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Cryorig has an “ultimate” heatsink for us: the Cryorig R1 Ultimate. This heatsink is full of advanced technology. It uses two 140 x 25 mm fans and tandem fin-stack towers. Ultimate indeed, but does all of this give us the ultimate in cooling experience? Only one way to find out. We will explore the heck out of this heatsink.
Cryorig tells us much. Since this our first Cryorig review, let’s learn from their About Us page:
WHO AND WHAT IS CRYORIG?
CRYORIG was officially founded in 2013, but took several years in the making. We began our journey right at the start of the first decade of the 2000’s. During what was the most prosperous age of PC DIY and Overclocking. Members of our team have either worked directly or indirectly with brands such as Thermalright, Prolimatech, Phanteks and many more. We ourselves are overclockers and PC modding enthusiasts, with a passion and drive to strive for improvement. With direct knowledge of manufacturing and design as well as holding multiple patents under our collective belt, we decided to make a name for ourselves, and that name is CRYORIG. So what is CRYORIG exactly? CRYORIG is about making the coolest rig possible.
[The founder] and my brother . . . have invented and patented multiple manufacturing processes regarding how to make a better heatsink and cooler. We ourselves have never stopped in this journey of improvement, and over a period of 5 years we have been pouring all our knowledge and know how into one prototype product, the R1. But the R1 was still rough around the edges and was far from ready. Over the years we began contacting other like minded professionals in the field, and with some luck and help, in the beginning of 2013 we finally had our all-star team together. So CYRORIG may have been first registered only in 2013, but for us it was years and years in the making. This is why CRYORIG as a whole wants to thank you the consumer, the enthusiast, the overclocker, the PC builder for keeping this wonderful community of ours very much alive. Also, just by visiting our page, you’re giving us a chance to give back to the community we love. And help us in making CRYORIG the coolest rigs on the planet.
Now you know a lot about what Cryorig wants to tell you. We will get to the R1 Ultimate, but we should look at a couple of things first. One of them is an origami heatsink compatibility tester. Now, like many top-flight OEM’s, Cryorig has a compatibility page. You not only can look up your motherboard, but an interactive feature allows you to input your board and see if your chosen Cryorig will fit. The interactive feature needs work, though. I found my motherboard but I could not make the Search feature work. Use your browser’s Find feature instead. By the way: the list goes up to the Z87 boards. It does not yet include Z97, X99, etc.
If your motherboard is not (yet?) on the compatibility list, never fear: the Compatibility Tester is here. I will let Cryorig tell you about it:
At CRYORIG, we are always coming up with new ideas on how to improve our user experience. Taking into account of the multitude of hardware combinations and the speed of new hardware hitting the market, we have come up with an innovative way of helping users solve the question of “Will it Fit?” in true modding/DIY spirit. Enter the CRYORIG ORIGAMI COMPATIBILITY TESTER! All you need is a printer, some A4 sized paper, a ruler, and a pair of scissors to make your own CR ORIGAMI TESTER! . . . First choose the CRYORIG Heatsink Model of choice, and select the correct socket type of your mainboard.
They have diagrams to fit each socket; Intel LGA 775, LGA 1366, LGA 115X, and LGA 2011 along with AMD sockets.
Print your plans with a printer onto a piece of A4 sized paper. When printing making sure to use the following print options: Actual Size/True Size and Uncheck Fit To Page. Then use the Scale Check Zone at the bottom of the print out with your ruler, to see if you have a 1:1 print. Printing on thin cardboard or thicker materials are suggested but not required.
You can use Legal sized paper in place of A4, but this is something Cryorig should fix. From there, cut, fold, etc. It looks cute, and it should indeed help users answer the question, “Will it fit?”
At the bottom of the Specifications section, they explain the difference between the R1 Ultimate and the R1 Universal. Apparently the Universal fits behind tall RAM but uses a thinner front fan to do so.
Features of the R1 Ultimate
Cryorig went to a lot of trouble to build their R1. For one thing, as you can see from the diagrams above, their fin stacks come in two pieces, front and back for each of the tandem stacks. They are pressed together. Cryorig says in their Features section:
Patented DirectCompress™ Soldering, increases the actual contact surface between the heatpipe and heatsink fins. DirectCompress™ Soldering has up to 10% more contact surface compared to traditional soldering, and the more contact surface the faster the heat conduction.
The above is courtesy of Cryorig. You can see how the fin stacks were pressed together. You can also see that the boundary between the two stacks looks a bit saw toothed. There is a reason for that. Cryorig says:
On aluminum sheets, heat spreads out in a radial direction. By displacing the heatpipe alignment on the heatsink fins, our Heatsink Displacement Optimization™ allows for better and more evenly spread heat conduction on the fins compared to traditional linear alignment.
The individual tower stack is separated into two sections, the loose air intake and the high density exhaust section. By the laws of fluid dynamics, the increase in fin count in the exhaust section squeezes airflow and increases exhaust air speed. The increase of airflow speed in our Jet Fin Acceleration System™ allows heated air leave the tower faster.
Cryorig also touts the convexity of the seven heatpipes within the copper base, integrated acoustic absorbers, and a MultiSeg Quick Mount System that allows for a user to mount the heatsink, er, quickly. Finally, you can see the manual in an online PDF. It is full of diagrams.
R1 Ultimate Specs
Dimension ( with fan )
L142.4 mm x W140 mm x H168.3 mm
Weight ( with fan )
Weight ( without fan )
6mm heatpipe x 7 units
T = 0.4 mm ; Gap = 2.4 mm
Front Fin Pcs
T = 0.4 mm ; Gap = 1.8 mm
Rear Fin Pcs
C1100 Pure copper nickel plated
Distance From Center
RAM Height Limit
30 ~ 35 mm ( Fan position adjustable )
L140 mm x W140 mm x H25.4 mm
700 ~ 1300 RPM ±10 %
19 ~ 23 dBA
R1 Ultimate Vs R1 Universal
142.4 x 140 x 168.3
128.5 x 140 x 168.3
XT140 x1 + XF140 x1
250 W +
240 W +
Packaging the R1 Ultimate
The R1 Ultimate is packaged in a black box decorated with drawings, diagrams and tables. There is no question that you will be getting a heatsink, here. Actually the box is decorated, but not cluttered. Handsome.
Following the theme of taking the best from previous efforts, Cryorig packaged the heatsink and its small parts entirely in cardboard — carefully thought-out and fully-recyclable cardboard. Where have we seen this before? Suffice to say, Cryorig builds on the shoulders of forebears.
The covered tray slides out from a cardboard sleeve.
There is an inner box holding the heatsink, which also slides out from the cardboard sleeve. This heatsink is well-protected from injury if the box is damaged in transit.
Examining the R1 Ultimate
The R1 is a tandem tower heatsink that comes with two 140 mm PWM fans. A square piece of cardboard is fitted between the middle fan and the front heatsink to prevent damage in case the heatsink is squeezed in shipping. As you can see, it is shipped with a desiccant. I don’t remember seeing that before.
When you take the fans off, you can see that the front portion of each fin stack is covered with a plastic sheath. This should act as an air guide, keeping the airstream within the fin stack. When I have tested 140 mm fans on heatsinks with and without such air guides, I noticed that they tended to cool a little better when the air was allowed to flow around the outside of the fin stack. It may be that because of the differing geometry between the fronts and the backs of these fin stacks, such air guides are necessary. We’ll see, but first notice that the tensioning screws are attached to the heatsink. This is one of those “best practices” that will make this heatsink easy to take on and off if, for example, you are going to a LAN party. Note also, the mounting pressure is applied to the heatsink via springs. This is the preferred method, because it assures that the maximum mounting pressure cannot be exceeded. Again, a “best practice.”
A picture of the bottom of the plate shows that a label stuck to it that protects the contact surface. This unfortunately does not follow an industry best practice because, once you have removed the film, it can too easily get lost as well as lose its stickiness with time. That will leave the contact surface unprotected during times when you take it off – during transit, for example.
In the next image we can see a picture of the small parts. These are not really accessories, since you will need some of them to mount this beast.
The contact face of the R1 is not a reflecting surface. The curved machining marks are as clear here as any reflection. Do pay attention to the bottoms of the tensioning screws flanking the contact surface. It is clearly seen that they have stops. You can screw them all the way down, but you cannot “over-tighten” these screws. This is another best practice.
Here is a razor blade; first across the airflow, then aligned with the airflow. As you can see, there is just a hint of convexity. Actually, when I put this down on my CPU, it would not spin freely. That is a sign that there was not much convexity at all. Along with the springs, this makes the R1 thoroughly safe to mount and dismount. You could, for example, take this to a LAN party and lend it to a friend, and both of you would know the R1 would not damage his CPU.
It’s a brave choice: foregoing convexity reduces the cooling power of a heatsink while it safeguards any CPU put under it. The physics are unforgiving here, but Cryorig chose the path that is safer for the user.
Examining the R1 Ultimate Details
The first thing we will look at is the front side of the fin stack stacks. They are flat, and at right angles to the airflow. In many other coolers we see odd sculpted shapes that seem designed to catch the wind as it comes off the fans. But not here. Does that mean Cryorig thinks those features are not necessary?
Flip the heatsink over and we see that the trailing edge of the fins are jaggedly sculpted. Cryorig tells us “on aluminum sheets, heat spreads out in a radial direction.” Are these trailing edges set up to assist in that? Do note that the trailing edge of the fins form channels down to the two tensioning screws at what will be the bottom of the heatsink. More on that later.
The first picture here shows you the lower part of the R1, seen from the side. The second is the same picture, but annotated. The green arrow points to the screw that holds the pressure bar on the heatsink. An OEM can choose to have a pressure bar or tabs to hold the tensioning screws. Best practice is for the pressure bar, or the screw-holding tabs, to be permanently attached to the heatsink. Cryorig is following the best practice here.
The yellow arrow points to the spring that will press down against the heatsink when it is attached to the mounting bracket. By using springs here, Cryorig is making sure that the pressure matches the pressure specified by the socket-maker. Again, this is an industry best practice.
Finally, the red arrow points to one of the screw stops. This prevents the screw from over-tightening. With this feature you simply turn the screw until it stops. The best heatsink mounts use this feature.
The next detail we shall look at is fan clips. If you look at these clips for a while, you will see that they are different from each other. The clips on the left fit the two XF140 140×25 mm fans that come with the R1 Ultimate. That is to be expected. But Cryorig includes two clips for two 140×13 mm XT140 fans. This is interesting, because even the R1 Universal only comes with one of the XT140 fans. Clearly, Cryorig is furnishing you with enough gear to really customize this unit.
The corner cushions of the XF140 fans even have grooves on them for the clips.
However, the clips cling too tightly to the plastic fin stack cases. You must use a pair of pliers, preferably of the needle nose variety, to pull the fan clips from their plastic prisons. This is marked by the red arrow in the left picture. You might have to push at the green arrow to get one side loose.
When you have freed one side, you will get something that looks like the picture on the right. You will need pliers for that side, too. This is a problem for all OEM’s. It took one OEM three generations to get it right.
Cryorig R1 Mount
The backplate comes with the brackets stored on it, but they are not fastened. The first picture shows you the backplate with its integral motherboard pads. The mounting brackets are one of the sides. In the middle is an indentation for the square LGA 775 center pad.
The next picture shows you how the spacers thread onto the backplate screws. On top of that, you can see how the caps screw on. Note that there is no place for a screwdriver. The spacers and the caps will be finger tight only. No locking threads, broken spacers, etc.
Here we see how the brackets fit onto the spacers, with the caps holding them down.
The second picture shows the backplate on the motherboard. Note that it is the same no matter the orientation, this means you can’t put it on wrong.
So far, Cryorig has mined the industry for best practices: backplate assembly already put together, integral pads, metal spacers, integral nylon washers, orientation-agnostic backplate, forced finger-tight-only caps, and accommodation for the LGA 775 center pad.
Another advantage to threaded spacers: you can hold your backplate with a single spacer. After you have that down, you can attend to the other three at your leisure.
Another detail that Cryorig did not neglect: putting your brackets on correctly. With some OEM’s, if you don’t read the directions you could put down your brackets upside down. As you can see from the second feature, there is a plastic plug at the bottom of the thread well. If you put the brackets on upside down, it would be apparent immediately.
Here is a little reminder about those screw channels. One reason they are there is for a screwdriver to snake in and screw down the heatsink, with fans attached even. This makes unfastening the fan clips unnecessary. Look at the diagram on the left to see how Cryorig would like it done.
Unfortunately I could not reach the screw head with my long-shaft screwdriver. I noted that, according to my calipers, the shaft of my Phillips screwdriver was 6.26 mm in diameter. The shaft of the screwdriver Cryorig includes with the R1 was only 5.93 mm. Perhaps that would fit. See the picture below for how well that worked. Removing the fan did allow me to screw down the heatsink, however.
But wait! With the R1 screwed down, the RAM heatsinks got in the way of the Ultimate’s front fan.
I like to use these old sticks for fit-testing precisely because they are not low profile. They’re also not high heatsinks. But still, look at the difference in level between the front fan and the middle fan.
From the front, you can see that the front 140 mm fan rides high above the heatsink. This is why I use very low profile RAM, and why I recommend you do the same. In this day of low voltage RAM, there is no reason to purchase RAM with tall heatsinks.
We are now ready to start testing the R1 Ultimate. The setup:
Intel i7 4790K @ 4.5 GHz
Set to 1.23 volts, read at up to 1.248 volts
Set to 1.8 volts, read at down to 1.704 volts
Intel HD Graphics 4600, integrated into the i7 4790k
Gigabyte Z97X Gaming-7
Crucial Ballistix Sport Ultra Low Profile; 2 x 4 GB – 8 GB total
Samsung 840 EVO 500 GB + 1 TB
Seasonic SS-460FL 460W Fanless
Heat Stress Software
Linpack with AVX2 – LinX 0.6.5 user interface
Windows 10, 64-bit
Core Temp Log
Ambient Temp Log
Digital TEMPer USB Thermometer, with logging software
Sound Pressure Meter
Fan Airflow Meter
Extech AN100 Anemometer
Generic Aluminum Mesh
Black Ice Nemesis 140GTS (16 Frames Per Inch)
First, the cooling power of the R1 Ultimate was tested. It was first mounted with a 4 mm blob of the Cryorig CP-9 TIM. When that produced a less than awesome result, the R1 was dismounted, cleaned again with Arcticlean, and remounted with a 5 mm diameter blob of TIM. Because the TIM blob was stiff enough to stand on its own, the 5 mm blob probably contained almost twice as much TIM as the 4 mm blob.
The R1 was tested with Linpack running the AVX2 extensions. Linpack is the software that Intel engineers use to maximize the heat produced by their CPU’s. Hence it is the best software to test overclocking, but it runs in surges. When the temperature is graphed, you see ragged plateaus. In looking for cooling solutions, you want to know how well a heatsink cools those plateaus, you won’t care about the valleys. So the temps under 70 °C (the valleys) were ignored in analyzing core temps.
Each test run was 30 minutes in duration. The last 20 minutes of each run was measured, and the core temperature logs were analyzed in Open Office spreadsheets. An Intel chip reports its temps in one degree increments, so for best accuracy these reports should be averaged in aggregate. Here the core temps were measured once a second, resulting in 1200-line spreadsheets.
The digital thermometer measuring air temp reported its measurements in increments of 0.1 °C. The ambient temperature was measured every five seconds, resulting in 240-line spreadsheets. The mean ambient temp was subtracted from the mean core temps, resulting in a net temp for each run. Finally, the three net temps were averaged.
The Sound Pressure level was measured 1 meter from the heatsink, with the motherboard set vertically, the way it would be in most cases. The ambient noise for this testing was 30.5 dBA. So the net SPL is the sound pressure level measured at 1 meter, less 30.5 dBA.
Next, the two fans were tested as fans. As noted, the ambient noise for this testing was 30.5 dBA. To measure noise levels that were softer than that, the Sound Pressure Level was measured 10 cm from each fan. The sound pressure level was adjusted to 1 meter by subtracting 20 dB. The sound pressure meter was a Tenma 72-942. This fan tester has a microphone that is not accurate under 30 dBA. That means an adjusted measurement of 10 – 15 dBA is not accurate; the fan could easily be quieter than that. But this is the limit of all but the most expensive SPL meters.
To measure the fan’s output, the fan was placed in a box that allowed the airflow to mix. The outflow was then measured in CFM by an Extech AN100 anemometer, which averaged 10 readings per run. Each fan was run in free air to collect its free-air RPM and the free-air sound pressure level. Each fan was put through its paces: they pushed through a 16 FPI radiator. They pulled through a wire mesh dust filter. Finally, their unobstructed airflow was measured as it blew through the anemometer head.
Results of Testing
In the chart below, an asterisk marks those heatsinks that use springs to press them against the CPU. These are probably the safest heatsinks to use. Among those heatsinks, the R1 Ultimate is beaten only by the two Noctua NH-D15’s, which share the same fin stacks. So the R1 Ultimate came in second among the spring-mounted heatsinks (the top result was from an AIO).
Next, we examine the effect of time on the TIM. In the next chart, you can see that one day after the R1 was mounted, the larger TIM dropped the temps a whole degree. Because the results from the second and third day were very close, they were lumped together in the final result. But the main takeaway here is that your TIM will be done migrating 2 days after you mount the R1. Each data point represents an average of three runs.
Finally, we test the fans. For the rad test, corner adapters were used to bring the smaller screw-hole pattern on the fans to the standard for 140 mm fans to fit on a 140 mm rad. As you can see, the fans more than meet spec.
Based on what you saw in the features and in our explorations, it is clear that Cryorig has cherry-picked the best concepts of earlier heatsink-makers. It is like listening to a “best of” compilation:
The heatsink is packed in fully recyclable packaging, including a desiccant.
The mount is very easy to set up. In part, that is because the tensioning screws are permanently attached to the heatsink. Cryorig also limits mounting pressure by using screw-stops and then uses springs to apply the pressure. Also, the spacers and caps have only grips, so they can only be screwed in finger tight – no jamming from over-tightened threads.
The cushioned corners of the fans acknowledge that fans held to fin stacks do make noise.
Then you add Cryorig’s unique features to the mix, from accelerating airflow in the fin stacks to expanding heatflow inside the fins. This is quite a collection of excellent solutions, all aimed at moving heat from your CPU to the air.
A drawback is the fan clips. These remind me of the first generation fan clips from a top-notch competitor, they are not as good as the rest of the heatsink. They are too stiff and require pliers to work with them. But you can work around their weaknesses, but they do hold the fans firmly, so the clips are eminently usable.
The decision to go with a nearly flat contact surface was a noble one, but it may have cost the R1 Ultimate a couple of degrees of cooling. But this heatsink will not hurt your CPU in any way. I wonder at the texture of the contact surface. Comparing it with the contact surfaces of other heatsinks and an AIO, it is not as reflective.
It may look like this heatsink finished in the middle of the pack; but look again. The top finisher is an AIO. The next two have no springs to limit the mounting pressure — you could harm your CPU. The next two are essentially the same heatsink. And then you get to this one. And remember that no heatsink makes it to this level unless it is a “major league” cooler. Mediocre heatsinks can’t cool this well.
A big plus is the Cryorig website. They have taken care to put all the specs you could want on their website. It has a compatibility-checking page, as well as a set of origami system-checkers which you can use to make sure whatever Cryorig you pick will fit your system. Their manual is on line, along with a high-quality video showing the installation process.
Overall, then, this is a superb heatsink that will not damage your CPU. It also looks good, elegant in fact.
- Among the best cooling heatsinks
- Fan cushions to prevent vibrations and rattle
- Extra fan clips are provided so you can convert your R1 from an Ultimate to a Universal
- Base is nearly flat, to avoid damaging the CPU
- Screw-stops to avoid over-tightening the tensioning screws
- Downward pressure applied with springs
- Mounting not only is easy to do, but a video on the site shows you how
- The instruction manual is on line
Cryorig R1 Ultimate Cons
- Fan clips are too stiff – you need pliers to release your fans
- Can’t tighten the tensioning screws unless you remove the middle fan
Ed Hume (ehume)