With temperatures on the rise, cooling your components is more essential this time of year. For those of us who overclock, the rise in temperatures from winter to mid-summer can be dramatic. The stock cooler has been long removed from its duties and the never ending quest to combat this rise begins. Beyond overclocking, think of the extremists; those that squeeze their components for every last stable drop of megahertz they can get. Cooling at that point for a processor is more of a harsh task than a job for just anything.
In the quest for a cooler to battle this rage, we look for innovative concepts and ideas that may help us in our quest. Things that immediately come to mind are the mounting, the choice of fans and the way the cooler is designed to aid the air flow. Mounting is most important. Coolers have long since moved away from the push-pins, as they are just not that tight, even when correctly locked into place. A substantial foundation is always a good starting point. Then there are the fans. If noise isn't an issue, high CFM and static pressure are the way to go. Considering this is a performance cooler we are discussing, noise levels are going to be high, so get used to it. Lastly, there are coolers with closed sides, shrouds, even crazy looking fans. If they help keep the temperatures down, I'm all for it.
Today Thermaltake has given me the chance to look at a cooler that has brought attention everywhere it shows up. Not only does this cooler come in an attractive red and black color scheme, it seems to really produce great results. If you haven't figured it out by now, I am talking about Thermaltake's Frio CPU Cooler. This is a 220W monster with dual fans and over 100CFM of air flow. Join me as I disassemble and test The Frio. For those not so up to date on their Spanish, Frio means cold. With the naming alone, results should be good and other sites lead to this conclusion as well. It's time now for me to finally see the Frio face to face and what it has to offer.
Specifications, Availability and Pricing
Like the Jing, the Frio is based on a tower style cooler under slick plastic covers and fans. In the center there are forty-eight aluminum fins surrounding five, 8mm, copper heat pipes. These pipes run in a staggered pattern through the fins and make a "U" shaped bend through the base. The base is comprised of two pieces. There is the top made from aluminum, which handles the mounting. Then there is the bottom, nickel plated, copper section that makes direct contact to the processor. Another trick used on this cooler is that about two-thirds of the sides are closed off to aid in air flow, while the middle section is open.
Covering the aluminum are two fans and an attractive looking top. The cooler ships with one 120mm fan attached. These fans boast over 100 CFM per fan and I bet a bit of noise to go along with that power. This way you get the option to run with one fan, or get the most out of the Frio and strap in the second fan. On top there is a black covering with two bold red bars running long ways across the Frio. This goes along with quite a few rigs I have seen as red and black is one of the most popular choices by far. No matter if you run AMD or Intel, there is hardware ready for any setup from either AM2 or LGA775 and up.
The Frio has been on shelves for quite some time, so if you are pleased with what you see, getting one will not be a problem. Pricing for the Frio is hit and miss. I see it cheaply listed and then they stack on the shipping charges and some pricing I couldn't really believe is legal to attempt. Right about average in the middle of pricing, I found the Frio at Newegg for $54.99, and only an additional $2.99 cents for shipping. While the cooler comes close to breaking that $50 mark, the Frio might just be worth that little bit extra. Let's get a good look at the Frio and see how the testing goes. Then I will be able to say for certain if the Frio is the cooler to buy!