It is not often I am surprised and truly impressed with an aftermarket CPU cooler. This is probably in large part due to my switch to using liquid cooling roughly two years ago. It takes a pretty high-end heatsink to equal the amount of performance you can get from a water cooled system. But I'm happy to report today that the Thermaltake Frio is one of those coolers.
Many of Thermaltake's coolers are geared more towards appearance and style, as well as quiet operation, rather than all-out performance. But the Frio is obviously designed with a little something more in mind. With five huge 8mm heatpipes sandwiched in a copper base and 48 thick aluminum tower fins, the Frio is as impressive in appearance as it is in mass. Coupled with not one but two 120mm fans, the whole apparatus weighs in at more than 1,000 grams. Add in a bolt-through mounting kit with some pretty intense seat pressure and what you've got is an air cooler than can easily tame even an overclocked and overvolted quad core processor. Thermaltake even goes so far as to certify the Frio for hexa core CPUs with a maximum 220w TDP capability.
As with all air coolers, you get the best performance out of the Frio when the fans are screaming to the tune of 40+ dB, not an amount of noise that most people want to tolerate. However crank that down to a more reasonable level and the Frio still manages 94% of the same performance. This is accomplished by adjusting pots wired into both fans, and while certainly not as slick as controlling PWM fans through software, it does have a certain "set-it-and-forget-it" type of appeal for those people who'd rather pick a spot somewhere in the middle and leave it there.
The Thermaltake Frio has an MSRP of $59.99 and while available at a large number of online resellers, isn't being offered much less than that. Even so, $60 is not unreasonable to pay for a high-end air cooler, especially one that comes with dual fans included, something that many aftermarket coolers make you purchase separately.
OCIA.net has awarded the Thermaltake Frio our Gold Seal of Approval.