Thermaltake Jing CPU Cooler Review

airman - 2011-02-20 19:35:12 in CPU Cooling
Category: CPU Cooling
Reviewed by: airman   
Reviewed on: May 4, 2011
Price: $59.99

Introduction:

It seems that every day I get on the Internet, I am pelted with advertisements for CPU cooling hardware and it never ceases to amaze me the amount of innovation and new features that go into these things year after year. The fact that something with only one main goal, keeping your processor cool, can remain in a market and stay fresh surely says something about the companies behind them. The market for these heatsinks and other cooling devices has absolutely exploded over the past five years and the expansion rate certainly has not slowed down. More people every year are becoming more tech-savvy, and those certain folks have the general understanding that a cooler processor will last longer and remain healthy throughout its life. These users want the best for their expensive hardware, so they all turn to the big names to protect their silicon gems. Thermaltake is one of the manufacturers that has been in the game since even before this explosion, and has continued to adapt and improve its products over the years to meet the needs of the huge market that exists today.

Today, in the spotlight of this review is the Thermaltake Jing CPU cooler. This newly released heatsink from Thermaltake utilizes a push/pull design with nearly silent fans, vibration dampening, a large list of socket compatibility, a copper base, and a fully nickel-plated body. All of this in conjunction with a mirror-smooth base and five 6mm heatpipes should amount to a well-done heatsink unit. Since its release, it has received high ratings and good feedback, and I am looking forward to working with it. I'm not terribly concerned with sound, but I feel that if a quieter product can produce the same results as a louder one — that's certainly worth noting. In this review, I will provide a complete evaluation of the Thermaltake Jing from un-boxing, up-close features, specifications, and most importantly a stress test on some of the latest hardware to see how well it can handle the heat (pun indented). Let's move on.

 

Closer Look:

The Thermaltake Jing is packaged in a white, elegant looking box with the Thermaltake logo in the upper left corner. Covering the box are light green accents, giving a feel of "nature" to the product. The front cover lists that it is capable of cooling 200W of heat, along with the text "Silent by design." One of the icons at the bottom states that the cooler operates at an inaudible 16dBA, which is for most people, silent. The left side of the box has a list of specifications, mainly in tabular form, naming the Jing's compatibility, dimensions, weight, fan speed, and other values. The rear of the box has some pictures of the Jing in action, explaining some of its features and advantages along with some bullets going into some more detail. The right side of the box lists some of these features in different languages.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After getting into the box, the first thing that I noticed is the box that holds the hardware — internally it is molded to organize every screw, nut, spacer, etc. This is a neat way to present everything, but most likely this box wouldn't be used again by the owner. Included in this box is everything you need to mount the Jing to the motherboard, including the back plate, mounting bars, nuts, spacers, and screws. Thermaltake includes a tube of its thermal paste in this box as well.

 

 

The green color on the heatsink is different and is unique compared to all of the other plain silver/black that we see everywhere else. The grey plastic on the cooler reminds me of the old school beige color that used to be everywhere, so I think Thermaltake could have chosen a different color. Alas, with the Jing out of the box, it's time to get a closer look at the cooler itself.

Closer Look:

The Thermaltake Jing has a look about it that is unique and elegant, and different from other coolers out there on the market. The way that the fan supports intertwine and pass over each other make it look like some sort of plant and gives it a "viney" appearance. The green plastic piece on the top covers most of the tips of the heatpipes and has the Thermaltake logo along with "Jing" printed on the middle. To either side of this green section, in the gray plastic, is the Thermaltake logo embossed into this fan shroud. The entire body of the Jing is nickel plated, which adds a dark sheen to the cooler and prevents oxidation of the aluminum fins which can cause performance degradation. The look of the Thermaltake Jing is starting to grow on me, especially once seeing that it is completely nickel plated with a great surface finish and the unique color accents that make it stand out compared to other coolers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The base on the Thermaltake Jing is certainly on the impressive side. It is polished to a mirror finish and appears to be perfectly flat. Having such a base allows for the most surface contact at the interface between the heatsink and the processor itself, providing the most efficient heat flow into the heatsink. Another important aspect is the interface between the heatpipes and the base, which also will perform best with optimal surface area at the contact point. Thermaltake chose a general design here with the Jing, and that is sandwiching the heatpipes between the copper base plate and another machined plate to where the mounting hardware attaches. Generally the heatpipes are soldered into this interface to allow for optimum conduction, which appears to be the case with this heatsink as well. The fins themselves are are press-fit onto the heatpipes, where the compression at the interface helps conduct heat more efficiently. This also keeps the fins in place without the costly necessity of solder or other adhesives. A closer look of the base will reveal some machining marks that are somewhat rounded off but can only be seen in the correct lighting. This is what the original machining marks look like after having been plated. Not a terrible characteristic, but it shows that instead of actually polishing/lapping the surface, it was simply plated over.

 

 

 

Complete disassembly of the Jing heatsink is easy with a small flathead screwdriver and Phillips head. Removing the fans by moving the retention tabs out of the way will expose the gray shrouds underneath them. On each of the four corners of these shrouds are white rubber dampening pieces. However, they are flush with the surface of the shroud — which doesn't really make contact with the fans themselves so I'm not sure of their effectiveness. The two shrouds are held on similarly to the fans, as there are retention tabs holding them onto the heatsink itself, so those must be released. The final piece is the green heatpipe cap, which is held on by four Phillips head screws. Viewing the bare heatsink gives a better and clearer look at its construction, materials, and notably the fin thickness.

 

 

 

The fans on the Thermaltake Jing are an open-frame design. The open frame design helps decrease overall noise production, but my limited knowledge says that the overall air velocity and flow in the intended direction will suffer, but only slightly. For those wondering, it does seem possible that running standard "box" fans on this heatsink is possible, and I will confirm this by the end of the review. The fans themselves operate at 12V and pull a current of 0.2A. At 800RPM, the Jing's fans only operate at 16dBA which is well below a quiet whisper, which is completely inaudible to most. Each fan has their own VR knob for adjusting the fan speed individually and terminates into a three-pin header. Unfortunately, Thermaltake did not provide a 'Y' adapter for these two fans, so two free three-pin connections will be required.

 

 

 

Installation of the Thermaltake Jing is straightforward and didn't take much time with the handy installation manual present. It uses the same back plate for Intel as with AMD, so no confusion from there can come about. After installation, I observed the good amount of clearance between the heatsink itself and the RAM modules, where I've had some issues with that in the past. Though it is kind of heavy, it didn't cause any clearance issues. I had to rearrange some of my fan configurations to make room for the extra headed required from the motherboard. Luckily I was able to switch a couple around to free an extra one up closest to the processor. With both fans turned all the way up, the noise is still barely audible but noticeable. At low speed, there is no noise at all — even with the case door open. Below is a picture of the Jing installed as well as a picture of the clearance between the memory modules and the cooler. Moving to the left-most slot would still cause no interference, even with the high RAM heatsinks on these modules.

 

 

With the Thermaltake Jing installed, I will move onto the next section, which is the manufacturer provided specifications and features of the heatsink. Following that will be the most important part of the review — performance testing.

Specifications:

Compatibility
Intel: LGA1366, LGA 1156, LGA 775
AMD: AM3, AM2+, AM2
Dimension
131(L) x 123(W) x 162(H) {with two fans}
Heatpipe
6mm x 5PCS
Rated Voltage
12V
Rated Current
0.2A
Power Input
2.4W
Fan Speed
800~1300 RPM
Max. Air Flow
42 CFM
Max. Air Pressure
(air in) 0.85 mmH2O
(air out) 1.45mmH2O
Noise
15 dBA (at 800RPM)
Connector
3 Pin with manual variable speed control
Weight
920g (with 2 Fans)

 

Features:

 

All information provided courtesy of Thermaltake @ http://www.thermaltakeusa.com/">http://www.thermaltakeusa.com/

Testing and Setup:

Testing of this heatsink will involve applying a load simulated by Prime95, using small FFTs in stock and overclocked scenarios, where both idle and load temperatures will be recorded. Load temperatures will be the maximum value displayed in RealTemp after running eight threads in Prime95 for one hour, and idle temperatures will be the minimum recorded value by RealTemp with no computer usage during a period of one hour. The temperature values for each of the four cores will be averaged and displayed in the graphs below. The ambient temperature is held at a constant 22.5 °C throughout testing of the Thermaltake Jing, as well as the comparison units. All the data shown in the graphs below is in degrees Celsius. The included thermal paste from Thermaltake will be used during testing and thermal pastes on other heatsinks from their respective manufacturers will be used. The fans on the each cooler will be run at full speed for these tests, along with a low speed run of the Jing.

Testing Setup:

Testing Setup:

 

Comparison Heatsinks:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well, for the Jing's size, these results kind of surprise me. I expected a little bit lower temperatures, but in reality it only performed a few degrees cooler than the average temperatures of the comparison coolers. However, for the Jing's fan design and flow rates along with their static pressure, these results turn out to be a little ordinary. The high speed a low speed tests leave little to the imagination, as lower fan speeds cause a slower heat transfer between the surface of the fins and the air blowing over them. I'll go into more depth about the fan design that hinders the performance in my conclusion.

Conclusion:

As I stated previously while wrapping up the results, the Thermaltake Jing doesn't perform far off from the overall average of the comparison coolers. I expected, for its heavy weight of 960g, that it would have a slight advantage to compensate for its fan design. However, it still seemed to fall short of what I was planning on seeing. To be more specific on the fan design, I found that indeed, the open framed fan does help reduce noise. However, removing the shroud on a fan removes a large amount of its ability to project air in the direction that it is intended. What happens is that without this shroud, the air gets "flung out" from the blades similar to what you would observe while dropping water onto a spinning fan. This effect can certainly be felt by placing your hand next to the fan, as you'll feel two streams of air flying out of the shroud-less fans. I fully expect the engineers at Thermaltake to have compensated for this by the design of the blades, but the overall idea in mind with this cooler is silence which they certainly achieved.

The look of the Thermaltake Jing is unique, and it certainly stands out inside of the case without the need for flashing lights, buzzers, or disco balls. I'm still not totally partial to the gray color of the plastic, as it looks dated and reminds me of the horrifying beige era of computing. However, that's only my subjective opinion talking! The variable speed fans are a nice touch, though I wish Thermaltake could have consolidated the two three-pin connectors into one header. After thinking about it, I believe Thermaltake chose to do this to simply even out the power draw over two headers and not risk the potential of burning out one of these headers, so no true drawback there in my opinion! Overall, Thermaltake took the route of quiet, green, yet sufficiently powerful to make a point. In my opinion, Thermaltake succeeded!

 

Pros:

 

Cons: