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Thermalright MUX-120

Overclocking On Air: 10 LGA 1156-Compatible Performance Coolers
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Packed in the same brown box as the original sample we’ve used in all our P55 motherboard roundups, Thermalright’s $50 MUX-120 has a few improvements compared to the OEM samples most reviewers received from Intel.

Chief among its updates is a screw-on bracket kit that’s also available separately from Thermalright. Other changes mostly focus on the manufacturing process, although the fan has also been replaced.

The MUX-120 has the best-looking socket support plate, with all the right clearance holes and threaded collars that easily slip into the motherboard’s mounting holes. Unfortunately, it doesn’t offer the added socket support we’d hoped for, as the center doesn’t actually touch the LGA 1156 back plate. The load that’s placed on the PCB (rather than on the back of the socket) is still relatively light, since this lightweight cooler requires only moderate spring pressure to seat firmly.

The MUX-120’s base is almost perfectly flat, with a fine machined finish that requires barely any paste to fill small voids. Ultra-thin plating prevents oxidation of the copper base without having a noticeable effect on thermal transfer (at least in theory).

Thermalright’s LGA 1156 “bolt-through” installation kit installs easily, with extra-long threaded collars on the base plate that prevent cross braces from touching any live circuits on the motherboard’s surface. Those parts must be installed prior to fitting the motherboard in a case, but the cooler and its bracket can be installed and removed from an assembled system. Side clips on the MUX-120 ease fan installation and removal, allowing access to the cooler bracket’s front screw.

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Top Comments
  • 19 Hide
    arkadi , January 27, 2010 6:24 AM
    I just love to read toms old school articles like this one :) 
Other Comments
  • 3 Hide
    mrgrey , January 27, 2010 5:21 AM
    Argh - unbelievable! I literally just purchased my build on newegg, and they just posted this article. I bought the Arctic Cooling 7 over the Hyper 212+, not having seen the article yet.

    Hey Tom's - what temps are you getting at 3.2 GHz with the Arctic Cooling 7? Did you use arctic silver 5?
  • 3 Hide
    barmaley , January 27, 2010 5:57 AM
    Test settings page reads: CPU Intel Core i7-860, but CPU-Z screen shot under it reads Intel Core i7-870. Which one is it that you tested Tom?
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , January 27, 2010 5:59 AM
    Is there an article testing thermal compounds?
  • 0 Hide
    nzprogamer , January 27, 2010 6:07 AM
    mrgreyArgh - unbelievable! I literally just purchased my build on newegg, and they just posted this article. I bought the Arctic Cooling 7 over the Hyper 212+, not having seen the article yet. Hey Tom's - what temps are you getting at 3.2 GHz with the Arctic Cooling 7? Did you use arctic silver 5?


    no worries there you will be fine
  • 0 Hide
    nzprogamer , January 27, 2010 6:10 AM
    i had the 212 and sunbermtech both were running really good and cool. but i would buy the sunbeamtech with the easy exchange fan kit.
  • 19 Hide
    arkadi , January 27, 2010 6:24 AM
    I just love to read toms old school articles like this one :) 
  • -5 Hide
    falchard , January 27, 2010 6:36 AM
    What no Coolermaster V10 or Thermaltake SpinQ Vertical?
  • 8 Hide
    Crashman , January 27, 2010 6:55 AM
    kumaitiNot a single top down cooler?? That is disappointing, though I can already see the excuse: "they don't have as much performance as the tower coolers".
    falchardWhat no Coolermaster V10 or Thermaltake SpinQ Vertical?
    You would have to ask the manufacturers, since they picked the coolers.
  • -3 Hide
    micky_lund , January 27, 2010 7:09 AM
    prolimatech megahalems
  • -4 Hide
    Anonymous , January 27, 2010 7:54 AM
    If NH-D14 is in this, where's Prolimatech's Megahalems and Thermalright's Venomous X?
  • 2 Hide
    mayor_mccheese , January 27, 2010 8:45 AM
    just bought a freezer pro too :( 
  • 3 Hide
    Crashman , January 27, 2010 9:29 AM
    BobalinaIf NH-D14 is in this, where's Prolimatech's Megahalems and Thermalright's Venomous X?

    Thermalright sent the MUX-120.
  • 1 Hide
    Spanky Deluxe , January 27, 2010 9:53 AM
    Why no Megahalems? They're widely considered the best air coolers out there right now.
  • 1 Hide
    pbrigido , January 27, 2010 10:10 AM
    Even though the Zalman CNPS10X didn't win any of the tests, I still prefer its design because of the all copper contact between the CPU and the heatsink. Nice to see some of these tests again...can you also do one to compare the effectiveness of different thermal compounds?
  • 4 Hide
    Crashman , January 27, 2010 10:28 AM
    Spanky DeluxeWhy no Megahalems? They're widely considered the best air coolers out there right now.


    Some companies didn't respond to the invitation. Sorry, I didn't keep a list.
  • 5 Hide
    fred2421 , January 27, 2010 10:48 AM
    Quick question..these temps you are showing they are all with an ambient temperature of 11C? So when you say 82C over ambient the temps are actually 82+11=93C?
  • -1 Hide
    ubernoobie , January 27, 2010 10:56 AM
    the best cpu cooler is now the thermalright vemonous I believe
  • 0 Hide
    JohnnyLucky , January 27, 2010 11:04 AM
    Interesting article. I knew results would vary from other reviews. That's normal.

    I was surprised the new Thermalright Venoumous X was not included. It's an updated version of the Ultra 120 Extreme specifically designed for the new Intel Core i5/i7 cpu's.

    Didn't THG mention in an older article that those extra tall heatspreaders that sort of look like a comb did not provide any additional cooling over stock heatspreaders?
  • 0 Hide
    Silmarunya , January 27, 2010 11:16 AM
    It's clear the AC Freezer 7 is a poor choice for higher end overclocking, but how does it fare as a medium end OC cooler? Could it bring, say, an i5-750 to 3.5GHz without giving in?
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