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Thermaltake Frio CPU Cooler Review

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AkG

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Mid-Speed Fan Performance Results

Mid-Speed Fan Performance Results


2.6GHz

<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Air_Cooling/Frio/p12_1300_26.jpg" border="0" alt="" />

Once again we see exactly how great a fan the Frio comes with as it once again beats our standard fan (this time the venerable Nocuta NF-P12) when both are running at the exact same speed. The fact that Thermaltake includes TWO of them is astonishing. As for the Frio in single fan configuration, a solid third place finish is nothing to sneeze at. The Frio obviously is very flexible as it continues to impress.


3.42GHz

<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Air_Cooling/Frio/p12_1300_34.jpg" border="0" alt="" />

It seems while this Frio is flexible enough to run with a much slower (and MUCH lower static pressure fan) than it was designed for, it isn't quite as good at it as some of the others like the mighty Prolimatech or even Titan Fenrir.


3.8GHz

<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Air_Cooling/Frio/p12_1300_38.jpg" border="0" alt="" />

As expected the Frio did slip down the charts as the heat was increased. Funny thing is it landed in the exact same position it did when paired with the Scythe S-Flex G which speaks favorably of the design of this unit as the P12-1300 and the S-Flex G are nearly on opposite ends of the fan spectrum.
 
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AkG

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Low Speed Fan Performance Results

Low Speed Fan Performance Results


2.6GHz

<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Air_Cooling/Frio/p12_900_26.jpg" border="0" alt="" />

Well it seems that we have reached and exceeded the flexibility this cooler has. There is no getting around the fact that these numbers are not as impressive as the other results were. It is a damn shame, but considering the fact that 900rpms is below the minimum speed the stock fan can go its not all that surprising.


3.42GHz

<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Air_Cooling/Frio/p12_900_34.jpg" border="0" alt="" />

Now this is interesting! It seems that while the Zalman did a slightly better job than the Frio at stock heat loads the Frio has once again surprised us by coming out of no where and beating the Zalman Flex at moderate heat loads.


3.8GHz

<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Air_Cooling/Frio/p12_900_38.jpg" border="0" alt="" />

The Frio might not like running with such an anemically powered fan, but it still does a decent job.
 
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AkG

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Dual Fan Performance Results / Sound Level Testing

Dual Fan Performance Results


<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Air_Cooling/Frio/dual.jpg" border="0" alt="" />​

As expected the Frio is a beast when you run both of its fans at full speed. However, in testament to exactly how good these fans are, the difference between single fan results and dual fan results is only a little more than 3.5°C. Also as expected, when comparing “apples to apples” with dual NF-P12-1300 fans the Thermaltake Frio has a firm grasp on third place. This is impressive considering its price.


Sound Level Testing


While everyone "hears" noise differently there is one easy way to remove all subjectivness and easily compare different fans: use a sound level meter. This way you can easily compare the various fans noise envelopes without us colouring the results and see what fans fit within your personal comfort level. Of course, we will endeavour to try and explain the various results (which are taken at a 30 inch distance) to help you our readers get an even better understanding of how loud a cooler's stock fan is, but even if you discount our personal opinions, the fact remains numbers don't lie. All fans are tested with both voltage regulation / PWM turned off.

<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Air_Cooling/Frio/noise.jpg" border="0" alt="" />

All in all this fan really is versatile. At full speed it is loud, but then again it is going awfully damn fast and it offers very good performance for the amount of noise it makes. More importantly, it basically has a very similar sound profile to that of a Scythe S-Flex G when running at G speeds (yet gives better results) and it out and out blows away Noctua when running at the same speed as our NF-P12-1300 does.
 
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AkG

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Value

Value


The term “Value” is such an amorphous term that it truly has different meanings for different people. For some a CPU cooler is only as good as it over-clocking potential, for others it is how quiet it does its job; for others still it’s how effective it is for its cost. We here at HWC try to provide as many answers as possible for the term “Value”. Hopefully by this point in the review people looking at OC potential or loudness levels will have a fairly good idea of what its Value is. For the “best bang for the buck” crowd we have included a chart below showing how much each 1°C less costs when compared to Intel’s FREE stock cooler. No consideration has been made for noise levels, “looks” or any other extraneous factors; this is just raw performance vs. monetary cost. For any cooler which performs worse than the Intel stock cooler a rating of “FAIL” will be given. For any cooler which has a “Value” of more than $10 per 1°C a rating of “FAIL” will be used in the graph but the chart will list its actual “Value”.

All prices are based on either their MSRP (if no e-tailer prices were available at review time) or the lowest price found in our Price Comparison engine at the time of the review.

If a CPU cooler does not include a fan the price of a Scythe S-Flex 1200RPM has been included ($12).

To make it as easy as possible for you to modify this ratio we have also included the various coolers temperature difference so if you do come across one of them on sale you can easily modify its “Value” rating. We here at HWC are in no way saying this is the definitive answer to “Value”, rather it should be considered another tool to help you make your final decision. After all something is only as “valuable” as what you consider it to be.



Please Note: This chart has be calculated based upon the differences between Intel stock cooler’s average load at its highest OC on a 920 @ 3.42GHz versus various after market coolers average load temperatures (in their stock configuration with MX-2 TIM) also on a 920 @ 3.42GHz.

value_up.jpg

value_up_chart.jpg


If the performance the Frio and its stock fan noise profile didn’t impresses you, its value certainly has to! About the only CPU cooling solutions which can compete against it have all been on the market much longer which is all the more impressive. In our opinion, this is one of the best coolers for your money currently on the market.
 
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AkG

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Conclusion

Conclusion


It has been a long, long time since Thermaltake was able to seriously wow us with a product that claimed excellent cooling performance. Granted, past products always came with enough marketing mumbo jumbo to make buyers think they were buying a cooler that was cutting edge in every way but the reality was always far from those lofty claims. The Frio on the other hand lives up to literally every claim Thermaltake’s marketing team could come up with and actually surpasses some of them on its way to becoming one hell of a heatsink.

One of the most alluring aspects of Thermaltake’s new Frio is its adaptability to a wide range of heat loads and fan speeds. The cutting edge construction coupled with extremely versatile fans means that it was able to put forth impressive results in nearly every single test we performance. This is actually a huge departure since we have seen massive heatsinks falter at lower heat loads while smaller units usually run out of capacity as clock speeds are increased. The Frio on the other hand is just as poised at stock speeds as it is when cooling a highly overclocked i7 processor which speaks volumes about the engineering which went into its design.

There are a number of highlights that stood out while we were testing Thermaltake’s latest and greatest: the fans, the price and finally the installation. We loved the inclusion of fully adjustable fans since it allows users to tailor performance and noise to suit their needs. These types of options are rarely seen on a heatsink with a sub-$60 price but the Frio is somehow able to retail for under $60 yet still retain literally everything we could want in a CPU heatsink. Unfortunately, the installation is memorable for all the wrong reasons since it truly is a lesson in frustration even though it can be (thankfully) adapted to both AMD and Intel systems.

After going back and forth through the results, we believe that Thermaltake’s Frio is simply one of the best CPU coolers available on the market today. Its two included fans push it above and beyond products that are much, much more expensive and because of the speed adjustability, it is infinitely adaptable to suite your needs. Granted, the installation process will have you cursing the day you bought it but once you see the temperatures, you’ll realize all the fuss was really worth it. Because of its price, performance and adaptability to literally any situation the Thermaltake Frio wins our Dam Good Award and the Dam Good Value Award.


Pros:

- Excellent Value
- Excellent performance at numerous fan speeds
- TWO high performance fans included with rheostats
- Integrated dual fan shrouds
- Interesting looks that only get better the more you look at it


Cons:

- Quirky installation in serious need of better retaining nuts
- Base could use some more polishing

<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Air_Cooling/Frio/DGV.gif" border="0" alt="" /> <img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Air_Cooling/Frio/dam_good.jpg" border="0" alt="" />


http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/foru...ke-frio-cpu-cooler-review-comment-thread.html
 
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