Asus Triton 81 Skt1366 CPU Cooler Page: 1
Introduction

Intel's latest Core i7 brings with it a transition in socket format from skt775 to the bigger skt1366. This new socket format will require as a bare minimum a different mounting bracket to the older skt775 thanks to the larger hole spacing in the motherboard.  Most people however will opt to buy a shiny new CPU cooler for their new CPU and this is where Asus step in with todays review, the Asus Triton 81.

With i7 coolers very thin on the ground at the moment its no surprise that only the big manufacturers are the first to release compatible aftermarket cooling. Asus are one of these manufacturers and while not aiming for the most ardent of overclockers, being smaller than the Thermalright Ultra range, the Triton 81 should appeal to both OEM builders and casual overclockers alike.

Heres what Asus have to say about their latest cooler:

Unimpeded 4-way Airflow Design for Impressive Overclocking
Triton 81 utilised an exclusive 4-way airflow heatsink design to create an unobstructed passage of air circulation, with 4 U-shaped copper heatpipes for most efficient heat transference, thus delivering ultimate cooling performance for a myriad of processor intensive applications and modifications.

Dual-Fan Technology for Maximum Airflow
Equipped with diamond blue LED 90mm dual-fan, Triton 81 provides an effective channel of airflow to the system with vital thermal protection. Despite its powerful performance, Triton 81 is a relatively silent component, running at a mere 18 dBA with its built-in PWM function, which is allowed to automatically adjust fan speed by CPU’s temperature for optimal operating environment.

Up-to-date Applications
To keep up both current and future gaming and processor technologies, Triton 81 also supports multiple applications, including the latest Intel® Core™ i7 processor (LGA 1366), DIY and gaming enthusiasts the world over can easily utilise Triton 81 to push the potential of their computers faster than ever before.


Specification

CPU Support
Intel® Core™2 Extreme (LGA 775)
Intel® Core™2 Quad / Core™2 Duo (LGA 775)
Intel® Pentium® processor family (LGA 775)
Intel® Core™ i7 processor (LGA 1366)
AMD Phenom™ FX/X4 (Socket 1207+ / AM2+)
AMD Athlon™ 64/FX/X2 (Socket 939 / 940 / 1207 / AM2 / AM2+)

Cooler dimensions: 120.5(L)x 117.6(W)x144.7(H) (mm)

Weight: 695g

Connector: 4-pin

Material: Pure Copper base + Al fins + 4 Copper heat pipes

Acoustics: 18 dBA during normal operation

Fan dimensions:  90 x 90 x 25 (mm)

Fan speed: 800–2,500 rpm ± 10% (with PWM control and Blue LED)

Let's take a look at the cooler itself...


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Packaging & Appearance

The exterior packaging is nothing out of the ordinary with a picture of the main cooler on the front of the box, the features on the rear along with examples of the airflow on one side with the specifications on the other. A convenient carry handle sits atop of the box though the package does not surprisingly weigh that much.
 
 Box Front Box Rear

Box side 1 side 2
 
Opening the box we find that the main cooler is encased in a blister style package not too dissimilar to Intel retain CPU packages. Part of the Asus package is a trapezium shaped box containing the attachments and paste seen below. The paste itself is very similar in appearance to Arctic coolings MX-2 so let's hope it performs just as good. 3 different attachments are included with support for AM2, skt775 and skt1366. The Intel fittings are attached to the heatsink via 4 screws while the AMD cross member simply straddles the base of the cooler.

Innards Accessories

Compatability Asus Paste
 
The heatsink itself is not overly sized but does stand fairly tall, measuring 144.7mm high, so please ensure you have sufficient room in your case to house this cooler. The fins are aluminium while the four heatpipe and ridged baseplate are copper. The 2 x 92mm fans are attached to the cooler via a sliding mechanism which can be released by removing two screws. This could allow the use of bigger 120mm fans but sadly no extensions or clips were included for this option.

The fans themselves were not noisy during normal operation with only a slight hum being apparent. Run them at 100% and prepare to be blown away. Not by the airflow but by the noise which is terrible. To be quite honest, you would not want to expose yourself to for too long as the noise very grating and actually louder than the Intel stock cooler on full tilt. Thankfully the fans can be controlled by the 4pin CPU header allowing your motherboard settings decide which speed to run the fans at, resulting in a much more peaceful atmosphere.

 Perspective side view

rear view fan removed
 
The base of the cooler is akin to a standard Thermalright cooler with very small pits & crevices apparent resulting in a dull finish. This allows the TIM (Thermal Interface Material) to fill the gaps, increasing heat transfer. Four heatpipes loop through the base and are capped at the heatsinks top which should be sufficient to wick plenty of heat away from the CPU to be dissipated by the Aluminium fins.

Base top

bottom heatpipes

 
Let's take a look at our test setup before proceeding to the results section...


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Test Setup

To ensure all our CPU cooler tests are as equal as possible we intend to use the same base setup, CPU clockspeed and BIOS settings. We also take special consideration to ensure that the ambient temperature is as near to 23 degrees centigrade as possible throughout the testing thanks to an digitally controlled air conditioning system.

CPU Coolers:
Intel Stock i7 920 skt 1336 cooler
Asus Triton 81 HSF

CPU: Intel Nehalem i7 920 Skt1366 2.66GHz
Motherboard: Asus P6T Deluxe 'OC Palm'
Memory: 3x2GB Corsair Dominator DDR3 1600mhz @ 8-8-8-24
HD : Hitachi Deskstar 7k160 7200rpm 80GB
GPU: Nvidia GTX280
Graphics Drivers: GeForce 180.60
PSU: Gigabyte ODIN 1200w

As you can see, with the cooler fitted, there is plenty of clearance with the Asus's chipset and MOSFET heatsinks. As the cooler is not over sized I cannot envisage many motherboards presenting a problem during the fitting of the Asus Triton 81.

Clearance 4 Clearance 1
 
 Clearance 3 Night vision


Testing Methodology

I will be testing the Asus Triton 81 on Intel Core i7 processor to assess the heatsinks ability to handle the heat-load of a quad-core, especially since Asus state that the Triton is 'skt1366 ready'. Whilst I appreciate that the Triton 81 is also compatible with lower end CPU's, the Core i7 is renowned for being very toasty so prove to be a very good test of the Tritons cooling capabilities.

Ambient temperature will be taken using a standard mercury thermometer and allowing it time to normalise. Processor idle/load and overclocked temperatures will be obtained using Real Temp 2.70 with the TJmax set to 100c, Each core temperature will be recorded. All testing will be conducted 3 times and an average taken to ensure the uniformity of results. The Intel reference heatsink, and the Asus Triton will be tested, removed, and then re-installed a total of three times to ensure the elimination of any poor mounting issues. The Asus thermal paste will be used on both coolers to eliminate the influences TIM may have on temperatures.

The program we will use to put the CPU under highest load will be IntelBurn Test ver 1.60 by AgentGod:
Linpack by Intel(R) is an extremely stressful program that will put even the most powerful X86/X64 CPU in the world at its knees. Load temp under Linpack will be up to 22*C higher than the competing software Prime95. This program will make usage of Linpack easier and more practical.

While I would have liked to have included more cooler comparisons in the test, this is our first cooler to be compatible on i7 and as such our only basis for comparison is the Intel stock cooler at present.

Ambient temperatures during testing ranged from 22.8 - 23.4 degrees Celsius.

Testing for noise is very subjective and without the correct decibel measuring equipment that is calibrated professionally including any results would be pointless. I have previously commented on the noise the Triton makes when under full load which should suffice.

With the formalities out of the way let's crack on with the testing...



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Test Results

I ran the test at both stock settings and overclocked settings in both idle and load conditions to best simulate the working environment of a Home/Office PC.

Stock Settings

The idle temperatures were taken 10 minutes into Windows Vista and CPU load was checked using Windows Task Manager. The Load temp was taken through Realtemp 2.70 and was the maximum recorded temperature during 5 runs of IntelBurn Test 1.6.






Overclocked Settings

The idle temperatures were taken 10 minutes into windows Vista and CPU load was checked using Windows Task manager. The Load temp was taken through Realtemp 2.70 and was the maximum recorded temperature during 5 runs of IntelBurn Test 1.6.
 




Results Analysis


As the results show and as expected, the Asus Triton is far superior to the stock Intel cooler. The superior efficiency of the Asus Triton consistently recorded much lower temps than the Intel cooler. Unfortunately the Intel cooler simply could not cope with the heat of running all four cores with hyperthreading enabled in a high overclocked state (3.8ghz) and despite repeated attempts the CPU just rebooted our system most likely due to the thermal protection on the CPU itself.

Let's head over to the conclusion where I gather my thoughts on the Asus Triton 81...


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Conclusion

The Asus Triton is a very proficient cooler, proven by our test results. It consistently out performed the stock cooler and while that is not exactly groundbreaking it did cope well with the heat being omitted from our CPU even at a 3.8ghz overclock.

The heatsink itself is a very good looking unit and would look tidy on any motherboard. The now standard heatpipes found on most aftermarket CPU coolers are not intrusive and the fin arrangement is not so big that it should interfere with any other on board chipset cooling.

The Blue LED fans are near silent when the CPU is idle but can become very loud when the CPU hits 60c.  This is where the problem lies with using smaller 92mm fans as opposed to the larger 120mm variants found on the Tritons rivals such as the Thermalright Ultra. Noise. As always, noise is very subjective but I'm sure that unless you are hard of hearing, the noise the Triton puts out will become disturbing at best which is unfortunate as the cooler does have a lot of redeeming qualities.

So while I have no hesitations on recommending this cooler to anyone looking for an alternative to the very basic Intel CPU cooler, I would find it difficult to recommend it to any ardent overclocker looking for a quiet life. At £40+ I can't help but feel there must be something better out there.

The Good
- Looks
- Performance
- Fan attachments, no fiddly clips to use

The Mediocre
- 92mm Fans instead of 120mm
- Small base plate

The Bad
- Noise , louder than the stock cooler.




Thanks to Asus for providing the Triton 81 for todays review. Discuss in our forums.