Test Configuration

The test setup was exactly the same as used in the recent Thermalright Ultra-120 and Ultra-120 eXtreme preview. 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 (1/16/2007)
Video Drivers NVIDIA 93.71
CPU Cooling Thermalright Ultra-120 eXtreme
Cooler Master Gemini II
Noctua NF-U12F
ASUS Silent Square Pro
Scythe Ninja Plus Rev. B
OCZ Vindicator
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 Windows XP Professional SP2
BIOS Award P24 (1/12/2007)

All cooling tests were 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 Northbridge fan attached to the 680i for overclocking.

We tested with the same Scythe S-FLEX fan used in the Thermalright Ultra-120 review and the original Thermalright Ultra-120 eXtreme preview. This excellent fan moves a lot of air, but still keeps noise low with the Sony developed Fluid Dynamic Bearing on the fan motor. All testing was with a single fan, as in the earlier Thermalright reviews.

Scaling of Cooling Performance

Across stock speed and all overclocks the retail Thermalright Ultra-120 eXtreme produced temperatures either identical to the prototype review or within 1C of the previous test results. These are considered equivalent results and they verify that performance of the retail Thermalright Ultra-120 eXtreme is the same as we measured earlier.

Click to enlarge

The Ultra-120 and Tuniq Tower 120 set some very high performance standards for effective cooling in overclocking. By 3.73GHz, the highest stable overclock with the Intel retail HSF, the temperature at idle was 56C. This compared to 36C with both the Ultra-120 and the Tuniq Tower 120. The extra heatpipes of the Ultra-120 eXtreme lower this to an even better 33C. By 3.90 GHz, the previous best overclock, the idle for the Tuniq is 40C and the Ultra-120 is 37C. The Thermalright Ultra-120 eXtreme drops the idle 2C lower to 35C, and is still at 36C at the highest stable overclock of 3.94GHz. This is very close to the performance level of the Monsoon II which uses active TEC cooling and not air alone.

Cooling efficiency of the Ultra-120 eXtreme under load conditions was the best tested so far by a wide margin. Compared to the Ultra-120, Tuniq Tower 120 and other recently top CPU coolers it is clear that the extra heatpipes in the Ultra-120 eXtreme are very effective in extending cooling performance.

Click to enlarge

As you can see in the chart above the cooling efficiency of the Ultra-120 eXtreme under load is striking. Where the Tuniq Tower 120 and Ultra-120 mirror each other from 2.93GHz to 3.90GHz, the Thermalright Ultra-120 eXtreme creates a new performance curve at a lower temperature. The Tuniq and Ultra-120 are at 47/48 at 3.73GHz compared to the Intel retail at 71C. The Ultra-120 eXtreme shatters those cooling results by maintaining 43C.

The advantage increases even more as the overclock is raised. By 3.90 GHz, which is the highest overclock the Tuniq and Thermalright Ultra-120 could reach with stability, the Tuniq and Ultra-120 are both at 51C, which was the best performance among coolers tested so far. The Ultra-120 eXtreme, which is the same cooler as the Ultra-120 with just two additional heatpipes, bests both previous leaders by 6C with a 3.90GHz temperature of 45C.


The highest stable overclock we could achieve with the retail eXtreme was 3.93 GHz compared to the 3.94GHz achieved in the original review. Both results are higher than any achieved with any other cooler tested so far. We suspect this tiny difference is the result of either normal variation in test results, or even more likely the 2C higher ambient temperature in our test room compared to the room temperature in the initial review.

Ultra-120 eXtreme Production Kit Our Take


View All Comments

  • Wesley Fink - Friday, May 4, 2007 - link

    According to Thermaltake the IFX-14 will not be available until late May at the earliest. Reply
  • Arctucas - Friday, May 4, 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.
  • LoneWolf15 - Friday, May 4, 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 4, 2007 - link

    939 isn't extreme or high end Reply
  • LoneWolf15 - Friday, May 4, 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.
  • crimson117 - Friday, May 4, 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.
  • yacoub - Friday, May 4, 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.

  • crimson117 - Friday, May 4, 2007 - link

    To me this would be a lot of effort (20 coolers times 20 motherboards) for very little benefit. Reply
  • yacoub - Friday, May 4, 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 4, 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.

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