Thermaltake Frio ReviewBosco - May 12, 2010
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The Thermaltake FRIO is a cooler that delivers excellent cooling when compared to some of the current high-end cooling solutions on the market. Able to handle a 220 watt thermal load, it delivered temperatures that were right in the same ballpark as the vaunted Thermalright TRUE and Noctua NH-U12P at 54 degrees Celsius under load. Playing in the same field as these coolers is a step up the performance ladder for Thermaltake. When the CPU was overclocked, the FRIO delivers the same comparable performance as the TRUE and NH-U12P SE 1366. A pretty impressive performance when you get down to it. When compared to the Noctua, it is a physically smaller design with a more dense fin array and one more heatpipe, while being comparable in size to the TRUE that carries six heatpipes instead of the five on the FRIO. The five 8mm heatpipes do help carry the 'up to 220 watt' load to the fin array.
The performance can be tailored to your needs by using the variable fan speed adjustments on the VR fans. You can set a low 1200 RPM setting for a low noise, yet still cool running CPU, or you can go all-out with the maximum 2500RPM setting for all-out performance. If you opt for the all-out 2500 RPM setting, the fans are a bit noisy at 43 dBA. While noisy at the top-end, Thermaltake has opted to mount the fans with what it calls a 'vibration absorbing' mount. This does indeed prevent any rattles from the fans at full song. With this kind of mount, it is often a one-use item. I found in my haste to mount the FRIO onto the motherboard that I had installed one fan backwards, so I prepared to find a "fix" to remount the second fan. However, when I pulled the fan off, the mount did not tear in half like I expected. This allowed a successful remounting of the fan in the correct orientation.
The multi-socket mounting proved easy to use and install. I had no troubles mounting the FRIO to the motherboard. The only problem I see is one that most people will not experience, but to swap out a CPU for an upgrade the motherboard will need to be removed to access the nuts on the back side of the mounting assembly. Thermaltake has included all the hardware to mount the FRIO to any of the latest sockets from Intel and AMD, so the whole market is covered.
The FRIO has the look of a high performance cooler with the nickel plated finish and excellent surface preparation on the base plate. There are no visible machining marks that you commonly see on the contact surface of the base, meaning a thinner layer of TIM and better contact for reduced temperatures. It's a cooling solution that looks good and just works, with performance that can be tailored from mild to wild - simply by making an adjustment to the fan speed. Couple that with competitive pricing and Thermaltake has a winner on their hands with the release of the FRIO.
- Great cooling
- Large size
- Dual fans included
- Multi-socket mounting
- Vibration dampened fan mounting
- Bolt-on design
- Adjustable fan speed for low noise environment
- General fit and finish
- Loud on high fan speed setting
- Nickle plating on heatpipes looks a little poor