Thermalright Ultra-120 eXtreme Rev.C & AC Freezer Xtreme Rev.2

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Comparison Chart

The following is a comparison chart of the top coolers we've tested so far on our LGA1366 heatsink platform. The results were generated using our reference Nexus 120 mm fan as is indicative of CPU cooling performance with a single low airflow/noise fan.

°C rise Comparison
Heatsink
Nexus 120mm fan voltage /
SPL @1m
12V
9V
7V
16 dBA
13 dBA
12 dBA
Thermalright Ultra-120 eXtreme Rev.C
38
40
43
Prolimatech Megahalems
38
41
44
Noctua NH-D14
38
42
45
Noctua NH-U12P
39
42
44
Scythe Mugen-2
39
42
45
Cogage TRUE Spirit 1366
40
42
45
Prolimatech Armageddon
40
42
46
Zalman CNPS10X Quiet
40
43
46
Scythe Yasya
41
43
47
Thermalright Ultra-120 eXtreme
40
43
48
Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus
41
44
48
Thermalright Ultra-120
42
45
49
Titan Fenrir
43
46
50
Scythe Ninja 3
44
47
49
Noctua NH-C12P
43
47
51
Zalman CNPS10X Extreme
43
47
53
Zalman CNPS10X Flex
45
50
54
Cooler Master V8
46
50
54
Scythe Grand Kama Cross
45
52
57
Arctic Cooling Freezer Xtreme Rev.2
49
52
58
Scythe Kabuto
51
53
60

The Ultra-120 eXtreme Rev.C delivered a performance boost of 2~5°C over the original, propelling it from 8th/9th place on our chart all the way to the top. The AC Freezer Xtreme on the other hand posted the worst performance of any tower heatsink we've tested that utilizes a 120 mm fan and keep in mind, its stock fan performance is even worse.

MP3 SOUND RECORDINGS

These recordings were made with a high resolution, lab quality, digital recording system inside SPCR's own 11 dBA ambient anechoic chamber, then converted to LAME 128kbps encoded MP3s. We've listened long and hard to ensure there is no audible degradation from the original WAV files to these MP3s. They represent a quick snapshot of what we heard during the review.

These recordings are intended to give you an idea of how the product sounds in actual use — one meter is a reasonable typical distance between a computer or computer component and your ear. The recording contains stretches of ambient noise that you can use to judge the relative loudness of the subject. Be aware that very quiet subjects may not be audible — if we couldn't hear it from one meter, chances are we couldn't record it either!

The recording starts with 5~10 second segments of room ambiance, then the fan at various levels. For the most realistic results, set the volume so that the starting ambient level is just barely audible, then don't change the volume setting again.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Thermalright Ultra-120 eXtreme Rev.C

With the Rev.C, the Ultra-120 eXtreme catapults back to the top of our CPU cooling chart, sharing company with the likes of the Prolimatech Megahalems and Noctua NH-D14. It is amazing that a slight tweak of the fin count and an improved mounting system can make enough difference to transform a good CPU cooler into a superb one. (But perhaps there are less visible improvements such as the quality of the heatpipes used, the integrity of the mechanical connections, etc.) This once classic cooler is shiny and new once again, seemingly reborn with these minor alterations. The welcome flexibility of its AMD socket mounting system is just extra gravy. Definitely deserving of the SPCR Editor's Choice award. It can be found online for its US$50~$55, a bit more if you include the cost of a fan, but even then it is not an unreasonable amount for topnotch performance.

Thermalright Ultra-120 eXtreme Rev.C

SPCR Editor's Choice Award

Arctic Cooling Freezer Xtreme Rev.2

Just about every aspect of the Freezer Xtreme Rev.2's design is in need of improvement. First off we are not crazy about the center fan cooling scheme — the gigantic Noctua NH-D14 is the only cooler we've tested that has managed to pull it off. The Freezer has tightly spaced fins on both sides, so the fan has no source of cool intake air and faces resistance on both sides. It pulls warm air radiating off the fins from one side and blows it over the other. Furthermore, the fan utilized is inefficient due to its large hub and the wide separation between the blades and housing. Also, the contact between the heatsink base and processor isn't great, though its pushpin mounting scheme doesn't appear to be at fault. The base of our sample is slightly concave which in our experience is the exact opposite of what you want.

The only thing extreme about the Freezer is its disappointing performance, the worst we've seen from any large side-blowing tower heatsink in the past couple of years. This is a product that is in desperate need of a third revision if Arctic Cooling expects it to compete, even as a budget performance heatsink. The Freezer is smaller than most big tower coolers and its smooth-sounding fan is positioned low to help cool the heatsinks surrounding the CPU socket but unfortunately these are the only positive things we can say about it. Given its US$35~$40 street price, we simply can't recommend it. There are so many better performing alternatives available.

Our thanks to Thermalright and Arctic Cooling for the Ultra-120 eXtreme Rev.C and Freezer Xtreme Rev.C heatsink samples.

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Articles of Related Interest

Scythe Ninja 3 & Scythe Yasya CPU Heatsinks
Gelid Slim Silence & Prolimatech Samuel 17 Low Profile CPU Coolers
AMD Phenom II Stock Coolers
Intel LGA1366 Stock Cooler: Good Enough?
Gelid Silent Spirit & Scythe Samurai ZZ CPU Coolers
SPCR's 2010 CPU Heatsink Test Platform [Updates: 10 April & 31 May]

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