For this review, I will be using an AMD Athlon 64 CPU with a steel K8 backing plate.  The CPU IHS and heatsink base were cleaned with Isopropyl alcohol before applying a small amount of Arctic Silver 5 thermal compound and installing the heatsink.  The Thermalright Ultra-120 cooler was very easy to install — much better than some of the other high performance heat pipe coolers I have recently tested.  The Ultra-90 used an OEM style retention clip but the Ultra-120 uses two machine screws and springs.


Thermalright Ultra-120 CPU Heatsink Review - Cases and Cooling 16

(click to enlarge)


The only catch to positioning the cooler on an AMD motherboard may be how your particular motherboard is laid out.  The orientation of the Ultra-120 heatsink is pre-defined by the position of the heat pipes and alignment of the retention frame holes on the motherboard.


Thermalright Ultra-120 CPU Heatsink Review - Cases and Cooling 17

(click to enlarge)


On my test bed (Asus K8N-E Deluxe), the Ultra-120 heatsink cleared all of the surrounding components — even the extra tall Corsair Pro memory modules (but just barely).  I mounted the fan so that it pulled air thru the heatsink.  This orientation works especially well if you have a power supply with a bottom mounted fan.  The warm exhaust air from the CPU heatsink gets sucked right into the power supply and exhausted out the back of the case.


« PreviousNext »