Thermaltake Frio Review Page: 1

Thermaltake Frio Review

Introduction  

Introductions can be very hard to write, and it doesn't get easier with a well known company like Thermaltake. If anything it's harder because your audience pretty much know it all anyways, so I'll save some time and fill some real estate with a copy and paste from their website.

Since the beginning of Thermaltake in 1999, it has been at the forefront of creating new and exciting products at a time where most computer users were provided little to no choices for components that may seem irrelevant, but in reality crucial to the performance of a PC.

Thermaltake Server Series solutions, with years of thermal experience and industry leadership, sets its goal on reforming total thermal management in server segment by formulating the perfect mixture of versatility, efficiency and thermal management with each respective server product category: Rackmount Chassis, Server Fixed & Redundant Power Supply and Server CPU Cooling Management Solutions.

With its comprehensive line of products available, it enables Thermaltake's core customers to enjoy a one-stop-shop experience, reduce product design-in evaluation period and most important of all, flawless integration process. Each of Thermaltake's strengths enables its customer to focus on their core business while taking advantage of the skills and efficiency of a single thermal management solution partner.

On the menu today is their latest CPU heat sink the Frio, labelled as a cooler for overclockers in our eyes it has a lot to live up to, lets glance over the paper statistics.

Heatsink Dimension   

139(L) x 98(W) x 165(H) mm

Heatsink Material   Aluminum Fins
Aluminum & Copper Base
Heatpipe   Ø 8mm x 5
Fan Dimension   120(L) x 120(H) x 25(W) mm
Fan Speed   1,200 ~ 2,500 RPM
Bearing Type   ----
Noise Level   20 ~ 43 dBA
Max. Air Flow   101.6 CFM
Max. Air Pressure   4.2 mmH2O
LED Fan   ----
Power Connector   3 Pin
Rated Voltage   12 V
Started Voltage   6 V
Rated Current   0.5 A
Power Input   6 W
MTBF   50,000 Hrs @ 40℃
Weight   1,042 g


Enough with the delays, let's move on and give this new cooler a look.



Thermaltake Frio Review Page: 2

Thermaltake Frio Review

Initial Impressions

It does say initial impressions at the top of the page, so what are they? I could not help thinking that the Frio looks like the love child of a Cooler Master V8 and a Thermalright Ultra. The shroud enclosing the top is very similar to the V8, and at a glance the core of the cooler does look strikingly similar to the Ultra. Following the design of two of the best air coolers around is never a bad thing in my book.

Thermaltake Frio Review  Thermaltake Frio Review  

It's nice to see a cooler not only made for a push pull configuration but also the fact it ships with two fans as well. The fans are mounted to the shroud via rubber grommets which should help suppress the noise during testing. The fans have 3 pin mounting but also have a handy dial to be able to adjust the fan speed, great for tuning your temperature needs without restarting all the time to get in to the BIOS. It's not hard to see the 5x 8mm heatpipes running through the base and up the entire length of the body.

Thermaltake Frio Review  Thermaltake Frio Review  

With the second fan fitted it does give the cooler a beefy quality feel, yet it is not large enough to cause any problems with near by RAM or mosfet heatsinks.

Thermaltake Frio Review  Thermaltake Frio Review  

So far impressions are very good, let's move on to the crucial testing.



Thermaltake Frio Review Page: 3

Thermaltake Frio Review

Fitting

Fitting is nothing short of child's play. We have had many heatsinks through the OC3D labs and yet we still find the need to read instructions of the 3D jigsaw puzzles some manufacturers come up with. Thankfully Thermaltake kept it simple, you just find the adapter arms for your motherboards CPU socket and screw them into the base of the cooler. Once the arms are fitted you fit the cooler to the board, slide the backplate over the bolt threads and use the nuts to secure it all in place.

Thermaltake Frio Review  Thermaltake Frio Review  

Testing

The Thermaltake is sold as a heatsink for overclockers so it's only right we test the heatsink at levels every single clocker in the land regards as the target they want to reach. Of course we mean the holy grail that is 4GHz, and our test system today is an Intel 930 overclocked to the blessed 4GHz with help from a 1.35v vcore and a 200 BCLK.

First of all we tested with the fans at full speed, and believe me they really shift some air. 105cfm according to the Thermaltake statistics. It's because of two fans moving this much air they really are far from quiet. You can easily hear them in the other room, and as I found out in the garden as well! All this airflow did help keep the temperatures to a reasonable 79c.

When on low fans they are a lot quieter but still nowhere near Noctua levels even with the Noctuas at 12v. Sadly with the reduced RPM the temperatures rose sharply and we ended up with a maximum temperature of 88c.

At OC3D we think anything over 80c CPU wise is unacceptable so we decided to see how the Frio would cope at a lower clock. We dropped the vcore to 1.3v and the BCLK to 180. At this level the Frio performed much better. At maximum fans the temperatures leveled out at 68c. At low fans the cooler even kept the temperatures below our 80c goal at a respectable 78c.

So that's the testing done, let's head straight on a wrap this all up.



Thermaltake Frio Review Page: 4

Thermaltake Frio Review

Conclusion

It's great to see Thermaltake finally moving away from using gimmicks to try and sell coolers, and moving into the realms of less is more. There's no wacky designs and no fans with 40 different colour LED's. The mount is so simple I think even my little sister could easily decipher the instruction in no time and have it fitted in a matter of minutes. This is a far cry from many instruction manuals that have clearly been written by someone who has done it a million times. Whenever you invest in new hardware it's comforting to see a manufacturer wanting you to get the most out of it, and Thermaltake have done that here.

The pair of supplied fans do move a crazy amount of air, sadly this comes at the normal CFM/db trade-off in that they are far from quiet at full speed. The cooler does have a quality feel to it and the 8mm heat pipes would have you believe that it would perform very well but, as our testing has shown, the cooler just is not efficient enough to cope with the high overclocks and heat associated with what many enthusiasts would require as a necessity.

If the clocks you are aiming for a not as high as the ones with tested with then the Frio may be the cooler for you. For £45 you get a cooler with beefy looks and also a pair of fans in the box for that extra inch of e-peen.

The cooler is sadly not as good as expected, but also far from as bad as it could have been. Not quite a high level heatsink, but a perfectly capable mid-range offering.

Pros
- Comes with both fans for push pull configuration
- Very easy mounting
- Supports all major sockets

Mediocre
- Does not cool as well as you would hope for £45

Cons
- Fans are very loud at 12v
- Needs max fans to cool a 4ghz overclock
- Better performing coolers available for less

We would like to thanks Thermaltake for the sample sent in today, you can discuss the results in our forums.