Without question, the CPU cooler is one of the most affordable and therefore frequently updated components by PC manufacturers and enthusiasts. While things have definitely improved in the past few years, upgrading the standard cooler that came with AMD or Intel processors still gives you a number of improvements. In general, the main goal is to lower operating temperatures. However, aftermarket coolers can also reduce operating volume and provide greater overclocking latitude.
There are literally hundreds of options to choose from, although not all will produce the results you want. Numerous times we've found third-party coolers that are no better than the standard box cooler, or worse, that make things better at the expense of increased noise output, making them impractical upgrades.
But first, you need to make sure that the cooler you are considering is compatible with the platform of your choice and will fit in your case. Another consideration is value, as aftermarket CPU coolers can vary widely in price. For example, LGA1155 compatible coolers start at around $ 15 and can go as high as $ 100. Hence, it is important to figure out how much you need to spend.
It's also worth noting that most aftermarket products are air coolers, but there are plenty of liquid cooling systems out there too. Today, however, we're going to avoid that route as we're looking at four new air cooling products.
The comparison includes the Thermalright True Spirit 140, the Prolimatech Panther, the Thermaltake Frio Advanced and the Noctua NH-C14. All four support multiple platforms in AMD and Intel camps. The price ranges from just $ 40 up to $ 85. So it will be interesting to see how they compare and what they offer above all about standard cooling equipment.
We will go into detail one at a time and then put them to the test …
Thermalright True Spirit 140
Recently, Thermalright turned its attention to budget cooling equipment, which is a surprising move from a company that almost defined the high-end air cooler. If you look at the products that Thermalright sold before the True Spirit line hit the market, you can find Venomous X ($ 70), Silver Arrow ($ 85), Archon ($ 85), AXP -140 ($ 70) and MUX-120 ($ 60). .
The Thermalright True Spirit 140 is only $ 40. An alternate version uses a 120mm fan version for the cheap price of $ 30.
We hear that the True Spirit series should set new standards with a high-quality heat sink. The heat sink uses half a dozen 6mm copper heat pipes that run through a pure copper base that has been nickel-plated for a mirror finish.
The heat sink itself has the patented Thermalright Ultra heat sink fin array, which offers a huge dispersion area of 150 x 125 mm. In this way, the True Spirit 140 can take full advantage of the 140 mm PWM fan Thermalright TY-140, which generates only 21 dB (A) of noise at a maximum speed of 1300 rpm.
The 800 gram weight of the cooler suggests that it is a very large unit. Dimensions of 155 mm in length, 53 mm in width and 170 mm in height make this anything but small. The weight and size information alone makes the price of 40 US dollars hard to believe.
Another advantage is that the True Spirit 140 can be installed immediately on AMD AM2 / AM2 + / AM3 or Intel LGA775 / 1155/1156/1366 platforms without having to purchase additional mounting kits. However, if you are looking for LGA2011 support, you will need to purchase a separate mounting kit, as this platform was released after the True Spirit 140 was designed.
The installation process for AMD or Intel platforms is the same. The process requires rear access to the motherboard. However, this shouldn't be a huge problem with most of today's high quality computer cases that allow this to happen.
Overall, we found the installation a bit cumbersome, especially when compared to the other coolers featured in this article. Not only is the heatsink assembly process a bit cumbersome, the fan clips are literally a pain, and we found that assembling the 140mm fan took some convincing. Finally, Thermalright offers a comprehensive compatibility list for the True Spirit 140 on its website. So check your motherboard from the list before buying.