Coming up today is the second of three new heatsinks Thermalright has released recently. Last October, I reviewed the HR-02 Macho, which is a re-spin of the original HR-02 that is priced much lower than the original. Today we will be looking at a totally new design, the True Spirit 140. Like the Macho, the True Spirit 140 will have an MSRP of $39.95, but it’s design philosophy is a bit different. We will be seeing if it can deliver performance comparable or better to the Macho and also to Thermalright’s more expensive premium offerings.
Thermalright has been one of the leaders in heatsink design for performance cooling for quite a while now. And lately they have been coming out with new designs and every one I have tested in recent history has brought very good to great performance to the table. With this heatsink, Thermalright looks to be aiming for performance roughly comparable to the Archon at a more affordable price point. The sample under review today was kindly supplied by Thermalright for this review.
Features and Specifications
(Courtesy of Thermalright)
- ULTRA style heatsink fin array, with copper base, elevates heatsink’s overall quality.
- Large heatsink fin array, provides dissipating area of up to 150 X 125 mm, make complete use of the airflow, with 140 mm or 120 mm fan.
- With the max width of 55mm, tall memory spreaders are avoided.
- Support Multiple-Platforms. Can be used on Socket 1366/1155/775 Platform, and AM2/AM3 Socket.
- Includes one Thermalright TY-140 PWM fan, Ultra low noise at 21 dBA at max rpm (50cm testing distance).
- Fan clips are compatible both 140 mm and 120 mm fans.
- Dimensions: 155mm X 53 mm X 170 mm
- Weight: 771 grams including fan and pads, excluding mounting brackets
- Heatpipes: 6 X 6 mm
- Copper base: C1100 Pure copper nickel plated with mirror shine
- Dimension: L160mm x H140mm x W26.5mm
- Weight: 140 grams
- Fan speed: 900~1300 RPM (PWM controlled)
- Fan noise: 19~21 dBA
- Airflow: 56~73 CFM
- Connector: 4 Pin (PWM Fan connector)
As you can see from the specifications and features Thermalright is advertising, this should perform well . Also, since I received this sample unit, Thermalright has come out with a mounting kit for Intel LGA2011. So with the mounting adapter kit, this heatsink is good for use on any modern platform. Since I presently don’t have an LGA2011 system, I didn’t ask for an adapter kit and cannot verify how well the adapter kit works for mounting on that platform. This adapter kit also is used for mounting the HR-02 Macho and the second generation True Spirit to the LGA2011 platform.
The True Spirit 140 has a measured mass of 606 grams with the four foam pads for fan mounting installed, the fan included with it has a measured mass of 163.2 grams and the fan clips have a mass of 3.0 grams each, as checked by my Ohaus Model 2610 triple beam balance. The numbers for the assembled heatsink and fan are very close to the advertised mass, but the numbers Thermalright gives for the TY-140 fan are roughly 20 grams light. Maybe they checked it without a power cable attached to the fan body.
The packaging of the True Spirit 140 follows along with the Macho in that it comes in a thin cardboard box with pictures and bullet points on it instead of Thermalright’s traditional plain brown box their more expensive heatsinks come in. The box is done in a predominantly black and pale blue scheme, with pictures of the heatsink and bullet points and features printed on the sides. Thermalright did a good job with the packaging and it looks very nice, with no garishness to the color scheme.
The box itself measures 7 3/16 x 4 5/16 x 7 7/8 inches (182.5 x 109.5 x 200 mm) in size, which again is small by Thermalright’s previous packaging standards.
First Look and Installation
Once you open the box, you see a white box that contains the mounting hardware and instructions. Once that is removed, you then lift a piece of foam from underneath the hardware box and you have access to the heatsink and fan. Once you remove the heatsink and fan from the box, you will notice that like Thermalright did with the HR-02 Macho, they left the heatpipes in their natural copper finish instead of nickel plating them. This saves them some money, which they can then pass along to their customers in lower pricing without sacrificing cooling performance.
The heatsink itself looks similar to other Thermalright offerings, but with differences too. The basic shape reminds of the TRUE series of heatsinks, but is different at the sides. It is also around 20 mm wider than the TRUE, around 12 mm taller to the ends of the heatpipes, but also around 10-11 mm thinner. The fin stack is 110 mm tall, which is a couple of mm taller than the TRUE fin stack.
The mounting hardware is exactly the same as used with the HR-02 Macho. It is different from the older Thermalright mounts, which I prefer, but it does do a good job of mounting the heatsink to all three platforms tested. No problems were encountered when mounting this unit on LGA1366, LGA775 or AM2. And I had no interference with the first ram slot and the fan on these three boards either. On the AM2 system the fan was right up to the first ram slot, but didn’t interfere with installing ram.
The fan clips on this heatsink are much the same as the ones used with the Macho. They do allow mounting either 120 or 140 mm fans on the heatsink, but can’t deal with fan thicknesses other than standard 25 mm fans. And unlike the Macho, the thicker fin stack precludes using the Venomous X style fan clips with this heatsink. If you want to mount some thick fans on this heatsink you will be needing to strap them on with tie wraps or engineer your own mounting clips for them. And the first few times you clip a fan to the heatsink with them, they are extremely hard to engage to the fan body correctly. They do loosen up a bit after several times of clipping the fans though.
The base of the heatsink itself is finished just like the HR-02 Macho. The dimensions are the same (obviously since it uses the same mounting hardware) and the base is finished in a bright nickel finish. And like modern Thermalright products, the base is slightly convex on the long axis for better contact at the middle of the processor’s IHS. There are some slight machine marks in the base, but aren’t readily felt when running a fingernail across the base.
The mounting instructions that come with the True Spirit 140 are clear, with good illustrations to show the mounting procedure. They have separate sheets for mounting to AMD and Intel systems. The English translations were excellent, by the way. No fractured English instructions like some other companies have with their cooling products and in my opinion, that is money well spent by Thermalright.
Mounting the True Spirit 140 was straightforward and relatively simple. If your case has a hole cut in the motherboard backplate, you don’t even have to remove the motherboard for installation of the mounting hardware. If it doesn’t have a hole in the mobo backplate, you will have to remove the motherboard for the initial installation. Once the mounting hardware is installed on the motherboard, there is no reason to have to remove the off-side case panel for removing the heatsink for cleaning. The True Spirit 140 was easier to mount than the HR-02 Macho though, since it isn’t as large and the holes for the crossbar mounting screws have clear access. No clearance problems were found in any of the three platforms.
Here are some pictures of the heatsink mounted with various fans in the test system:
The fans used for testing this heatsink are as follows:
|Fan||Size (mm)||RPM||CFM||dBA||H2O Static Pressure (in H2O)||Wattage||Mass (g)|
|Yate Loon D14SL-12||140 x 25||1000||46.9||25.0||N/A||6.0||155.5|
|Yate Loon D14 SM-12||140 x 25||1400||62.0||29.0||N/A||8.4||157.5|
|Gentle Typhoon D1225C12B5AP-15||120 x 25||1850||58.0||26.0||0.081||1.0||195.5|
|Scythe S-Flex SFF21G||120 x 25||1900||75.0||35.0||0.15||2.88||182|
|Delta AFB1212SH||120 x 25||3400||113.11||46.5||0.43||6.36||202.3|
|Gentle Typhoon D1225C12BBAP-31||120 x 25||5400||150.1||50.5||0.60||13.68 running32.28 starting||213.6|
Since more heatsinks are now coming out that fit 140 mm sized fans, I have added low speed and medium speed 140 x 25 mm Yate Loon fans to my testing selection of fans. I will be testing heatsinks that fit true 140 mm sized fans with them in the future, besides testing the True Spirit 140 with them.
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 Rampage II Extreme
- Processor – Intel Core i7 930, overclocked to 4015 MHz @ 1.303 v.
- RAM – Corsair XMS3 DDR3 1600
- Video Card – EVGA GeForce GTX550 Ti
- 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.
I had a few hardware failures since my last review. My Asus P6T board got unstable on vcore for some reason, with it ramping the vcore up during different runs with all the same settings in bios. And around that time I found a good deal on the Rampage II Extreme board, which I bought as a replacement. The Rampage II Extreme is a more tunable board and much higher-end, but the layout of it is very much the same as the P6T, especially around the socket area. I reset all bios settings as close as possible to the P6T settings for continuing my testing and vcore and processor speed came very close to what was being run in the previous tests of earlier heatsinks. And my old 7900GTX video card finally packed it in and died too, shortly after the P6T started acting up. I replaced it with an EVGA GeForce 550 Ti, which is a dual slot video card that exhausts heat out of the back of the computer, just like the old 7900GTX did. I noticed no notable difference in cooling runs with it installed versus the old 7900GTX by running a few tests with a previously reviewed heatsink.
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 3.60, 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 in the charts 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.
First up are the results I recorded with various fans on the Genesis:
These results are simply outstanding, no matter the price point this heatsink sells for. That it is a heatsink that sells for around $40 and is a complete cooling solution that is ready to go makes this performance even more phenomenal. I was impressed with the cooling performance of the Prolimatech Genesis, but I also expected a lot from it due to it’s price point. But the True Spirit 140 actually beats it in outright performance when compared with the same fans installed on both. It showed scaling in cooling performance with a push pull fan setup installed and also showed scaling with higher cfm and static pressure too. It also performed well with the 140 x 25 mm Yate Loon fans, but with the low speed Yate fans installed the performance was actually less than just using it’s single stock TY-140 fan.
Now we will compare it in it’s stock configuration to other heatsinks I have tested at 4 GHz:
As you can see here, in it’s stock configuration it beats everything I have tested to date except the Corsair H80, which sells for over twice the cost of the True Spirit 140. Plus, the fan that comes with the True Spirit 140 is much quieter than the fans on the H80. Thermalright’s engineers have impressed me once again with this heatsink. They have designed and executed a heatsink that gives world class performance while keeping the price point at a reasonable level. One very minor problem I did run into when testing this heatsink was with the foam pads that are used for fan mounting coming off the fins. The glue on them didn’t hold well with repeated removal and re-installation of the fans. I remedied this problem by wiping down the sticky side with isopropyl alcohol and painting the sticky side with superglue, then sticking them back to the corners of the heatsink.
Thermalright again has come up with an answer to the competition in the heatsink market. Not only have they kept pricing reasonable on the True Spirit 140, they have also kept the performance up there in the top rank of air cooling. I have been using Thermalright cooling products since the old SLK800 series and have always been impressed with the engineering they have shown in their designs. And the True Spirit 140 shows that they haven’t lost their talent for designing Tier 1 cooling solutions. And better yet, they have done it while keeping a reasonable price point for this cooler. As far as buying this cooler goes, I’ve only found one vendor selling it. Nan’s Gaming Gear is selling it through Amazon.com for $39.95 plus shipping. In my case, shipping would be an extra $12.95 bringing the cost to my door at $52.90. While not as cheap as a Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus, the performance of this heatsink totally outclasses it too. I don’t think you can find another heatsink out there that offers this level of performance in the $50 range. The only reservation I have about this heatsink is the fact that I can only find one vendor selling it, which means there is no pricing competition between e-tailers. Besides that one minor reservation, the Thermalright True Spirit 140 easily earns itself an Overclockers Approved award!
In closing, I would like to thank Thermalright for giving me the chance to review this outstanding performer. I have no reservations at all in recommending this cooler for any system out there. You can spend more money, but you will be very hard pressed to get better performance when using air cooling on your system.
And coming soon, I will be reviewing the third new price/performance choice that Thermalright has come out with recently. It is a new revision of the Cogage True Spirit, but is being sold this time under the Thermalright nameplate and has been redesigned to use the mounting system also being used by the True Spirit 140 and HR-02 Macho. Since I still own an original Cogage True Spirit, I am looking forward to testing it’s performance as compared to the original model. I also have a couple of other heatsinks that will be reviewed shortly too. So stay tuned…
– Jim Gautreaux (muddocktor)