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Thermalright True Spirit 140 Direct Slim-Tower CPU Cooler Review

Thermalright’s lower-priced True Spirit 140 Direct is big, slim, and fairly cheap. How does it perform?

Test Settings, Results, And Final Analysis

We continue using our 2015 Reference PC minus its open test bed (and obviously the reference cooler) to test the H220-X in a closed system. The Core i7-5930K is overclocked to a fixed 4.2GHz core frequency at 1.20V core voltage.

Test System Components








Comparison Coolers

Setting the performance baseline are the two largest slim coolers of previous reviews, along with a budget spoiler from DeepCool.

Results

The True Spirit 140 Direct’s cooling at full fans appears mediocre, but spinning the fan down has minimal impact. That’s certain to make things interesting in our cooling-to-noise comparison.

The True Spirit 140 Direct has the lowest fan speed, which again should make the cooling-to-noise ratio interesting.

Paydirt comes in the noise test, where the True Spirit 140 Direct is whisper quiet. Those who noticed that I didn’t mention the ultra-cheap Gammaxx 400 in the cooling test will wish I hadn’t in the noise test, since decibels use a logarithmic scale. Note that while our results were 3db higher than Thermalright’s rated values, having the cooler mounted can increase the amount of noise reflected back toward the meter.

Our acoustic efficiency (cooling-to-noise ratio) chart uses a direct scale, and adding a logarithmic function for the noise portion would have made the worst coolers look even worse. The True Spirit Direct is the clear leader.

A superb cooling-to-noise ratio gives Thermalright’s True Spirit 140 Direct the edge it needs to combat DeepCool’s low price, at least at full fan speed.

Thermalright’s True Spirit 140 Direct produced excellent noise and efficiency marks, but mediocre cooling performance (by big-air standards) might be its biggest accomplishment. After all, the heat pipes of this particular design were only flattened by roughly 25% of their diameter, making contact with only around half of the CPU heat spreader’s surface area. While I can’t recommend it to everyone, its extremely favorable cooling-to-noise ratio combines with an excellent price to put this on our approved list.


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Thomas Soderstrom is a Senior Staff Editor at Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews cases, cooling, memory and motherboards.
  • This new ad says: "Wife used as Guinea pig for Navajo Hearing Loss Remedy". Just when I thought Tom's couldn't get lower with their advertisement selection, this shows up. How about having ads to sell things related to technology?
    Reply
  • cats_Paw
    Andy, dont tell me you think toms chooses their own ads :D.
    Reply
  • Pompompaihn
    Andy, it makes complete sense. See, this Thermalright cooler is very quiet, so if your wife's hearing has been damaged by other, louder coolers you purchased prior without the benefit of this review, you may be interested in having her be a guinea pig for this Navajo hearing loss remedy, which ironically uses guinea pigs as an ingredient.
    Reply
  • larkspur
    The Deepcool Gammaxx 400 really whoops this cooler on pretty much everything. Running the Gammaxx @ 50% fan yields the same temp as running the Thermalright @100% fan. It is also 4 dbA quieter than the Thermalright at that same temperature target (since the Gammaxx is running 50% fan while the Thermalright has to run 100%). And the Gammaxx is ~$20 cheaper. I wouldn't give this cooler an "approved" badge since it is terrible at what it is designed for - COOLING! Just grab a Gammaxx and tune up a nice fan curve and you can forget about all this extreme contact pressure...
    Reply
  • Onus
    Any chance the bad contact surface is a manufacturing defect in your sample?
    Reply
  • JamesSneed
    19296553 said:
    Andy, dont tell me you think toms chooses their own ads :D.

    They choose the add provider. Why they also get add blocked. If they switch providers and announce they are doing reputable tech related adds I will turn it off. Until then the adds they serve up are completely out of line for a good site like TomsHardware.
    Reply
  • JamesSneed
    19296958 said:
    The Deepcool Gammaxx 400 really whoops this cooler on pretty much everything. Running the Gammaxx @ 50% fan yields the same temp as running the Thermalright @100% fan. It is also 4 dbA quieter than the Thermalright at that same temperature target (since the Gammaxx is running 50% fan while the Thermalright has to run 100%). And the Gammaxx is ~$20 cheaper. I wouldn't give this cooler an "approved" badge since it is terrible at what it is designed for - COOLING! Just grab a Gammaxx and tune up a nice fan curve and you can forget about all this extreme contact pressure...

    You have a valid point. TH even tested the Gammaxx 400 with the same load test using the same rig. Hey TomsHardware folks, why not make more complete charts that show a lot more of the recent heat sinks tested? Cherry picking on the reviews like you do is a bit misleading(on purpose or not) it doesn't show the outliers like the Gammaxx that larkspur pointed out.

    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/deepcool-gammaxx-400-slim-tower-cpu-cooler,4460-2.html
    Reply
  • logainofhades
    That Gammaxx 400 is really a great budget cooler. Deepcool sure produced a winner with that one.
    Reply
  • synphul
    Sadly I think thermalright kicked themselves on this one with their huge gaps left around the direct touch pipes. The previous thermalright true spirit 140 power at around the same price did much better, providing cooling on par with the nh-d14 and a little quieter.

    If they had bothered to mount the pipes and even press/machine them flat with the base like found on the 212 evo the gammaxx wouldn't have touched it really. What a complete bungle from their design team, why bother going direct touch just to kill it with huge voids and incomplete ihs coverage?
    Reply
  • Unolocogringo
    19296526 said:
    This new ad says: "Wife used as Guinea pig for Navajo Hearing Loss Remedy". Just when I thought Tom's couldn't get lower with their advertisement selection, this shows up. How about having ads to sell things related to technology?
    You do know that you could remedy this problem in just a few minutes time, right?

    I run Firefox with ghostery installed for blocking tracking cookies. You can white-list the sites you want.
    I also have flash disabled by default, with a pop-up option to enable if wanted. Which you can also white-list the sites you want.

    Makes everyone happy.
    I get static ads, A black blank space where flash ads would normally play, and the site gets some ad revenue for ads displayed.
    A win for me (no more auto-play ads) and the site still gets ad revenue. maybe not as much, but at least I am not annoyed by obtrusive ads.

    Reply