Evolution in technology is inevitable and as technology evolves so does the components that make up said components. As processor technology evolves, we pack more and more transistors in continuously shrinking packages as well as increasing the speed of the processors. Increase in speed leads to increased heat production. Heat kills components. Thus there is the never ending battle between heat and speed. Keeping that speed demon of a CPU cool is not an easy task. Both Intel and AMD offer a slightly adequate cooler in the boxed verions of their processors. While those coolers may keep the temps just under the max temperature set by the manufacture, I repeat heat kills. Aftermarket coolers have been around for quite some time and by my estimations they are not going away any time soon. One such company that manufactures aftermarket coolers, as well as a vast array of other aftermarket items, is ThermalTake. Today we are going to put the FRIO Advanced through the paces.
About the Product
The following information was provided by the ThermalTake web site and used for general specifications.
Heat-pipe Direct Touch Technology, Supports 230W Cooling Performance
• 5 x Ø6 mm heat-pipes direct touch CPU surface increasing heat conductivity.
• High density Aluminum fins allow larger surface area to quick dissipate heat.
• Premium thermal grease maximizes heat transfer from the CPU into the cooler base for rapid dissipation.
Dual 13cm Over-clocking Fan, PWM function with 800~2,100 RPM Speed
• A pair of high performance red bladed fans generate excellent cooling power.
• Tool-less fan installation provides great convenience for users.
• Vibration-absorbent gaskets decrease noise during operation.
• Fan speed at the lowest RPM provides good performance and very low noise.
Now that we got basic information out of the way, let’s take a closer look at the ThermalTake FRIO Advanced.
ThermalTake is no beginner to the cooling industry and in the past has released a slew of award winning coolers. The box contains all the pertinent information that one would need to know if they were picking it up of the retail shelf and reading the box. The features are detailed on the rear of the box along with some visuals. The FRIO Advanced supports the following sockets: Intel LGA 2011/1366/1155/1156/775, AMD FM1/AM3+/AM3/AM2+/AM2. So this cooler has pretty much got you covered all the way back to the P4 775 processors.
The foam packaging that ThermalTake chose to use will ensure that the cooler makes it through most of the trial and tribulations of the shipping and receiving department. They include all the mounting hardware that is necessary to mount the cooler to any of the supported sockets, as well as the instructions needed to do so. ThermalTake also includes their very own thermal paste. All in all the instructions were very easy to read and follow. No surprises here.
130 mm fan x2
Five heat pipe design
The FRIO Advanced has two 130 mm PWM fans set in a push pull configuration. Pay attention to which fan goes where. At first glance you might miss it and we will cover the more on the fans later on. The FRIO Advanced has five heat pipes to provide maximum heat dissipation into the fins as the heat is wicked away from the base. The tips of the heat pipes are covered by the red plastic cover at the top.
Peel Before use
Flat milled base
Moving to the bottom of the unit ThermalTake has put a protective label on the CPU block area to prevent oxidization of the copper while it's sitting on the shelf, thus ensuring that when you put the cooler on you'll only have TIM between the CPU IHS and the CPU Block. As the warning label says, peel it off before you use it. If not damage could result, as well as that funky burning plastic smell. The base of the cooler is milled flat with a non-mirrored finish. There are discussions about how efficiently mirrored finish or non-mirrored finish conduct heat. A mirrored finish offers no gaps for air to become trapped. Trapped air is an insulator to heat and doesn't allow it to be dissapated, thus holding the heat closer to the CPU. However, if thermal interface material is applied to the cooler properly the gaps in the non-mirrored surfaces are filled with a non-insulating material and heat will be transfered. Although again, it may not be as efficient as the mirrored base. No major gaps between the aluminum base and the copper heat pipes could be disserned ensuring that the base will hold the heat pipes firmly to the CPUs IHS ensuring maximum heat transfer.
Fans - Notice something strange?
Remember a few paragraphs ago when I told you to pay attention to what fan goes where? Notice the difference between the fans. One of the fans has the blades reversed and one is of the normal push configuration. I personally like this approach as it makes for a cleaner looking installation as you don't have the fan reversed and the motor section of the fan is showing. There are two ways to take the fans off, one way is to lift the tabs at the top of each of the plastic housings and pull them off this will leave the housings on the cooler. The other way is to lift the tabs on the sides of the plastic housing and pull off both the fan and the housing.
Before we go any further I want to let everyone know that since this cooler covers a wide range of sockets, for mock ups I used the oldest board that I had which is an Asus P5N32-SLI. I also used a Gigabyte Z77x-UD3H as well. The reason I did this was to cover a wider range of boards and CPUs as well as some issues that will be explained later. Since both boards are of the Intel variety installation is the same on both. Only the socket 2011 is different on the Intel side. Sorry AMD fans, I currently do not have an AMD board to test with or you would be included as well.
Intel install kit
Cooler hold down
Above is pictured with everything that you will need to get the cooler installed on Intel sockets 1366/1155/1156/775. It looks like a complicated process but actually it is very easy and mostly tool less. So grab your Phillips screw driver and dive in.
Backplate for the motherboard
Mount the backplate to the motherboard flip it over and secure it using the black plastic standoffs. There are two mounting brackets that according to the instructions need to be placed facing each other as in the picture. Tighten them down with the included thumb screws and you're ready to mount the cooler.
Depending on your configuration and/or preference the cooler can be mounted in the traditional horizontal position with the fans facing the front and rear of the case or it can be mounted in the horizontal position in which the fans face the bottom and the top of the case. This is accomplished by moving the brackets 90 degrees.
No clearance issues with 775
One of the issues that seems to be plaguing all the coolers at the moment is clearance. With the Socket 775 board you can see that there is plenty of clearance between the cooler and the ram slots, even without the fans installed. However move over to the Socket 1155/1156 boards and clearance does become an issue with taller memory modules.
So here's what you should expect from the FRIO Advance CPU Cooler. Here's my test set up:
ASUS P8P67 LE P67 Socket 1156 Motherboard
EVGA GTX 560TI SLI
Intel Core i7-2600K Processor Overclocked to 4.3Ghz
Western Digital Raptor 600 10,000 RPM Hard Drive
G.SKILL Ripjaws Z Series 16GB (4 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory
InWin 1200 Watts Modular Power Supply
As you can see the FRIO held up well under a minor overclock of the i7-2600K. I did leave the BIOS fans on PWM and during testing; they were barley audible. The cooler was able to keep the CPU well below Intel's stated max temperature.
The FRIO line of coolers is not new for ThermalTake, the advanced is just the latest revision. Gone are the rheostat controlled fans and the PWM fans are a truly welcome addition. The installation of the FRIO Advanced was very simple and only required a Phillips head screw driver and took a total of about 5 minutes. Cool, quite, efficient cooling is what the game is all about and ThermalTake has done a bang up job here. As we progress here at UMLan I can't wait to pit this cooler against the rest of the market. Currently the Frio Advanced cooler can be found on Newegg.com for $56.99 with a $10.00 rebate. The only thing that knocks it off a perfect score is the interference with the memory slots, other than that this cooler get a 9/10.
Some pros we found:
Awesome cooling potential. Easy installation & Clear instructions. PWM Fans. Silent in most cases.
Some cons we found:
Cooler is LARGE and has clearance issues with the memory modules.
Content in this article is used to educate and create discussions on the subject. All images and data used in this article are subject to copyright to its rightful owners. Full credit/reference goes to creators of the content and information with in.This article contains information, intended for general public viewing. Any use, distribution, copying or disclosure by another entity of this article if strictly prohibited unless gained of an approval of proper owners of the content. For full acknowledgement of these rules please refer to legal disclaimer.