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Cooling Thermalright's TRUE Spirit 140 "Power" - New Air Cooling King? Mini Review

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by LennyRhys, 8 Apr 2014.

  1. LennyRhys

    LennyRhys Oink!

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    Introduction

    I've been wanting to write a comparative review for some time now and I hope that this will be of use to some of you. With so many AIO (All In One / closed-loop) coolers on the market it seems to me that high performance air cooling is losing its footing with PC enthusiasts, and it is also evident that the vendors who are trying to revive high performance air cooling are opting for dual tower rather than signle tower designs.

    I had hoped to do an AIO vs air cooling king comparative test to ascertain once and for all just how big the gap really is, but I was unable to procure an AIO cooler (I had my sights set on the H100i) so I decided instead to compare a familiar high performance air cooler with something new and promising - the Thermalright TRUE Spirit 140 Power, a notably compact 140mm single tower cooler boasting six 8mm heat pipes. It may not seem like much but some early test results have shown that this cooler could give even the topdog AIO units a run for their money, and remarkably it costs only £35 at Scan UK.

    (Image taken from product page at Thermalright.com)

    [​IMG]


    The Contending Coolers

    Thanks to TaRkA DaHl's generous donation of his Noctua NH-D14 for this review I am able to conduct apples-to-apples tests with a familiar and reputable cooler. The NH-D14 indubitably held the air cooling crown until Thermalright released their doped-up version of the Silver Arrow, the SB-E, however the NH-D14 remains a capable and formidable cooler which can hold its own against other dual tower giants, most notably the Phanteks PH-TC14PE. To complete the line-up I decided to throw in my TRUE copper for good measure as I have sworn by it for a long time now and am keen to see how it fares.

    Without going into too much detail I wanted to highlight the distinguishing features of each cooler as they all adopt a different approach to the same end. The NH-D14 has by far the greatest dissipation area of the three coolers and, unsurprisingly, it is also the largest by volume. Next is the TS140P which has about half of the dissipation area of the NH-D14 and less than half of its volume, but because of the 8mm heat pipes it has considerably greater heat pipe contact area and therefore, in theory at least, it should carry heat more effectively. And last but not least is the TRUE, which admittedly seems paltry compared to the other two monsters but at 2kg in weight and made almost entirely from copper it is not a toy.

    Here is a brief overview of each cooler, as pictured from left to right:

    • TRUE Cu: 52 copper fins, 1.5mm apart, six 6mm heat pipes, 2kg, £65
    • NH-D14: 84 aluminium fins, 2mm apart, six 6mm heat pipes, 1.07kg, £65
    • TS140P: 46 aluminium fins, 1.9mm apart, six 8mm heat pipes, 880g, £35
    [​IMG]


    Test Methodology, Hardware & Software

    All coolers were tested in an open case lying flat for ease of fan swapping and intake temperature monitoring. A Thermalright TY-147 (1200rpm) was positioned over the chipset to keep the motherboard and memory cool. Ambient room temperature was not measured; instead, a more specific and accurate measurement of intake temperature was used when calculating final results (thanks to doyll for this suggestion). The image below shows how I incorporated this approach into my testing, with the thermistor from a small electronic thermometer placed directly in the path of the intake fan.

    I found that the intake temperature almost always differed from the ambient room temperature and, perhaps more significantly, it also varied a lot between tests, depending on the fan speed used and the positioning of the thermistor. With higher fan speeds the intake temperature fluctuated significantly because the exhaust air from the cooler was sometimes circulated back into the path of the intake fan; and with lower fan speeds the intake temperature was generally higher because there was no air current to remove the heat being dumped by the motherboard and memory. All this was taken into account when calculating the final results and intake temperature was closely monitored throughout the process.

    [​IMG]

    For the stress testing software I used LinX, an excellent linpack based application for x64 platforms. For each test LinX was run for >20 minutes using 5120MiB of physical memory, ensuring a high level of stress on the CPU (and uncore) and, accordingly, a high level of heat output. CPU core temperatures were measured with Real Temp 3.7.

    Hardware setup & settings:

    Core i7 920 D0 @ 4200MHz, 200x21, 1.225v (BIOS); 4410MHz, 210x21, 1.3125v (BIOS)
    Gigabyte GA-X58-USB3
    Corsair Dominator GT 1866 7-8-7 @ 1600MHz 7-7-7-20 1.54v
    EVGA GTX 570
    Toughpower XT 775W
    NZXT Beta Evo

    Fans

    Because I planned to run a lot of tests for each cooler I wanted to keep the number of fans to a minimum, so I chose what I felt was a representative trio with a good range of size, speed and raw airflow.

    NB: the Gentle Typhoons were running at about 11v, the max output of most standard fan controllers, hence the attenuated top speed. Suffice to say they were still not quiet, lol.

    Also, I have elected to call the TY-143 just "TY" as the TY140, TY143 and TY147 all have the same chassis and impeller. The TY141 has a different impeller and I'm not sure how this affects its performance or sound profile.

    [​IMG]

    Next post: Test Results & Concluding Thoughts
     
    Last edited: 8 Apr 2014
  2. LennyRhys

    LennyRhys Oink!

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    Test Results

    The results were calculated by taking the maximum Real Temp reading for each CPU core after each 20 minute test, and these four values were averaged out for an adjusted value from which the intake temperature was subtracted, resulting in a final value. This is very similar to the commonplace "delta temperature over ambient" approach, but it is more controlled and arguably more accurate.

    I set a CPU temp threshold of 90°C during the testing process. Any test that reached 90C would be stopped immediately and marked as a fail.

    Test Spreadsheet

    This is the beating heart of the entire testing process and features some information that I have not included in the bar graphs, for example the tests with a 38mm-deep fan running at a lower speed. Each row represents approximately half an hour of testing, recording and collating. I have included this because I wanted to share what the actual core temps were during testing, and as you can see the 90°C threshold was very nearly reached when testing the TRUE Cu.

    I eliminated low speed, single fan tests from my bar graph results not only because the NH-D14 and TRUE failed these tests but because nobody really runs a single 600rpm fan on a heatsink...do they? Although I didn't test it, I suspect the TS140P would have passed this test, at least with the TY anyway, based on the results of the 1200rpm single fan test. As for the Gentle Typhoon running at 850rpm, it just doesn't move enough air for any cooler, far less the best.

    [​IMG]


    Bar Graph Test Results

    1. Gentle Typhoon Results

    [​IMG]


    2. Thermalright TY Results

    [​IMG]


    3. Delta PFC & High TDP Results

    [​IMG]


    Quality of TIM Spread & Gallery

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    Concluding Thoughts

    So the TS140P is the clear winner here, comfortably abreast of the NH-D14 in most tests and significantly ahead in two or three. I want to say just a few words about this "new kid on the block" having spent a few hours testing it and working with it.
    1. the TS140P is an outstanding performer across the board which will likely put it ahead of most AIOs for many prospective buyers. It represents very good value for money and it comes complete with a good fan, although I think that a TY-143 would have been a better choice; perhaps an "Extreme" version is in the pipeline to keep up with the Silver Arrow series. Coolers like this demonstrate the supremacy not only of these larger heatsinks but also of 140mm fans in general, particularly Thermalright's excellent TY series. The best of the best 120mm fans are no match for what a good 140mm fan can yield, however it would be interesting to see how different 140mm fans compare.
    2. although very tall at 170mm (I can't close my case), it is so narrow that it will happily accommodate two fans without invading memory heatsink territory on any motherboard. This in particular should make it a very attractive prospect for LGA2011 users who until now have been limited to bulky dual tower coolers or expensive AIOs for high performance cooling solutions.
    3. Most remarkably, this cooler shows that the diameter of the heatpipes is vastly more important than the total heat dissipation area, and this may prompt a return to more agreeable single tower coolers from our favourite cooling companies. Just think of the size of the Silver Arrow SB-E, and imagine that the TS140P is virtually tied with it, if not very slightly ahead. It's nothing short of mind-blowing.


    If you can think of anything that I have missed, please let me know. And no review would be complete without a summary in the form of a list of pros and cons, so here it is:

    • Pros: high performance even when quiet, exceptional value for money, looks great and is compact compared to most 140mm coolers
    • Cons: too tall for some cases, installation is unnecessarily fiddly (ten screws? C'mon, Thermalright...), fan clips suck

    I hope you enjoyed the review. Now go and buy one like I did. :D
     
    Last edited: 8 Apr 2014
  3. LennyRhys

    LennyRhys Oink!

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    Comments and suggestions welcome!
     
  4. AlienwareAndy

    AlienwareAndy New Member

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    As good as it is it's still a bit massive for me. Impressive, no doubt, but just too big.

    Thanks for the effort here.
     
  5. doyll

    doyll Member

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    Very good review! I suspected the TRUE Spirit 140 Power would perform very well. It is truly an amazing cooler.

    True Copper is also very impressive. Show how long Thermalright has been building exceptional coolers.
     
  6. bawjaws

    bawjaws Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the review, bud. Whilst this may be cheaper and offer better cooling than a lot of AIOs, the size is a bit of a killer. If your case can accomodate it, then it looks like a great choice, but it's a big "if"...
     
  7. SuperHans123

    SuperHans123 Well-Known Member

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    I love a big cooler but they have had their day. AIO for bottlers (me) and water cooling for the brave.
    Low profile or stock coolers for HTPC or low power machines.
    Also, the vast majority of them are a **** to fit compared to AIO.
    V. Comprehensive review.
     
  8. LennyRhys

    LennyRhys Oink!

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    Thanks guys. I did think at first that the size of the TS140P is a killer, but the fact remains that many cases (especially enthusiast level ones) will comfortably accomodate it. My case is only a few millimeters too narrow and it's an unusually compact case for high level hardware/cooling, and I usually leave the side panel off anyway so it's no problem for me. If anything it's an excuse to upgrade my case too, haha!
     
  9. TaRkA DaHl

    TaRkA DaHl New Member

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    Interesting read, amazing what a difference can be achieved with just slightly larger heatpipes compared to having nearly double the area for heat dissipation. Thought they may have finished close to each other but the TS stomped all over the D14 :)

    Also, it is only 140mm tall which really isn't that big, my Fractal Midi R2 can support up to 180mm it isn't that large a case.
     
  10. Margo Baggins

    Margo Baggins I'm good at Soldering Super Moderator

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    Nice read thanks :)

    The only thermalright cooler that I have (AXP-140) is unnecessarily difficult to install - but is also a tremendous cooler. Maybe that is the secret :)
     
  11. Blogins

    Blogins Panda have Guns

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    Surprise result! Very nice work Lenny but where is the x2 Delta data? :D
     
  12. LennyRhys

    LennyRhys Oink!

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    @TaRkA, the Fractal R2 sounds like an awesome case.

    @Blogins, I tried the TS140P with a 140mm Delta and the results were identical to the 120mm PFC which is very interesting given that the airflow of the 140mm fan will have been significantly lower. At 24v it produces 270 CFM but it was running at 19v, so probably closer to 200 CFM.

    The FFB1424SHG is just ridiculous at 140x140x50.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  13. doyll

    doyll Member

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    It's 171mm tall. ;)
    That is the only drawback of the TRUE Spirit 140 series coolers. If they were 10mm shorter they would fit into almost any case.

    I wonder what it actually does at 1300rpm? As that is what stock fan runs full speed. The TY-143 at 1200rpm is very impressive and only 1.65c cooler with 2 fans. I'm guessing only 1-2c.
     
    Last edited: 9 Apr 2014
  14. LennyRhys

    LennyRhys Oink!

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    1200rpm is the top speed of the supplied TY-140/147 (not entirely sure what the difference is), which is why I chose it. Specs do state a 1300rpm top speed but the tach signal reports 1190-1210rpm at 100% duty cycle.

    By comparison, my two "original" TY-140s report 1310-1350rpm at 100% duty cycle, and they are also noticeably louder. I really wish I'd bought two more TY fans instead of the 140mm Delta now lol. :D
     
  15. faugusztin

    faugusztin I *am* the guy with two left hands

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  16. LennyRhys

    LennyRhys Oink!

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    Yeah I read about that. I'd be very interested if the "better efficiency" they speak of will actually translate into better raw performance than the NH-D14. If anything, the NH-D15 might be a little better with lower speed fans than its predecessor (and that alone would be an achievement), but not much more.

    I'd say the NH-D14 represents the pinnacle of what can be achieved with six 6mm heat pipes, which is why Thermalright broke the mould and progressed to eight 6mm heat pipes with the Silver Arrow SB-E and IB-E, and again with six 8mm heatpipes on the TS140P.
     
  17. doyll

    doyll Member

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    Fans typically run +/-100rpm different than spec. My TY-140/147 vary that much with most running very close to 1300rpm.

    Not a big deal really. :yawn:
    TRUE Spirit coolers are definitely the real deal.. and that's no pun.

    And TRUE Spirit 140 Power sure looks to be on the top of cooler heap at the moment. :rock:
     
  18. LennyRhys

    LennyRhys Oink!

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    Once I get hold of some oil I'll fix up my TY140s and put them on the TS140P. It's been a very long time since I plugged PWM fans into the motherboard, lol.
     
  19. doyll

    doyll Member

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    I've never oiled mine. Can it be done easily?
     
  20. Maki role

    Maki role Dale you're on a roll... Staff

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    I'm curious about the noise differences between the coolers? Obviously fans make a big difference here, but certain heatsink designs can produce unpleasant sounds. Were the differences negligible? Because if they are, Thermalright really put out a very interesting product, that price is simply undeniable. Given the NH-D15 is going to be 165mm tall, I wonder how it will stack up? I'll still stick to water personally for aesthetics, but this will sit high on my air cooler suggestion list.
     

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