iXBT Labs - Computer Hardware in Detail






Five Premium CPU Coolers In Tests

From ASUS, Noctua, Scythe, Thermalright and Thermaltake.

June 26, 2009

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Thermalright IFX-14

The product comes in an ascetic cardboard box (padded with foamed polyethylene inside). Identification marks on the box include only the logo and the cooler name.

The bundle includes an Inferno FX-14 heatsink, an additional HR-10 unit, a multiplatform retention kit (for Intel LGA775 and AMD Socket AM2), thermal grease Chill Factor 2, mounting brackets (2 pairs), and silicon dampers (1 pair) for the optional fans, accessories for the HR-10 unit, and a brief user guide.

The cooler has a 'tower' heatsink to be fitted with the HR-10 unit and optional fans (up to three fans, 120x120x25mm, 120x120x38mm, or 140x140x25mm). Dimensions -- 146x124x161mm (without fans). Weight -- 765g (without a retention module and fans).

The working medium of the cooler is formed by a copper-aluminum base plate (50x40x14mm), 4 heat pipes (8mm in diameter), and a two-section aluminum fin-stack (54 fins in each section, total heat exchange surface area of about 8500cm2).

Major advantages of the Inferno FX-14 design:

  • Widely spaced sections of the fin-stack (with a good choice of dual-fan configurations, it allows to use practically the entire surface area for heat exchange).
  • Optimized fin step (about 2mm) that reduces impedance and raises thermal efficiency of the heatsink.
  • Traditionally high quality of contacts between elements (the base plate and heat pipes are soldered to each other as well as the heat pipes and fins).
  • Wide installation of heat pipes in the fin-stack (not crowded, don't heat each other).

Design of the Inferno FX-14 has no flaws except for decorative layers in the fin structure.

Heatsink technical rating: excellent.

Note that the bundle does not include a fan.

Like most top products, installation is not really a forte of the IFX-14. The retention kit is not very easy to install on Intel LGA775 as well as on AMD Socket AM2: the first step is to install a support plate, then you mount the HR-10 unit on this plate, fix the plate with special brackets on the board, and only then install the heatsink using two spring-loaded screws and the bundled bracket.

Nevertheless, this retention module is a key advantage of the IFX-14, considering its weight (over 1 kg with two fans) and impossibility to use the reference latch for the HR-10 unit.

Besides, the IFX-14 comes with high-quality thermal grease Chill Factor 2 (enough for several installations).

Usability rating: excellent.

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