Review Index:

Thermalright True Black 120 CPU Cooler Review

Manufacturer: Thermalright

Features and Specifications

We somehow missed testing the Ultra 120 eXtreme CPU heatsink, which is currently ranked by most hardware review sites as being the best performing air-cooled CPU cooler on the market today.  So when Thermalright asked if we would like to check out their new True Black 120, of course we said YES!

The Thermalright True Black 120 CPU heatsink is essentially the same as the Ultra 120 eXtreme.  The primary difference is the black Nickel finish and the inclusion of Thermalright’s new Chill Factor 2 thermal paste and an extra set of fan wires, which allow mounting two 120mm fans in a push-pull configuration.

(Courtesy Thermalright)

Just like the Ultra 120 eXtreme, the True Black 120 heatsink features a solid copper base, six copper heat pipes, a large aluminum fin array, and universal mounting hardware that support both Intel (LGA775) and AMD (AM2) processors.  The True Black 120 is designed to mount either one or two 120mm fans of your choice. 

Thermalright True Black 120 Main Features:

•    Multiple heat pipes and large fin area provide quiet and powerful cooling

•    Proprietary bent winglet design minimizes airflow resistance

•    Pure copper base for excellent heat transfer

•    Six 6mm heat pipes used for high heat transfer efficiency

•    Black nickel plating prevents oxidation

•    Supports both Intel LGA775 and AMD AM2 platforms

•    New Chill Factor 2 thermal paste included

•    Includes two sets of fan wire clips for dual fan installation

Technical Specifications

•    Model number: True Black 120

•    Dimensions: 63.4 x 132 x 160.5mm (LxWxH)

•    Weight: 790g

•    Materials: Copper base, copper heat pipes, and aluminum fins

•    Finish: Black Nickel electroplate

•    Intel support: All Socket LGA775

•    AMD support: Socket AM2

•    Recommended fan: any 120mm

Heat Pipe Technology

The Thermalright True Black 120 CPU cooler uses six 6mm copper heat pipes to transport heat away from the CPU into a large array of closely spaced aluminum fins.  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 efficiently transport heat from one location to another.


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 type of working fluid and the degree of vacuum will determine the heat pipe’s temperature range.

The vaporized fluid then condenses back to liquid (at the 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. 

Packaging and Parts

The True Black 120 CPU cooler comes securely packed inside a large, black Thermalright cardboard box, along with everything needed to install the cooler on most modern Intel or AMD platforms.

•    True Black 120 CPU cooler

•    Universal mounting hardware for Intel and AMD

•    Tube of Chill Factor 2 thermal compound

•    (4) Fan mounting wires and (4) Vibration isolation strips

•    Printed Installation instructions sheet

•    Thermalright decal

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