews. Reply
  • classy - Thursday, March 08, 2007 - link

    But unless you test all of the top solutions with the same fan, there really is no way to determine if one is truly better than the other. While I understand the logic for testing them as is, to not explore apples to apples is clearly short sighted. Now we know that the Extreme 120 is better than the Ultra because they were both tested with same fan. Great job though none the less. Very good quality on these heatsink reviews. Reply
  • chyew - Wednesday, March 07, 2007 - link

    I'm quite surprised that the Scythe Ninja is omitted. Wesley, can you be kind enough to add in Scythe Ninja? Thanks!!!! Reply
  • Gary Key - Thursday, March 08, 2007 - link

    Wes will have the Ninja B review up after he returns from vacation. It appears in early testing to be a very good solution also. Reply
  • quanta - Wednesday, March 07, 2007 - link

    That's just great, the a.s.S-Flex sounds like another potential source where rookit will strike... :) Reply
  • lopri - Wednesday, March 07, 2007 - link

    I might have missed this information so if that's the case please someone enlighten me how heavy this HSF is? Considering the heatpipes are made of copper outfit and whatever liquid-ish stuff Thermalright chose to use, the added weight from 2 extra heatpipes wouldn't be trivial, is my guess. The Ultra 120 is already quite heavy and I'd like to know this Extreme version is safe enough for average ATX motherboards.

    Thanks for this excellent review. My next HSF looks to be definitely this Ultra 120 Extreme.
  • Gary Key - Wednesday, March 07, 2007 - link

    Thermalright has contacted us and the name of the cooler will now be the Thermalright Ultra Extreme. We will update the article shortly. Still no word on a ship date but it should be shortly. Reply
  • PICBoy - Thursday, March 08, 2007 - link

    Hi Gary.

    Just wanted to let you know there are still some traces of the name "PLUS" on the article. I hope this helps:

    * Page 1, last paragraph: "To isolate just the impact of the ***Plus*** modification we tested with the same Scythe S-Flex fan used in the Thermalright Ultra 120 review."

    * Page 2, Cooling Performance Test Configuration table: "Thermalright Ultra 120 ***Plus***"

    * Page 2, last paragraph: "Results with the Ultra 120 Extreme should be even better with the extra cooling provided by the additional heatpipes in the ***PLUS*** design."

    * Page 6, fourth paragraph: "We don't know the final selling price for the Thermalright Ultra 120 Extreme, but unless it is a lot more than the Ultra 120 you should definitely opt for the ***Plus*** model."

    By the way, can we expect a cooling review for next week also? That's all. Keep up the good work!
  • PICBoy - Thursday, March 08, 2007 - link

    Oops! actually on every table and image the name "PLUS" is used instead of Extreme. My bad, that's all! Reply
  • Spoelie - Wednesday, March 07, 2007 - link

    For the quieter power supplies, I'd look at the Seasonic S12+ series, and the Corsair HX series for a higher powered system.

    Why? That particular Seasonic is by many a reviewsite considered to be one of the quietest around, and starts ramping up the fan around 250w (depending on how much case cooling you have). The corsair is ~2dB louder in the low wattage scale, but only starts ramping up around 300w given the same conditions.

    The ramping-up spot is pretty important, for example, before I had a Venice+x850xt and CM RealPower psu, this proved to be a pretty quiet combination. However, once I upgraded to an oc'd denmark+x1950xt, idle power jumped up and the PSU was already ramping up during idle. It only got worse under load, and I couldn't stand the noise at all. I replaced the PSU with a Corsair HX and have yet to actually hear it ramp up, the other TC fans in the system drown out any noise it makes.

    A passively cooled mobo is standard these days, and a minimum of case airflow should be considered as well.
  • Frumious1 - Wednesday, March 07, 2007 - link

    Noise and performance tend to be conflicting goals. Sure, you can get a passively cooled motherboard, and with a down-facing PSU fan you can probably go fanless on the CPU (with something like an Ultra 120/120+). You should probably still mount a low RPM case fan, however, as a "good" PSU that doesn't ramp up fan speed is also not going to move a lot of air.

    The problem is, if you want to overclock all of that silent/fanless stuff becomes much more difficult (if not impossible). 680i motherboards are known to use quite a bit of power, and the chipsets definitely require active cooling if you want to do some real overclocking. Then you get higher CPU temperatures, and without active cooling on the CPU you tend to rapidly increase temperatures until the system crashes/shuts down.

    The cooling test bed appears to be configured as a reasonable compromise between extremes. Some people want silence, some people want performance and quiet be damned, but most are just looking to build a reasonably fast and reasonably quiet PC - hopefully without breaking the bank. Besides, as Wes mentions above, SPCR already covers the "silence above all" market quite well. Why go up against them when there's a vast user base that has more moderate needs?
  • Spoelie - Wednesday, March 07, 2007 - link

    The thing is, with the right aftermarket parts, you can have a totally silent pc AND a high performance/overclocked one. There isn't a need for compromise, as long as you don't want to break any world records. I mean, even in this review, they have a core2 duo overclocked to 3.9ghz without any case air flow. I call that pretty high performance."> Thermalright HR05 for the chipset, this is a passive heatsink that dropped my chipset temperature 10°C over the standard HSF combo. Granted, I only have the DFI nForce4, but there are plenty of high performance alternatives for the 680i. Thermalright also has a good passive cooler for scorching hot ram:">

    Choose a good case like the Antec P-series, put the silent psu's mentioned earlier in there, change the exhaust fan for a nice 1000rpm nexus/papst, get the reviewed heatsink (or a tuniq/scythe, it's not like i'm a thermalright fan) with another 1000rpm nexus/papst and you're set. All modern gpu standard cooling solutions can be made extremely quiet at idle with some software tweaking, so you'll only hear them when you're gaming. I guarantee the above combination will support heavy overclocking and be extremely quiet at the same time.
  • Spoelie - Wednesday, March 07, 2007 - link

    Hmmm just want to add that you do have a point about the moderate user not going to put all that aftermarket stuff in their pc, so the thing about the differing user bases is right. On the other hand, a moderate user isn't going to provide extra active cooling to overclock (or even have) a 680i. Reply
  • Baked - Wednesday, March 07, 2007 - link

    Nice review. Have the Ultra-120 on my C2D system. When I get the chance to get a C2Q, the Ultra-120+ is going in there. Reply
  • nrb - Wednesday, March 07, 2007 - link you need to actually benchmark the Tuniq Tower using the same S-Flex fan. Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Wednesday, March 07, 2007 - link

    One more time. If a cooler comes with a fan we test with that fan. We chose the S-Flex because the Ultra 120 and 120+ do NOT come with a fan, and the other fans we had available would not fit the Ultra 120/120+ clips. We may well test 120mm fans in the future, but we do not plan to do cooler reviews using several different aftermarket fans as a routine test procedure. We do our best to test the cooler as shipped.

    Having said that, it is likely a good idea to compare a few of the top-performing coolers using the same top-performing fan in a separate review. We agree that would be interesting.
  • PCTechNow - Wednesday, March 07, 2007 - link

    Why not go back and test the other coolers with the same fan used in this review? It would at least show if the fan or the cooler is making the difference. Better yet, take the fan off the Tuniq and test with it on the Thermalrights and see what the difference is. Reply
  • dm0r - Wednesday, March 07, 2007 - link

    Air cooling is gettin better and quieter this days...good to see a cooler that improves them both.I was choosing tuniq tower for my next desktop system but i liked the Thermalright ultra 120 in Noiseless cooling.Thanks AT for this review.BTW Any results difference between 120 and 120+ in noiseless cooling? Reply
  • Visual - Wednesday, March 07, 2007 - link

    now it's time that someone combines this 6-pipe ultra with a "TEC" or whatever its called in its base
    what could the results be....
  • Lord Evermore - Monday, March 12, 2007 - link

    Probably worse, or at least no better. The contact area of the TEC with the cooler is limited to the size of the cooler base. That's not a heck of a lot larger than the contact area of the CPU itself, and assumes you could actually fit in a TEC to cover the entire heatsink plate. A TEC generates heat, it cools one side, that heat is put out on the other side, plus extra heat from the energy used by the TEC. So you'd have more heat (and of course, the more energy used, the better the cooling, and the more excess heat generated) being transferred to the same or slightly more surface area of the heatsink. With equal contact areas, there's just no way for a TEC to actually provide better cooling. It might cool really well for a very short period, but then it would burn out if that heatsink contact wasn't able to carry away the heat well enough. If the heatsink can't cool the CPU down to ambient, it won't be able to cool a TEC any lower with the same contact.

    The old days of using TECs are pretty much gone, because of the issues involved. But when they are used, they're used in conjunction with a larger heatsink, both in contact area and radiating fin area. Or with liquid cooling.
  • Reynod - Wednesday, March 07, 2007 - link

    Nice review Wes ... liked it.

    Well done Thermalright ... good response to customer needs.

    Thermaltake should take a page out of this book and produce some decent stuff that works ... the emphasis on bling might be fine with noobs ... but they are off my shopping list as an overclocker
  • sephiros64 - Wednesday, March 07, 2007 - link

    is it confirmed that the new model will be the 120 ultra plus ? I'm sure a lot of consumers looking for this product will want this newer, better version and are concerned of the model number when ordering. Reply
  • ceefka - Wednesday, March 07, 2007 - link

    I am still hoping for a review of this model. I want to cool my CPU fanless. The airflow is already taken care of with two Nexus 92mm intake fans @5v and 120mm Antec Tricool (low rpm) exhaust fan.

    Is that S-Flex fan also suitable to operate as case exhaust fan?
  • Wesley Fink - Wednesday, March 07, 2007 - link

    If your case can mount 120mm fans the Scythe S-Flex will operate fine as a case exhaust fan. Reply
  • Philxxx - Wednesday, March 07, 2007 - link

    im fairly new to custom building computers and i wonder if there is a performance change when the heatpipes are placed vertically vs. horizontaly like your picture indicates.
    From what i understand so far a heatpipe evaporates a fluid inside the pipe and uses the vapor to transport the heat away from the CPU. Would the heatpipes and the evaporation/condensation proccess behave different when the cooler is mouted vertically like in a tower? Any chance to test this senario?

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

    From the Test Configuration (p. 3)of the Thermalright Ultra 120 review: "All cooling tests are run with the components mounted in a standard mid-tower case. The idle and stress temperature tests are run with the case closed and standing as it would in most home setups. We do not use auxiliary fans in the test cooling case, except for the north bridge fan attached to the 680i for overclocking."
  • yyrkoon - Wednesday, March 07, 2007 - link

    I can not help but wonder how much better all the coolers in your roundup would do with a 'better' fan. There are fans out there, with two ball bearings that will push 220CFM. Granted, if memory serves, these fans also exhibit 65+ dba noise levels, but it would be interesting to see the results.

    Barring a 220CFM fan pushing too much air ( dislodging a cooler in the process, heh ), I would at least expect minimal improvements.">Link
  • Ender17 - Wednesday, March 07, 2007 - link

    Any idea when this will be available?
    Or any word of an improved mounting mechanism for 775?
  • 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

  • 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"> 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
  • 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.
  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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! =)
  • Ender17 - Wednesday, March 07, 2007 - link

    also, the PowerStream isn't even close to be the quietest PSU available.
    Checkout Corsair or SeaSonic.
  • Ender17 - Wednesday, March 07, 2007 - link

    I'm basing my statements off of SPCR's results.
    You can read their testing methodology here:">
  • Wesley Fink - Wednesday, March 07, 2007 - link

    While we respect the quest for a silent PC, testing fans in a foam block isolated from power sources is not real world. It does allow isolation of the lowest possible noise that can be emitted by a component. However, in a system power supplies do generate noise, cases do vibrate with mounted fans, and the video card does have a fan.

    You can minimize all these variables in a specialized PC that is not overclocked,but many users want a system that is very competent, reasonably quiet, but still uses a power supply with a fan. That makes the PS the noise floor. The configuration (open/closed cases), measurement distance, and measurement method determines the dbA level. Our noise measuremtns aim at measuring a real world computer enviromment and they do not isolate the PS in another room for noise measurement. They should also be considered worst case noise in the cooler being tested.

    Our test room has all other equipment turned off and only incandescent lights.
  • PCTechNow - Wednesday, March 07, 2007 - link

    If you do not isolate the components for testing then why measure it all? There are so many variables within the case and your room that any measurements provided are worthless.It would be nice to see how these air coolers compare to water systems. Why is there not a review or at least a comparison in your results? Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Wednesday, March 07, 2007 - link

    We measure and report total system noise with each cooler using a standardized test system that is typical of an enthusiast system. We have not evaluated individual fans. Reply
  • PCTechNow - Wednesday, March 07, 2007 - link

    Is the noise level in your room and case always the same between test measurements? If you do not isolate the test parts and ensure the room noise level is equal then how are your results valid? I am not a gamer so I expect to have a quiet system. I do not think you are providing numbers that cater to the majority of people who use computers. It is hard to tell from any of your results if a unit is really quiet or not. The power supply is already at 38db so any cooler that is quieter than this will not be reported. Is there anyway to tell us if a cooler is quieter than 38db? Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Wednesday, March 07, 2007 - link

    The noise level in my test room is always below the noise floor of the single standardized test system with the case side open. I measure the room noise each time before I begin system/cooler noise measurements.

    There is already a web site for users who are obsessed with system noise, and we are not a substitute. We are trying to address users who care about system noise and want to build a quiet PC on a relative basis - not those who make noise their only concern in choosing computer components.

    Manufacturers are definitely doing a better job of addressing noise these days - mainly because users like our reders complain about high noise components and stop buying them. There are not many 62db fans around like the screamers that used to be common on Socket A builds.

    I wish the northbrdge coolers were quieter - that is where the highest noise is these days. The Northbridge fan on the test EVGA 680i is the noisiest component in our system. It is so gbad we have to disconnect it before making any noise measurements on coolers.
  • PCTechNow - Wednesday, March 07, 2007 - link

    What is your problem with not using quieter components in the test PC or even changing rooms? Fine with not catering to quiet pc users but at least get your noise floor down to something reasonable like 30db. I am sure I am not in the minority here but most of the boards used now are passively cooled so the two main noise issues in a pc are the cooler and power supply. I am not after total silence but having something that is not louder than the ambient noise in the room is important. Reply
  • gramboh - Thursday, March 08, 2007 - link

    The review is fine for users like me, those that are going to build a PC, want it to be REASONABLY quiet, but also overclock and have a high end video card for gaming. If you browse the AT forums, a lot of the users fall into this bucket. Yes there are also silence enthusaists, HTPC etc. If I were building one of those systems I would be reading up on SPCR.

    The review is gauging an overall end user experience.
  • kmmatney - Wednesday, March 07, 2007 - link

    "I am not after total silence but having something that is not louder than the ambient noise in the room is important."

    That doesn't really make sense - anything lower than the ambient noise will be pretty much silent. If you want a silent cpu, then go fanless. Most people have a power supply that makes noise, as well as video cards that make noise, and these reviews make sense.
  • bigpow - Wednesday, March 07, 2007 - link

    I was absent for a one year and now I never see it being compared anymore..
    How is it compared to today's top coolers?
    Is Scythe Infinity the new Ninja/p?
  • neogodless - Wednesday, March 07, 2007 - link

    A lot is still never enough! In this case, I'm talking about having enough coolers, because I'm curious how my Thermaltake Blue Orb II would stand up against this crowd, and what sort of cooling upgrade the 120+ would be. I will have to find some of the other units in tests against the Blue Orb II and find out! Reply
  • Marlin1975 - Wednesday, March 07, 2007 - link

    I was going to ask about the Thermaltake TMGi1
    It can be had for less then $29 plus shipping at right now.
    I just got it and it is very quiet, keeps my hot Intel chip cooler then factory, and (big one) does not require me to remove my motherboard to install it.

    Being that there are no thermaltake coolers in any anandtech reviews I think it is time to add a couple.
  • Wesley Fink - Wednesday, March 07, 2007 - link

    We have some Thermaltake coolers in for review. Some of these will definitely be included in our under $30 cooler roundup. Reply
  • Marlin1975 - Wednesday, March 07, 2007 - link

    Is one of them the Thermaltake CL-P0370 ?
    That is tghe one I was talking about above but typed in the wrong info for the model number.

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