Cooling Hardware Reviews

Thermaltake Frio Extreme CPU Cooler – Review

Thermaltake Frio Extreme CPU Cooler

We have seen quite a few different versions of the Frio lineup from Thermaltake, but of all the different versions, usually the one that attracts the most attention is the largest. The Frio Extreme (P/N: CLP0587) is the largest of the Frio series and according to Thermaltake, this cooler should have no problem cooling up to 250W of CPU TDP. Quite a claim, but we’ll see how this thing tests before we make any comment on performance. Given its size and design, we would expect this to be a very effective cooler all around.

At a glance, this cooler features two 140x25mm fans which cool a dual tower style heatsink. The heatsink consists of six evenly spaced 6mm u-shaped heat pipes for maximum heat dispersal. Probably the most note worthy addition to the Frio Extreme is the included 10-year that covers the entire heat sink including the fans.

Given that the design of this cooler is similar to some of the other high end coolers such as the Noctua D14 or the Thermalright Silver Arrow, we expect this cooler will perform quite well. Just how well, we will find out later in this review. Given it’s size, what it really comes down to is the thought a lot of people will have in their minds: compatibility. It is not uncommon for large coolers to have incompatibility issues with all the other computer hardware out there but it seems like now days manufacturers do a pretty good job making sure that you won’t have any issue as long as your case is wide enough.

 

Features and Specifications

Besides the cooler itself, Thermaltake has included some nice features that really add to the overall value. One in particular is the fan speed controller that combines the two fans into one plug while allowing you to easily control their speed easily. Below is an overview of the features and specifications of the Frio Extreme provided by Thermaltake.

Features

Ultimate Over-clocking Design Structure, support up to 250W

  • Dual tower heat-sink with 0.4mm aluminum fins provide large surface for heat dissipation.
  • 6 x Ø6 mm-U-shape copper heat pipes accelerate heat conductivity.
  • Mirror-finished copper base, provide perfect contact with CPU.
  • Premium thermal grease maximizes heat transfer from the CPU onto the copper base for faster dissipation.

The Combination of VR and PWM Control Function Fan

  • Dual 14cm high performance blue blade designed fans, spins from 1,200 to 1,800RPM.
  • Combination of VR and PWM functions, switchable upon user’s preferences.
  • Tool-less and Easy installation design for quicker disassemble and assemble the fan module.

Universal Socket Compatibility & Accessory Package

  • All-in-one back-plate design, support all Intel and AMD platform
  • Universal socket support :
    Intel: LGA 2011, 1366, 1155, 1156, 775
    AMD: FM1, AM3+, AM3, AM2+, AM2

 


Detailed Specifications

P/NCLP0587
Dimension148.2(L) x 151(W) x 160(H) mm (2 Fans)
MaterialAluminum Fins
Aluminum & Copper Base
Heatpipe6mm x 6 PCS
Fan Dimension140(L) x 140(H) x 25(W) mm
Rated Voltage12 V
Rated Current0.5 A
Power Input7.2 W
Fan Speed1200 ~ 1800 RPM
Max. Air Flow106.2 CFM
Max. Air Pressure2.34 mmH2O
Noise38 dBA ~ 18dBA
Life Expectancy100,000 Hours
Connector4 Pin
Power Input250W
Weight1,230g
CompatibilityIntel
LGA 2011
LGA 1366
Core i7
LGA 1155/1156
Core i7 / Core i5 / Corei3
LGA 775
Core 2 Extreme / Core 2 Quad / Core 2 Duo / Pentium D / Pentium 4/Pentium / Celeron D / CeleronAMD
FM1
A-series
AM3+ / AM3
Phenom II / Athlon II / Athlon / Sempron series
AM2+ / AM2
Phenom II / Phenom / Athlon / Sempron series
Warranty10 Years

 

 

A Closer Look

Packaging

Thermaltake did an excellent job with the way this cooler was packaged together. The box is quite large for a CPU cooler which was a surprise. The exterior is stylish and does a great job highlighting the features and other important information you may find interesting.

Like most coolers, the Frio Extreme heatsink was secured in a custom foam cutout which held it nice and tight. Each fan was contained inside its own box to prevent damage to the blades. We can also see a box containing all the mounting hardware used for installation as well as the fan speed controller.


Cooler Overview

The first thing you notice when removing the heatsink from the packaging is just how massive it is. As noted on the previous page, this cooler is quite tall standing in at about 160mm tall and 148mm wide. In addition to its size, the cooler has a good amount of weight to it which gives it a nice solid feel weighing in at 2.7 pounds.

The fins are made up of aluminum and are pressed onto the heat pipes alternating in size which makes it easier for air to pass though the cooler.

The base is constructed of both aluminum and copper. The most obvious feature here is the mirror finnish on the CPU contact side which we were very glad to see.

The two included 140x25mm fans, part number PLA14025S12H are rated at 1800 RPM with a maximum airflow at 106.2 CFM per fan. Very promising as in terms of performance, but we’ll get to that later.

We were very impressed with the care and detail that went into the packaging for the included hardware. Each item had its own custom foam cutout keeping them secure and making it easy to find the pieces that you need.

The fan speed controller is a nice added bonus. It controls the speed of both fans from either a single PWM fan socket, or with the built in knob. The switch located on the bottom is to toggle between PWN control or manual control.

 

 


 

Installation

Installing the Thermaltake Frio Extreme is pretty straightforward except for a few minor kinks such as making sure that the fan clips are installed before mounting the cooler to the CPU. If you don’t you are in for a fun time trying to get them on. The cooler comes with a nice set of instructions included which are helpful, but we recommend following Thermaltake’s website HERE. They are more detailed and give you a better understanding through the installation process.

Another thing worth mentioning is that when installing the two adjacent mount plates on the front of the motherboard, their direction is important for the cooler’s orientation as you can see in the pictures below. We didn’t see any mention of this on Thermaltake’s website.


Install this orientation for a
vertical mount

Install this orientation for a
horizontal mount

The overall process was pretty painless. Parts fit like they should and there were no awkward angles to work around. Before installing, or better yet, before purchasing make very sure that this cooler will fit into your case. Not only that but if you have large ram sinks on your RAM, this cooler will not mount properly. On many motherboards, the fins and most of the cooler will be covering the first few memory banks. So another thing to consider is that if you are one who likes to remove or installs memory modules frequently, you will likely find it frustrating having to remove you CPU cooler to access your memory modules.

Here are some pictures for reference of the post install. The system we used was a Cooler Master HAF XM, with an EVGA X58 FTW3 motherboard and OCZ Gold 1600MHz RAM.


 

Testing

Testing Methodology

The Frio Extremewas installed and tested in four different configurations: idle, load, overclock idle, and overclocked load. Temperatures were monitored and recorded using HWmonitor Pro. Load tests were recorded after one hour of testing. The program we used to tax the CPU was LinX linpack benchmark using all available RAM.

We tested the cooler using the following system configuration:

  • CPU – Intel i7 930 (overclocked to 4.0GHz @ 1.2625v)
  • Motherboard – EVGA X58 FTW3
  • RAM – 6GB OCZ Gold 1600MHz
  • PSU – OCZ ZX 850W
  • Case – Cooler Master HAF XM

We will be comparing results with three other popular coolers, the Thermaltake Frio Advanced, the Cooler master Hyper 212+, the Cooler Master TPC 812, and the Stock intel cooler. The Hyper 212+ has a very similar configuration being DTH also and since it is a very popular cooler, we thought it wise to include it. All of the coolers tested with their provided fans and while running at 100%.


The Frio Extreme is the clear winner among the rest of the coolers. No surprise here though considering the size and even more important, the price. What impressed us the most was the massive drop in temps we saw on the overclocked load test. This clearly proves that this cooler could take a much higher overclock than what we threw at it.

This also shows that this cooler provides almost no benefit to anyone not running an overclocked system. If you are a casual gamer, and overclocking is not an option, this cooler is a waste of money. However, if overclocking is your passion you will see positive results from this cooler over the competition.


Conclusion

The Frio Extreme is a classic example of the old phrase “you get what you pay for. With an MSRP of of $99.99 this cooler is hardly cheap and price-wise competes with most all-in-one liquid cooling systems. The performance demonstrated by the Frio Advanced was very obvious especially under heavy overclocking scenarios.

The dark side to this cooler is that it is not for everyone. A casual system builder will find little to no benefit to running this type of cooler. Temp drops on a non-overclocked CPU were lower, but not groundbreaking or worth the price. However, those whose goal it is to keep their highly overclocked system running nice and cool, will really come to appreciate the performance this cooler offers.

  • Appearance – The Frio Advanced not the prettiest cooler on the market. There are no fancy plastic shrouds or fan mounts to make it look fancy or streamlined. Basically what you see is that you get. Though it isn’t ugly by any means, it’s overall appearance is not a strong point. 16/20
  • Construction – We found this cooler, despite its massive size, to be very solid. The fans were not flimsy and mounted securely to the cooler. 18/20
  • Performance – The performance was good all around especially in high overclocked scenarios. 19/20
  • Functionality – This is where it gets a bit awkward. The performance for the cooler is great but it does come at a price and that is its size. Many people will find it awkward getting it to work in their systems. This is why we advise, to measure before you buy. 17/20
  • Value – The overall value of this cooler is quite subjective. We’ve mentioned before that this cooler is not for everyone, but to those who would actually buy this cooler, the MSRP could be justified by what it delivers. Performance comes at a price however we do feel that $99.99 is a bit steep. 15/20
  • Overall: 85/100

The Frio Extreme is a classic example of the old phrase "you get what you pay for.

With an MSRP of of $99.99 this cooler is hardly cheap and price-wise competes with most all-in-one liquid cooling systems. The performance demonstrated by the Frio Advanced was very obvious especially under heavy overclocking scenarios.

8.5
Gold Award:
8.5

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