Thermalright Ultra-120 CPU Heatsink Review
Introduction and Specifications
Thermalright showed off two new coolers at Cebit earlier this year, the Ultra-90 and Ultra-120, which are similar in design to the passively cooled HR-01. Both of the Thermalright Ultra coolers incorporate fine-tuned heat pipes that transfer heat out of a Nickel plated copper base and up into a large array of closely spaced aluminum fins. The Ultra-90 and Ultra-120 heatsinks come with Thermalright's classic fan mounting clips, which allows using either a 92mm or 120mm fan respectively. We will be taking a detailed look at the larger, top of the line Ultra-120 CPU heatsink in this review.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
(click to enlarge)
The Thermalright Ultra-120 heatsink is designed to mount a 120mm fan of your choice. A full range of fan frame sizes can be used because the wire clips now attach to the base of the fan frame and not the upper edge. The Ultra-120 comes with mounting hardware that supports both AMD K8 Athlon 64/FX/X2/Opteron processors and Intel P4 478 and LGA775 processors (AM2 compatibility should be available next month).
Ultra-120 <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />
Â· Quiet, Powerful Cooling — multiple heat pipes and large aluminum fin area
Â· Proprietary bent winglet design to minimize airflow resistance
Â· Heat pipes soldered to base and fins for optimum heat transfer
Â· Easy Installation (AMD and Intel platforms supported)
Â· Wire clips for directly mounting a 120mm fan
Ultra-120 Technical Specifications
Â· Dimensions: 63.5x132x160.5mm (DxWxH)
Â· Weight: 745g (26.3 oz)
Â· AMD support: Athlon 64/FX/X2/Opteron
Â· Intel support: P4 478 and LGA775
Heat Pipe Technology
The Thermalright Ultra-120 heatsink uses four, U-shaped, copper heat pipes to transport heat from the heatsink base up to the large surface area provided by the aluminum fins. (The smaller Ultra-90 cooler uses three.) A heat pipe is a highly efficient conductor of heat. A properly constructed heat pipe has a very low thermal resistance, which is roughly independent of its length (unlike ordinary metal rods whose thermal resistance increases with length). Heat pipes are commonly used to transport heat from one location to another.
(click to enlarge)
Heat pipes work on the principle of evaporation and condensation. A working fluid (frequently distilled water) evaporates inside one end of the heat pipe (the hot-end) absorbing heat in the process. A partial vacuum inside the heat pipe allows the water to evaporate at low temperatures. Once formed, the water vapor diffuses from an area of high vapor pressure (where it is being generated) to the other end of the tube where the vapor pressure is lower.
The vaporized fluid then condenses back to liquid (cold-end) and the heat is dissipated into the air from the metal cooling fins. The working fluid returns to the hot end via capillary action thru an internal wicking structure (sintered metal coating, fine wire mesh, or grooves) so the heat pipe does not have to rely on gravity to recycle the working fluid. The key to a heat pipe's high efficiency is the latent heat of vaporization.
Thermalright appears to have perfected the art of fine-tuning the heat pipes in their new Ultra coolers to perfectly match the thermodynamics of modern CPU cooling. In addition to using Nickel plated copper tubes, the right fluid mixture and vacuum have been selected for optimum heat transfer.
Next Page - Components and Design