Since their establishment in 2001, Thermalright has made quite the name for themselves in the professional computer cooling solutions industry. In the near 15 years they've been around, Thermalright have brought innovation to the industry and have helped revolutionize the products in which we use to help us keep our precious computing hardware cool. From copper heatsinks, to the inclusion of heat pipes, all the way up to using 120mm fans on CPU coolers, Thermalright has been leading the industry and if they weren't the first to do something, you can bet they did their part to help improve it in some way or another.Today on our test bench we have their latest offering called the True Spirit 140 Direct a CPU cooler aimed at mid-end users who are simply not willing to pay much for cooling.Like the Macho Direct before it, the new heatsink takes an existing design and drops the baseplate to bring its heatpipes into direct contact with the CPU. The cooler includes a 140mm PWM-enabled fan.
The TRUE Spirit 140 will handle a TDP of up to 200W, and comes with support for all major socket types, including LGA2011v3, LGA115x, AM3+, and FM2+.
Packaging & Contents
Thermalright's True Spirit 140 Direct comes in a relative small box.The front displays a large image of the cooler complete with fan.
The rear of the box displays the specifications of the heatsink and 140mm fan along with regulatory marks.
Moving on to the left side, you will find an image from the base and heatpipes of the cooler.
The other side of the box is filled with diagrams emphasising the benefits and features of the cooler.
The top of the box is just a black with "True Spirit 140 Direct " prominently displayed.
While the box may be a bit small, Thermalright did go above and beyond most manufacturers by putting soft foam on two sides of the cooler.It certainly is nice to see the True Spirit 140 Direct so well protected.
In a thin compartment, you will find a sealed bag of hardware.We do get a universal backplate for AMD and Intel sockets.To the right is the top mounting ring, and along with some other bits.The mounting ring will allow the cooler to be mounted in place.We see a set of four standard standoffs with nylon washers under them to lock the backplate to the motherboard.There is a set of four to use specifically with LGA2011 mounting.There are srews to pass through the motherboard.There are also top bracket and cross bracket mounting screws.We see the fan isolation pads prior to peeling them off and sticking them to the fins.We see an LGA775 preload spacer, and also two sets of four white spacers(the smaller set is for Intel use, and the larger set is for AMD installations).We get two pair of fan clips, and a packet of Chill Factor thermal paste.
There is also an installation manual for the True Spirit 140 Direct. The manual begins by showing all the parts you need to complete the installation, and section offs AMD from Intel installations. With the use of quality renderings, they guide you through the installation process.
We took the fan and installed it at this time so that we could see how much of the stack it covers. The fan is taller than the cooler and leaves small sections at the corners uncovered. Depending on how it is placed, it changes the overall height.
We see that Thermalright has used a black anodised sheet of aluminium for the topmost fin.
It's also clear to see a great many ventilation holes in the fin that are continued down through the whole stack.
The side view really helps to emphasise the size of this cooler when you see the stack of aluminium fins for the first time.
The special design of the heatsink's aluminum fins allows for a particularly low air resistance.The additional perforation of the cooling fins acts against heat buildup between the individual lamellae layers and supports the efficient temperature reduction.
Complete fan has vibration isolation, so Thermalright has provided insulation on a radiator.
To this end, four rubber bushings are inserted into the recesses of the radiator. And then the fan falls on said sleeve.
While the True Spirit 140 Direct only comes with one included fan, it can accommodate two fans as the holes for the retention clips will clarify.
Fan-clips are compatible with both 140mm and 120mm fan.
The True Spirit 140 Direct makes use of the Heatpipe Direct Touch principle.The heatpipe-direct-touch design means that the bottom of the cooler consists of the beveled edges of the five 6 mm heatpipes mashed up against one another.Thermalright is careful to advise builders that applying thermal paste in the typical "pea" style is inappropriate for this cooler, and offers detailed installation instructions.
The heatpipes are, as usual, in a convex form.Another advantage of the HDT-Design is the reduced installation height. The HDT-Cooler is 4 mm lower than the Macho, so it will also fit in cases where the "normal" True Spirit 140 BW Rev. A is too high.
Perhaps because of this, the 140 Direct is "only" rated for processors up to 200W TDP.A sharp dip from the regular True Spirit's 300W rating.
From this angle, we can see that the fins are pressed onto the copper heat pipes after they have been nickel plated. The three straight pipes make gentle bends, while the other two are gentle at first, but are slightly distorted as they make the bend back into the fins.
The fan on the True Spirit 140 Direct is one of Thermalright's TY-140 PWM-enabled models. The company says this particular design is specifically optimized for the new cooler.
The fan has a curious shape, and according to Thermalright it has a larger inner diameter than conventional 140mm fans despite accepting mountings for 120mm fans.
We're not quite sure exactly what an "Enhanced Hyper-Flow Bearing" is, but Thermalright seems confident in the technology. The company specs them for 50,000 hours between failures on average.
If you have ever installed a Thermalright cooler, you have nothing to fear and if not, it is still a very straight forward process.To get things started you will want to get the backplate and line up the protective covering on top of it, next you will take the correct screws and push them through the holes in each corner, lining up with the correct position depending on your socket type. Once you have done that you can secure the screws in place with the white nylon washers.
Once you have the backplate assembled so to speak you can go ahead and push the screws on it through the back of the motherboard out through the front and secure it in place with the appropriate thumbscrews.Once you've screwed all the thumbscrews tight it is time to get the front plate into position. To do so, all you have to do is set it atop the thumbscrews you just put on and fasten it down with the included screws.
Now that the front plate is in place, it's time to get the cooler fully installed. Go ahead and get your thermal paste applied,set the cross plate atop the CPU and fasten the screws through either side of the cross plate to the front plate.
The pipes are not offset from front to back, so either way the cooler is installed.This is the room you will have between the fan and the memory. While it is close to them, we would have no issue population or exchanging sticks with the cooler and fan left alone.
Test System & Methology
Processor: Intel Core i7 4770k @ 3.7 GHz & 4.2 GHz OC
Motherboard:MSI Z87-GD65 Gaming
Memory: 16GB Mushkin
Graphics Card: Sapphire HD 6970
Power Supply: Antec HCG 750W
Chassis: DimasTech Bench/Test Table EasyXL
Boot Drive: Ocz Vector
Storage Drive: 3TB Seagate Barracuda
CPUID HW Monitor 1.23
CPUID CPU-Z 1.65
I am testing the performance as follows:
Ambient temperatures are kept at 23C throughout my tests.
The CPU Fan is set to 100% to eliminate inconsistencies as a result of PWM control.
Idle temperatures are obtained after booting the PC and idling on the desktop for 30 minutes.
Load temperatures are obtained after running Prime95′s Small FTTs test for 15 minutes.
To measure noise levels i disable the two front in-take fans, rear exhaust and GPU fan.
On the following pages you'll have the opportunity to read what True Spirit 140 Direct is capable of.
Results - Temperature
With the fan RPM being pretty low at this point of testing, we did find the idle temperature to hover in the 30 degree range, which is a touch high compared to most others, but is fine for day to day idle temperatures. As we loaded the system in the stock configuration, we find that while not taking the top of the chart at this time, the 59 degree result is quite admirable for a cooler of one tower and one fan.
With the increase in fan speed for the overclocked testing, the idle temperature was only 31 degrees at this point. We also see that Thermalright did not give one inch when it comes to performance. Now again, 64 degrees isn't breaking records, but it is quite one decent for an air cooler.
Results - Noise Level
Gathering the 33 dB rating we had at idle was done from a foot away from the cooler and also while we were seeing reported speeds of 300 RPM.Even when the fan allowed to spin at its maximum of 1300 RPM reported with AIDA64, Thermalright is still able to do so with less noise than any other cooler we have tested to date. Very impressive all around.
Thermalright's True Spirit 140 Direct is certainly an interesting proposition.The 5 x heat pipes are connect to either side of the contact plate of the cooler and make their way up through the fin array and poke out the top a bit, this should offer optimal cooling even with the True Spirit 140 Direct's thinner fin array. The thinner fin array should also allow for improved airflow in the rest of the case. Also, the top fin of the array is actually black in colour whereas all the others are their original aluminium colour, this will make the cooler not appear as an eye-sore in cases where it will be shown off a bit.The new cooler is some 1/6" shorter than the standard True Spirit 140, which might help it fit into some cases it otherwise wouldn't.When it comes to the performance the True Spirit 140 Direct surely does not let us down there, even with its thin design. Looking back at our thermal performance results, we can see the True Spirit 140 Direct is has good results when using an overclocked 4770k at full load. The True Spirit 140 Direct also has room to add a second fan if purchased separately which can only add to the performance and would most likely help it move up a few more spots in our thermal results charts.When it comes to being quiet, Thermalright True Spirit 140 Direct again proves their worth with the as it is a splendid example of quiet cooling.Where this cooler makes huge leaps and bounds in air cooling, there are a couple of finer details that we do need to point out. As seen with our motherboard, any taller heat sinks around the socket or Thermal Armor like mine can and will play up with the room left for the offset design. If you are indeed able to orient the cooler correctly, while the memory and first PCI-e slot is now completely free and ready to be populated without hitting the cooler, there are two things to consider with that as well. The cooler is offset enough that it can make it tough to install the motherboard screw with the cooler already on the motherboard, speaking of the top center screw on the motherboard.
The value the True Spirit 140 Direct has to offer is quite amazing. Coming in at just 37.99 Euros it is rivaling with coolers costing almost twice as much and the fact it is only a few degrees off of their temperatures is amazing. It will leave users with the question, is it really worth spending almost twice as much to get 2-3c better temps? Well, I will leave that decision up to all of you but there is no denying the fact the True Spirit 140 Direct is good value for the money.If you are in the market for a new CPU cooler and are looking for one that is not quite as big as the top performing coolers on he market but can offer a similar experience than the True Spirit 140 Direct may just be right up your alley. Its thin design doesn't compromise much performance at all and it is an all-around great cooler.