Before I attempted to mount this beast in my case, I wanted to see what the TRue Black looked like with some fans attached. Pictured are a pair of NMB 120x38mm 130cfm hairdryers, rated at 50dB each. Obviously these represent the extreme end of the scale when it comes to fan selection; most users will no doubt go with something quieter, but I wanted to throw on two of the biggest and baddest fans I had lying around to see how well this cooler could do.
I am installing the TRue Black on an AM2 motherboard, and although Thermalright requires that the retention module be removed from the top, they state in the instructions to use the factory backing plate. Spring-loaded screws and a new top clip are provided with the cooler to hold the heatsink down. On this particular board, a Biostar TForce 570 SLI, the stock backing plate pillars that extend up through the motherboard are not threaded - only the metal inserts at the very bottom are. And with the tapered threads and short length on the provided screws, there is not enough to even get them started, much less be able to tighten down the top clip. I checked all three of my AMD motherboards, two AM2 and one AM2+, and all use the same style of backing plate. Luckily I have another Thermalright product here from a previous review, the SI-128SE, which did come with a replacement backing plate that has fully threaded metal pillars. Using the SI-128SE backing plate, I am able to get the TRue Black installed. Thermalright does offer an optional AMD backplate but one is not included with the TRue Black 120.
With the Thermalright backing plate in place, the TRue Black is easily installed. The spring-loaded screws provide quite a bit of clamping force, and coupled with the four prong top clip, the heavy heatsink is held very firmly. Unlike some mounting clips which allow some amount of rotation or movement, there is absolutely no wiggle room with this setup. You can tell just how large the TRue Black is by comparing its size with the memory slots or the video card, a 6600GT in this case. The GPU looks downright tiny compared to the behemoth standing next to it.
I noticed two clearance issues after installing the TRue Black, an interference between the heatpipe and first memory slot on one side, and contact between the fan clip and mosfet cooler on the other. The DIMMs are easily enough moved to the second two slots, however if you currently have all four slots populated, you may run into problems. The Thermalright HR-09 is a bit too tall and prevents the fan clip from hanging where it should, but I was still able to make it work as-is.
The fans must be removed during installation of the TRue Black so that the screws can be accessed. Due to the size of the heatsink and fans, it can be a bit of a squeeze trying to mount them once the cooler is inside the case. I had just enough room between the video card and bottom panel to fit these in comfortably without having to pull anything out of the way. With the fans installed, the cooler looks even more huge than it did before, although these are some rather large fans by their own right.
With everything buttoned back up, let's fire up the system and begin some testing.