Three Premium Heatsinks Revisited

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This short piece isn’t so much a formal review, but an opportunity to revisit three of the six heatsinks tested in my first review at Overclockers.com. My test system has changed quite a bit since then, so it’s a good idea to re-examine the performance of some of the top coolers on the market.  I have switched my 980X processor for an i7 930, so I could upgrade my main system at home. In fact, the 930 is actually harder to cool at 4 GHz than the 980x at the same speed. I also changed the case, which can affect cooling performance. Originally I was using an Antec 1040 clone case (Chieftech Dragon) but a few months ago I switched to the Inwin Dragon Rider case that I reviewed as it is much more representative of modern case designs.

The three heatsinks that I have re-tested are:

  • Thermalright Ultra 120 eXtreme 1366RT Rev. C  RT (TRUE Rev. C)
  • Cogage True Spirit
  • Prolimatech Megahalems (Rev. B)

Re-testing these three heatsinks will help to build up my database of high performance heatsinks on my present testing platform, thus allowing for more and better comparisons in upcoming reviews. Thanks to Overclockers Forums Senior Member Reefa_Madness for generously loaning me the Megahalems for testing!

There is no need to load this article up with tons of pictures and descriptions about mounting the heatsinks – that was done in the original review. However, this article will contain updated results with these coolers using several different types of fans. In addition, I will conduct a full comparison of all heatsinks currently in the Overclockers cooling lab.

Test Setup

Here are the fans used for testing:

Fans Size (mm) RPM CFM dBA H2O Static Pressure (in H2O) Wattage Mass (g)
1 X Cogage True Spirit 120 X 25 1000~1500 ±15% 35~66.5 19.6~37.4 0.0788 2.52 100
1 X Thermalright TR-FDB-1600 120 X 25 1600 63.7 28.0 0.062 2.4 171.2
2 X Gentle Typhoon  

D1225C12B5AP-15

120 X 25 1850 58.0 28.0 0.081 1.0 195.5
2 X S-Flex SFF21G 120 X 25 1900 75.0 35.0 0.15 2.88 182
2 X Sanyo Denki San Ace  

109R1212H1011

120 X 38 2600 102.4 39.0 0.26 6.24 243
2 X Delta FFB1212VHE 120 X 38 3200 151.85 53.0 0.445 12.0 403
1 X Sanyo Denki San Ace  

9CR1212P0G03

120 X 76 6200/3800 

(compound)

300 70.0 1.93 86.4 753

 

The testbed system is configured as follows:

  • Case – In Win Dragon Rider. The 220 mm side door fan has been shifted downward to give clearance for tall heatsinks. No other alterations have been made to this case.
  • Motherboard – Asus P6T
  • Processor – Intel Core i7 930, overclocked to 4000 MHz @ 1.304 v.
  • RAM – Corsair XMS3 DDR3 1600
  • Video Card – eVGA 7900GTX
  • Power Supply – HEC Cougar series S700
  • Hard Drive – Western Digital Caviar 250 GB SATA hard drive
  • Optical Drive – Lite On DVD-RW drive
  • OS – Windows Vista Ultimate 64 Service Pack 2
  • Arctic Cooling MX2 thermal paste was used for testing as I have found it to give good consistent results with no appreciable break in and it applies and cleans up easily.
  • All testing was done with the side door fastened in place on the case except for the Sanyo Denki 9CR1212P0G03 compound fan. I left the side door off on that one to keep from trapping air, since that Beast moves so much of it.

Test Methodology

The testing methodology used is the same as I used with my previous reviews:

All energy saving features of the motherboard and processor were turned off to keep it from down clocking the processor speed and vcore. All fan control functions were turned off in bios to keep the fans at maximum speed. For processor temperature monitoring purposes, I am using Real Temp 3.46, with logging enabled at 2 second intervals. For room temperature monitoring, I am using a Fluke Model 52-2 and using a “K” type thermocouple that is inserted into the case front where the front intake fan is mounted. The Fluke records the maximum, minimum and average temps during the run at 1 second intervals.

Temperatures in my computer room were maintained as close as possible to around an 18 °C average during the run, as measured at the lower front intake fan by the Fluke. At the end of the test run, I logged the maximum, minimum and average temperature. The maximum and minimum temps are given as recorded by Real Temp, but the average temperatures have been adjusted to a constant 18 °C as derived from the Fluke average temps.

For loading the CPU, I used Prime95 version 25.8 using in-place large FFT’s and ran it for 30 minutes to stabilize temps. After 30 minutes, I would exit Prime95 and let the CPU idle for at least 10 minutes. The highest recorded temperature from the hottest core for each run was then recorded off of the Real Temp log, the lowest temperature on any core was recorded and the average temperature on the hottest core was calculated during the load portion of each run and adjusted to a constant 18 °C.

Each fan configuration was tested with three remounts of the heatsink, and the lowest average temperature run recorded, to minimize any problems between mount to mount installations.

The Results

First up is a recapitulation of the stock results acheived with these heatsinks in my original review with the initial test setup. The Megahalems is being tested with the TR-FBD-1600 Thermalright fan since Prolimatech does not sell the Megahalems with a fan, just to allow easy comparison of the relative performance of it with the other two heatsinks. The TRUE Rev. C was tested with the same fan since it is the original fan that came with this retail model heatsink. The Cogage True Spirit was tested with the fan that it came shipped with. This should allow a true “out of the box” performance comparison between the three heatsinks.

Here is a chart with the original test results I got with these three heatsinks in my original test configuration (Intel 980X, Antec clone case):

The next chart gives my results with these three heatsinks with my present test setup in their stock configuration:

With my present test setup, I am seeing the same order between the heatsinks in performance, but it looks like the Megahalems is having some issues dealing with the higher heat load of the i7 930 overclocked to 4 GHz as compared to the 980X at the same clock speed. In the first round of testing, it was very close to the True Spirit in performance, but I am now seeing a separation in cooling performance between them, with the Megahalems lagging further behind.

Next up is a chart showing the performance of the Prolimatech Megahalems with the various fans all the three heatsinks were tested with:

The following chart gives the performance of the Cogage True Spirit with the fans used on all three heatsinks:

Finally, we get to the TRUE Rev. C and it’s performance with the same fans:

Finally, here is a chart comparing these three heatsinks with other heatsinks I have tested at 4 GHz on my present testbed setup in their stock out-of-the-box configurations:

Conclusion

As we can see here, the numbers may have changed between the original test setup and this retest, but the order of finish is still the same. The oldest design of the bunch, the TRUE Rev. C, still comes out as the top cooler of the three. The Cogage True Spirit comes in at a pretty close second place and is by far the best price/performance leader of the three. And finally, we have the Prolimatech Megahalems bringing up the rear. It’s performance is pretty good, but not even close to the top performance TRUE Rev. C.

I searched for the best pricing I can find on the three heatsinks (correct at time of publishing). For the Prolimatech Megahalems, I found it for sale from two of the cooling vendors I usually shop (including Jab-Tech) at for $59.95 (not including shipping). The Ultra120 eXtreme 1366RT Rev.C, is on sale for for $59.99 at SuperBiiz with free shipping. Since it is a complete ready-to-run offering, that clearly beats out the Megahalems both in pure performance and in price/performance. Finally, after looking around, I found the Cogage True Spirit for sale for $31.99 at SVC (not including shipping). Since it is also a complete cooling solution, nothing else will be needed to get this up and running on your LGA1366 system, and as such makes the True Spirit the clear price/performance bargain of the three. It’s performance is within a hair of the TRUE Rev. C for less than two thirds the cost delivered to your door.

This concludes my update to these three heatsinks: I hope that you find this information useful. Stay tuned, as I have some new offerings coming up shortly.

– Jim Gautreaux (muddocktor)

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Discussion
  1. Damn. I might just well keep my TRUE then! Maybe I could lap mine properly.. Currently got 2 Gentle Typhoon 1850s on it; silent; and on my OC I don't go over 75 on the hottest core.. But that's at 1.25v :\. Maybe my mount is a bit weak.. (I've got the single-bar type mount, which is supposedly better?). Though I've checked my surface and it's definitely not flat D:
    Good to know my old cooler still sits up there :p.
    Now; care to make a comparison chart with your results for these older coolers with say; the new Corsair Hydro series and the Noctua D14, the Silver Arrow; etc? Would be interesting. Other sites have it; but specifically for how you test with different fan configs I'd like to see =)
    Is yours an original TRUE or a Rev. C version? I am assuming that you have a rev C since you have the newer style mount instead of the old "X" style. And the base of your heatsink isn't supposed to be flat. Thermalright machines them to be slightly convex, in order to point load the center of the IHS to make better contact at the hottest part of the processor IHS. Prolimatech, Noctua and other manufacturers do this also. You can try lapping, but unless TR machined it off center, you will gain little, if any performance.
    And yes, the old TRUE design still hangs in there with the big dogs. It just shows how solid of a design that TR came up with in the first place.:thup:
    As for some of the others you mentioned: some of them will be tested soon. Unfortunately the NH-D14 won't be retested, since I sold it since the first review and I won't buy another one to review again.
    Thanks, Muddocktor. I'm running a Megahalems heatsinks on overclocked 2600Ks and an overclocked Xeon X3440 (i7, 95W). I'm running a TRUE, original version (I think...) on an overclocked I7 870. I've also run these same coolers on overclocked Q6600s. I have no experience with the Cogage True Spirit, but I can say that the Megahalems and TRUE perform about the same on 95W, 4-core Intel processors. The spread of temperature between the two on an overclocked 130W CPU is very interesting. Again, thanks for the review.
    Thanks, Leo. The True Spirit is surprisingly effective in it's cooling ability, especially considering that you can get it for $32 plus shipping and it also comes with a fan. The only drawback to it is that it uses the original "X" style Thermalright 1366 mount, which I don't particularly care for because it lets the heatsink rotate around on top of the processor with very little side force. As for the difference between the original TRUE and the Rev. C, the easiest 2 ways to tell the difference are:
    1 - The Rev. C has a "V" shaped cut in the center of the fins from the bottom to almost the top fin. The top fin is still solid, without the "V" cut in it. Note that the Rev. B also has this same "V" cut in the fins, but it has the original fin count and spacing.
    2 - The original TRUE and Rev. B TRUE have 52 fins. The Rev. C has 48 fins spaced a little bit wider apart.
    I picked up a used Thermalright True Black, so I find the article timely indeed. Enjoyable too. I believe the Black is the Rev B plated?
    The 1156 Rev B mounting kit is no longer available (uses the spring/screws).
    Thermalright recommends the Venomous X Kit, which bolts down. Is this likely to make a difference?
    Thanks Walter:salute:
    The new mounting kits for the TRUE are far better - both of my TRUEs have used the older X-style bracket which is a royal PITA to install, even for me having done it probably twenty times.
    And yes I think the Black TRUE is Rev B - a very nice cooler and a good buy! I have no intention to part with my Copper TRUE...ever, really.
    They also made the TRUE Black in Rev A and also Rev C models too. And just looking at the Thermalright website, they have discontinued the TRUE Black Rev. C. So if you want one you better get it now.
    EDIT: BTW Lenny, speaking of the Copper TRUE, guess what came in this afternoon. :D I couldn't resist getting me another one. I sold my original around 6 months ago, but kind of regretted it. And I saw that PPC still has some Cu TRUE's in stock at a good price so I bought me another one. And unlike the last one, this one has a nice straight, flat base, so I won't have to lap the sucker for hours like the last one. :thup:
    Yeah I know. Leo. They are definitely a beautiful heatsink. I'm going to have to remember to wear some rubber gloves when I handle it this time so it doesn't get fingerprints on it. :rock: But you have to keep in mind at all times that it does weight over 4 pounds, which means no bumps or even slight drops when you are moving the system. And it also has the older "X" style mounts for 1366 and 775 as well as the older style AM3 mount, so you might want to buy the new Rev mount or a Ven-X style mount for it.
    The copper tarnishes very easily from finger prints, which is why I polish my TRUE every so often (true story)... it's such a GORGEOUS heatsink, especially when it has a mirror-like shine to it, and I have a windowed case so I need it to look nice :D
    @ Mud, did you mount your TRUE Cu just like a regular one without extra support? I used to have mine tied to the roof of my case, but for the last few months I haven't bothered, and the motherboard seems to be doing fine lol. :)
    I never bothered using extra support for it and it didn't seem to affect anything. But I do use the Rev. 2 mount instead of the old "X" style it comes with. Got a good deal on some Rev. 2 1366 mounts so I bought 3 of them.
    Only the Venomous X mount is available now, supposedly the best of the lot, lol.
    Waiting for one for a used True Black I bought (only came with partial 1366 mount).
    I do like the look.
    Yeah, I saw that about the Ven-X mounts. Looks like everyone is running out of stock on the Rev 2 mounts on all socket designs, even though Thermalright isn't showing them as discontinued (yet). But the Ven-X mount is also very good and will work on any Intel socket, so less stock for vendors to keep.