Articles

Thermalright True Spirit 140 Direct CPU Air Cooler

Author:Marc Adams

Editor:Kyle Bennett

Date: Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Thermalright has been laying low in the USA for the last few years, actually almost 5 years the way we see it. The True Spirit 120 was an inexpensive Titan when it came to cooling hot CPUs. Thermalright's legacy is extended today with the True Spirit 140 Direct, is it worthy of the "True Spirit" name and your hard earned dollar?

Introduction

There are few companies with the experience of Thermalright when it comes to making CPU air coolers. It has always been a value leader when it comes to CPU air coolers, and some of those were top-end performers as well. The True Spirit 120M was a cooler that smashed much of the higher priced competition in its day. This reputation is well deserved as Thermalright has produced some of the best coolers over the years and has never been shy about taking chances. So when Thermalright comes out with a new cooler you can be sure there is some excitement and a lot of expectations. I know we have expectations at the very least.

Our review today is of the Thermalright True Spirit 140 Direct, the direct successor to the True Spirit 120, reviewed here in 2012.

System Setup

Today's review takes place on our fourth generation [H]ard platform. The test bed consists of the ASUS Z87-Deluxe motherboard, eight gigabytes of Corsair 1600 MHz DDR3 RAM and the Intel Core i7-4770K.

Test Methods

CPU

The biggest change you will notice is the removal of hardware testing. In recent years, Intel has shifted its methods of testing to software based and so we find it acceptable to do the same.

GPU

Once again we have an integrated GPU in our processor which alleviates the need for a discrete one. With the removal of a discrete GPU comes the advantage of not having an additional variable to account for.

The iGPU will not create any anomalies in our testing as long as we practice consistent testing methods.

Case

Corsair was kind enough to provide us with its Carbide series chassis. It provides excellent airflow and interior space and is a good reflection on current case design.

Thermal Paste

Noctua's NT-H1 thermal paste was selected as the thermal interface material (TIM) of choice for a few key reasons. The thermal paste has been shown to provide excellent thermal conductivity allowing the heat sinks to better do its job. There is no observed curing time. That is, performance does not get any better over time. Any curing time could have introduced variables into the equation causing at best dubious results and at worst unreliable ones.

Temperatures

Ambient temperature will be kept at 25C for the duration of the tests and measured with a MicroTemp EXP non-contact infrared thermometer and cross referenced with the Sperry Digital 4 Point thermometer. Any variance greater then 0.2C will halt the testing until temperatures return within spec for fifteen minutes.

Idle

Idle temperatures will be recorded after a twenty-minute period of inactivity. Any fluctuation during the last sixty seconds will reset the timer for an additional five minutes.

Load

Load temperatures will be recorded after a twenty minute period for air cooled systems, and thirty minutes for liquid cooled systems, at 100% load. To obtain this load we will be using AIDA64 Extreme Edition v3.00.2500. This places an even greater load on the CPU than before and includes some benefits. Because the load is so extreme we see the temperature vary wildly from 72C to 86C in some instances. To get an accurate reading we will utilize AIDA64’s ability to average the temperature over time. Given twenty/thirty minutes at 100% load we arrive at a temperature that accurately represents our heatsink’s performance.

Sound

Sound levels will be measured with a Reliability Direct AR824 sound meter from a distance of four feet away. With everything turned off and the room completely silent the meter registered a sound level of 38dB(A). This is a very quiet room where a simple pin drop could be heard. All sound measurements are recorded in the very late evening to further reduce any ambient noise.