Thermaltake Frio Advanced CPU Cooler Review
By Rafael Coelho on June 18, 2012
The Thermaltake Frio Advanced is a member of the Frio family from which we already tested the Frio and the Frio OCK. The Frio Advanced has five direct-touch heatpipes and two 130 mm fans. Check it out!
The box of the Frio Advanced, decorated with red plasma rays, is shown in Figure 1.
Figure 2 shows the contents of the box: the cooler itself, a small syringe of thermal compound, manuals, and installation hardware.
Figure 3 displays the Thermaltake Frio Advanced.
This cooler is discussed in detail in the following pages.
Figure 4 illustrates the front of the cooler. The 130 mm fan with red blades and black frame covers the entire heatsink.
Figure 5 reveals the side of the cooler. Notice that the fans were installed on plastic frames that make the installation and removal of the fans an easy task.
Figure 6 shows the rear of the Frio Advanced, where you can see the second fan, installed in the exhaust position.
In Figure 7, you can see the top of the cooler. Between the fan frames, there is a red plastic piece with the Thermaltake logo at the center.
Figures 8 and 9 illustrate the base of the cooler. The five 6 mm heatpipes touch the CPU directly, with a small aluminum gap between them. The base is smooth but with no mirrored look.
Figure 10 shows the heatsink of the Frio Advanced with the fans removed.
In Figure 11, you can see the 130 mm PWM fans that come with the Frio Advanced.
The first step to install the Frio Advanced is to attach the holders (each one with one spring-loaded screw) to the base of the cooler. Figure 12 shows those holders in place.
The second step is to install the frame on the motherboard. Put the backplate on the solder side of the motherboard, insert the four screws, install the plastic spacers, and then the metal bars, holding them with four thumbnuts.
Then, put the cooler over the CPU and fasten the two screws.
The last step is to reinstall the fans, as shown in Figure 15.
We tested the cooler with a Core i5-2500K CPU (quad-core, 3.3 GHz), which is a socket LGA1155 processor with a 95 W TDP (Thermal Design Power). In order to get higher thermal dissipation, we overclocked it to 4.0 GHz (100 MHz base clock and x40 multiplier), with 1.3 V core voltage (Vcore). This CPU was able to reach 4.8 GHz with its default core voltage, but at this setting, the processor enters thermal throttling when using mainstream coolers, reducing the clock and thus the thermal dissipation. This could interfere with the temperature readings, so we chose to maintain a moderate overclocking.
We measured noise and temperature with the CPU under full load. In order to get 100% CPU usage in all cores, we ran Prime 95 25.11 with the “In-place Large FFTs” option. (In this version, the software uses all available threads.)
We compared the tested cooler to other coolers we already tested, and to the stock cooler that comes with the Core i5-2500K CPU. Note that the results cannot be compared to measures taken on a different hardware configuration, so we retested some “old” coolers with this new methodology. This means you can find different values in older reviews than the values you will read on the next page. Every cooler was tested with the thermal compound that comes with it.
Room temperature measurements were taken with a digital thermometer. The core temperature was read with the SpeedFan program (available from the CPU thermal sensors), using an arithmetic average of the core temperature readings.
During the tests, the panels of the computer case were closed. The front and rear case fans were spinning at minimum speed in order to simulate the “normal” cooler use on a well-ventilated case. We assume that is the common setup used by a cooling enthusiast or overclocker.
The sound pressure level (SPL) was measured with a digital noise meter, with its sensor placed near the top opening of the case. This measurement is only for comparison purposes, because a precise SPL measurement needs to be made inside an acoustically insulated room with no other noise sources, which is not the case here.
Operating System Configuration
We adopted a 2°C error margin, meaning temperature differences below 2°C are considered irrelevant.
The table below presents the results of our measurements. We repeated the same test on all coolers listed below. Each measurement was taken with the CPU at full load. In the models with a fan supporting PWM, the motherboard controlled the fan speed according to core load and temperature. On coolers with an integrated fan controller, the fan was set at the full speed.
|Cooler||Room Temp.||Noise||Speed||Core Temp.||Temp. Diff.|
|Cooler Master Hyper TX3||18 °C||50 dBA||2850 rpm||69 °C||51 °C|
|Corsair A70||23 °C||51 dBA||2000 rpm||66 °C||43 °C|
|Corsair H100||26 °C||62 dBA||2000 rpm||64 °C||38 °C|
|EVGA Superclock||26 °C||57 dBA||2550 rpm||67 °C||41 °C|
|NZXT HAVIK 140||20 °C||46 dBA||1250 rpm||65 °C||45 °C|
|Thermalright True Spirit 120||26 °C||42 dBA||1500 rpm||82 °C||56 °C|
|Zalman CNPS12X||26 °C||43 dBA||1200 rpm||71 °C||45 °C|
|Zalman CNPS9900 Max||20 °C||51 dBA||1700 rpm||62 °C||42 °C|
|Titan Fenrir Siberia Edition||22 °C||50 dBA||2400 rpm||65 °C||43 °C|
|SilenX EFZ-120HA5||18 °C||44 dBA||1500 rpm||70 °C||52 °C|
|Noctua NH-L12||20 °C||44 dBA||1450 rpm||70 °C||50 °C|
|Zalman CNPS8900 Extreme||21 °C||53 dBA||2550 rpm||71 °C||50 °C|
|Gamer Storm Assassin||15 °C||48 dBA||1450 rpm||58 °C||43 °C|
|Deepcool Gammaxx 400||15 °C||44 dBA||1500 rpm||60 °C||45 °C|
|Cooler Master TPC 812||23 °C||51 dBA||2350 rpm||66 °C||43 °C|
|Deepcool Gammaxx 300||18 °C||43 dBA||1650 rpm||74 °C||56 °C|
|Intel stock cooler||18 °C||41 dBA||2000 rpm||97 °C||79 °C|
|Xigmatek Praeton||19 °C||52 dBA||2900 rpm||83 °C||64 °C|
|Noctua NH-U12P SE2||18 °C||42 dBA||1300 rpm||69 °C||51 °C|
|Deepcool Frostwin||24 °C||46 dBA||1650 rpm||78 °C||54 °C|
|Thermaltake Frio Advanced||13 °C||56 dBA||2000 rpm||62 °C||49 °C|
In the graph below, you can see how many degrees Celsius hotter the CPU core is than the air outside the case. The lower this difference, the better is the performance of the cooler.
In the graph below, you can see how many decibels of noise each cooler makes.
The main specifications for the Thermaltake Frio Advanced CPU cooler include:
* Researched at Newegg.com on the day we published this review.
Although the Frio and the Frio OCK from Thermaltake were both excellent CPU coolers, with extreme cooling performance and low noise level, the Frio Advanced seems to be the black sheep of this family. Its performance was mediocre, and its noise level was actually annoying.
It seems that Thermaltake decided to produce a simpler heatsink than the ones on the previous members of the family. What is really interesting is that the Frio Advanced costs more than the original Frio.
This is proof that an “advanced” version is not always a better product.