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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  • 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.
    Reply
  • 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
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • 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!
    Reply

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