Thermaltake are back with their brand new CPU cooler; the Frio Extreme Silent 14 Dual. In the past they have released some excellent products geared towards gamers and overclocking enthusiasts, boasting good value, low temperatures and low acoustics. A near silent PC is always hard to put together and normally you have to sacrifice some of the cooling power to get the PC as quiet as you would like. This cooler is set to try and tackle both problems head on, focusing on silence whilst keeping the performance that we all desire.
I’ve got high hopes for this cooler and with stiff competition coming from the likes of be quiet! and the AIOs that are on the market it will certainly be interesting to see how this stacks up against the competition.
As you can see from the specification below, the cooler supports all major socket types for both Intel and AMD. It comes equipped with two 140mm PWM fans and 0.4mm aluminium fin construction.
The front of the box features an image of the dual 14 CPU cooler and boasts support of up to 240w and low noise.
Around the back is a quick run-down on some of the major features, but we’ll be taking a closer look at those in a moment.
In the box you’ll find a universal backplate with thick foam padding, four fan clips, thermal grease, Intel and AMD mounting brackets, two low noise cables and an assortment of screws and bolts,
A Closer Look
The two 140mm fans look great, they are quite simple in design and stick to a mostly black and white colour theme. The Thermaltake sticker in the middle is the only splash of colour. Personally I would prefer the branding to be more fitting with the black design of the fans, but that’s just a personal preference.
The top of the cooler has quite a nice design; simple yet stylish with the embossed Tt logo that we have grown accustom to with Thermaltake products. There are 4 sets of holes so that you can mount the brackets for the fans in multiple ways. The aluminium fins are really nicely finished, they don’t feel as flimsy as other brands and although they are quite dense, they have plenty of space for airflow.
The contact plate is finished to a mirror shine. Although the sticker that protects it did leave a residue, it is easily cleaned. The 6 heat pipes are sandwiched between the copper plates to ensure that heat can be dissipated from the CPU to the tower effectively.
The fans easily clip on/off the cooler, which should help keep maintenance times to a minimum. The fans can be mounted on either side of the cooling tower giving you more mounting options.
With both fans attached this is quite a large cooler. Those who have memory featuring large heatsinks won’t be able to have the fan on the same side as the ram, however, its only the fans that foul the ram. The cooling tower has a good 12mm clearance from our low profile HyperX modules. With the cooling tower having the ability to have its fans on either side of the tower, you can just mount them the other side, meaning those with larger ram can still use it perfectly fine.
Mounting the cooler is straight forward. Just place the universal back plate on your motherboard and slot the four screws through the plate and your motherboard.
Then use the 4 dual-threaded thumb nuts to hold it in place.
After, screw the front plate onto the motherboard using the screws. Ensure you take note of which orientation the bracket should be.
Next, put the cooler on and use the retainer to hold it down. This retention bracket is far better than some on the market as the screws are actually held with c-clips ensuring that they cant fall out whilst you’re getting it aligned. I really liked this feature as taking the cooler on and off a lot can lead to lost screws. With this bracket, I could forget about them completely knowing that they were safe.
Finally, add the fans. I have mounted them this way to see the clearance between the fans and the ram, but due to the multiple ways that you can attach the fans, if you don’t have low profile ram, you should still have no problems using both fans.
Test System and Methodology
We always use the same test system and tests with CPU coolers that we compare against each other. The full specifications of our test system are as follows:
- ASUS P8Z77-V, LGA 1155 socket, Z77 chipset
- Intel Core i5 3570K with Gelid GC Extreme under the IHS
- 16gb HyperX Genesis 1600mhz ram
- Antec High Current Gamer 620W
- Cooler Master Test Bench v1.0
- We always use Gelid GC Extreme thermal paste to make sure testing reveals the efficiency of the tested coolers not the efficiency of the bundled thermal paste.
- Prime 95 is run for 10 minutes and then the average maximum temperatures as recorded by CPUID HWMonitor are noted
- The average temperature across the four cores is taken on our quad-core processor
- Fans are mostly left to operate at default PWM profile speeds and with maximum fan speed for reference.If PWM functions are not supported then fixed fan speeds are used and sometimes a low noise adapter if appropriate/provided. If fixed fan speeds or low noise adapters are used it will be clearly pointed out either on the graphs or in the write-up.
- All default result entries on graphs are for PWM performance unless otherwise specified. A variety of fan speed results are done for a particular product review and then removed from the graphs in future reviews of other products to avoid clutter. If you would like to see more fan speed results for a particular product please check its individual review.
- For watercooling tests all pumps have been operated at 12 volts directly from the power supply
- Delta temperatures are always used (Observed temperature minus ambient temperature) and we keep the ambient at 22 (+/- 1) degrees for all testing. Delta temperatures should correct for any marginal ambient differences between 21-23 degrees.
- Acoustic measurements are taken 10cm horizontally away from the CPU cooler with the VGA fan disabled, hard drive in idle and power supply isolated. These are taken at desktop idle and Prime95 load.
- The cooling performance tests are run at stock 3.4GHz (with Intel Turbo up to 3.8GHz) and overclocked 4.5GHz (1.35v) settings. Voltages are fixed to prevent inaccuracy between comparisons.
- All other coolers in the graphs have been tested under identical settings so are fully comparable.
- Each test is repeated 3 times with 3 remounts for consistency of results
- There is approximately a 1 degree celsius margin of error in our temperature recording software CPUID HW Monitor
- There is approximately a 1.5dBA margin of error with our Benetech GM1351 decibel meter
The Frio Extreme Silent 14 Dual certainly isn’t going to break any records for its cooling ability. Its not a bad cooler under any stretch of the imagination, but as you can see it just doesn’t quite compare to some of the other brands we’ve already tested.
It’s a similar story when the CPU is overclocked. Whilst the processor is in idle, the cooler does great, doing far better than most of the other brands. However, when a heavy load is placed on the CPU it does start to struggle. The temperatures are not great, but they are certainly well below the danger zone.
This is where this cooler really caught my attention. I had to check a few times to make sure the two 140mm PWM fans were still spinning as there was very little change in acoustics at all. To put things into perspective, my ambient noise with everything turned off was 34db.
Again, this cooler has done great in terms of acoustics when the CPU is overclocked. It really does surpass my expectations. Remember, this is two 140mm fans and it’s beating single fan coolers without breaking a sweat.
The Thermaltake Frio Extreme Silent 14 Dual Fan cooler can be found at Scan.co.uk offering it for £57.48 + shipping here in the UK. This is towards the top end of the price scale for dual fan coolers and some of the others around the same price margin are better at cooling. Having said this, if having a quiet computer with reasonable temperatures is what you are looking for, then this cooler fits the bill perfectly.
I tested this cooler with quite high hopes. I liked the design, particularly the mounting options, the bracket that holds the cooler to the front and back plate actually holding its own screws is a brilliant idea. I know other coolers use this idea, but there are still many that don’t. It makes fitting the cooler a lot easier as you don’t have to try and hold the screw in place as well as the cooler and the screwdriver.
The size of the cooler was just right for me too, although it is a large cooler and holds 140mm fans, it doesn’t waste any of the space with unneeded design features or overly complicated brackets. It’s as big as it needs to be and no bigger. Some other brands should take note.
Thermaltake have exceeded my expectations in the acoustics department, but I was slightly disappointed with the temperatures. I think if I took a bit more time and created my own fan profile or used a fan controller, instead of leaving it to PWM I could gain some better temperatures. This, of course, would probably mean that sound levels would rise, but they are that good that you can afford to add some db’s. It might not be the best option for extreme overclocking, but for a quiet system it would be great.
- Virtually silent performance
- Great build quality
- Smart aesthetics
- Easy installation
- Doesn’t perform quite as well as other similar priced coolers
“Thermaltake have named this cooler the “Frio Extreme Silent 14 Dual” and they weren’t lying. Its the quietest cooler I’ve heard in recent years and if I was wanting a quiet build with reasonable temperatures this would be the cooler I would purchase. “
Thank you Thermaltake for providing us with this sample.