Thermaltake Big Typhoon VX

Since it was founded in 1999 Thermaltake has grown into a world-class company with a state-of-the-art testing and R&D facility based in Taiwan. Thermaltake is headquartered in Taiwan, but it has offices around the world, developing and manufacturing products like Liquid Cooling, Air Cooling, PC Enclosures and Power Supplies for every segment of the PC market. Today you will find Thermaltake cooling solutions around the world.

The Big Typhoon is a Thermaltake product that has had a long life in the marketplace. We first saw the Big Typhoon in early 2005, and at that time it was equipped with a fixed output 1300rpm fan. The VX is the latest version of Big Typhoon. The VX heatsink is identical to the original Big Typhoon with the fan changed to a variable speed (1300 - 2000rpm) with an attached fan speed control. As already mentioned the specifications for the VX fan are very similar to the specs for the MaxOrb fan.

Thermaltake uses the same distinctive red and black colored packaging that is used on the MaxOrb and other Thermaltake products. The package is the same size as the MaxOrb package, but the Big Typhoon VX is a much larger cooler. The VX and a box of accessories are protected by a plastic clamshell inside the box.

The cooler uses large vertical aluminum fins soldered to six heat pipes in a cantilever over the CPU. Cooling is provided by a 120mm fan that can be swapped for another fan if you wish. However, the VX fan has a built-in speed adjustment and can generate air flow as high as 86.5CFM at the highest speed. Noise levels are claimed to be in the range of 16dB-A on low speed to 24dB-A at high speed.

The fan is bright orange and does not contain an LED. Thermaltake uses a fan guard on the powerful fan which should provide protection for fingers that is missing on most 120mm fans.

The cooling is further enhanced by six 6mm heatpipes extending from the copper base. These exit the base from opposite sides and create a very stable platform for the fin array and fan.

Accessories include mounting brackets for Intel socket 775 and AMD 754/939/940/AM2. Mounting of either Intel or AMD processors is very simple. The Intel 775 uses a four push-pin setup, while the AMD uses a pop-on-clip with a "turn to tighten" handle. The clip works with existing AMD/AM2 cages.

There is sufficient clearance below the fin/fan deck on the VX to make mounting possible on Intel 775 - even with the board installed in a case. You also need to be a bit of a contortionist to find a hand position that allows you to exert enough downward pressure to pop in the clips, at least on some motherboards. The only concern here is that the two-pound cooler is secured to the board with the Intel-style pop-clips. This worked fine, but this is a great deal of weight to hang off a tower mounted motherboard secured with just clips. You should be very cautious moving a mounted VX cooler if you have a tower case.


Our test system is Intel socket 775, but the Thermaltake Big Typhoon VX will mount on any recent AMD socket as well - including 754/939/940 and AM2. All the needed hardware is provided, and installation is very easy.

Thermaltake MaxOrb Specifications
Dimensions 122(L) X 122(D) X 103(H)mm
Weight 827g (including fan)
Material Pure Copper Base and Aluminum Fins
Heatpipes Six 6mm copper heatpipes
Fan Size 120 mm x 25mm
Bearing Type Sleeve Bearing
Fan Life 30,000 hours
Connector 3-pin with integral fan-speed rheostat, 3.0 Watt Input
Speed Lo Speed 1,300rpm Hi Speed 2,000rpm
Noise Level Lo Speed 16.0dBA Hi Speed 24.0dBA
Fan Output Lo Speed - Hi Speed 86.5cfm

The VX is a large cooler, but it is shorter than the typical heatsink towers we have been reviewing. The EVGA 680i is a difficult to fit board due to the copper-finned heatsink and fan cooling the Northbridge. The raised deck made mounting the VX on the 680i quite simple. Installation was also an easy task on the ASUS Striker and ASUS Commando, and on the two new P35 boards - the ASUS P5K Deluxe and P5K3 Deluxe. The P5K3 Deluxe is almost a fit test for any motherboard, since the heatpipes completely circle the CPU socket and connect various cooling heatsinks around the CPU socket.

Index CPU Cooling Test Configuration
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  • Zarf - Thursday, August 23, 2007 - link

    I notice on your photos that you've mounted the VX120 such that the heatpipes are working maximally against gravity for the condensate inside to return to the evaporation point on top of the CPU. I can't say I'm thoroughly versed in heatpipe design, but it is generally best to have them oriented such that the condensate capillary-action return is not fighting against gravity. In fact, if you mount the VX120 correctly, three of the six heatpipes will experience gravitational assistance in returning the condensate from the cooling fins back down to the CPU, and the other 3 heatpipes will be experiencing only a very slight negative gravitational gradient. The way Anandtech has mounted the VX120 is, in my option, incorrect for vertical motherboard mounting in a tower case.
  • neweggster - Sunday, June 10, 2007 - link

    You people complain that having this sort of HSF is like owning stock to a big company. You guys act like Anand has done you wrong in a test of a HSF that doesn't reflect what you would do, furthermore; complaining that the results are not efficient because the lack of case fans.

    First off who cares, second we want to buy things that are more efficient and thats why side blown HSF are better then down blowing HSF. Conclusion is that if you have to do more to get a side HSF to work efficiently then why bother?? Why argue the points that this HSF style works far better when adequate exhaust fans are used. The comparison shows little to no difference when using side case fans to get this VX working more efficiently.

    I would much rather use side blown HSF and have to do less configuarations to get it to work optimaly then to use a down blowing HSF that you have to have more exhasut fans and better configurations of the case airflow.

    The point is that DOWN BLOWING HSF SUCK PERIOD!! Does not matter, we see that side blown HSF work better and ideally generate less static heat around the mobo, so why argue that you can improve the down flow HSF designs to get better performance and have to do more then just using what works best.
  • neweggster - Sunday, June 10, 2007 - link

    Edit, I meant to say Down blowing on this sentence but said Side.

    Conclusion is that if you have to do more to get a side[/B(should be Down) HSF to work efficiently then why bother??
  • cornfedone - Sunday, June 10, 2007 - link

    It seems as though that everyday some company comes up with another gimmick for the clueless. There must be a lot of suckers with more money than brains.
  • Avalon - Friday, June 8, 2007 - link

    The reviews lately on the downward blowing coolers seem to imply that we only care about cooling other system components with that airflow to increase our overclock. Not so.

    I like downward blowing coolers because I like my other components running cooler. They will potentially last longer, and I won't need to add on additional fans or heatsinks for each part.
  • tallman45 - Friday, June 8, 2007 - link

    The differences and performance between the 2 can be vastly different in a real world setup

    A PC case with a Side Door Fan which most have would greatly benefit the Down facing Heatsink since cool outside the case air is pumped through the cooler. Where in any instance the side mounted fan is gettimg all its air directly once it has passed over the already hot Sticks of Ram which had already passing over HDD cage, hardly cool air to start with

    The other benefit of downfacing fans is that they cool both the base of the CPU and Mosfits that surround the CPU socket area
  • strikeback03 - Friday, June 8, 2007 - link

    Of course if you already have side door fans then you have airflow over the motherboard, making the largest benefit of a down-facing fan less needed.
  • erikpurne - Thursday, June 7, 2007 - link

    I totally see the point the downwards-facing-coolers people are trying to make. All they're saying is that Anandtech's test-bed is unrealistic as it lacks a case exhaust fan that virtually everybody interested in this type of coolers would have installed.
    A backwards-facing tower cooler will tend to push the heated air out the back vent whether there's an exhaust fan there or not, since it's pointing directly at said vent in many case designs. It sort of doubles as a case fan. Meanwhile, a downwards-facing HSF will just keep recirculating the hot air.

    On another note, how do you (Anandtech) compensate for differences in ambient temperature when testing the coolers? I didn't notice it mentioned on the testing methodology page.
  • Frumious1 - Friday, June 8, 2007 - link

    It seems that what you're saying is that cooling towers are inherently superior to the downward-blowers, since with the latter you need a case fan but you don't with the towers. I can't recall any cases I've seen in recent history where the rear of the case doesn't have perforations/fan mounts, and the fact remains that blowing air down at the motherboard is a great way to create turbulence. But hey, if you have two case fans - one at the front as intake and one at the rear as exhaust - then the downward blowing HSFs are maybe competitive with the cooling towers. Except then you have three fans instead of one or two, which almost certainly makes more noise.

    Wes also pointed out above that testing with four coolers didn't appreciably alter the results. The testbed is consistent and appears reasonably fair. "What if you use case X with a mod so that cooler Y blows air out the side vent that just happens to match up perfectly with motherboard Z?" Well, in that case you're probably already familiar with the setup and you just want someone to give you the thumbs up. Here you go: thumbs up! Sounds like a great setup for that particular case/HSF/mobo combination. A typical case+mobo seems a better idea as a testbed, however.

    Personally, I have my PC located such that a wall blocks the left side, so the front and rear vents are MUCH more important and any case that has vents on the side wouldn't work well. I've seen quite a few computer desks that do the exact same thing, so I'd say more people than not will benefit from a heatpipe tower cooler over a downward blowing cooler.
  • tallman45 - Thursday, June 7, 2007 - link

    Why test the most used replacement fans on the market, the Arctic Cooler Freezer 7 Pro and 64 Pro.

    They may not be the best cooling but they are under $20 delivered and are virtually silent.

    Arguably the best bang for the buck

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