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Opinion on the Thermalright Ultra 120 eXtreme 1366RT heatsink

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June 16, 2009 10:08:00 PM

I'm considering changing my Noctua NH-U12P SE1366 for a Thermalright Ultra 120 eXtreme 1366RT, hoping that with its six heatpipes versus Noctua's four, that it will reduce temperatures slightly. Has anyone got this heatsink, just wondered what you think of it?

I suppose the only negatives I've read is that mounting pressure isn't the best as the heatsink can be twisted even with the clips installed, and the base isn't completely flat on this heatsink. I'd like to hear from anyone who has this heatsink for your opinion on it.

Thanks.
June 16, 2009 10:27:45 PM

It is exactly the same as all the other TRUE's. The only difference between them being the accessories that come with them and/or the color (with the exception of the all copper model). That being said the TRUE is arguably the best air cooler you can buy and has been for quite some time. All TRUE's can rotate slightly when installed but in my experience it doesn't affect cooling performance.
June 16, 2009 11:55:27 PM

Thanks for the information. Does the heatsink move much once it's installed? It's just with it weighing about 1kg, the fact it moves would concern me. Having said that, it seems to be universally recognized as the best available.
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June 17, 2009 12:14:38 AM

Once installed you can twist it slightly. It's because in the top of the block there is a divot to allow for the fastener that holds the top bracket together. When it was first released there was a lot of talk about using washers and such to tighten it down more to prevent twisting. I've tried several of the methods and some work but none gave me better temps. My suggestion is to not worry about it. I've used the TRUE since it was released (I actually had to wait about a month because it was impossible to find at release) and it's the best air cooler I've ever had. I used it with my E6300, E8400 and Q9650 and it performed outstanding with all.

I am unsure however, if they changed the mating surface of it. The original E/Q 6*** series CPU's had heat spreaders that were slightly concave. The original TRUE's were slightly convex and had ridges on the surface that worried a lot of people. I lapped my TRUE and (at the time) my E6300 and it dropped the temps a degree or two. The newer chips have flatter heat spreaders and I used my lapped TRUE on my unlapped E8400 and Q9650. If you feel comfortable doing it then lapping the CPU and cooler might give you a couple degree difference but it still works great stock.
June 17, 2009 12:30:38 AM

I see what you mean. Is it easy to twist, or does it take a bit of effort? In other words if I install it on a motherboard, then turn the motherboard vertical, will it move slightly on its own? This heatsink certainly has a good name attached to it, at one point in time I used their HR-01 chipset heatsink which worked great.
June 17, 2009 12:37:05 AM

It won't twist on it's own but if your working in the case and bump it you should check to be sure it's straight. It moves about 1/2in, a 1/4in each way and it's not difficult to move but it won't do it on it's own.
June 17, 2009 12:49:09 AM

Sorry to bombard you with questions but you seem to be an authority on this heatsink. The mounting mechanism, do the screws have stops in them to stop the spring screws going in too far? Or is it a case of tightening until you feel the screw should not be tightened any more?

Also, did you lap your Thermaltake heatsink? I've read some people automatically lap it as soon as they get it, is that really necessary? Surely the base of this heatsink is flat? The Noctua I have, while it had ridges in it, the base was very flat, I used a metal ruler to check it, it was perfect.
June 17, 2009 12:55:43 AM

Read what I highlighted above
June 17, 2009 12:58:38 AM

The screws stop. There are 2 different size screws (at least with mine) 1 for the AM2/2+/3 and one for the 775 (I don't know if there is a different one for the 1366). As you screwing them in they will stop and you should go no further.
July 19, 2009 10:32:32 PM

For LGA 1366 socket, you get four "Spring Loaded" screws with the Ultra 120 Extreme RT. The screwswill stop turning after fully tightened. You will be able to install three of them easily, but the last one need some pushing energy to get into the screw holes. Furthermore, it is absolutely correct that this cooler is awesome, but some reviewers claim that IFX4 when lapped will provide a bit better results. IFX4 by Thermalright has the ability to handle three fans :)  I am sorry if I am providing you unwanted information about another product. I myself have the Ultra 120 eXtreme, and it does twist somewhat only if you "twist" it :D 
July 21, 2009 1:50:22 AM

b98154 said:
For LGA 1366 socket, you get four "Spring Loaded" screws with the Ultra 120 Extreme RT. The screwswill stop turning after fully tightened. You will be able to install three of them easily, but the last one need some pushing energy to get into the screw holes. Furthermore, it is absolutely correct that this cooler is awesome, but some reviewers claim that IFX4 when lapped will provide a bit better results. IFX4 by Thermalright has the ability to handle three fans :)  I am sorry if I am providing you unwanted information about another product. I myself have the Ultra 120 eXtreme, and it does twist somewhat only if you "twist" it :D 


So what I read is true then, this heatsink twists slightly even when fully installed with screws tightened. I would hope the contact pressure is good enough in that case.

I did read the IFX14 is supposed to be good, but it's too large for my board, the Noctua U12P or Thermalright Ultra 120 Extreme 1366 RT would fit the bill perfectly. In fact, I like the Thermalright because of its fan holder, which allows me to use my "ribbed" Sanyo Denki's with closed corners.

What compound did you use with your Thermalright? That fourth screw sounds like a nightmare waiting to happen, possibly the screw-driver slipping and driving a hole through the board!
July 21, 2009 2:32:07 AM

For the Thermal Compound, I used the included "Chill Factor." The reason why I used the included Compound was that many reviews proved it really good. However, I was willing to get Arctic Cooling MX-3, but I failed to find it anywhere. I was able to find MX-2 on Newegg, but shipping charges forced me to ignore the cooler. Moreover, if you want to use another thermal paste, go with TX-3. It is expensive, but people claim that it is chiller than other pastes.
July 21, 2009 2:35:13 AM

It is true that the cooler slightly moves, but it is normal according to Thermalright's tech-support. I am sure that the pressure is good. I feel it :D  Ther cooler is 1050grams when the fan is installed. So, the pressure must be good.
July 21, 2009 2:40:46 AM

Oh yes, I'm aware of the heavyweight this heatsink is with the fan installed, normally I'm against heatsinks of excessive weight, but this heatsink has some advantage's over my Noctua, namely (1) It's narrower, giving me more room between my Noctua U6 chipset heatsink and the CPU heatsink, (2) Performance is supposed to be very good, and (3) It uses a fan holder instead of clips, allowing me to use my ribbed Sanyo Denki fans.

Thanks for the tip about the TX-3, I never heard of that before, in fact I've never heard of MX-3 either, only MX-2 which I already have. In fact I've got a largish tube of IC Diamond 24 which is supposed to be good. I'll read up on the Chill Factor compound and TX-3, I'm interested in those as I've never heard of them before, may be a hidden gem of a compound. FYI, I've also got Shin-Etsu X23, but that compound is thick.
July 21, 2009 2:44:20 AM

I forgot to add that the installation is not "nightmare." It is way easier thaan installing Cooler Master V8. You will be able to install it without a hitch. I am not that good technician or anything, and I was able to install the cooler with ease. I am sure you will find it pretty easy too. However, the installation may be harder than installing the stock cooler, which doesn't need back plate or any screwdriver.
At first I tried installing my Ultra 120 Extreme RT without removing the included pre-installed fan. However, I was unable to tighten two of the four "spring loaded" screws on my Asus P6t Deluxe V2 motherboard. So, I would recommend you remove the fan first, which I think is the common sense that I forgot to follow :p 
July 21, 2009 2:58:18 AM

Sounds good. Well, it sounded like a nightmare as compared to installing a Noctua U12P, which has one of the best mounting systems, and there's only two screws to screw in; however it sounds easier than I think. I'll remove the fan before I install it. It sounds like an excellent heatsink. Thanks for the advice.
July 21, 2009 3:04:30 AM

aln688 said:
Sounds good. Well, it sounded like a nightmare as compared to installing a Noctua U12P, which has one of the best mounting systems, and there's only two screws to screw in; however it sounds easier than I think. I'll remove the fan before I install it. It sounds like an excellent heatsink. Thanks for the advice.


I am always glad to help friends :) 
July 21, 2009 4:09:19 AM

Much appreciated. I'll let you know if I have problems installing the Ultra-120. At least it's re-assuring that someone has it installed and working. I meant to ask, what are your temperatures with this heatsink? ...and at what speed are you running at? Thanks.
July 21, 2009 11:17:27 PM

aln688 said:
Much appreciated. I'll let you know if I have problems installing the Ultra-120. At least it's re-assuring that someone has it installed and working. I meant to ask, what are your temperatures with this heatsink? ...and at what speed are you running at? Thanks.

I just built my rig few days ago, and I did not boot my PC yet (to tell you the truth). I am going to buy a new monitor today and a wired keyboard. I did not boot my system as I need a Wired keyboard to access bios and install Operating System by giving the boot priority to my Optical Drive first. I do have a keyboard, but it is wireless. Wireless Keyboards usually require an Operating System already installed. I will inform you my temps as soon as possible.

Furthermore, I many people think that you can improve the cooling ability of Ultra 120 extreme by using "Penny MOD." It is easy and you do not have to lap anything. You just have to place a penny between the clamps and the Heatsink. It is believed that this helps improve cooling by increasing the pressure of the Heatsink on the CPU. Check it out here:
http://www.driverheaven.net/overclocking-modding/138889...
July 21, 2009 11:40:45 PM

I'm hoping I don't need to install the "penny mod", I don't want to play with the heatsink or re-engineer it, I just want to take it out the box and install it. I ordered my Ultra-120 Extreme, I've heard great things about this heatsink. Just curious, is the base of your Ultra 120 flat? The only concern I have is whether the heatsink has to be "lapped" or not. Now I have lapped heatsinks in the past, it's time consuming and uses a lot of sandpaper - I'm hoping I don't have to do that.
July 21, 2009 11:46:14 PM

aln688 said:
I'm hoping I don't need to install the "penny mod", I don't want to play with the heatsink or re-engineer it, I just want to take it out the box and install it. I ordered my Ultra-120 Extreme, I've heard great things about this heatsink. Just curious, is the base of your Ultra 120 flat? The only concern I have is whether the heatsink has to be "lapped" or not. Now I have lapped heatsinks in the past, it's time consuming and uses a lot of sandpaper - I'm hoping I don't have to do that.

You DO NOT have to lap the CPU or Heatsink. You just have to place a single penny between the Heatsink and the Heatsink clamps. Just check it out at the website I gave you before. I was going to buy everything today, but I recently got a call from my friend. So, I am going to some park or something. I will inform you my temps tomorrow or day after that :) 
July 22, 2009 12:33:57 AM

Good, I'm glad to hear that! Because the thought of taking a $70 purchase right out the box and having to lap it is daunting to say the least. I read the web-site, and the sub-links, I'm not sure I'll go for that "penny mod" - adding pressure to the CPU is something I'm cautious about doing. I'll try it without first. It'll be good to see your temperatures when your system is up and running. Thanks again.
July 26, 2009 7:16:31 PM

Hey friend! I am sorry for being late. My Hard Drive was defective. Now, I got new. Fortunately, it is working perfectly. I just installed Vista Ultimate, and finished installing all the drivers. After installing Asus Probe II, I came to know that my temperatures are good. My Core i7 920 @ 2.67 GHZ never reached 34 degrees Celsius when Idle, and 59 degrees Celsius when under load. I am really glad that I bought this Cooler. It is just amazing :D 
July 26, 2009 7:17:10 PM

I will also be overclocking my CPU soon!
July 26, 2009 8:38:34 PM

Hard-drive defective? Oh no, that's something I hope doesn't happen to me, at least while I don't have a current backup! Glad to hear things are restored to normal now.

Well I received my Thermalright Ultra-120 Extreme 1366 RT, to be honest I'm not happy with it. The base is like a banana, it's convex, meaning it looks like a mountain, and dips at the sides. Additionally I have random solder blobs over the top of the heatsink!

I'll be switching to my Noctua U12P, it's lighter, better mounting system and comes with top-grade NT-H1 thermal compound. It's a wider heatsink, yes, and provides less space between the U12P + Fan and the Noctua U6 installed on my NB, but I'm not going to use a heatsink with an uneven base, considering my CPU is flat.

I'll let you know what temperatures I get when all my parts arrive in the mail. I'm hoping for good results, Antec Mini P180 and Rampage II Gene motherboard.
July 27, 2009 12:57:21 AM

I told you in my second post that the base was convex. You have the right to use any cooler you like but considering the TRUE (with the convex base) has been at the top of all performance charts for the last couple years I think you might want to give it a shot. After all, it's not like the reviewers lapped it before testing it.

http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/forum/hardware-canucks-r...
http://www.anandtech.com/casecooling/showdoc.aspx?i=298...
http://www.frostytech.com/articleview.cfm?articleID=224...
http://www.overclockercafe.com/Reviews/cooling/ThermalR...

TRUE vs. Noctua using Noctua fan
http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/cooling/2008/01/20/noc...
Noctua on high, TRUE on low and the TRUE is still better.
July 27, 2009 1:11:31 AM

True, but you also stated in bold print you were unsure if they changed the mating surface of it. I've read posts online that state it's flat, and convex. I'm fully aware it's got very good performance. I may try lapping it in that case, as the heat spreader on my Core i7 920 is completely flat, as per the steel ruler. Thanks for the links, I'll have a read through those. I read the Hardware Canucks article last night, I'll go through the rest. I really like the Thermalright fan holder, as it can accomodate fans with ribbed corners.

July 28, 2009 9:59:34 PM

I've also been looking at getting this cooler for a long time and with an upcoming i7 build I finally jumped and got one. I just got it today and this thing is a beast. There is one thing however, they have changed the mounting bracket. I can't comment on it yet because I still have parts coming in for the build but from what the instructions show me the mounting is now a backplate two side bars that screw into the backplate (no springs) and then a crossbar that attaches with 2 spring loaded screws. I took a pic of the install instructions and the parts here:


The second pic is a bit blurry since they are from my cell and no tripod but I hope they will do. It may turn out to be a better solution to all the problems people may have with the turning. Also I looked around at the reviews and this seems to not be out there just yet, so I thought I would share with you guys. :D 

Oh yeah like the first link of the hardware canucks review the box is like orgami awesomeness. Its all packed in there nice and tight. If you want pics of the box and how to open it I'll be more then happy to do so
July 29, 2009 7:04:02 AM

HUGE....

Get the Corsair H50 LC

it works very well you won't be disappointed with your purchase

I think you should go with the h50 because its smaller, better temps, and bragging rights of liquid cooling
September 6, 2009 10:53:59 AM

TerminatorXT said:
HUGE....

Get the Corsair H50 LC

it works very well you won't be disappointed with your purchase

I think you should go with the h50 because its smaller, better temps, and bragging rights of liquid cooling



Do you have one of those Terminator ? how do you find it was half thinking bout getting one myself (sorry to hijack thread).
September 7, 2009 1:54:32 PM

chungdokwan said:
Do you have one of those Terminator ? how do you find it was half thinking bout getting one myself (sorry to hijack thread).


Yeah I do, I'll tell you something about it
my Q6600 B3 on stock idle temps were 1C above ambient and Load temps about +14C above ambient
I now have it at 3.1ghz at 2C above ambient and well load do the math

I can push my processor to 3.4ghz without any problems in windows 7, but not in vista for some reason
so i'm at 3.1

it will do your job as long as you have good airflow in your case
!