When Thermaltake first unveiled its FRIO CPU cooler, the company promised that it would be one of the best-performing models it’s ever released. Now that we’ve had the opportunity to put our sample through our usual battery of tests, we can attest to that claim being true. To top it off, the FRIO even includes a fan speed control and reasonable price.
After the dust settled, I must say that I was very impressed with Thermaltake’s FRIO. For ~$59.99 USD, you get one hell of a performer that is capable of hanging with the best of the best in terms of currently available models across all manufacturers. I was nothing short of amazed at my stress-testing results, especially when you compare it to the massive Noctua NH-D14. For $20 less, you are only asked to sacrifice 4°C of cooling capacity.
The overall package is also something to be praised. The simple back plate design and the inclusion of two-speed controllable fans makes this a very complete and well-thought-out design. Setup and installation is simple enough so that even the novice installer should have little issue in completing the installation.
I cannot emphasize the huge benefit of the overall size of the FRIO as well. Coming in at 165mm H x 139mm W x 98mm/118mm D (depending on single/dual fan configuration) you are almost assured you will have the space to put this part on your board without worrying about interference. Performance seems to be of more importance than size for most people, so this is a very welcome aspect to me. I, for one, just do not like the fact that CPU sockets are ever encroaching memory and PCI-E slot territory. It is great to see a design that takes this into account.
As for downsides, I am forced to nit-pick to really come up with any. I would have preferred the nuts to be easier to tighten by hand without tools. They were somewhat small to handle and if you are not careful they could be installed backwards – although this causes no issue other than the need to reinstall correctly so that you can get a screwdriver on them for proper securing.
I would also like to have had more slack on the fan controller wiring so that I did not need to reach so far into the chassis to change the settings. Again, this is not an important issue but it is something that could be addressed in future designs to make it just that much easier for us to manipulate fan settings.
The FRIO certainly deserves an Editor’s Choice award based on the merit that it is an overall excellent package. Performance is top notch and the bracket design is simple and not wasteful. Thermaltake did its homework here and it shows in every aspect. I would strongly suggest that you take a hard look at the FRIO if you are in the market, especially if you have concerns for mounting space. You will not be disappointed.
Thermaltake FRIO Overclocking CPU Cooler
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