In the quest for the fairest and most accurate evaluation, we wanted to compare the Domino A.L.C. to a similarly-priced air cooling sink, using the same fan to remove any question of “performance to noise ratio.” We found that similarly-priced sink in Thermalright’s Ultra 120 eXtreme, available with fan in the -1366 RT package for a Web price starting around $65. We contacted Thermalright immediately to request a sample.
Instead, Thermalright sent its newer True Spirit, which resembles the less-eXtreme original-version Ultra 120. The Cogage brand is still relatively new, and we've seen very limited coverage of Thermalright's new arm, so we decided to give this less-aggressive solution a shot in the ring.
Because the True Spirit is a mainstream product, its $39 estimated retail price threw off our ~$60 water/air comparison. So, the Cogage sink will either succeed brilliantly or fail miserably as it goes up against the Domino. Representatives at Thermalright estimate that this cooler will hit retail shelves mid-May.
The use of four heat pipes, rather than six, separate the True Spirit and the original Ultra 120 from the pricier Ultra 120 eXtreme and Thermalright True. Included in the retail box are the sink, a 120 x 25 mm fan, two fan retention clips, a foldable mounting bracket, a tube of Thermalright Chill Factor thermal paste, installation instructions, and a decorative sticker.
Installation is not difficult to understand, but the physical process not easy either. Getting the folding bracket to the exact required shape to make it line up with all holes can be difficult, and the bracket’s center screw doesn’t simply fall into the sink’s matching divot. Furthermore, the extra tension required to keep this tall cooler square with the CPU means that extra force must be applied to the top of each pin to get it to lock, and we hate putting that much pressure against the board.
We managed to get it on “wrong” once before we decided the best way to install this sink is to remove the motherboard, center the socket over a knee for support, and push to get the pins in. Remember to check constantly to make sure the bracket’s screw has not slid out of the sink’s divot. It may not deserve our harshest criticism, but this installation bracket is certainly among the more cumbersome we’ve used. We'd suggest a larger screw head that more positively aligns with the divot.
The True Spirit’s 140mm fan is rated at 1,000-1,500 RPM on its Web page, 1,000-1,800 RPM on its label, and it ran at 1,600 RPM when we connected it to a continuous 12V source. The Cogage Web site also lists noise levels between 19.6 and 37.4 decibels.