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Thermalright TRUE Black 120 CPU Cooler Review

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Well-known member
Oct 24, 2007


We could go on and on about how good a mounting system the TRUE Black Edition has. Heck, we could also go on and on about how pricey it is but in the end only two things really are worth mentioning: you can take it on faith that this has a great with a user-friendly installation process,...and the fact that it is at the upper end of the price range. It seems clean and simple but there is much more to it than that.

Lets tackle the “easy” question first and talk about its performance. Recently we reviewed newer, technology-based CPU cooling solutions with exposed heatpipes for the base which end up outperforming the TRUE Black when it comes to single fan performance. This is a fact, but it is only half the story; as this cooler can easily accommodate a second fan whereas the Vendetta 2 and S1283 cannot. More importantly, this is a backplate mounted cooler which can easily handle the added weight of a second fan whereas the those aforementioned coolers are already maxing out the stock Intel plastic pin mounts weight-wise.

To tell you the truth, if we were looking for major overclocking on air while having the best looking cooler on the block, our first choice would be a TRUE BLACK. It may not have the best idle performance but when the heat is on, two Noctua NF-P12s or other higher RPM fans on a TRUE will beat the value oriented stock Vendetta 2 or S1283 and keep on beating them as the heat continues to rise (though we would lap the base first). Just keep in mind what we are talking about nearly $30 worth of fans here which puts the Black's price through the stratosphere in terms of air cooler pricing.

As for the hard question: Is this version worth $15 more than the regular TRUE? Quite honestly, this is a impossible question for us to answer for you since it really depends on what you are looking for and what you consider it to be worth. What we can tell you is it seems to perform just as well as the normal TRUE (albeit a TRUE with a not-so-great base) and has not been tweaked much in regards to performance. We can also tell you this is one drop dead gorgeous cooler which will look downright beautiful on a black PCB motherboard. This in fact is what the TRUE Black is all about: sexiness.

Thermalright has basically taken their top performing, yet bland-looking CPU cooling solution and made it into a geeky pr0n start! To me this level of beauty is worth the extra couple bucks and when you consider the added expense of bluing, it’s added cost is actually a fairly reasonable mark up. Then again, my personal experiences does give me unique point of view which most consumers probably won’t have. To most, this increase may seem nothing more than a money grab by Thermalright and this truly would be unfortunate. Of course, Thermalright had to have known this and this is why the second set of fan clips and upgraded TIM are included. For the average computer enthusiast this is going to be seen as a good will gesture and should alleviate (or at least diffuse) any ill will focused at this product.

Its funny but a very good friend of mine summed this cooler up perfectly when she said it was the equivalent of a little black dress. It looks gorgeous no matter what kind of case it is mounted in and really is a good all round choice regardless of the situation. Personally, I would never have equated a macho looking CPU cooling device with a sexy black dress, but it does fit. Can anyone really say their girlfriend didn’t look hotter than hell in a little itty bitty black dress and the same goes for this bad boy; its all about sexy good looks and this hot little number has that in spades.

In the end there really isn't much not to like about this cooler besides the price, but if you can afford it and two high end fans then you won’t be disappointed. However, if you can live without the added bling of the TRUE Black, a regular TRUE may suit you just fine. For anyone on a budget, well lets just say the Black is like a fine automobile and if you need to know how much it costs you are better off going the with the“value oriented” approach. This is not a bad thing as there are some true 100% arse kickers available for a lot less money and it is great that we don’t need to spend a hundred dollars for top end performance. For anyone who wants one of the best air cooler money can buy (which also happens to be one of the best looking coolers available) you should look no further than the TRUE BLACK. Pricey or not this a very good cooler.


- Good single fan performance
- Excellent dual fan performance
- Comes with mounting wires for second fan
- Beautiful black colour
- Great heatsink face design


- Cost
- Single fan performance is beaten by cooler’s costing 1/3 of the TRUE BLACK
- Does not come with a fan

Thanks to Thermalright for providing us with this cooler to review
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