Thermalright Ultra-120 eXtreme: Heir to the CPU Cooling Throne

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Since the body of the cooler is virtually identical to the Ultra-120, we refer you to our Thermalright Ultra-120 review rather than repeat the majority of our observations.

Smooth, polished base with no visible machine marks. The heat pipes are staggered to maximize airflow around them.

An impressive looking cooler with numerous tightly spaced fins.

The Ultra-120 eXtreme towers over the Scythe Ninja and dwarfs the Ninja Mini.


Installing the Ultra-120 eXtreme on our LGA775 test bed was straightforward. On the back side of the motherboard, the four nipples on the backplate align with the four mounting holes around the socket. The heatsink is goes atop of the processor (with thermal compound applied of course) and the mounting bracket slips between the heat pipes above the base. At the center of the base there is a notch to line up the mounting bracket properly. To be perfectly clear, there's no way to install this heatsink without access to both sides of the motherboard. It cannot be done with the motherboard mounted in a case.

The bracket comprises two "arms", pivoted at the center like a pair of scissors. It must be first put through the the space between the heatpipes, and then the ends pulled part apart until they are 90 degrees to one another, forming a large "X." Finally, four spring-loaded bolts screw through the bracket and into the nipples of the backplate on the otherside of the board. Once tightened, there is very little wiggle room for the heatsink. This bolt-thru scheme is one of the most secure we've encountered and it is miles ahead the stock LGA775 approach.

Silicone strips go on the edge of the face of the heatsink to prevent vibration from being transferred from the fan. On each side of the cooler there are tiny holes at the top and bottom to facilitate the fan clips which slip inside. The clips hook into the screw holes of a 120mm fan. Note: you will need a fan with open corners or the fan clips cannot hook onto them. Some Nexus and Yate Loon fans, most notably, have closed corners.

Mounted and ready to go in just a few minutes.

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