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Overclocking On Air: 10 LGA 1156-Compatible Performance Coolers

Thermalright MUX-120

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.

  • kumaiti
    Not 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".
    Reply
  • mrgrey
    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?
    Reply
  • barmaley
    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?
    Reply
  • Is there an article testing thermal compounds?
    Reply
  • nzprogamer
    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
    Reply
  • nzprogamer
    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.
    Reply
  • arkadi
    I just love to read toms old school articles like this one :)
    Reply
  • falchard
    What no Coolermaster V10 or Thermaltake SpinQ Vertical?
    Reply
  • Crashman
    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.
    Reply
  • micky_lund
    prolimatech megahalems
    Reply