Thermalright TRUE Spirit 120M CPU Heatsink

Cooling
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Heatsink Comparison Table

°C rise Comparison (CPU Temperature)
SPL (dBA@1m)
20
19
18
17
16
15
14
13
12
Thermalright TRUE Spirit 120M
(ref. 120 mm fan)
-
-
-
31
-
32
-
34
Noctua NH-L12
(both fans)
33
-
-
34
-
35
-
36
Thermalright TRUE Spirit 120M
-
32
-
-
-
34
36
38
Noctua NH-L12
(120mm fan)
-
-
37
-
-
38
-
39
42
Prolimatech Panther
-
-
-
-
-
35
-
42
-
Scythe Big Shuriken 2 Rev.B
-
39
-
-
-
43
-
48
Reeven Arcziel
-
-
-
-
42
-
-
47
-
Scythe Samurai ZZ
-
-
45
-
-
46
-
52
Noctua NH-L12
(92 mm fan)
42
-
44
-
47
-
51
57
Scythe Big Shuriken
43
-
-
-
-
46
-
61
Cooler Master GeminII M4
-
-
-
53
56
-
64
Noctua NH-L9i
-
-
56
-
-
61
-
-
-
Scythe Kozuti
-
-
57
-
-
62
-
65
Reeven Vanxie
-
66
-
-
-
-
77
-
F

In its stock form, the TRUE Spirit 120M was barely edged out by the Noctua NH-L12 in its dual 120/92 mm fan configuration. With our superior reference fan however, the TRUE Spirit 120M pushed past the L12 by a clear margin. The closest tower cooler was the Prolimatech Panther which fell to the 120M by a significant amount at low noise levels regardless of the fan used.

°C rise Comparison (VRM Temperature)
SPL (dBA@1m)
20
19
18
17
16
15
14
13
12
Noctua NH-L12
(both fans)
17
-
-
19
-
21
-
23
Thermalright TRUE Spirit 120M
(ref. 120 mm fan)
-
-
-
21
-
23
-
26
Thermalright TRUE Spirit 120M
-
21
-
-
-
24
26
27
Prolimatech Panther
-
-
-
-
-
24
-
30
-
Noctua NH-L12
(120mm fan)
-
-
24
-
-
26
-
27
32
Scythe Big Shuriken 2 Rev.B
-
29
-
-
-
34
-
39
Noctua NH-L12
(92 mm fan)
28
-
31
-
33
-
38
43
Reeven Arcziel
-
-
-
-
38
-
-
41
-
Scythe Big Shuriken
28
-
-
-
-
30
-
47
Cooler Master GeminII M4
-
-
-
34
38
-
49
Scythe Kozuti
-
-
36
-
-
40
-
45
Scythe Samurai ZZ
-
-
38
-
-
39
-
47
Noctua NH-L9i
-
-
40
-
-
46
-
-
-
Reeven Vanxie
-
45
-
-
-
-
56
-
F

The TRUE Spirit 120M also beat the Panther in VRM cooling but not nearly as badly, and only at very low noise levels. Sitting lower than most heatsinks, the 120M has a bit of advantage when it comes to cooling the areas around the CPU socket.

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

As we see more and more uniform silver heatsinks from the likes of Noctua, Prolimatech, and Thermalright, the less finished design of the HR-02 Macho and TRUE Spirit 120M is both refreshing and nostalgic. Bare copper heatpipes and untreated aluminum fins don't have any impact on performance. It may not look as attractive to some and might be more susceptible to oxidation in the long run, but from a practical standpoint, it's a great place to skimp to cut costs.

Thermalright's excellent design and solid mounting system are far more important and both are present and accounted for. While shorter than your typical aftermarket tower cooler, the Thermalright TRUE Spirit 120M still packs a fairly potent punch. It scored superbly on our mildly overclocked LGA1155 95W TDP test platform, handily beating out the Prolimatech Panther, a larger and heavier tower with a full nickel-plated design. The 120M really isn't that much smaller than the norm, so it should be fine for tackling a higher thermal load as well.

The 120M's Achilles' heel is its stock 120 mm fan, an issue we also had with the original True Spirit. The TY-120 PWM doesn't produce high noise levels, but the quality of the sound is poor. It has a buzzy character and tends to rattle the heatsink and/or fan clips when mounted. This is probably a result of the interaction of the struts and blades (due to an undesirable intersection angle) combined with a lack of structural support (it's quite light for 120 mm model). Its acoustics can possibly be tempered by a case with well-dampened side panels, but on our open test platform, it was annoyingly audible.

We weren't able to find any concrete information on pricing but the original Cogage True Spirit is still being sold at some retailers for about US$40. If the latest version is priced near or under that mark, it's a fairly good value. However, it would not be our first choice unless it meets a height requirement that its larger competitors do not; cases with side fans near the CPU area come to mind.

Our thanks to Thermalright for the TRUE Spirit 120M CPU cooler sample.

* * *

SPCR Articles of Related Interest:

Noctua NH-L9i Low Profile CPU Cooler
Zalman CNPS9900DF Dual Fan Flower Heatsink
Prolimatech MK-26 Multi-VGA Cooler
SilverStone Heligon HE02: Monster Fanless CPU Cooler
Prolimatech Panther CPU Cooler
Phanteks PH-TC14PE Dual Fan CPU Heatsink

* * *

Discuss this article in the SPCR forums.



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