best i7 cooler?

Zero82z

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The Thermalright Ultra-120 Extreme RT 1366 (which Newegg doesn't sell) and the Noctua NH-U12P dual-fan version (which you linked above) are basically tied for the top cooler spot. The other two heatsinks you linked to (Zalman CNPS9900 and Thermaltake V1) are pretty mediocre and aren't nearly as good as the Noctua or Thermalright.

As for the upper safe limit for the temperature, you can run an i7 up to 97C or so before triggering the thermal throttling. Basically, anything below that is safe for continuous usage, although I personally would prefer to keep it below 85-90C or so just to leave some headroom.
 

undertheradar

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The Thermalright IFX-14 easily takes the top spot from the Ultra-120 for cooling the i7. Most sites dont test it since it was designed to be a LGA775 cooler, but as it turns out, with a new 1366 mount, it outperforms the Ultra-120.

Dont forget the Titan Fenrir, Scythe Mugen 2 and Cooler Master V10...
http://www.legitreviews.com/article/979/17/

But seriously, the Thermalright IFX-14 is king...
http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/coolers/display/core-i7-coolers-roundup_19.html#sect0

I have the Ultra-120 Ex. and the IFX-14... I tested them out as well... hit 4.2 GHz with my i7 920 SLBEJ. I couldnt break 4 GHz with the Ultra-120 Ex... very similar to the xbit review. Im pretty sure the IFX-14 even takes the crown from the Cooler Master V10, but I have never seen them compared side by side. The IFX-14 never did as great on the 775's because those chips never put out the wattage needed to get those huge heatpipes going. As a consequence, the smaller heatpipes of the Ultra-120 outdid it... but on the higher wattage 1366's, well... its another story. This is very much like how the older 3/6 pipe Ultra-120 used to outperform the newer Ultra-120 Ex. w/ 4/8 heatpipes... at the time that they both were out, the CPU's werent making enough heat to take advantage of the extreme's extra pipe, so less pipes cooled better than more, and the IFX-14 trailed the Ultra-120 because its heatpipes are much larger, and the sink itself is much larger. But enter the 1366 and other higher wattage CPU's that can take advantage of all those fat heatpipes, and the IFX-14 outperforms the Ultra-120 by a healthy amount.
 

silent-circuit

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Another option that's either on the level of the Ultra 120 Extreme or slightly above it (and better than it by a considerable margin with lower speed, quiet fans) is the Prolimatech Megahalems.
 

Goat_187

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I have the V1 and the Megahalems. I wasnt impressed by the V1 on my 939socket so I didnt even try it on my i7 so just got the Megahalems. Which blew away all my expectations.
 

sacraster

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i would go with Prolimatech Megahalems, it has much better mounting method than Thermalright Ultra-120
 

JMke

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IFX-14 , no competition, unless you have a lower budget:)
 

Zero82z

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For those of you familiar with the Thermalright IFX-14. Please take a look at the bellow site and give me a suggestion on what add-ons to get with the cooler (i.e., fans [how many fans? 2?] and paste) as far as the drop down menus are concerned. Thanks!

http://www.ultimatepccooling.com/thifcpuco.html
I would go with a pair of Scythe S-Flex fans (which speed you get depends on whether you want performance or silence), and a tube of IC Diamond 7 Carat paste out of those options. You don't need to bother with any of the other options.
 
D

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I would go with a pair of Scythe S-Flex fans (which speed you get depends on whether you want performance or silence), and a tube of IC Diamond 7 Carat paste out of those options. You don't need to bother with any of the other options.
Another vote for the S-Flex/Kama Flex fans.

However he will need to get the bolt kit for it, since the IFX-14 was for the 775 socket, it can be had here. So can the IFX-14 and the fans.
 

PC_User

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I would go with a pair of Scythe S-Flex fans (which speed you get depends on whether you want performance or silence), and a tube of IC Diamond 7 Carat paste out of those options. You don't need to bother with any of the other options.
+1. Went from a medium speed Yate Loon to a Scythe S-Flex SFF21F and haven't looked back. A bit on the pricey side, though, at about $13-15 per fan.
 
D

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+1. Went from a medium speed Yate Loon to a Scythe S-Flex SFF21F and haven't looked back. A bit on the pricey side, though, at about $13-15 per fan.
The Kama Flex (pretty much the same fan) can be had for under 10 bucks.
 

RMXO

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I would go with a pair of Scythe S-Flex fans (which speed you get depends on whether you want performance or silence), and a tube of IC Diamond 7 Carat paste out of those options. You don't need to bother with any of the other options.
+2 for scythe & IC Diamond 7 recommendation.

I went with Kama Flex for front fan & 3 slipstreams for my True 120E (push & pull) and exhaust fan.
 

undertheradar

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I would get a strong motherboard with a very sturdy back plate, or a case that allows the motherboard to lay flat (like the Lian-Li PC-V351) because the IFX-14 is one heavy mutha.
 
D

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I would get a strong motherboard with a very sturdy back plate, or a case that allows the motherboard to lay flat (like the Lian-Li PC-V351) because the IFX-14 is one heavy mutha.
You do know it weights the same as the TRUE (790g) right? Not even close to being a threat to a motherboard.
 

Zero82z

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A lot of people seem to underestimate the structural strength of motherboards. Here's an experiment for you: find a really old PC with a motherboard you don't need any more, or take an old dead board that's useless. Now try to bend it. See how much force it can take.
 
D

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A lot of people seem to underestimate the structural strength of motherboards. Here's an experiment for you: find a really old PC with a motherboard you don't need any more, or take an old dead board that's useless. Now try to bend it. See how much force it can take.
Haha, indeed, hell, even an old RAM stick! Mobo's are not weak, that's for sure.
 

ekuest

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Haha, indeed, hell, even an old RAM stick! Mobo's are not weak, that's for sure.
i heard theyre made out of unicorn horns. dont quote me on that as i cant remember who told me.

another vote for the IFX-14. that thing just looks awesome. if youre on a budget the mugen 2 is a great value, and the dark knight is a good cheapo.
 

undertheradar

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A lot of people seem to underestimate the structural strength of motherboards. Here's an experiment for you: find a really old PC with a motherboard you don't need any more, or take an old dead board that's useless. Now try to bend it. See how much force it can take.
Im just going by what I have seen myself as well as in the reviews. It can flex a board, and one review even suggested using a case where the board can lie flat... just passing it along.

I can snap an old board with one hand BTW, and my GTX 285 waterblock was heavy enough to bend my GTX285 with a good 1/2" deflection until I put a support under it. PCB's arent so strong, but the components and sinks that are added onto a board are what give many of them their strength... but this varies from board to board.
 

jarrodthome

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I have the Ultra-120 Ex. and the IFX-14... I tested them out as well... hit 4.2 GHz with my i7 920 SLBEJ. I couldnt break 4 GHz with the Ultra-120 Ex... very similar to the xbit review. Im pretty sure the IFX-14 even takes the crown from the Cooler Master V10, but I have never seen them compared side by side. The IFX-14 never did as great on the 775's because those chips never put out the wattage needed to get those huge heatpipes going. As a consequence, the smaller heatpipes of the Ultra-120 outdid it... but on the higher wattage 1366's, well... its another story. This is very much like how the older 3/6 pipe Ultra-120 used to outperform the newer Ultra-120 Ex. w/ 4/8 heatpipes... at the time that they both were out, the CPU's werent making enough heat to take advantage of the extreme's extra pipe, so less pipes cooled better than more, and the IFX-14 trailed the Ultra-120 because its heatpipes are much larger, and the sink itself is much larger. But enter the 1366 and other higher wattage CPU's that can take advantage of all those fat heatpipes, and the IFX-14 outperforms the Ultra-120 by a healthy amount.
Good info. Thanks.
 

Zero82z

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Im just going by what I have seen myself as well as in the reviews. It can flex a board, and one review even suggested using a case where the board can lie flat... just passing it along.
Well, the point is that even if the board does flex, it doesn't matter at all.
I can snap an old board with one hand BTW, and my GTX 285 waterblock was heavy enough to bend my GTX285 with a good 1/2" deflection until I put a support under it.
I'll believe it when I see it. And as for the video card bending, that is perfectly normal considering it is only being supported by a thin slot on one side and by a screw on one edge. But I'd be very surprised if it broke.
 
D

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..I'll believe it when I see it....
I thought the same thing, he must be He-Man or something, I can't even get a good grip with a single hand on an ATX mobo, no less being able to break it in half.
 

undertheradar

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I can palm a basketball in one hand, and the one time I got in a fight in my life I just grabbed the bugger's throat (he couldnt break my grip) until he turned blue and sleepy... Im 6' 6", 270lbs. So yeah, I could do it. I work with PCB's all day (Im an EE), and have snapped many in my hands after a 'project gone wrong'...lol.

ANYWAYS... in the case of my GTX285, the Watercool Heatkiller X2 bent the PCB enough so that one of the contact surfaces was no longer in contact with the block by a good 2mm... that could be a problem. If you dont think bending your PCB's is a bad thing, then be my guest. The actual PCB material is just plastic after all, and that can bend rather well. Just keep in mind that all the copper lithography is not as flexible, and bending a board can break these connections. There was a controller that I was maintaining last week on a laser... kept having problems with the interface. As it turned out, the cables coming out the back were bending the board, and although the board wasnt going to break, it was enough to cause contact problems with the port. Plastic may bend, but solder doesnt.

The IFX-14 ends up heavier than the True because it is really intended to run with 2 fans, if not 3. This may not be alot for some boards, but for someone who moves their box around alot, this is a big hunk of metal to have hanging off your board. It might have the same mass, but it is much taller and wider, and as a result, can apply much more leverage on the mounting holes than the Ultra-120. Also, keep in mind that the IFX-14 has a backside cooler which adds more weight than the cooler itself. I can take a side by side photo if you like... the IFX-14 dwarfs the Ultra-120. They may be the same mass (Im starting to wonder if that spec is correct though), but the IFX-14 is larger... so it does have more torque. Then again, the mounting holes on the 1366 are wider than the 775's, so there is more support as well. But also, some 1366 boards sport holes for 775 coolers as well, so you could mount the '14 on a 1366 with the older 775 clips, and this would be one heavy mutha.

Part of the perception that the IFX-14 is 'too heavy' for some boards might be because of the mounting mechanisms... the Ultra-120 has a single piece 4-screw mount, but the IFX-14 has a 3-piece where 2 screws attach to the 4 mounting ones, so this might make the sink seem like its flexing the board.

edit: I double checked... the IFX-14 is heavier than the Ultra-120. This fully loaded one is MUCH heavier... 1550g It might not be a Copper True (1900g), but its getting there. Add in the backside cooler, greater leverage, and possible less-than bracket... and well...
http://www.madshrimps.be/?action=getarticle&number=2&artpage=3201&articID=673
 
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D

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I can palm a basketball in one hand, and the one time I got in a fight in my life I just grabbed the bugger's throat (he couldnt break my grip) until he turned blue and sleepy... Im 6' 6", 270lbs. So yeah, I could do it. I work with PCB's all day (Im an EE), and have snapped many in my hands after a 'project gone wrong'...lol.

ANYWAYS... in the case of my GTX285, the Watercool Heatkiller X2 bent the PCB enough so that one of the contact surfaces was no longer in contact with the block by a good 2mm... that could be a problem. If you dont think bending your PCB's is a bad thing, then be my guest. The actual PCB material is just plastic after all, and that can bend rather well. Just keep in mind that all the copper lithography is not as flexible, and bending a board can break these connections. There was a controller that I was maintaining last week on a laser... kept having problems with the interface. As it turned out, the cables coming out the back were bending the board, and although the board wasnt going to break, it was enough to cause contact problems with the port. Plastic may bend, but solder doesnt.

The IFX-14 ends up heavier than the True because it is really intended to run with 2 fans, if not 3. This may not be alot for some boards, but for someone who moves their box around alot, this is a big hunk of metal to have hanging off your board. It might have the same mass, but it is much taller and wider, and as a result, can apply much more leverage on the mounting holes than the Ultra-120. Also, keep in mind that the IFX-14 has a backside cooler which adds more weight than the cooler itself. I can take a side by side photo if you like... the IFX-14 dwarfs the Ultra-120. They may be the same mass (Im starting to wonder if that spec is correct though), but the IFX-14 is larger... so it does have more torque. Then again, the mounting holes on the 1366 are wider than the 775's, so there is more support as well. But also, some 1366 boards sport holes for 775 coolers as well, so you could mount the '14 on a 1366 with the older 775 clips, and this would be one heavy mutha.
*Sniped image for space*
Part of the perception that the IFX-14 is 'too heavy' for some boards might be because of the mounting mechanisms... the Ultra-120 has a single piece 4-screw mount, but the IFX-14 has a 3-piece where 2 screws attach to the 4 mounting ones, so this might make the sink seem like its flexing the board.

edit: I double checked... the IFX-14 is heavier than the Ultra-120. This fully loaded one is MUCH heavier... 1550g It might not be a Copper True (1900g), but its getting there. Add in the backside cooler, greater leverage, and possible less-than bracket... and well...
http://www.madshrimps.be/?action=getarticle&number=2&artpage=3201&articID=673
Umm...No, Mobo PCB's are not "just plastic", I would think you would know this after having "snapped many" in your hands, that you would have seen the reinforcing fibers. Most of the time they are glass reinforced epoxy, which by the way is the same stuff I use on my experimental rockets for the body and fins, it's tough stuff. I'm also 6'3" 200lbs+, it's just not going to happen single handed :rolleyes:.

They are both the same weight, we are not talking about fans here, and by the way you can also run 2 fans the on TRUE, which I have, 2 Delta AFB1212SHE fans that come in at a hefty 314g each, so 620g total in just fans, plus the TRUE at 790g which got me to a total of 1418g or 3.12lbs and my board is not any worse for wear.
 

undertheradar

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Okay smart guy... and WHAT material are all those fibers made out of? And what sort of structural benefit do they offer? You can pick up FRP from any home-improvement store... its full of fiber, and it still bends like plastic. Those fibers offer little in the way of protection from deflection.

...BTW, fibers are not a 'standard' by any means. Many PCB's are just layers of polymer. There are different grades and qualities... that M3A78 board I had was very flimsy, and the GENE I have now is not. But its still just plastic... maybe some ceramic fibers mixed in, but its not 'all that' strong IMO.
 
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Flexion

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I would get a strong motherboard with a very sturdy back plate, or a case that allows the motherboard to lay flat (like the Lian-Li PC-V351) because the IFX-14 is one heavy mutha.


Most LGA1366 boards have a backplate.
 

Dan_D

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A lot of people seem to underestimate the structural strength of motherboards. Here's an experiment for you: find a really old PC with a motherboard you don't need any more, or take an old dead board that's useless. Now try to bend it. See how much force it can take.
Snapping it in half is one thing. Actually stressing it to the point where trace paths separate isn't hard.

Well, the point is that even if the board does flex, it doesn't matter at all.

I'll believe it when I see it. And as for the video card bending, that is perfectly normal considering it is only being supported by a thin slot on one side and by a screw on one edge. But I'd be very surprised if it broke.
Flexing to some degree won't hurt it. Flex it too much and you will.

Umm...No, Mobo PCB's are not "just plastic", I would think you would know this after having "snapped many" in your hands, that you would have seen the reinforcing fibers. Most of the time they are glass reinforced epoxy, which by the way is the same stuff I use on my experimental rockets for the body and fins, it's tough stuff. I'm also 6'3" 200lbs+, it's just not going to happen single handed :rolleyes:.

They are both the same weight, we are not talking about fans here, and by the way you can also run 2 fans the on TRUE, which I have, 2 Delta AFB1212SHE fans that come in at a hefty 314g each, so 620g total in just fans, plus the TRUE at 790g which got me to a total of 1418g or 3.12lbs and my board is not any worse for wear.
Again there is snapping one in half and flexing it to the point where you damage traces and losen components on the board. Granted I don't even know if the Thermalright IFX-14 can do that. I'm just saying that PCB's on motherboards may not be as weak as some people think they are, but they aren't super strong either.

Most LGA1366 boards have a backplate.
They all do as far as I know. I believe that is part of the LGA1366 specification.
 
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BillParrish

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Aw calm down youse guys, Dan is exactly correct. And at the risk of being redundant.

Most board are what is called FR4 ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FR4 ) which is an epoxy resin impregnated fiberglass and they will take quite a bit of bending and would take a lot of strength to break or even crack but it certainly is possible and the bigger the board the easier it is to get the mechanical advantage needed to do so. It is tough stuff.

On the other hand you likely would not hear the solder joints cracking and snapping as you bend the board to extremes - so hush. The board would likely be dead long before it suffered damage to the bare PCB itself.

A backplate is a good idea with a heavy heatsink,

Intel has a document called "Mechanical and Thermal Design Guidelines" that gives specs for allowed board flex etc. - edumacte yourselves and take the pissing contest someplace else.
 

Dan_D

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Intel has a document called "Mechanical and Thermal Design Guidelines" that gives specs for allowed board flex etc. - edumacte yourselves and take the pissing contest someplace else.
Precisely. I have read those data sheets. Some coolers do exceed the recommended weight of what Intel allows for on top of the processor. Backplates used by companies like Thermalright actually mitigate some of this extra weight by distributing it over the entire CPU socket area rather than just the mounting holes themselves. Most likely Intel was also generous when they made the design. You can probably go over the limit for heat sink weight by a large amount and not cause any damage.

This has been going on for years. Manufacturers will exceed the socket specifications for heat sink weight in any given generation or with any given socket. The non-compliant heat sinks start flying off the shelves pretty early on within each generation. In the last 13 years I've never once seen a heat sink and fan damage a motherboard due to its weight. I've never seen breakage or problems using large heat sinks even on the most flimsy or poorly built boards and not even over a period of years. Dual processor boards like Intel's D5400XS use the same amount of PCB layers as your garden variety ASUS or Gigabyte board and yet can support the weight of two Thermalright Ultra 120 Extreme heat sinks with fans on them. One of Intel's own demonstration machines that show cased the Skulltrail used such a setup. I know for a fact the Thermalright Ultra 120 Extreme exceeds LGA775 socket specifications, and probably exceeds LGA771 as well. If Intel isn't that concerned with the weight, you probably shouldn't give it much thought.

On this same line of thinking you can rest assured that no heat sink manufacturer is going to release heat sinks that will break motherboards costing easily double, triple, or more the cost of the product they are selling. If they did they wouldn't last very long as a company.
 
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undertheradar

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Thanks for cutting in. While a PCB might take a good deal of elastic stress (my point was that there are different qualities out there... some very cheap, and others that are thicker and with more layers), it doesnt take alot of deflection to cause the connections to break because unlike the board, they are not as elastic/plastic.

My Asus R2 Gene didnt come with a back plate. Since board makers see backplates and such as necessary, it should be clear that at least they feel the PCB boards are not strong enough on their own. Still, a little deflection can cause alot of problems. If a heatsink is leaning on the chip without even pressure, there is a good chance that the thermal paste will be uneven, or there may even be gaps.

Hey, if you feel safe thinking your kevlar weave motherboard can handle cars being parked on top of it, go for it. But I share the concerns that several sites, including this one, have given... and that is when we deal with some of these monster heatsinks, take caution with how you mount them so you dont end up breaking some copper connection.

Remember the [H] news about the guy who 'fixed' his GPU by baking it in an oven? That should tell you something about how careful you should be... the fact that some heating process could repair a sliver of a cracked connection... but more so how small it would have to be in the first place, and how delicate your components are underneath those plastic layers.

If we could quit arguing over semantics, I think we can all agree on one thing: work with caution. The IFX-14 has caused concern with those who own it, and who test it. As I pointed out, it might be a fault of the less-than perfect mounting mechanism, or the combined weight of all the components... or as some articles point out: a possible uneven base. I think the height and weight distribution compared to the Ultra-120 is also something to factor in. This could mean nothing, or it could cause uneven cooling across the CPU's heat spreader, or it could actually damage something.
 
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Dan_D

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Thanks for cutting in. While a PCB might take a good deal of elastic stress (my point was that there are different qualities out there... some very cheap, and others that are thicker and with more layers), it doesnt take alot of deflection to cause the connections to break because unlike the board, they are not as elastic/plastic.

My Asus R2 Gene didnt come with a back plate. Since board makers see backplates and such as necessary, it should be clear that at least they feel the PCB boards are not strong enough on their own. Still, a little deflection can cause alot of problems. If a heatsink is leaning on the chip without even pressure, there is a good chance that the thermal paste will be uneven, or there may even be gaps.

Hey, if you feel safe thinking your kevlar weave motherboard can handle cars being parked on top of it, go for it. But I share the concerns that several sites, including this one, have given... and that is when we deal with some of these monster heatsinks, take caution with how you mount them so you dont end up breaking some copper connection.

Remember the [H] news about the guy who 'fixed' his GPU by baking it in an oven? That should tell you something about how careful you should be... the fact that some heating process could repair a sliver of a cracked connection... but more so how small it would have to be in the first place, and how delicate your components are underneath those plastic layers.

If we could quit arguing over semantics, I think we can all agree on one thing: work with caution. The IFX-14 has caused concern with those who own it, and who test it. As I pointed out, it might be a fault of the less-than perfect mounting mechanism, or the combined weight of all the components... or as some articles point out: a possible uneven base. I think the height and weight distribution compared to the Ultra-120 is also something to factor in. This could mean nothing, or it could cause uneven cooling across the CPU's heat spreader, or it could actually damage something.
As long as you are careful, you can certainly minimize any potential problems. I also would expect someone to put a Thermalright IFX-14 on a el-cheapo board built with a super thin PCB.
 

darren700

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I have the True 120 Extreme and it got me 3.7 on my 920, i'd say go with the IFX-14, deff looks like the winner for now...
 

Impulse

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I've yet to hear any stories of a TRUE, IFX-14, GPU waterblock, or any other enthusiast cooler completely snapping a PCB in half or bending it to the point where it kills the part...

On the other hand, I've worked with more than a few old s939 systems where the plastic CPU bracket broke and people were wondering why their system would shut down 10-20s after being turned on. :p I've replaced that stupid bracket on at 'least two systems where the heatsink was literally dangling from it (and thus not making contact w/the A64 at all) because the top clip broke off.

Don't ask me how they've managed that using stock coolers (that barely weigh anything), because I've got no earthly idea... Short of the heatsink not being latched securely when the PC was shipped out then someone kicking the tower to the point where the spring pressure would break the clip.
 

J32P

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Where is the cheapest place to get the IFX-14 with the 1366 mounts?

I'm leaning towards the Dark Knight-S1283V or the IFX-14, but...

I found the IFX-14 here(without 1366 mount and no free shipping), would this be the cheapest?

http://www.tankguys.com/thermalright-ifx-14.html

If so, I may have to move the second best cooler.:(
 

Cannydog

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I considered trying an IFX-14 - but wasn't sure if it would fit in between my RAM slots and the heat-sink on the mosfets (with fans). Let alone if it would foul up the northbridge heatsink when turned the other way (not the m/b in my sig - I'm talking about an EVGA Classified). So I decided to try the Prolimatech Megahalems. It fits fine, even with dual (25mm thick) fans.
 
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