Thermaltake Frio ReviewBosco - May 12, 2010
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The FRIO is a tower style heatsink constructed similarly to the myriad of tower heatsinks on the market. The copper heatpipes pass through the copper and aluminum base and deliver the thermal load to the .05mm aluminum fins. The five copper heatpipes used are 8mm in diameter, making them some of the largest used in a CPU cooler. Tower-style heatsinks are usually large and the FRIO is no different in this respect. At 165mm from the base to the top, 139mm from side to side and from 90mm to 118mm thick depending on whether you use one or two of the supplied VR series fans, the FRIO is fairly large. The FRIO is also nickel plated to give it that high tech look that is so popular right now. This also has the additional benefit of keeping corrosion from the copper components increasing their life span. Stripped down to the core, the FRIO looks much like many of the other tower heatsinks, but it's how it performs that sets it apart from the crowd.
The top of the FRIO is covered with a decorative plate that hides the fins while allowing the heatpipes to pass through. The aluminum fins have the Thermaltake logo stamped in them that is not only nice to look at, but adds more surface area, while increasing the rigidity of the fins at the same time.
The base on the FRIO is much better than I expected. The base is quite smooth without any machining marks to detract from the performance of the cooler. The five 8mm heatpipes occupy much of the space in the base-plate and helps contribute to the performance of this cooler. The mounting lugs to attach the cooler to the mounting hardware, are part of the base. This allows for an easy installation for your specific needs. The FRIO suffers from one of the same problems as the TRUE I just looked at - the nickel plating looks like it is ready to peel off at any time.
The VR series fans that are used on the FRIO are called VR because of the variable resistor or fan speed controller that are part of the fan assemblies. This allows the fans to run from a low speed of 1200 RPM to a high speed of 2500 RPM for when you really need maximum cooling. As you can guess, noise will be a bit of a problem for some at 43 dBA when you spool up the fans to maximum speeds, but with the fan controller, you can easily find a happy medium in between the high and low speed settings. The maximum amount of airflow through each of the fans is almost 102 CFM, so there is some serious airflow moving through the FRIO. What good is a lot of airflow if it wont make it through the heatsink? Static pressure is a way to judge how well the fan pushes against an obstruction to air flow and these are rated at 4.2 mmH2O - a little bit over two times higher than the Noctua NF-P12 120mm fan. The fans are held in place with a rubber mount/vibration isolator. Many times I find these are a one-use item, but was surprised to see these go through a couple of on/off cycles while tearing apart the heatsink.
Once installed, the size of the FRIO is evident. Unlike some of the heatsinks I have used, the memory modules were not impacted when using only 6GB of memory. Moving up to 12GB and occupying all 6 DIMM slots may prove difficult depending on how high the heat-spreaders of the modules you use are.
Let's see if the FRIO is actually 'designed for overclocking', or is simply the victim of a bad advertising line!