Installation, Performance Testing, Overclocking
I am installing the Thermaltake FrioOCK univeral CPU cooler on an MSI Z68A-GD80 motherboard to test the cooling capabilities of this unit on an Intel i5-2500K running at stock and overclocked settings. Let’s see how easy it is to reconfigure this cooler to be installed on an LGA 1155 system.
The first order of business is to remove the fan module by releasing the clips on each side of the heatsink. The entire module comes off pretty easily to leave the aluminum fin array on the cooler exposed and ready to be modified to be mounted over our LGA 1155 CPU.
Next, I placed a tiny amount of Arctic Silver 5 thermal paste and spread it over the entire surface of the processor. Make sure to spread a very thin layer of thermal paste for optimal contact with the CPU (as well as for optimal performance when the CPU is operational).
After spreading thermal paste on the CPU, flip the PCB over and attach the included backplate and four long screws through the four mounting holes around the CPU socket in the PCB.
Carefully flip the PCB back over and screw four plastic spacers on the long screws that came through the holes in the PCB.
Once the spacers are secured, install two mounting bars along the four long screws and secure them with four nuts. Be careful not to overtighten the nuts or they will strip the threads in the plastic spacers (I learned this the hard way for our review).
Now I’m ready to secure the two t-shaped mounting bars to the base of cooler with four small screws.
Place the assembled heatsink over the CPU and tighten each bolt evenly so it will make even contact with the processor.
Place the fan module onto the top of cooler heatsink and push the top of the fan module gently down until you hear a "click" sound. Connect the fan’s three-pin power connector to the motherboard’s CPU fan header and now the FrioOCK heatsink is properly installed.
As I mentioned earlier in this review, I had concerns about clearance issues with system memory modules. As you can see in the photo, there is only a couple millimeters between the top of the RAM and the bottom of the FrioOCK. The good news is that normal system memory should be okay with this heatsink, but let’s see what happens when we use RAM with taller heatsinks.
Taller memory modules did not have enough clearance to be used with the FrioOCK. This is a major issue considering we can only use two of our motherboard’s four DIMMs because RAM with larger heatsinks are not supported.
To test the FrioOCK’s performance capabilities, we evaluated the CPU cooler under idle and load conditions on our LGA 1155 test bench. For idle testing, we booted into Windows 7 and waited 15 minutes for the system to move into an "idle" state. For load testing, we ran Cinebench 11.5, which utilizes 100 percent of the CPU’s resources to put our i5-2500K to its limits. We also ran the same testing conditions on several other heatsinks including Intel’s stock cooler, Vigor’s Monsoon III LT, Zalman’s CNPS10X, and even Thermaltake’s original Frio.
Our benchmark results revealed that the Thermaltake FrioOCK was a couple degrees warmer than the Zalman CNPS10X during idle and load testing. However, this doesn’t say much considering the CNPS10X Flex doesn’t come with any fans and we used some of our best Antec 120mm fans to fill the void. If you want an all-in-one solution at an affordable price, the FrioOCK is definitely tops on our list of air-cooled heatsinks.
To round out our performance testing analysis, I wanted to see how far I could push our i5-2500K using the FrioOCK. As soon as I began to ramp up the CPU ratio, I could tell that this heatsink was going to give me a great overclocking experience. We were able to push our Intel i5-2500K to 4.789GHz with both 130mm fans running at 2,100 RPMs on the FrioOCK. While it sounded like a wind tunnel in my office, I was all smiles after seeing this CPU chew through our Cinebench 11.5 the highest overclock I’ve ever produced with this processor.