Introduction

Thermaltake Technology Inc. was founded in 1999 with the vision of building Thermaltake Technology into “a cultural brand for the enjoyment of entertainment, e-Sports, technology, and lifestyle”. Thermaltake Technology is focused on delivering the perfect user experience. Their products range from Power Supply Units, PC Chassis, Complete Custom Loop solutions, CPU Coolers, Fans to the range of the peripherals like keyboards, mouse, mouse mat, headphones, and even gaming chairs. The very essence of the Thermaltake DNA is based on Courage, Passion, and Perseverance. They are diversified in brands like TteSPORTS, Luxa to bring consumer-focused products from respective domains.

Thermaltake honored my request for their Frio Extreme cooler for the round-up content on other media site. This content is a dedicated review of their mighty Frio Extreme cooler. This is a dual-tower cooling solution that comes with two 140mm fans. The cooler packs 56 aluminum fins per tower and combined with 6x copper heat pipes in nickel coating. The base of the cooler is made of copper and finished in a mirror effect with nickel coating. The cooler is compatible with Intel LGA 2066/2011-3/2011/1366/1156/1155/1151/1150/775 and AMD FM2/FM1/AM3+/AM3/AM2+/AM2 sockets. The cooler has a dedicated controller using VR or PWM modes.

  • Product:               Frio Extreme
  • Manufacturer:      Thermaltake
  • Price:                   USD 77 [At the time of the review]

Specifications

Packaging and Unboxing

The cooler is shipped inside a cardboard box in standard Tt themed design.

When it comes to the overall packaging we need to see if it provides the buyer with useful information and the overall presentation. Thermaltake has provided key information here. The cooling potential of the cooler is mentioned as 250W TDP. Though 10 years warranty is mentioned there, my contact at Thermaltake has mentioned it to be 2 years now. The cooler has 2x fans and 6x heat pipes.

Here the pictures are printed each showing the related feature highlight like the mirror-finished copper base, 6 heat pipes for better heat transfer, 2x 14cm high airflow fans.

The specifications are printed here in a tabular format along with the features highlight.

The presentation is on spot. The contents are nicely packed inside two white color Styrofoam pads.

The accessories are placed inside the accessory box. The presentation of the accessories is on the spot and reminds me of the Noctua NH-L9a/i coolers packaging.

Contents

These are:

  • 1x heatsink
  • 2x 140mm fans
  • 4x fan clips
  • 1x Intel/AMD backplate
  • 2x Intel Mounting Brackets
  • 4x AMD Mounting Brackets
  • 1x Crossbar
  • 4x Black Spacers
  • 4x Intel LGA-20xx standoffs
  • 4x Thumb nuts
  • 4x Long Screws
  • 4x Small Screws
  • 1x VR/PWM Controller
  • 1x PWM cable
  • 1x Thermal paste
  • 2x User Manuals
  • 1x Warranty Policy

Closer Look

The Thermaltake Frio Extreme is a dual tower cooling solution rated for 250W TDP cooling potential. Thermaltake is using a slogan, Break the Rules, with this cooler. This is my second set of tests on this cooler as the first one was on the Intel Z390 socket where this cooler participated in the round-up content on other media site and this cooler packs some sucker punch for the raw cooling potential. Here are a few features of the cooler:

  • 6x 6mm U shape copper heat pipes
  • Mirror-finished copper base
  • Cooling potential rating of 250W
  • Dual-Tower design
  • 4mm thick aluminum fins
  • Two 140mm fans with blue color blades
  • Dedicated controller (VR/PWM)

The dimension of the Thermaltake Frio Extreme is 148.2x151x160mm (LxWxH). The height of the cooler is 160mm and it is a critical factor for clearance for the chassis. The cooler is rated for up to 250W TDP and weights 1230g. The cooler is compatible with Intel LGA 2066/2011-3/2011/1366/1156/1155/1151/1150/775 and AMD FM2/FM1/AM3+/AM3/AM2+/AM2 sockets. The cooler has a dedicated fan controller allowing the user to switch between the VR and PWM modes with a slide of a button.

The complete assembly is in silver color giving this cooler a more industrial look. From the top, I gather the heat pipes are soldered with the fins. The heat pipes are displaced linearly. They are terminating on the top. There is a Tt brand logo on both sides of the top fins. There is a lining texture between the terminating ends of the heat pipes giving some cool look to the design. There are two holes on each side of the top fins. This is where the metal clips are inserted.

The above picture shows the metal clips installed. Please, note that this is not the way Thermaltake suggests. I noticed this after the installation and decided to check if there is any difference in this mounting and the recommended mounting. There was no difference as such and the difference was well within the margin of error.

This picture shows the correct way of installing the metal clips.

Taking a look at the heatsink from the front side main side, the Thermaltake Frio Extreme cooler has 56 aluminum fins. The width of a fin is 37mm and interesting design element is that they are not placed on top each other in a linear format. Each fin plate is placed on the other fin plate with an offset of 6mm (approximately) making a total width of the fin stack from left and right sides to be approximately 43mm. the middle portion has a 37mm width as the middle portion has an inset as compared to the borders. The fin stack is not dense.

The above picture is showing an offset placement of fins in a stack in a clear manner. The left and the right sides are identical in layout. This is where the fins are jointed. One good thing about the finishing of these fins on their outer edges is that these edges are rounded off hence there is no sharp edge. There is no cutout on either side to hold the locker of the metal clip as the metal clips installation is different as mentioned above.

The above picture shows the cross-section view of the heatsink. The overall layout is well synced and designed. This angle also shows the offset design clearly.

The Thermaltake Frio Extreme has 6 copper heat pipes. The thickness of each is 6mm and they are nickel coated. The heat pipes are installed linearly on the base and they are forming a U shape design.

The U shape design is more obvious here.

Looking at the base of the cooler, there is a protective transparent cover on the base to avoid scratching and any damage to the surface. The user is required to remove or peel off this transparent cover before the installation. The copper base is in mirror-finishing and measures approximately 39.5×41.5x4mm.

Looking at the top of the block we can see 4x raised surfaces in two pairs. There is a cutout area between two such surfaces in a pair. This is where the crossbar is placed. The raised surfaces act as a locker to hold the crossbar.

The total height of the block is approximately 13mm.

 

Thermaltake has provided 2x 140mm high airflow fans with this cooler. Here are the specifications:

Dimension 140x140x25mm
Rated Speed 1200~1800 RPM
Rated Voltage 12V
Rated Current 0.5A
Power Input 7.2W
Air Flow 106.2 CFM
Air Pressure 2.34 mmH₂O
Noise 18~38 dB(A)
Fan Life Time 100,000 hours
Power Interface 4-Pin PWM

 

Each fan has 11 blades which are in blue and are translucent. The center has a sticker with a Thermaltake Tt brand logo and name printed on it. The frame of the fan is not squarish and the mounting corners don’t have anti-vibration pads.

The fan’s model is PLA14025S12H and it is made in China. There is a 4-arm assembly on the backside which is holding the fan motor and blades onto the frame.

Both fans have a 4-pin PWM black color connector. The length of the power cable is approximately 320mm.

Thermaltake has provided a dedicated fan controller in the cooler. This controller does not use any external power source (SATA/MOLEX). There is a VR knob on the top which can be used to regulate the speed of the fans. There are two LEDs below the knob. The VR LED is in yellow and the PWM LED is in white. There is a slider at the bottom which is used to switch between the mode.

M/B stands for the motherboard. One end of the bundled PWM cable is connected to either of the headers of the controller and the other end is connected to the CPU fan header on the motherboard.

Both fans are connected to this end of the controller.

This is the illustration of how to configure the controller. I did not use the controller as both fans were connected to the CPU and CPU_OPT fan headers of the motherboard.

Installation

I have tested the cooler on the Intel LGA-2011(3) socket on the X99 platform. Here are the installation steps on this socket.

Install the LGA-20xx standoffs.

Place the Intel mounting brackets with their pointy edges facing the socket. Make sure that the standoff side faces up.

Use thumb nuts to secure the mounting brackets.

Apply the thermal paste and peel off the safety sticker from the base of the heatsink. Install the fan metal clips on the heatsink.

Place the crossbar on the top of the block as shown in the picture. Now, carefully place the heatsink on the by aligning the spring-loaded screws on the crossbar with the standoffs on the mounting brackets. Start alternately screwing the spring-loaded screws until the threads run out. Install the fans and connect their power cables to the source. This would complete the installation.

Here are pictures of the assembled unit:

 

Clearance

The height of the Thermaltake Frio Extreme is 160mm. You can use the PCPartPicker to check the compatibility of the cooler concerning the chassis. As a general rule, your chassis should have a minimum of 162mm or so clearance for this CPU Cooler height. Why more? In case you need to adjust the height of the fan, you would need more room in the chassis.

On quad-channel DIMM the cooler overhangs the DIMM slots effectively covering the first DIMM slot on both banks. The CORSAIR VENGEANCE RED LED DDR4 kit has a height of approximately 49mm and the cooler could not be installed without removing these two sticks from the DIMM slots right next to the socket on both banks. RAM of height 47mm or less should not be an issue for the heatsink.

As can be seen, using two sticks in their recommended slots (if not using all 4 slots) should not be an issue for the heatsink placement.

This much height (50mm) was needed to be adjusted to the front fan when using with the 49mm height RAM.

The metal clips on the Thermaltake Frio Extremehin hinder the first PCIe 3.0  x16 slot on this motherboard. As this cooler has also been tested on the ASUS ROG Strix Z390-E Gaming motherboard, there is no such issue on the consumer platform. Please, keep in mind that we are talking about two different platforms here. On the consumer side, the majority of the motherboards have PCIe 3.0 x1 slot up top.

Testing Methodology

The Testbed configuration is:

  • Asus Rampage V Edition 10
  • Intel i7 6850k
  • CORSAIR Vengeance 4x8GB @ 2666MHz
  • Gigabyte GTX 1060 6GB
  • Samsung 840 EVO 250GB SSD
  • CORSAIR AX1200i 1200W PSU
  • Primochill Praxis Wetbench

The following software was used for testing and monitoring.

  • Asus Real Bench v 2.44
  • Real Temp GT v 3.70

Here is the settings table for testing:

Intel Stock Voltage (V) 1.130
Stock Clock (MHz) 3600
OC Voltage (V) 1.350
OC Clock (MHz) 4300
Turbo Boost Disabled
C-States Disabled
Speed Step Disabled
Thermal Paste Noctua NT-H1
Test Run Time 60 minutes
Idling Time 15 minutes
Fan Speed Manually set to run at 100% PWM cycle.

 

A stress test run is made for the first time after the cooler’s installation. The duration of the test is 60 minutes. After this run, the PC is shut down for a minimum of 15 minutes. Actual testing is done afterward. This gives enough time for the thermal paste bonding. Please, keep in mind that cure time varies from thermal paste to thermal paste. We are using Noctua NT-H1 on our test bench for all the coolers testing. This will ensure the standardization and mitigate any performance benefit that may come using the supplied thermal paste. Delta temperatures are reported on the graphs (Delta Temp = Average of all cores’ max temps – ambient temp). The testing is done on an open-air bench system. Once inside the chassis, the temperatures are expected to rise and would largely depend upon the optimal airflow inside the chassis.

Not every run of the stress test may yield the same result. This could well be due to many factors like mounting pressure, thermal paste application, varying ambient temperature. Not to mention the silicon differences even among the same category of the chips. Hence, it is pertinent to mention the testing methodology along with the specifics.

Let’s take a look at the results.

Results

 

The Thermaltake Frio Extreme has performed well in thermal testing.

Noise

The sound meter was showing the noise level of the cooler to be 57 dB(A) with an ambient sound level of 32 dB(A). On the lower end of the PWM duty cycle, the noise was 44 dB(A) approximately with a speed range of 1300.

Conclusion

Thermaltake Frio Extreme CPU cooler is a dual-tower design that comes with two 14cm high-airflow fans. The dimension of the Thermaltake Frio Extreme is 148.2x151x160mm (LxWxH). The height of the cooler is 160mm and it is a critical factor for clearance concerning the chassis. The cooler is rated for up to 250W TDP and weights 1230g. The cooler is compatible with Intel LGA 2066/2011-3/2011/1366/1156/1155/1151/1150/775 and AMD FM2/FM1/AM3+/AM3/AM2+/AM2 sockets.

The cooler has two towers with 56 aluminum fins on each tower. The fin stack is less dense and the fins are stacked on each other in an alternate or offset manner with a distance of 6mm. There are 6x 6mm copper heat pipes in nickel plating. These are soldered to the assembly. The heat pipes are following the U shape design. Each tower has an inset design in the center. The metal clips are installed using the holes on the assembly by inserting them from the top and the bottom. The cooler has a copper base in a mirror finish. The crossbar is not pre-installed and needs to be placed manually by the user on the block during the installation of the cooler. Thermaltake has provided a fan controller. This controller allows to user to switch the control mode between the VR and PWM. They have provided a PWM cable which is needed to connect the controller to the motherboard using the CPU fan header. There is a slider button to switch between the modes. There is a knob to control the speed in the VR mode.

The bundled fans have a dimension of 140x140x25mm fan with 11 blades. The blades are translucent and are in blue. The fans are rated for a speed range of 1200~1800 RPM at 12V. The rated current is 0.5A with a power input of 7.2W. The airflow is 106.2 CFM. The noise level rating is 18~38 dB(A). The static pressure rating is 2.34 mmH₂O. The MTTF is 100,000 hours. The fan is powered using a 4-pin cable with a PWM connector. Thermaltake has provided everything a user would need to install the cooler except the screwdriver. The presentation of the accessories has my praise. The Intel and AMD installation is provided in separate manuals. Installation of the fans can be quite challenging as one would need to use some force in pulling the metal clips and then forcing them on the fan. Also, their removal is more challenging than the installation. Other than that I did not face any issue as such during the installation.

The Thermaltake Frio Extreme CPU Cooler is listed at USD 77 at the time of the review and has a two years warranty. The cooler has performed quite well on our thermal bench but at an elevated noise level.

We are thankful to the Thermaltake for sending us their Frio Extreme CPU Cooler for the review.

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