Heatsink Test – Joe
SUMMARY: Excellent heatsink for hot CPUs at reasonable noise levels, although large and on the heavy side.
The good guys at Thermalright were nice enough to send their latest heatpipe heatsink, the Ultra 120 for all Intel P4 LGA775 processors, P4 Socket478 processors and AMD Athlon64 / FX / X2 / Opteron (all models) for a test spin. This unit features four heatpipes bent into a “U” shaped configuration. Note that the fins feature a bent winglet design to minimize airflow resistance.
What’s nice about this heatsink is that it uses a 120mm fan – noise levels can be more tolerable than high speed 80 and 92mm fans. The Ultra-120 is a logical progression from the Ultra-90. Note that this heatsink is fairly large – at 745 grams/1.6 pounds, this is not a light weight cooling solution and is on the large side as well (no such thing as a free lunch).
The base is well finished; I used the Poor Man’s Flatness Test on it with good results:
The Ultra-120 ships with mounting gear for LGA775 and AMD Athlon64 / FX / X2 / Opteron heatsinks:
I tested Thermalright’s Ultra-120 using the CPU Large Die Tester. In addition as a cross-check, I also tested it on an Abit AI7 motherboard with a modified P4 to read case temps. The Ultra-120 was tested with a Delta 120 mm fan at various fan speeds to give a range of results.
|Thermalright Ultra-120, 2507 rpm, 55 dBA|
|Thermalright Ultra-120, 1752 rpm, <50 dBA|
|Thermalright Ultra-120, 1018 rpm, <50 dBA|
Results place the Ultra-120 in the top rank of heatsinks tested to date (Heatsink Ranking) on the Large Die Tester with the fan at its highest speed setting. Performance at the lowest fan speed is very good; at this setting, the fan is almost silent – inside a case, the fan on low will not be noticeable.
Thermalright’s Ultra-120 was tested on an Abit AI7 motherboard with a modified P4 3.2E to read CPU case temps.
|Thermalright Ultra-120, 2518 rpm, 55 dBA|
|Thermalright Ultra-120, 1750 rpm, <55 dBA|
|Thermalright Ultra-120, 1029 rpm, <55 dBA|
¹MBM on-die temperatures.
²50 dBA measured 8″ from the fan intake corresponds to about 30 dBA measured 3 feet from the fan, a very quiet noise level.
Both tests turn in excellent results.
While similar in performance to Thermalright’s Ultra-90, the Ultra-120 is much quieter – a good choice for excellent air cooling at very tolerable noise levels. Overall, an excellent choice for aggressive/low noise cooling.
Disclosure: Joe Citarella has a financial interest in a company developing thermosyphon products for electronic chip cooling.