The release of Intel’s i7 architecture has seen thermal solutions increase in size with more fans, fins and heatpipes in order to try and counter the massive 130W TDP. Many products have tried and failed to really stand out when it comes to working with a Nehalem rig and could simply not keep up with the heat levels produced.
Asus have impressed us in the past with their cooling solutions and their latest product from the ‘Triton’ range features a twin-pillared design with a centred 120mm fan as well as coming LGA1366 ready. So how will it shape up atop our i7 920 processor? Let’s take a look…
Our thanks go to QuietPC for providing this sample for review; if you are interested in purchasing the ASUS Triton 88, please visit the QuietPC website or click on this link.
About the product
Triton 88 utilises an exclusive twin-pillared heatsink design that; when combined with the 120mm inner-fan, will help in lowering temperatures and create powerful air-cooled performance for extreme overclocking of up to 180W. Furthermore, with the fan positioned within the heatsink, VRM can be protected against high temperatures with the guiding of cool air to critical components near the CPU which ensures system stability. The exclusive twin-pillared design also allows you to equip three 120mm fans for ultimate cooling.
- LGA1366 compatible
- Also Intel LGA775 and AMD AM2/939 compatible
- Very quiet 120mm fan, from 20dB(A)
- Increase cooling by adding additional 120mm fans
ASUS Triton 88 Specifications
- Compatibility: Intel LGA775, LGA1366 and AMD S1207, AM2+, AM2
- Noise Level: 20 dBA
- Cooler Dimension: 125 x 112 x 153 mm
- Net Weight: 876g
- Clip Type: Intel spring screw with back plate + AMD Universal kit
- Heat Sink Material: Copper Base and Aluminium Fins
- Fan Dimension: 120x120x25 mm
- Bearing Type: EBR
- Fan Speed: 800~2100 RPM ±10%
- Fan Type: 4 pin with PWM Control
- Airflow: Side flow
- Rated Voltage: 12V
- Warranty: 24 months
Contents & Packaging
The retail packaging of the ASUS Triton 88 creates an immediate impression with the distinctive green swirls and the cooler centre stage lit up with a blue LED – ASUS don’t seem to be able to resist the lure of a blue LED somewhere on their CPU coolers! In addition, the LGA1366 socket is highlighted at the bottom.
One of the sides features a few diagrams: one showing the cooler complete with two additional 120mm fans at either end for optimal cooling and one showing the airflow direction from the cool blue arrows going into the heatsink and then the hot air being emitted from the back.
The back of the ASUS Triton 88 is a little plainer with the table of specifications printed in white font with the usual logos listed at the bottom mainly for recycling purposes.
The accessory bundle has its own box and contains all the parts needed for installation:
- LGA775 backplate
- LGA1366 backplate
- AM2 clip
- Mounting clips
- Wire fan clips * 4
- Thermal paste
The additional wire clips are certainly a good idea in order to offer additional airflow to cool the hotter i7 chips but unfortunately the extra fans have to be purchased separately.
Asus Triton 88
Now let’s take a look at the product itself…
The twin-pillared design is certainly a little different with the 120mm fan embedded in the centre; it’s similar to the Asus Silent Knight II in that respect except that the heatsink arrays are towers instead of circular in their architecture.
Each array has a series of aluminium fins all intersecting the heatpipes perpendicularly. The total surface area of all the fins should be large enough to allow for sufficient heat dissipation. Moreover, the concept of having the fan in between the two tower heatsinks could also have been done to prevent any “dead zones” from occurring which do little to aid heat loss.
A total of six copper heatpipes are utilised in the Triton 88 each forming a slightly skewed ‘U’ shape; the pipes have a linear arrangement though and perhaps if they were slightly offset from one another, the heat would be more evenly distributed over the whole heatsink.
The heatpipes are pressed through the fin stack instead of being soldered which gives a much more professional look as often soldering can be a little messy.
The pipes themselves have a nickel plated hiding their natural copper colour. At the bottom of the cooler they bend inwards towards the base and are set a few millimetres from the contact surface. Asus have chosen not to go with the H.D.T. (Heatpipe Direct Touch) approach whereby the pipes themselves are flattened out to form the base.
Instead the machined finish on the base is much smoother and flatter which should make for a better contact with the IHS on the processor. Indeed, the base is often a tell-tale sign to the quality of a CPU cooler and in this instance it appears to be very good.
Moving to the other end of the Triton, we can see that the heatpipes, as is now the norm for almost all CPU coolers, are rounded off nicely. In the centre a plastic top piece holds the fan in place below and is secured via four screws in the corners of the heatsink. An ASUS logo is placed right in the centre too.
The fan of size 120mm and with clear blades is rated at having an acoustic level of 20dBA at ‘normal operation’ and runs from between 800 and 2,100 RPM due to its 4-pin PWM connection allowing the Bios to automatically adjust the fan speed according to the temperature.
The intention of the fan is to draw in cool air through the first fin stack and then, as the air heats up, push it out through the second heatsink and finally it is extracted by an exhaust fan on the case in order maximise cooling.
Overall the cooler has dimensions of 112mm x 125mm x 153mm and weighs in at 876g – it’s certainly built like a triton and is pretty heavy as coolers go. Due to the Triton 88’s size and weight, a backplate is required to install it and so motherboard removal is required unless the user’s case features a backplate cut out.
ASUS Triton Installation
The Test Setup:
|Processor||Intel Core i7 C0 920 @ 2.67GHz, 3.6GHz|
|Graphics Card||XFX 1GB Radeon 4870|
|Memory||OCZ Gold Triple Channel Platinum-10666 6GB (3 x 2GB)|
|Hard Drive||Seagate Barracuda 3.0GB/s 7200.10 500GB,
Western Digital Caviar Blue 160GB
|Power Supply||NOX Apex 700W|
|Enclosure||Cooler Master ATCS-840|
|OS||Windows Vista 64-bit|
Installation is a rather fiddly affair what with the size of the cooler. First the back plate needs to be positioned behind the motherboard and then the mounting clips screwed into the base of the cooler.
After applying some thermal paste to the CPU, the screws on the mounting brackets screw into the backplate. This is easier said than done though as a screwdriver can’t be used as there’s simply not enough room thus the included spanner comes into its own.
Additional 120mm fans can then be added at this stage for extra cooling.
At Verdis Reviews, we test CPU coolers by booting the PC up into Windows Vista and then taking temperatures in both idle and load states.
The temperatures are taking using Core Temp and averaging the four core temperatures. For idle testing, we simply leave the PC for 30 minutes and then come back and take the temperature readings. For load, we run prime95 for 20 minutes before taking temperature readings once more.
Thermal results will be recorded with the i7 920 CPU @ 2.67GHz (stock) and overclocked to 3.6GHz with Vcore and QPI voltages of 1.35V.
Finally, noise is that final factor that is tested; however, at Verdis Reviews, we are not yet at the stage where we can use high tech sound equipment and therefore, noise testing is left to the human ear – not the most scientific but it gives a good impression of how noisy the cooler is.
Ambient temperature was 18 degrees and a number of coolers were used for comparison purposes.
At stock speeds, we can determine that the fan speed is cranked up a lot quicker as the temperature increases. At idle, the temperature is a couple of degrees higher than the Noctua NH-U12P SE1366 but at load states, the fan kicks in keeping the temperature down to 60 degrees which is pretty impressive indeed.
Again, the same pattern is evident with the idle temperatures a little higher and the load temperatures, which are far more important, better than all the competition.
The ASUS Triton is neither the noisiest nor the quietest cooler I have reviewed – it’s about average. Some noise is noticeable but it’s bearable – I imagine adding two additional 120mm fans would bump up the noise outputs though so if you’re a silent enthusiast I wouldn’t suggest it.
Coming in at about £50, this isn’t the cheapest cooler around but one thing’s for sure with Asus, the quality is top notch.
Out of all the i7 coolers we’ve looked at so far, this ranks the highest. The temperatures, although a little higher than some coolers at idle, are a few degrees cooler at load state as the fan speed increases much faster as the temperatures increase.
To counter the TDP of 130W a high calibre cooler is certainly required and this, without doubt, is one of the best I’ve seen. The build quality and design is second to none and very good at dissipating the heat.
The noise isn’t brilliant but then silence and great cooling don’t exactly go hand-in-hand. Perhaps it could be a little cheaper, but it really is a great product that is worth every penny and well worth a look – great job ASUS.
- Great temperature results
- Reasonably quiet
- Opportunity to mount additional 120mm fans
- High build quality
- Quite Expensive
Thanks go to QuietPC for providing the CPU cooler for review.