Thermalright Venomous X

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After using a performance/dollar CPU cooler for around a year, I decided it was time to dip into the “high-end” air cooling solutions.  The Venomous X recently entered the game, and I found a good deal on it (free shipping reeled me in), so I pulled the trigger.  I’ve done some detailed testing to see if my buy was worth the money, and today, I present a summary of my testing and results for your viewing pleasure.  Enjoy!

Specifications & Features

Thermalright’s Website:  Venomous X

Heatsink Specifications

  • Size:  127mm (W) x 63mm (D) x 160mm (H)
  • Weight:  755g (Excluding fan and bracket system)
  • Heatpipes:  Six 6mm sintered heatpipes
  • Copper Base:  C1100 pure nickel plated copper base with ultra-shine mirrored surface.

Features

  • All new patented multiple support pressure vault bracket system allows users to add pressure to the bracket system (40-70 lbs.), and have a more efficient and secure mounting. (1366/1156/775)
  • Mirrored copper base increasingly upgrade the quality and the performance of the heatsink.
  • Special bent winglet design allows hot air to pass the heatsink more rapidly.
  • Heatsink is nickel plated to ensure the best quality and performance, and could last for years.
  • Soldered heatpipes and copper base and fins to ensure the best thermal conducting efficiency.
  • Six sintered heatpipe design. All heatpipes are nickel plated to slow the oxidation deterioration to the heatpipe and to ensure longer usage and performance of the heatsink.
  • Including 2 sets of 120 x 25mm fan clips and Chill Factor II thermal paste.
  • Convex copper base design to ensure the highest thermal conducting thermal efficiency between the cpu and the heatsink.

Packaging

The Venomous X is very well packaged:  plastic wrapping and foam secures all sides.  A separate “accessory pack” is placed on top of the heatsink, and it’s the first thing you see when opening the Venomous X.  The installation instructions and a case badge are placed between the heatsink and accessory pack.

Venomous X Box

Venomous X Box

Box Contents

Box Contents

Here, the heatsink removed from the packaging and shown at a few different angles.

Out of the Box

Out of the Box

Side View

Side View

Top View

Top View

The base has a mirror finish.  I checked the convexity/concavity of the base, and as advertised, it is slightly convex to put more pressure where the die is located.  Also, it seems the convex shape isn’t spherical, it’s elliptical, so the base isn’t equally convex in all directions.  On this particular VX, the base is more convex in the direction parallel to the heatpipes, and less convex in the direction crossing the heatpipes.  So, depending on how the cores are aligned on the die, the VX may perform better in a certain orientation.  More on this in the results section.

Mirror Base

Mirror Base

Base Convexity Parallel to Heatpipes

Base Convexity Parallel to Heatpipes

Base Convexity Perpendicular to Heatpipes

Base Convexity Perpendicular to Heatpipes

The accessories:  Chill Factor 2 thermal paste, thumbscrews, back plate, top plate, pressure plate, wrench, anti-vibration strips, and fan clips. I’d like to note that the fan clips are described as 120x25mm fan clips in Thermalright’s features, but since the clips are attached to the side of the fan closest to the heatsink, you can use fans of any width with these clips.

Inside the Accessory Pack

Inside the Accessory Pack

Installation

Mounting the back plate was easy enough.  The built-in screws on the back plate just slide back and forth to fit LGA775, LGA1156, or LGA1336 mounting holes.  Then, the double-sided thumbscrews are used to secure the back plate.

Mounted Backplate

Mounted Backplate (Back of Motherboard)

Mounted Backplate (Top of Motherboard)

Mounted “Top” Plate

The top plate just drops in over the double-sided thumbscrews, and another set of thumbscrews is used to secure the top plate.

Mounted Top Plate

Mounted Top Plate

The pressure plate needs to be added next. The first picture is the mount without any added pressure, and you can see the plate is flush with the heatsink base. The second picture is after the pressure knob has been turned as far as possible, and you can now see a gap between the plate and heatsink base. That gap makes it possible to easily spin the VX while it’s mounted. This makes me wonder, if your case isn’t perfectly level, then would the VX slowly turn on it’s own over time? If that were to happen, then would it have any effect on cooling?

Pressure Plate Without Knob Tightening

Pressure Plate Without Knob Tightened

Pressure Plate with Knob Tightened

Pressure Plate With Knob Tightened

Test Setup & Methodology

Test Setup

  • Intel E8400 E0 @ 8x500MHz (4GHz)
  • Thermalright Venomous X
  • San Ace 109R1212H101 @ 2600RPM (100%)
  • Gigabyte EP45-UD3P rev 1.0
  • G.Skill 2x2GB DDR2-1066
  • Intel X25-M G2 80GB
  • Corsair HX520
Open Test Setup

Open Test Setup

Methodology

  • Varied vCore between 1.23750-1.38125v to increase heat.
  • Arctic Silver 5 was used instead of Chill Factor 2 for consistency with my HDT-s1283 tests, which were done before I received the VX and Chill Factor 2.
  • Used 5 minute ORTHOS runs for load temps.
  • Ambient Temp ~21˚C.  A thermal sensor was placed in front of the “push” fan to measure ambient temps.

Results

Thermalright VX vs Xigmatek HDT-s1283 in Push Configuration (MattNo5ss)

Unfortunately, I don’t have any other “high-end” heatsinks to pit the VX against, although I do have the HDT-s1283 (w/ Bolt-Thru Kit) which is one of the the best performance/dollar heatsinks available. I expected the VX to outperform the HDT-s1283, but not by the margin at which it did.  These tests use a single fan pushing air through the heatsink, the typical setup for most users. The results show an almost consistent difference in temps (ΔT) between the two heatsinks, averaging 8.3˚C. The reason I say almost is because if you look closely at the graph or table, you’ll notice the ΔT slightly increases as the CPU gets hotter. This means the VX performs even better at higher temps, this can be seen in ΔT > avg ΔT at those higher temps. So, for those who like getting every last MHz out of their CPU, the VX is a great option. If you’re one of those guys/girls that just likes a mediocre overclock with great temps, then the average 8˚C improvement of the VX over a performance/dollar heatsink is HUGE and definitely worth the price premium.

vCore -vs- Load Temp

vCore -vs- Load Temp

vCore -vs- Load Temp

vCore -vs- Load Temp

Thermalright VX:  Push vs Push/Pull Configurations (MattNo5ss)

These tests use two fans, one pushing air into the heatsink and one pulling air out.  This setup is typically for those who need to keep their temps as low as possible to get the highest overclock out of their CPU.  As expected, Push/Pull will improved temps between 1-2˚C.  It’s not a lot of improvement, but some nonetheless.  It’s also worth noting that the change in temps between Push and Push/Pull increases as the load temp increases.  So, the hotter your CPU runs, the more Push/Pull will lower temps. This correlates to the slightly better performance of the VX over the HDT-s1283 in the previous tests. The VX performs better at higher temps, and even better at higher temps with two fans in Push/Pull. Again, that can be seen in ΔT > avg ΔT at those higher temps.

Push -vs- Push/Pull

Push -vs- Push/Pull

Push -vs- Push/Pull

Push -vs- Push/Pull

Heatsink Orientation

After the convexity tests, it was theorized that the VX may perform better depending on the orientation of the heatsink.  Also, after noticing the VX can be easily twisted when the pressure knob is tightened, I pondered the thought of the VX twisting on its own in a typical case that isn’t level.

Dual Core

Test Setup (MattNo5ss)

  • Same test setup as previous tests.

With the dual core CPU, the heatsink’s orientation had a negligible effect on temps, it was within margin of error.  This was expected because the E8400’s die is in the center of the CPU (see below).  Also, on a dual core CPU, any gradual twisting of the heatsink over time shouldn’t cause a noticeable effect on temps for the same reason.

Wolfdale Die

Wolfdale Die

Quad Core

Test setup (baditude_df)

  • i7 950 @ 4GHz HT w/ 1.248 vCore
  • ASUS Rampage II Extreme
  • Thermalright VX
  • 1x San Ace 109R1212H1011 Push @ 1800RPMs (~70%)
  • MX-2 Thermal Paste
  • Ambient Temp:  23˚C
  • Loaded with Rosetta

Temps in the Front/Back Configuration:

  • 66˚C, 70˚C, 68˚C, 75˚C (Each reading is one of the cores)
  • 69.75 ˚C Avg
  • 9˚C Core Spread (Difference between the coolest and hottest cores)

Temps in the Top/Down Configuration:

  • 64˚C, 66˚C, 65˚C, 69˚C (Each reading is one of the cores)
  • 66˚C Avg
  • 5˚C Core Spread (Difference between the coolest and hottest cores)

(NOTE: If you’re curious, baditude_df‘s custom waterloop kept a similar setup ~8˚C cooler than the VX on the above setup.  Details on the loop’s testing can be found here.)

There is an obvious difference in performance when the VX is mounted in different orientations on a quad core CPU.  The i7 950 die is shaped like a rectangle and extends more towards the edge of the CPU (see below).  The best orientation for the VX on this CPU would be with the flattest axis along the length of the CPU die.  In baditude_df‘s case, a change in heatsink configuration netted him ~4˚C cooler temps.  With a quad core CPU, like the i7 950, gradual twisting over time could affect temps due to the die shape.  How much will it affect temps?  Probably not a whole lot; the allowable angle of twist isn’t very large.

Nehalem Die

Nehalem Die

Closing Remarks

With the results of these tests, I’m very pleased with my purchase.  It’s hard to be disappointed with an 8-10˚C improvement in temps, depending on fan configuration.  I believe the main reason for the VX performing so well is its new pressure mounting system which guarantees good contact with the CPU. I’d like to reiterate that if you own a quad core CPU, and since the VX has a convex base, then be sure to test it in both Top/Down and Front/Back configurations before a final mount is made. Whether you’re a “hardcore” overclocker or just like getting a mediocre boost in performance, then the Venomous X is the air cooling solution for you.

Before I go, I’d like to thank baditude_df for letting me use his results in this article.  I couldn’t have made a comparison of CPU die vs mount orientation without him.

I hope you enjoyed the read as much as I enjoyed doing the testing!

– Matt T. Green (MattNo5ss)

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Discussion
  1. You won't be disappointed. Although, the TRUE is still a very good cooler.
    If you do get a VX, then I would be interested in your results with the i5 750, especially since you will be coming from the HDT-s1283 as well.
    I realize it's probably not the cooler's fault, but I don't want to test out this TRUE. I bought it in the classifieds as it was described as a Rev C, when it was in fact a Rev A. Then, somehow after mounting this TRUE my processor loses a contact pad and I have to RMA my cpu (luckily Intel is replacing it for me). After all this I just want to sell this TRUE to be rid of any curses!
    I got a VX lined up for 45 shipped, so I'm probably just gonna go with the easier mount and not feeling like I should probably lap my heatsink.
    I'm really glad that I read your article. It was well written.
    But I'm just a little puzzled for the best orientation for the VX. As you've mention, CPU for core i5-750 could be rectangle like the i7-950.
    The best orientation for the VX on this CPU would be with the flattest axis along the length of the CPU die.

    Does this means Top/Down would be the better solution position for the VX?
    If I'm not mistaken, my current position would be named as Front/Back configuration?
    I'll attached two photos of my installation for better picture of view.
    keatsan
    I'm really glad that I read your article. It was well written.
    But I'm just a little puzzled for the best orientation for the VX. As you've mention, CPU for core i5-750 could be rectangle like the i7-950.
    Does this means Top/Down would be the better solution position for the VX?
    If I'm not mistaken, my current position would be named as Front/Back configuration?
    I'll attached two photos of my installation for better picture of view.

    Because all VXs may not be convex exactly like mine, I cannot make a statement saying "X config is the best for everyone." Your best config would depend on how convex your VX's base is and in which directions. The easiest way to find out which config is best is to just test both top/down and front/back. Yes, your setup is a front/back config. If in a standard, upright case, then front/back just means that air flows horizontally through the heatsink and top/down means air flows vertically through the heatsink.
    baditude_df
    Thank you Matt. Well put together and a good read all in all.

    Thanks for the compliment, and thanks for letting me use your data.
    MattNo5ss
    Because all VXs may not be convex exactly like mine, I cannot make a statement saying "X config is the best for everyone." Your best config would depend on how convex your VX's base is and in which directions. The easiest way to find out which config is best is to just test both top/down and front/back. Yes, your setup is a front/back config. If in a standard, upright case, then front/back just means that air flows horizontally through the heatsink and top/down means air flows vertically through the heatsink.
    Thanks for the compliment, and thanks for letting me use your data.

    Thanks for the info. Will try it out.
    Hey Matt,
    Thanks for the great review! I found this article after trying to google and find out the best orientation for a VX. I bought mine at christmas and am just about to install it (have a TRUE in my case now, gonna sell it to a friend). Here are my system specs:
    Asus P7P55D
    Core I5-750
    Radeon HD4870
    2x2GB OCZ Platinum 1333 mhz (no problems with clearance on CPU cooler
    My current case is an ANTEC P193 and because of that I mounted the TRUE I have front to back since the heatpipes just clear the side fan bracket in that orientation (won't clear in up/down as far as I could tell). I recall reading about the quad core die and how it's rectangular, IIRC on this motherboard (and probably most others) the length of that rectangle will be aligned horizontally with the CPU installed.
    One question I had is with respect to the heatpipes. As you can see from the heatpipes, they are crimped on the top on one side and not on the other. Do you think it makes any difference which way you orient the VX with respect to where those crimped pipes are? Really shouldn't make any difference since we're dealing with a fairly symmetrical cooler, and the crimping itself shouldn't really affect anything.
    I had a question about your article when you say "Base Convexity Parallel/Perpendicular to Heatpipes"; I think you got those two reversed. Wouldn't parallel align with the heatpipes along their length (i.e. the longer orientation of the VX itself)? Not trying to argue semantics or anything, just wondering why you worded it this way. I think there's some merit to aligning the longest part of the die parallel to the heatpipes, like this crappy diagram demonstrates:
    ------------------heatpipes
    --|processor|--heatpipes
    --|processor|--heatpipes
    --|processor|--heatpipes
    ------------------heatpipes
    If making the heatpipes and die parallel is indeed better, it might be worth it regardless of the convexity of the base. I'm swapping my case this week to a Lian Li PC-A05N and since there's no interference with any side fans, I am going to mount the VX up/down with the push/pull configuration, fans directing air upwards (which, in the case of the A05N will be pushing air towards the video card). The back fan of the A05N will be pushing cool air into the area of the CPU cooler. It would make some sense to have the VX front/back with cool air being blown from the back fan right into the push fan for the cooler, but I really do feel the up/down might work better (hot air rising, heatpipes aligned with die).
    Let me know if you have any comments. I'll try and remember to post back once I complete the swap.
    First...:welcome: to OCForums!
    Secondly, thanks for the compliment and I'm glad my review has helped you.
    Now, on to the issues at hand...
    Do you think it makes any difference which way you orient the VX with respect to where those crimped pipes are? Really shouldn't make any difference since we're dealing with a fairly symmetrical cooler, and the crimping itself shouldn't really affect anything.

    I agree with you, I don't think the crimping will have any noticeable effect on cooling, they had to close the pipes somehow...:D
    I had a question about your article when you say "Base Convexity Parallel/Perpendicular to Heatpipes"; I think you got those two reversed. Wouldn't parallel align with the heatpipes along their length (i.e. the longer orientation of the VX itself)? Not trying to argue semantics or anything, just wondering why you worded it this way. I think there's some merit to aligning the longest part of the die parallel to the heatpipes...

    The parallel/perpendicular refers to aligning the convexity parallel/perpendicular to the die, not aligning the heatpipes parallel/perpendicular to the die. The terminology really depends on how you are looking at the convexity. I was looking at the convexity from left to right in the photos, but if I was looking at the convexity from front to back "into" the photo, then the terminology could be reversed.
    Example:

    In the pic above, from side to side across the photo, the convexity is perpendicular to the heatpipes. But, if I look at it from front to back "into" the photo, then it's parallel to the heatpipes. So, the terminology really depends on your point of view.
    As for the best way to mount your VX, it doesn't depend on the direction heatpipes. What matters is the convexity, and you want the flattest axis going across the length of the CPU die, so the VX base will be close to as much of the die as possible.
    For "heatpipe direct touch" type heatsinks with no separate base, like the HDT-s1283, then the direction of the heatpipes would have more of an effect. You would want to calculate the area of actual heatpipe touching the CPU (above the die) in both configurations, and then use the config with the most heatpipe area touching the CPU (above the die).
    If anything I said was unclear, let me know; or if you have more questions, feel free to ask away.
    Hey Matt,
    Thanks for the quick reply, definitely clears everything up that you're saying. I understand now what you're saying and will check out my VX before mounting. If it turns out like yours then I will get things exactly how I want them (heatpipes parallel to the die & that also having the flattest side). Even without having direct contact heatpipes, I still think there's some merit to aligning the heatpipes with the die. Although it's probably not nearly as important as the convexity like you said.
    It's interesting about the heatpipes and their orientation. The seemingly best orientation for the heatpipes on these tower style coolers would be if you had a desktop style case, where the heatpipes were sticking up straight. Then the bottom of the pipes are fully submerged in fluid for maximum cooling. When you start talking about orienting a cooler with the heatpipes horizontal, you have the fluid running along the entire bottom length of the pipe. Now, your bottom fan is blowing air along the entire surface of the pipe which has the fluid instead of also blowing air on air inside the pipes (can you picture it?). So I think there's a lot to it, not just the contact area of the CPU. Whether or not these differences are significant I'm not sure.
    I've got my new power supply and getting case tonight! I'll check back in after.