Over the years I have seen hundreds of air coolers of various models and designs. From the smaller coolers to the larger twin tower coolers, performance is always a key factor when it comes to finding the right product. Today I am going to be looking to a new unique design by Thermalright 120m CPU Cooler. It is called the True Spirit 120m. Does it have the right aesthetic appeal and how does it stack up with some of today’s coolers in thermal performance? That is what I will attempt to answer in our review today.
Taking a closer look at our Thermalright True Spirit 120m, from a design stand point I were pleased with its layout and construction. Right off the bat I am surprised by the interesting aesthetics and unique design of the True Sprit 120m.
The Zero RAM interference quality is great for those looking for a cooling solution that will allow full access to all the RAM channels. Also, the curved design of the aluminum fins really gives it a unique look. From this angle you can see the fins are positioned to let the air travel through the cooler and rise upwards. This will help with spreading the heat up and off the cooler.
Here is another look at the curved design. When this cooler is mounted onto the case the curved fins help guide the hot air to the rear exhaust fan removing the hot air from the case and cooler creating a better thermal performance.At the top of the cooler I see Thermalright’s Logo imprinted on the aluminum fin and the 4 heat pipe ends.
Speaking of the heat pipes, here is the closer look at the heat pipes and the unique design creating the Zero RAM interference feature. Thermalright 120m CPU Cooler doesn’t list the size of the heat pipes; however, we measured them to be right about 5-6mms around.
The copper heat pipes run through the copper base that is nickel plated to a mirror finish. I am very please with its base finish, and as you can see here, the reflection shows its ultimate shine. The solid flat surface really helps to ensure that the cooler is sitting nice and flat with the processor.
Installation – Intel
The instructions provided for the Thermalright True Spirit 120m Cooler were easy to understand. It’s always a good idea to read the instructions before installing any CPU cooler. Sometimes, novice users try to install a CPU cooler without reading the instructions first, and end up causing damage to their motherboard but blame the cooler.
First I used the provided back plate and installation stand offs to mount the back plate to the motherboard. These will only need to be hand tightened and this part of the installation was done with ease.Once you have stand offs on, we can now mount the installation plate. Be sure to read the instructions for which position this will need to be placed.
Once you have the plate secured, you can attach the cooler. They also provided a secure plate to position the cooler in the correct spot. Two screws on either end will lock it in place.
Here are some final pictures with the cooler installed and secured in place. I didn’t encounter any problems during installation and it didn’t interfere with any of the motherboard’s heatsinks or ports. Take a look at the multiple angles here and you will notice how well the cooler fit.
This is an important angle to view. You can see that the cooler’s unique designed heat pipes position the cooler slightly forward, creating the Zero RAM interference design. I will take another look at this same angle later with the fan installed.To install the 120mm fan, Thermalright 120m CPU Cooler included the installation hardware to clip the fan into place. Thermalright even included two sets of these.
When testing the Thermalright True Spirit 120m cooler we are going to boot to windows and let the system idle for 10 mins. We will then measure the ambient room temperature at the time of testing. This will ensure that we give you the most accurate results across the board.
This process will be completed twice to ensure that we don’t run into any discrepancies. The variance of temps across all cores is +/- 5 degrees. All bench tests are performed in Celsius.
To run heat testing we used Prime95 as our software of choice. We ran Prime95 for 25mins to give enough time for the CPU to process all the loads. We record our temps with Core Temp as we find it to be the most accurate. We also tested the chips at stock freqs and with OC freqs to give you an idea of how this cooler performed.
First we measured ambient temps for the first test, which were 20c at that time. We tested our i5 3570k at its stock core of 3.4Ghz with voltages at stock as well. Once windows was loaded, we allowed it to idle for 10 mins and we measured our idle temps to be 20c at the lowest point. During that time we did see temps move around and avg. between 21-27c between the 4 cores. We achieved great results as it idled at our ambient temps.
Once the results were noted we loaded Prime95 and fired up the stress test in blend mode for 25 mins. As you can see with the Core Temp screen shot we peaked at 50c with temps hovering around 44-48c for our avg. These were great results over the stock cooler that is included with the i5 3570k.
Overall we felt that the Thermalright True Spirit 120m did a great job keeping our i5 3570k cool. This is a great replacement over the stock Intel Cooler that is included with the processor. While we have seen larger coolers perform better thermal-wise, the unique Zero RAM interference is what makes this cooler stand out from the rest.
If you already have tall heat spreader RAM and don’t want to change that, then the True Spirit 120m is a great solution. The aesthetic appeal even matched nicely with our ASRock Z77 Extreme 4 motherboard’s gold caps.
First, let’s take a look at the aesthetic appeal of the Thermalright True Spirit 120m. While the yellow fan isn’t the color of choice for all PC builders, we found it to be unique and really gave the cooler a nice touch. With the correct hardware choice this cooler can really be pleasing to the eye.
We saw this with our test bench set-up as it matched great with our ASRock Z77 Extreme 4 and its gold lettering and caps. Also, our RAM choice with the Crucial Ballistic Tacticals really made the clear yellow fan blade fit right in.
The cooler’s unique design with the ZERO RAM interference was also another strong feature to this cooler. This will allow users to have more RAM options and also keep tall heat spreaders from getting in the way.
Not only that, the single tower feature makes it easier to work with most modern motherboards in today’s market without blocking any of the heat sinks and ports. The 4 unique curved copper heat pipes help with heat dissipation and allowed the aluminum fins to exhaust the heat off the processor.
While aesthetics are only one part of selecting a cooler, we also saw that the Thermalright 120m CPU Cooler True Spirit 120m did a great job in thermal performance. Even with our OC settings at 4.4ghz we maxed out at 67c which is under Intel’s thermal MAX.
The Cooler does allow for an additional 120mm fan for extra cooling; however, as we have seen in the past, air coolers configured in push pull configuration only yield at most 1-2c of additional cooling performance, so this is hardly negligible.
During the thermal testing we had the fan ramped to full RPMs and we noticed the fan was a little bit on the louder side, although it was not unbearable. We find this to be a similar case with most air coolers available in today’s market. Since the Thermalright 120m CPU Cooler True Spirit 120m uses standard 120mm fitment fans, finding alternative fans to fit your needs is another great option.