Thermaltake Frio CPU Cooler
Author: Zahn Funk
Editor: Shawn Knight
Date: 04-09-2010
Provided by: Thermaltake
Installation / Testing

The Thermaltake Frio will be used in combination with the following components:

AMD Phenom II 965 X4 BE
MSI 890GXM-G65
2x2Gb Crucial Ballistix Tracer DDR3-1600
Asus HD4890 TOP
Thermalright HR-03 GT
3x74Gb WD Raptor RAID0
Optiarc 24x DVD+/-RW
SilverStone Decathlon DA750
Cooler Master HAF 932 AMD Edition

The Frio uses a bolt-through mounting design, probably in large part due to its higher-than-average weight. At more than 1,000 grams you definitely want this cooler securely fastened. So the first step is to select the appropriate brackets for your socket type and attach those to the cooler base. Then the threaded posts are screwed into the brackets and plastic washers set in place as spacers.

Next the stock socket retention bracket must be removed to make room for the Thermaltake mount. Unless you have an access hole in your case motherboard tray, this means removing the board in order to take off the back plate. Most backing plates have threaded posts at the corners and the heatsink attachment is screwed in from the top, however the Thermaltake mount simply has four holes and the threaded nuts must be screwed on separately. I don't care for this design because it really takes three hands to install, one to hold the cooler on the top of the board, one to hold the back plate and one to screw on the nuts. I ended up removing the motherboard from the case and setting the cooler upside down, so that gravity held the board and plate in alignment while I tightened it down. I'm also not crazy about the nuts slotted for a regular screwdriver as opposed to a Phillips head, they're just not as commonly used and means an extra tool you have to grab during installation.

Both fans have 3-pin connectors that can be plugged into any available motherboard header. Rather than using PWM to control fan speed, the inline pot is used to adjust the RPMs. The power wire for both fans is sleeved, however a sticker near the end of the connector claims "warranty void if removed" which I think is a little ridiculous. The seat pressure of the cooler is rather high, some slight bending of the motherboard occurs when tightened down. However this ensures the heatsink won't shift around if the case is moved, and should also help performance by providing a tighter bond to the processor.

Testing was done first with both fans installed and set to the lowest speed possible. At this setting the Frio's fans are barely audible outside the case, and not distinguishable over the rest of the case fans in the HAF 932 anyway. Since quiet coolers are not often associated with high performance, I was certainly not expecting the results obtained during testing. OCCT was used to stress all four cores for the default run of one hour, and the lowest and highest temperature recorded. This turned out to be an idle in the upper 20s and peak load at low 50s. I'm impressed and can't wait to see how the Frio does with the fans set to high.

While idle temperature only decreases by a single degree, load temps drop another 7 C at stock speed, and 4 C when overclocked. This puts the fully loaded, overclocked and overvolted temperature at less than 50 C which is pretty amazing for an air cooler if you ask me.

Let's wrap up this review with some final thoughts and conclusion.

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